Posts tagged Malcolm Muggeridge

What about Winston Churchill?

young ChurchillI have long admired the vision of Churchill for what he saw and knew about the former Soviet Union and Stalin.  He saw through the veneer that was presented during World War II and I am sad that more people didn’t pay attention to what he knew.  The media force from the area of Russia was doing a full court press to make sure that the unsuspecting didn’t believe the anecdotes that were coming out of Russia and other parts of the Soviet Union.  The Australians have long known the truths of what REALLY happened once WWII was over, other generals and those in combat with the Allied forces knew what was happening when the Soviet Union wanted to take credit for ending the war against the Nazis.  Pity those people who were in the Russian quarters of Berlin because they were either sent back to their country, killed or exiled to Siberia.  Churchill some how knew but perhaps his hands were tied along with others.  The truth came out in reports by Malcolm Muggeridge and other reporters who started paying attention to those people who tried to get the message out about what was going on when things settled down.

That is why I think we need to look closely at what Winston Churchill said 116 years ago about something else he knew something about.  That is perhaps why our U.S.president who gave his usual State of the Union address the other night gave back the bust of Winston Churchill to U.K. when he first moved into the Oval Office.  He obviously didn’t like what Churchill stood for because of his own thorough-going beliefs.  What do you think?  This was penned by a young, but already wise beyond his years, Churchill.

The attached short speech from Winston Churchill, was delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many, but expresses in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language, of which he was a past master.
Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries. He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and British Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt. He was a prophet in his own time. He died on 24th January 1965 , at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral. HERE IS THE SPEECH:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa , raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome .”
Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London ).

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part III)

Back again with more Walter Duranty quotes from his book “I Write as I Please.” I suppose it might be considered arrogant for a writer to have that as his title but as a journalist for the New York Times,  he always had editors that made him write a certain way. (Perhaps he had Stalin’s minions also edit what he wrote, but that’s another issue)  He probably had a very tight internal self editor because I believe he did write well.  However, a hero of mine, Malcolm Muggeridge, another British journalist simply said that Duranty was a “Liar.”  What parts did Duranty write as lies, that is for history to judge. He did admit to embellishing a story to make it more readable.

So, I didn’t think I’d actually ever write this but I am glad Duranty wrote this book published in 1935 because he documents what historian deniers of the Terror Famine would rather have people NOT know about what happened in Kazakhstan and Ukraine and other former Soviet countries. (I’ll include quotes about that tomorrow)

p. 207 “In other words, I had become affected by my environment and was beginning to lose the perspective and critical detachment which every foreign correspondent must retain at all costs.  A reporter who stays too long in Russia at one time is liable either to lose sight of the differences and to accept as natural and normal events as circumstances which are unnatural and abnormal to his readers, or else to find that the difference gets on his nerves to such a degree that he swings over to the other extreme and reports everything from a sour and jaundiced angle.”

Here’s what spurred this book on and who he dedicated this book to, his journalist friend William Ryall Bolitho.  Bolitho gave him some sage advice:

p. 258 “Capitalize your knowledge and experience and capacity for putting words on paper in a way that will interest your readers”

YOUR book, the book that comes from YOU out of YOUR consciousness and is not something that you are writing as you think you ought to write or as someone else wants you to write.  The only books that matter must be written with conviction and must be true to the people who write them.

The reason this stuff gets across is that its true to the people who write it – that’s the basic principle.  Second, a book should be actually true and well written.  A book written with conviction but true and without hokum – the result is bound to be right.

The better you write it and the more interesting the subject, the more right is the result.

Don’t write what they want you to write – write what YOU want to write, as YOU want to write it.”

Today I started reading a book by John Noble titled “I Was a Slave in Russia.”  I keep gravitating to these kinds of books for some reason.

(to be continued)

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“Crimethought” – George Orwell and Thomas Sowell

Today I had planned to use a quote about ideological “Newspeak” from George Orwell’s 1984 book. In Orwell’s introduction to 1984 he explains that Thomas Jefferson’s words in the 1776 “Declaration of Independence” would have been simply labeled “crimethought” according to his Orwellian fiction.  Unfortunately, reality for millions of people who lived in the former Soviet Union actually meant going through this surreal kind of punishment. 

 

I will instead use part of an article from one of my favorite economists, Thomas Sowell.  He wrote a piece on November 11, 2008 titled “Intellectuals” and this relates to the issue I addressed in yesterday’s blog about Ukraine’s Holodomor (Terror Famine of 1932-33).

During the 1930s, some of the leading intellectuals in America condemned our economic system and pointed to the centrally planned Soviet economy as a model– all this at a time when literally millions of people were starving to death in the Soviet Union, from a famine in a country with some of the richest farmland in Europe and historically a large exporter of food.

New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for telling the intelligentsia what they wanted to hear– that claims of starvation in the Ukraine were false.

After British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge reported from the Ukraine on the massive deaths from starvation there, he was ostracized after returning to England and unable to find a job.

More than half a century later, when the archives of the Soviet Union were finally opened up under Mikhail Gorbachev, it turned out that about six million people had died in that famine– about the same number as the people killed in Hitler’s Holocaust.

In the 1930s, it was the intellectuals who pooh-poohed the dangers from the rise of Hitler and urged Western disarmament.

It would be no feat to fill a big book with all the things on which intellectuals were grossly mistaken, just in the 20th century– far more so than ordinary people.

History fully vindicates the late William F. Buckley’s view that he would rather be ruled by people represented by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

How have intellectuals managed to be so wrong, so often? By thinking that because they are knowledgeable– or even expert– within some narrow band out of the vast spectrum of human concerns, that makes them wise guides to the masses and to the rulers of the nation.

But the ignorance of Ph.D.s is still ignorance and high-IQ groupthink is still groupthink, which is the antithesis of real thinking. By Thomas Sowell

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Solzhenitsyn’s Writings (Part III)

The following is the third of a four part series of notes I took on Solzhenitsyn while at Hoover Institute June of 2005.  I looked through the archived files of Alvin Kapusta to find that he had followed this famous Russian Solzhenitsyn very closely.  Even though Kapusta was a Ukrainian diaspora from North Dakota originally, he must have seen how Solzhenitsyn’s cause he championed would help that of the forgotten Ukrainians during the 1930s.  As I recall, Kapusta had a State Department position in Washington, D.C. so I’m sure he may have had an opportunity to meet with Solzhenitsyn at some point during his career.  The following are mostly titles and/or quotes taken from different articles from newspapers covering Solzhenitsyn’s recent arrival to the U.S. in the 1970s. 

1) The Listener April 29, 1976 “Lenin’s false promises—Solzhenitsyn on his new book” interview with Robert Robinson with A.I. Solzhenitsyn

 

2) Los Angeles Times Sun. April 25, 1976 “Lenin in Zurich”-Demythifying Supermarx” by Robert Kirsch – Lenin in Zurich

 

Book reviews Times Literary supplement London, April 1976 “A single-minded man” by Michael Scammell

Last paragraph – Nevertheless Lenin in Zurich is not, in the last analysis, history, nor is it biography.  For not the least of Solzhenitsyn’s audacities is the proud claim he is making for the art of fiction. History, he seems to be saying, is not up to this job, has made a hash of the past.  Biography likewise.  Now it is time for the artist to take a hand.  Impertinence? Certainly. And again one is reminded of Tolstoy, particularly, the Tolstoy of War and Peace.

 

3) The Japan Times Monday, April 19, 1976 “Solzhenitsyn on the Attack” by Max Lerner

 

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is again waging a one-man campaign, as he did inside the Soviet Union.  This time it is a campaign to awaken the West—the western European peoples and America as well—to the dangers of its own weakness in the face of Soviet expansionism

 

“Solzhenitsyn Working in California” by John Berthelsen, May 6, 1976

The Hoover center’s most prized collection on the revolution is the Okhrana archives, the files of the czarist secret police. “Not even the Soviets themselves have these documents” they were received during the 1920s from the last czarist ambassador to France, who moved to Switzerland after the fall of the imperial Russia.  Their existence was concealed from the world until the death of the ambassador, who feared that the Bolsheviks would kill him when they learned of them.  Contained in the files, are czarist secret police dossiers on the full range of Russian revolutionaries, including Lenin and Stalin.

Solzhenitsyn was working on a volume of his book on the year 1917

 

4) April 4, 1976 Washington Post “Solzhenitsyn Warning”

Last summer Alexandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s speech to an AFL-CIO banquet became Washington’s political event of the year.  In a fiery, largely extemporaneous address, the exiled Russian writer sounded a passionate warning: “freedom, he said, was in retreat all over the world; détente was turning out to be a policy of surrender.; the West must make a firm stand against communist totalitarianism.

 

Another review of A.I.Solzhenitsyn’s book Lenin in Zurich by Bertram D. Wolfe, professor of Russian History emeritus in University of California Davis and presently senior researcher at Hoover Institution.  Author of  An Ideology in Power also writing a book “A Life in Two Centuries

 

5) The following are titles of various newspaper articles and t.v. interviews with Solzhenitsyn:

Book reviews Modern age, Chicago, Summer 1976 “The Anatomy of Perdition” by J.M. Lalley

The Gulag Archipelago: an experiment in literary investigation vol. 2

 

Solzhenitsyn In Zurich, an interview “Encounter” April 1976

Lenin in Zurich is a sequel to August 1914

 

Here is not the Vladimir Ilyich of the “little Lenin library” and the Soviet hagiographers, or even the two dimensional portraits of western historical biographies.

 

Radio tv Reports In. 4435 Wis. Ave. NW, Wash. D.C. 20016

Program Firing Line

March 27, 1976

Full text transcribed of interview with Malcolm Muggeridge and Mr. Levine and Solzhenitsyn was interviewed by Buckley, Conducted by Michael Charlton of the BBC staff

 

The Washington Post, Sat. March 27, 1976 “The ‘Imminent’ Fall of the West” by Richard M. Weintraub

Muggeridge went so far as to call Solzhenitsyn, the “greatest man alive today”

 

La Quinzaine Litteraraire, Paris, March 16, 1976

The Solzhenitsyn Line by Roger Dadoun translated from French into English

 

Medvedev vs. Solzhenitsyn. March 13, 1976

 

Historian’s criticism points up differences among dissidents by Peter Osnos, Washington Post Foreign service

Medvedev denounces Solzhenitsyn and is lighter on Andreis Sakharov, the Nobel prize winning dissident physicist

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Muzzled Malcolm Muggeridge and Happiness

little girllittle boyken in chairK and Y fishing

The truth can’t be muzzled for long, it will ultimately prevail and words written by Malcolm Muggeridge is a case in point.  I value Muggeridge’s writings because later in life, as a journalist seeking after truth, he wrote what had happened in Ukraine during the starvation period of 1932-33.  Of course, he was persona non grata once he started to expose what the socialists in England and the communists in Moscow wanted hushed up. Meanwhile, it was fun to enjoy fishing the other day and to see happy families together.

“Marx and Freud are the two great destroyers of Christian civilization, the first replacing the gospel of love by the gospel of hate, the other undermining the essential concept of human responsibility”

 

“The first thing I remember about the world…is that I was a stranger in it. This feeling, which is at once the glory and desolation of homo sapiens, provides the only thread of consistency that I can detect in my life.”

 

There is something ridiculous and even quite indecent in an individual claiming to be happy. Still more a people or a nation making such a claim. The pursuit of happiness… is without any question the most fatuous which could possibly be undertaken. This lamentable phrase ”the pursuit of happiness” is responsible for a good part of the ills and miseries of the modern world.”

 

“The pursuit of happiness, which American citizens are obliged to undertake, tends to involve them in trying to perpetuate the moods, tastes and aptitudes of youth.”

 

 

 

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