Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Mao’s vision of Utopia - torture the middle classes and bury them alive
BOOK REVIEW OF The cultural revolution: A people’s history 1962-1976 by Frank Dikotter
The problem with revolutions is that you have to keep them going, otherwise, as Chairman Mao’s ‘faithful dog’ Zhou Enlai pointed out, ‘every time the situation improves a little, the people move back towards capitalism’. How very dare they!
They go in for private property. They hold local markets. They enjoy raising their own chickens and pigs. They start acknowledging the profit motive.
As in France and Russia before, to put a stop to enterprise the Chinese authorities felt they had to unleash fresh waves of terror, cowing the populace with killing sprees, purges, arbitrary arrest and torture.
As Dikotter explains in this definitive and harrowing study: ‘The flames of revolution had to be constantly rekindled.’
Mao had already subjected his vast country to the Great Leap Forward, when tens of millions lost their lives in a mad agricultural experiment. Mass starvation and disease ensued when the peasants were compelled to hand over their harvests to the state.
Desperate men and women were executed for digging up a potato or stealing a handful of rice. Yet such exterminations, said Mao, were merely ‘an unavoidable phenomenon of our forward march’.
By the early Sixties, however, China was in danger of recovering its equilibrium, so Mao, desiring frenzy, decreed that ‘we must punish this party of ours’.
Villagers who had tilled their own patch of ground or woven baskets for sale were accused of ‘undermining the collective economy’. Gathering firewood was considered capitalist.
Soon, everyone was suspecting everyone else of ‘speculation’ and ‘moral decadence’. Officials who had run the communes were charged with being at the centre of ‘a nest of counter-revolutionaries’.
The police, the army, the teaching profession: suddenly ‘class enemies’ were all over the shop.
Mao, who modelled himself on Stalin, delighted in the paranoia, and people proved their loyalty to the Chairman by joining in what quickly became a seemingly endless cycle of violence.
What may have begun — when Mao became the founding father of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 — as a Communist Utopia to redistribute wealth, degenerated, as these projects always do, into widespread suffering as the messianic dictatorship increased its savage grip.
By 1966, 60 million copies of Mao’s Little Red Book had been distributed, and because ‘the thoughts of Chairman Mao are always correct’, his totalitarian slogans were endorsements for the anarchy: ‘Carry the revolution through to the end’; ‘To rebel is justified’; ‘When bad people get beaten by good people, they deserve it.’
Mao could see the young were impressionable, easy to manipulate and eager to fight. The so-called Red Guards were formed, a ‘screaming, self-righteous band’ numbering many millions, who went on the rampage.
Higher education was a particular target. Professors were spat upon and made to wear placards around their necks identifying them as ‘imperial spies’. Lecturers were beaten with nail-spiked clubs, made to crawl over broken glass and had boiling water poured over them.
‘There were even cases of people being buried alive,’ writes Dikotter.
Pensioners and those on sick leave were flung out of the cities, along with China’s ‘most eminent scientists, physicians, engineers and philosophers, who were made to clean toilets.
‘What stinks is not so much the excrement as your own ideology,’ intellectuals were told. A ‘counter-revolutionary’ came to mean anyone who ‘likes freedom’ — freedom of speech, movement, expression. It was a death sentence to be found listening to a foreign radio station. Tough if you followed The Archers.
Military drills were held in the middle of the night. ‘Class enemies’ had their tongues ripped out or eyes gouged from their sockets. The offspring of former landlords or vaguely bourgeois sorts were electrocuted. Children were hung from their feet and whipped.
In the district of Wuxuan, 60 people had their heads bashed in with hammers.
Evidence of cannibalism emerged: ‘Students cooked the meat in casseroles.’ People must have felt fortunate if they were simply deported to labour camps in Manchuria.
The Red Guard, or ‘Mao’s little generals’, were ‘enjoined to smash the old world’ and did so with alacrity. Prehistoric bronzes were melted down in foundries, exquisite porcelain and jade stamped upon.
Private printing presses were closed down, religion abolished and literature and art had to be ‘geared towards definite political lines’. The Red Guard attacked 36 flower shops in Shanghai as bouquets were ‘wasteful and bourgeois’.
They flogged malefactors with the buckle-end of their belts, slashed jeans with knives and chopped off high heels. Restaurants served only plain meals. Soon there was no music, cinema, theatre or any museum open.
Florists, cobblers, greengrocers, coppersmiths and even embroiderers were suddenly out of a job. Toys, make-up and the keeping of domestic pets were banned. (Cats were massacred.)
School teachers, scientists and writers — ‘intellectuals’ — were ‘battered into submission’, made to pay lip service to the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.
By June 1967, China was in chaos, says Dikotter. Approximately two million people had been killed and many more lives were wrecked by false confessions and denunciations.
Five million party members were punished in public trials, and 77,000 such citizens were then hounded to their deaths. Everything had to become ‘thoroughly proletarian’, yet what Mao and his henchmen really hated and feared, like all tyrants, was that their subjects, despite the pressure, may here and there still have harboured private thoughts, shown initiative, been capable of ingenuity and individuality.
On the other hand, don’t think we have been spared the Red Guards. Those egregious and intolerant Oxford and Cambridge students who want to tear down historical statues of Cecil Rhodes or Queen Victoria, and ban this and censure that, and silence this person and vilify another, are behaving in a way that Chairman Mao would at once recognise and condone.
Liberty at Risk
The American Left’s desire to crush Liberty and dissent in order to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” has reached metastatic levels. In the last three weeks alone, the following stories have surfaced. All of which indicate we are well on our way toward relinquishing our birthright. Even worse, millions of Americans are apparently more than willing to do so.
First, this week the Supreme Court heard arguments in the United States v. Texas case that will determine whether a president can unilaterally rewrite immigration law. If SCOTUS rules in Barack Obama’s favor, the separation of powers outlined in the first three articles of the Constitution will be rendered moot and, as political analyst Charles Krauthammer wryly observed, “you can send Congress home.” And the Left is not content to stop there. A coalition of 118 cities and counties have filed a legal brief asserting they will lose up to $800 million in economic benefits if large numbers of illegal aliens remain subject to deportation.
Second, the IRS has admitted it abides the use of fraudulent Social Security numbers used by illegal aliens to process tax payments — and refunds.
Third, in New York and California, Democratic attorneys general Eric Schneiderman and Kamala Harris are pursuing fraud investigations against Exxon, based on the premise they can “prosecute persons and institutions with nonconforming views on global warming,” writes National Review’s Kevin Williams. “Prosecuting political institutions and businesses for political activism is brown-shirt business.”
Fourth, the Obama administration, already under fire for its determination to flood America with Syrian “refugees,” announced it will reduce its vetting process to three months, instead of 18-24 months. They claim the reduced time is necessary to handle a sped-up “surge operation” whose population is 99% Sunni Muslim. Even more insulting, Gina Kassem, the regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, noted the administration’s target of 10,000 refugees “is a floor and not a ceiling, and it is possible to increase the number.”
Fifth, using the Fair Housing Act as a club, the Obama administration is forcing cities to embrace “diversity” that consists of building low-income housing in affluent neighborhoods nationwide. This forced integration scheme is political gerrymandering in disguise, and it is aimed at taking peoples' basic property rights and the constitutionally protected right of free association and tossing them on the ash heap of history.
Sixth, in North Carolina, the federal government threatens to withhold billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing unless the state repeals a law restricting local authorities from over-riding state law that restricts the use of bathrooms transgender people can use. The Rainbow Mafia’s corporate hitmen are boycotting the state, aligning themselves with the idea that self-identification, and not genital makeup, is the only criterion that can be used to determine access. Not only to bathrooms, but locker rooms, and membership on sports teams as well. Tennessee will be the next state targeted by federal government’s wrath.
Seventh, when French President Francois Hollande referred to “Islamist terrorism” at a meeting with Obama in early April, the White House initially deleted the phrase from its audio translation, only to restore it when questioned about the deletion. “The Obama administration must be aware that in the 1930s, the Soviet Union wiped clean all photos, recordings and films of Leon Trotsky on orders from Josef Stalin,” writes historian Victor Davis Hanson. “Trotsky was deemed politically incorrect, and therefore his thoughts and photos simply vanished.”
Eighth, an astounding video taken at the University of Washington shows students struggling to disagree with a 5'-9" Caucasian male’s assertion that he is a 6'-5" Chinese female first-grader. “These are actual college students,” writes columnist Rod Dreher. “Adults who have the right to vote. And their reason is so compromised that they are unsure what the man in front of them is, so terrified are they of saying the wrong thing. … These people are ripe for dictatorship. They will not let themselves see reality if it offends against the party line.”
Ninth, in a vote at Stanford University, efforts by a group of students to restore a class requirement in Western Civilization was rejected by 85% the student body, and a student suspected of writing an article in support of the measure was suspended from a low-income advocacy group known as the Stanford First-Generation Low Income Partnership. A column in campus newspaper, The Stanford Daily, warned that passing such a proposal “would necessitate that our education be centered on upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”
And tenth, in a speech at the Vatican, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders insisted that Americans “must reject the foundations of this contemporary [capitalist] economy as immoral and unsustainable,” further insisting that we must “redirect our efforts and vision to the common good.” Perhaps Sanders could explain why forcibly taking the fruits of one American’s labor and giving it to another is moral, and which group of leftist elites who believe they own the franchise on “enlightened thinking” gets to define “common good” — using coercive government as their vehicle for doing so.
Make no mistake: The same American Left that purportedly champions dissent, diversity, tolerance and inclusion utterly rejects anyone or anything that deviates from their definition of the terms. Moreover, they are at best intent on intimidating those opposing views — or, at worst, criminalizing those views at worst.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Thomas Jefferson reminds us. Ronald Reagan put it this way: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Those sunset years are upon us. It’s time to fight back.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
Posted by JR at 12:34 AM