The War as Litmus Paper

Should we be surprised that “Lula,” the Brazilian bore much adored among international socialists, is publicly blaming Ukraine and the U.S. for the war, accusing them of having precipitated the conflict by refusing to “negotiate” with Vladimir Putin or to make concessions to him in advance, i.e., by neglecting to adopt appeasement as their official stance before making Putin angry? Or that Noam Chomsky, the international socialist dotard, garnered headlines this week by declaring that the only Western statesman who has proposed the correct plan for solving the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, namely to force Ukraine to concede territory while weakening or eliminating NATO as a counterbalance to Russian aggression, is Donald J. Trump? 

No we should not be surprised, anymore than we should be surprised that China has continued to support Putin and rejected all international efforts to isolate him and weaken his war machine. 

Putin is not a socialist, in any fashionable or academic sense of the word, let alone a communist (aka an honest socialist). All things considered, he is much closer to being a fascist, in the strictest sense, as he himself effectively announces by continually accusing his chosen enemies (victims) of being “Nazis”; everyone knows that the Russian propaganda and disinformation machine (which raised and trained Putin) has systematically operated on that psychological projection model for a century. So how are we to explain those well-known, well-nigh decomposed old leftist radicals talking like Tucker Carlson, which is to say reciting Kremlin talking points, playing moral equivalency games, and overtly blaming the victim of Putin’s aggression, as though taking steps to defend your home against a roving gang of bandits constitutes incitement or provocation to having your home burned down by those bandits?

The explanation is not that hard, actually, once you break away from the error, continually drilled into all of us throughout our lives, of taking authoritarian-minded individuals at their word. If a man believes that he has a right to commandeer your property, that he has the moral authority to dictate the terms of your life and action, that he has a rightful claim to choose the winners and losers for a whole society and to enforce his judgments coercively through the ever-expanding mechanisms of government, then you should assume, in all cases, that he is dishonest and self-serving in his judgments, and that whatever he says is directed to some ulterior motive related to destroying liberty and crushing individual and national self-determination, and has nothing whatsoever to do with any alleged theory or principles of the public good or societal justice. A man bent on totalitarian power as an agreeable and desirable means of achieving his personal wishes will assess every situation on those terms, just as a man who is deeply invested in the ideas of individual liberty and civil order will view all situations in that light. A man who regards might as right will tend to see any resistance to assertions of political power as unacceptable, and therefore to sympathize with any fellow authoritarian whose will is being resisted — unless and until that other authoritarian’s will directly contradicts his own, of course.

Putin’s fascism is no objection to his aggression and claims, from the point of view of Lula, Chomsky, and Xi Jinping, since fascism and communism (i.e., socialism honestly represented) are merely theories of convenience, largely interchangeable in practice, at least in the minds of their leading practitioners, now and always. For while the two systems allege to be means of correcting and strengthening society, and in “opposite” ways, they are at base and in ultimate effect nothing but variations on the same theme, namely the theme of thuggery, the premise that one man, or a committee of mutually suspicious co-rulers, ought to have all other men at their disposal, living in chains, to be exploited or dispensed with as they, the rulers, see fit, for the sake of their own satisfaction and aggrandizement.

See how simple this is? One merely needs to stop presuming that the bandits roving your neighborhood are describing their intentions in good faith. See them as what they are, rather than as what they say they are. We do not judge a man primarily by his methods, which are always malleable and contingent. We judge him by his purposes, which are largely consistent and essential to his being. Oligarchy and social egalitarianism are not purposes, but methods. Therefore, the apparent opposition between them is in the end only a disagreement about matters of efficiency and stability. The purpose, to destroy self-determination and dissent in favor of total societal control from the castle, is shared. 

This war has been a very effective litmus test in some regards. The results are not always immediately obvious, partly because, as noted above, the side one chooses may sometimes be determined by turf rivalry rather than genuine moral disagreement. Sometimes, however, the results are as straightforward as can be. The war in Ukraine has served to remind the world — or at least the miniscule minority of the human world that has chosen to remain sentient and retain its independent mind — that totalitarians are totalitarians, and that the stripes of our imaginary “spectrum” with which we paint them to indicate fundamental differences are merely the trivial fancies of minds distracted by surfaces, often surfaces we have been taught to identify as reality by the totalitarians themselves, who have the most obvious vested interest in concealing their depths. In those depths, there are no differentiating stripes or colors, but only the darkness of power lust, envy, and hatred for life. 

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