communism09 Aug 2007
Authoritarian communism in the first half of the 20th century? Bakunin called it in 1871:
Suppose a learned academy, composed of the most illustrious representatives of science; suppose this academy charged with legislation for and the organisation of society, and that, inspired only by the purest love of truth, it frames none but the laws in absolute harmony with the latest discoveries of science. Well, I maintain, for my part, that such legislation and such organisation would be a monstrosity, and that, and that for two reasons: first, that human science is always and necessarily imperfect, and that, comparing what it has discovered with what remains to be discovered, we may say that it is still in its cradle. So that were we to try to force the practical life of men, collective as well as individual, into strict and exclusive conformity with the latest data of science, we should condemn society as well as individuals to suffer martyrdom on a bed of Procrustes, which would soon end by dislocating and stifling them, life ever remaining an infinitely greater thing than science.
Compare to Milosz’ description of the New Faith in The Captive Mind:
The recklessness with which the Russians are carrying out their mental operations in the people’s democracies is reaching dangerous proportions. Consistent reasoning which orders one to by-pass a fact when a concept comes into conflict with reality must eventually lead to costly errors. Hitler’s war on “degenerate art” sprang from the same seed as the new ethics of his party which ordered the slaughter of “inferior races”; and in these very ideas lay the cause of his defeat. </b>Knowing the Center’s demand that science and art conform to the Method instead of searching for objective truth and beauty</b>, the intellectual comes to the conclusion that it is not the wisdom of the West that will cause the downfall of the Imperium, but rather the aberrations to which the Method leads.