Tag: communism

A Witness, Not a Testimony

The most fascinating autobiography of the 20th century was Whittaker Chambers’s Witness. I’ve re-read it numerous times, particularly in tandem with the course I teach on him and his writings. Why did Chambers decide to call his book Witness? His testimony before HUAC was an accounting of what he knew about the underground—but that is all a testimony is. It tells what happened; it provides facts. Chambers saw what he was doing as something more, something deeper. A witness is… Read more »

Here’s What Concerns Me

It’s a very easy thing to loathe politics; it can be a very loathsome thing, exposing as it does the basest of human interactions: petty jealousies, outsized egos; personal insults; the precedence of expediency over principle. I do understand why people want to avoid it. All along the political spectrum there are people who operate at the lowest level of morality and who seem to delight in tearing down those with whom they disagree. Some of those people do so… Read more »

A Century of Totalitarianism & Terror

This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. I use the word “commemorate,” not “celebrate.” There is nothing to celebrate in the establishment of the first Marxist communist state; that state, and all the progeny to which it has given birth, embodied the greatest scourge of the 20th century—and its pernicious beliefs and system continue to plague us today. Russia was ripe for revolution while enmeshed in WWI. I won’t go into all the historical background; suffice to… Read more »

Will We Learn From History?

As a historian, I have this faith that people might actually learn something from history. What a quaint notion. The first requisite, of course, is that people know some history. Those kinds of people are becoming a rare commodity. Please excuse the seeming air of resignation in this post. It’s just that some lessons from history are so easy to find that it boggles the mind that mankind continues to repeat all the old errors. Take socialism/communism, for instance. It’s… Read more »

Making Our Witness: The Chambers Model

What startled many readers of Whittaker Chambers’s Witness when it first was published in 1952 (and became a bestseller) was its deeply spiritual tone, its message of returning to faith in God, not only for the sake of individual salvation but also for the hope of salvaging Western civilization. Chambers had been a avowed atheist, an ideological stance influenced by his dysfunctional family upbringing, the nihilism communicated to him by his university education, and his commitment to changing the world… Read more »

Chambers, McCarthy, & the Real Thing

Whittaker Chambers brought credibility to the concerns Americans had after WWII that communism in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, were infiltrating American society. Chambers, as many regular readers of this blog know, had worked as a communist in the underground in the 1930s. He had labored to help the USSR place people in positions of authority in the American government, and he had served as a liaison with the USSR, sending US government secrets to that nation. So… Read more »

Willful Ignorance: Never a Safe Space

Nice to know that neither Obama nor Biden will make an appearance at Castro’s memorial. I don’t think that’s because they wouldn’t like to do so, but the backlash just might be greater than they wish to handle. Most people, outside of the press, aren’t exactly in mourning that the dictator is dead. Some have very good reasons not to feel particularly sad about it. The Castro legacy is not hard to discover: As I said in a previous post,… Read more »