Back in the USSR

‘You don’t how lucky you are boy, back in the USSR…’ (Lennon/McCartney 1968)

As things turned out, when we found out just how ‘lucky’ they were, it was pretty much the opposite of lucky… Unless your idea of luck is bleak and very nasty. However, despite the mainstream media being less of a lapdog then, you really only got to see the horrors of it once it all broke apart (And the Ukraine girls would really like to knock them out).

But it was idealized and romanticized in song and fiction – and still is. The fact that under socialism, the politically well-connected bureaucrats lived lives of comfort and indeed, pampered luxury (with ample goods from outside their hegemon) while most people’s lives were anything but the utopian paradise, has somehow vanished. If it gets mentioned at all, it wasn’t real socialism.

Oddly, despite being tried over and over again, it never is ‘real’ – or rather it always is real, real horrible, real starvation, real deprivation, and not the rosy romanticism. The truth be told, I suspect most wannabe socialists do know, deep inside, that it isn’t going to be different, ever. They just assume they’ll all be the commissars, and be able to write non-binary poetry as their contribution to society. Other, lesser people will do the scut-work.

As they should know, in practice, it’s only the commissar’s spoiled daughters who get to do that. The commissar is too busy with the normal brutality, treachery and corruption of being extremely rich and powerful by harnessing the state’s monopoly on violence and the power derived from it. Besides, you don’t get to be the commissar by not cheerfully shooting non-binary poets, or anyone else, who won’t dig.

But all of this grows in a manure of fiction, where somehow the probability of the average joe being a commissar is glossed over. The state has been allowed to grow an image of a benevolent father who will allow all its spoiled children to be non-binary poets or whatever. Well, except for the people who dislike their poetry, who will either be shot or be slave labor, but that’s OK because they can’t really be considered human with such execrable taste. This ‘pandemic’ has seen a vast expansion in state power (particularly in my own country) which bears no resemblance to their daydream, and has brought little but misery… but you wouldn’t think so to read of it or see it on TV. The tide of positive propaganda rolls on. It’s a tide driven by the left’s takeover of the publishing, the media, and academia, with distance and rotten education providing cover.

Of course some of us push back. It’s not easy, as that is a lot of weight one is pushing. It’s a long war, and one in which the establishment holds most of the territory and heavy weapons. All they lack is the ability. Still, we do not surrender. We fight where we can, and choose our ground.

And one of our most effective bits of hilly ambush terrain has always been laughter. It’s a serious business, but let’s face it, a lot of the rose-tinted fiction of the benevolent state caring for all of us… is, to anyone remotely capable of logic or even having two brain-cells to rub together, inherently ludicrous. It may be ‘iffen ah don’ laff’ funny, but it is funny. Everyone knows a local petty bureaucrat or three, and have had the ‘joy’ of dealing with them, and the cost and damage of having to. Governments are that on steroids. The bureaucrats are the same kind of people, the least capable and worst people… who always want that sort of job, and will do whatever necessary get it. You want the sort of person who kisses there to run your life? Really? You know what what they want you to kiss? Welcome to the USSR.

So: that’s CLOUD-CASTLES… It should make you laugh. And it goes from absolute government power to as near as practical to anarchy. That’s the first draft of the cover.

41 comments

  1. Eh, only if your idea of luxury is “better than the Joneses” — they couldn’t even get a working hearse for Castro’s funeral.

  2. I feel you’re missing a trick with the bit about average Joes becoming commissars.
    I don’t think most of the Bolsheviks would have been nearly as enthusiastic of they’d have known to front that Kruschev was going to be in charge, and that the illiterate peasant would be a relief!

  3. I need to write an essay about why Socialism is so psychologically appealing to so many people, despite being appalling when implemented. It’s not just “the left took control of the institutions”, that assumes current adherents don’t have agency.

    1. Communism seems to work for the Hutterites… up to about 130 people (after that, they split off a new colony), and only if *everyone* is on the same bandwagon, with no meaningful dissent or dissatisfaction (we have a colony in my state that failed rather spectacularly when there was a minor but insoluble dispute, and the whole thing fell apart). Basically, it works so long as the state (here meaning the colony, in the person of the colony manager) has agency, and the individuals do not, but individuals are sufficient to keep it running but not so numerous that all can’t voluntarily think sufficiently alike. It appears to be both belonging, and an extension of “God will provide” so long as you put your back into it, and never look up from your assigned task.

      Which ain’t exactly reality for most of us.

      Modern-day conventional communists never get beyond “belonging” and the fantasy of being in charge, since they’ve never done a day’s work and can’t imagine themselves doing it; work is for other people (which is to say, slaves).

      1. And also as long as you don’t have criminal gangs like the Mennonites, or that bad Amish situation in Bolivia where some guys were drugging and raping women in their homes (with animal tranqs).

          1. There are two that I know of. One in Mexico, one in Canada. They’re definitely outliers, tho. But as they’ll tell you themselves, they’re just people too, and that means they get a few bad eggs just like anyone else.

            1. I never thought I’d say this, but this news makes me glad that my one uncle is long since gone. He was a Mennonite and very serious about his faith as well as an easy-going man; he served in WW2 as a conscientious objector field medic on Omaha Beach at D-Day. That news would have broken his heart.

        1. I’m curious as to which variety of Amish those were. There are several, ranging from extremely plain (rejecting pretty much all things more modern than buttons and outhouses) to plain mainly in that they live separated from modern social media and have kept traditional family structure (otherwise not much different from the “English” other than usually being very wealthy; they drive cars and use cell phones, and have electricity and running water in their very nice modern houses). And having followed this for a while, I’ve noticed there’s a very definite IQ gradient rising from most-plain to least-plain.

          [goes off, looks it up]

          Wasn’t Amish, was Mennonite. (Same general origins, but somewhat diverged in the present.) And sounds like they’re waaaaay over on the “very plain” end of things. Quite a lot more extreme than our local Hutterites and Amish. Every account I can find has been pretty thoroughly sensationalized-for-television (eg. Vice’s article “Ghost Rapes of Bolivia”), but this seems to be the nearest to the bald facts,

          https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-14688458

          Amish are not nearly as collectivist. They’ll help each other to an extreme degree, but individual families are exactly that; you get what you work for, you don’t receive nor provide shares of everyone else’s work.

          1. Ohhh…. It’s a bunch of predators WITHIN the Mennonite town, enabled by their isolation and “us against the world” status.

            That makes so much more sense than amish gangsters.

            1. This just shocked me because here in PA, it’s FAR more common to hear of crimes perpetrated against the Amish and Old Order Mennonites than ones by them. Everything from rich kids killing their horses by chasing them to death to home invasion style robberies by professional crews, with everyone getting tortured until they hand the money over. Because Amish don’t trust banks or credit; they usually live out in the country; typically have only one phone and no guns or weapons; and consider it ‘spiteful’ to have locks on their doors. Add in how much cash it takes to run even a small farm and it’s no surprise robbers would hit them.

      2. Kibbutzim used to work, back when life in Israel sucked so badly people needed to band together for mutual support. But they worked because they were permeable – people could join and people could leave.

        1. Joshua Muravchik (sp?) wrote a book called Heaven on Earth about socialism/communism. I’m pretty sure he was a red diaper baby originally but gave it up. He said about the kibbutzim that they “worked” but that the people brought up in them did not want their own children to have that experience. They wanted their own homes and their own children in them. He said (if I’m remembering correctly) that they went to great lengths Not to criticize their parents, except by absolutely refusing to follow what those parents had done.

    2. One of the things that I think is mostly left out of the horrors of socialism is the sheer waste of time and energy it forces ordinary people to go through. Getting the simplest, most basic things done requires so much time, energy and thought, Standing in line after line for food items, having to work complicated arrangements to get anywhere, acquire the basic necessities, and do anything at all … the drain on energy and creativity is enormous.
      Which may be part of the deliberate plan, come to think of it. Keep them too tired, hungry and dispirited to rebel.

      1. Read somewhere that no matter the price of anything else, vokda was kept deliberately cheap so the Soviet citizenry would be in no condition to rebel.

        Also, it’s long been understood in the Far East that if peasants only have rice to eat, they’ll be too braindead to consider resistance. (Study of African schoolchildren found sufficient protein improves IQ by about ten points, but sufficient fat or carbs has no such effect. D’oh??!)

  4. When 0bama was running, the Cambodian fellow I worked with asked “What the hell is wrong with these people?”
    Said Khmer fellow had been a kid when his dad (a very successful farmer) got word the Rouge were coming for him, and escaped into the night with the family and eventually made it to California, decided they didn’t like what was going on there and then moved to Texas.

  5. Consider the times that the Communists took over (and their brothers, the Fascists and the Socialists). In many ways, the old institutions had failed or were gone (or the illusion existed of the same). They offered a secular form of salvation, of spiritual charity, of a world that would bring Eden to Earth.

  6. I will note that the rather large Australian concentration camp is already visible from the road in 2014 streetview (but not in 2008); I presume it was built as a processing facility when TPTB intended to bring in the entire third world. Can’t let it go to waste!

  7. Of course that was real socialism. That’s just how works.

    What it isn’t is as *advertised* socialism. That’s because ads are a lie.

    Ask them to look how hard work Coke is trying to sell it. They wouldn’t spend that much money on something if there was no return.

  8. Great cover, Dave! And yes, socialism/communism/Communism imposed from above, like so many other things that we humans keep trying “because we’ll get it right this time!” just can’t work.

  9. You notice that people who talk up how crime free the People’s Republic of China is, or how the People’s Republic of China does not practice ‘mass incarceration’ the way Americans do will rarely segue into ‘and so we should murder the criminals and sell their organs’ or mention how much love the Chinese Communists have for idle drug addicts.

    I can’t imagine why.

    1. They literally have no idea. I’ve read Marxist sites. They honestly believe that everything bad about communism is evil capitalist propaganda or else the result of Stalinism (which has nothing to do with communism, the communists say so). And of course our media whitewashes the Reds constantly, when the hammer and sickle should be as reviled as the swastika.

      1. If they think Stalin was an aberration, then they’ve never read about what Lenin ordered and what policies he promulgated. (I suspect they’ve read some of Lenin’s official writings, in translation, but not the other stuff, translated or not.) Stalin in some ways took Lenin’s policies and just applied them harder, with his own dash of psychosis/paranoia/ingrained wariness/whatever you want to call it.

        1. Solzhenitsyn hammers that point (the continuity from Lenin to Stalin) home in the Gulag Archipelago.

          1. It’s a question of ‘Intelligent Design or Natural Selection?’

            Were all of the behaviors that can be used to define communism chosen because Lenin and Stalin wanted a cult that would enable their own bad behavior, or did they murder everyone whose behavior did not enable their own bad behavior, and those survivors had a founder effect on communism?

            Sometimes, after the first Stalin or two, communists accidentally create institutions stable enough to inhibit the formation of Stalins for few cycles.

            1. I have literally seen leftists claim that it’s the way right-wingers keep taking over Communism and staging mass murder that makes it fail.

              Without asking why right-wing murderers always succeed.

      1. I thought the soviet criminal code was “if commissar say is crime, is crime; if commissar say no crime, is no crime”. You can get any desired crime rate this way, as long as it’s mathematically possible.

        1. Inflating population would artificially lower the crime rate of seriously and honestly reported crimes.

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