The charm of a new “strong leader”

Not only millions of ordinary people believe Putin, trump (Trump) and Erdogan (Erdogan) is good. And intellectuals believe that. Where is this admiration is “leadership democracy”? Two factors seem decisive.

The Nobel prize for literature is usually awarded to people of mediocre talent, but there are exceptions. These include Czeslaw Milos (Czesław Miłosz), Polish poet of Lithuanian origin, who survived the Second world war in their country.

Cheslav Milosh fought in the underground and helped Jews. After the war he served for a time as the new Communist government as a cultural attaché in Paris until, while in 1951 was not a defector.

After that, he wrote the book “Seduced thinking” (which are now found only as Antiques, the English version of “The Captive Mind”, by contrast, are readily available). In this essay Milos tries to explain himself and his reader something very strange: how was it possible that after the Second world war such a large number of intellectuals believe Stalinists?

It was pretty weird in the first place, in Poland, because to become a Stalinist meant to be associated with Russia, and Russia was not only historically an enemy of Poland.

Stalinism gave spiritual support

Soviet troops completely serenely watched as the Germans suppressed the Polish uprising and turned Warsaw into rubble in addition, in 1939, the Soviet Union finally engulfed the part of the country he occupied.

Milos tells the story “seduced thinking” on four examples: he tells the story of four poets who were once his friends or acquaintances. One was nationalist and anti-Semite, the other — before the war — Catholic romantic. The third survived Auschwitz, the fourth was a habitual alcoholic and a good sense of humor.

Stalinism gave all four a spiritual support, without which they after 1945 would not have been able to move on. A former anti-Semite and a nationalist, in the end, even became a Communist Ambassador, whose liberal generosity surprised his Western guests. Only survivors of Auschwitz, ended his life tragically: he committed suicide, having poisoned with gas stove.

All the intellectuals, described by Milos, was in his own traumatized history. A strong motive for their conversion was hatred — hatred of Germans, which after what Germany did to their country, were very clear.

The logic of history

But there was also a second, much stronger reason to be drawn to Stalinism. It seemed that on his side is the logic of history. Perhaps the West was decadent and weak?

And isn’t the new companies that emerged East of the Elbe, with all the barbarism, with all its weaknesses and lack of just those that had to experience all of humanity?

And wouldn’t it be better to make peace with the victors of history, instead of confronting them? First of all, because after the horrors of the Second world war, there was nothing explicit in the name of what one could oppose them.

The urgency of the essay “Seduced thinking” is remarkably good. And today, his reading is almost frightfully prophetic. Because the Western democracies are in an equally precarious position in which they were not since the thirties.

The rapture destruction

No, I am not talking about Donald trump, Vladimir Putin or the Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I’m talking about their supporters, about the millions of people who admire the monstrous thing about these leadership figures. They admire their idols declared war on the facts that they despise human rights that they criticize the enemy group (Muslims, Kurds, Mexicans “illegal immigrants”).

Those fans with a furious attack on the media approvingly and laugh when their idols puffed out his cheeks in public. Men rejoice in the President, who boasts that enough women crotch or passes a law allowing a husband to beat his wife. And the women rejoice that I finally have power again, there was a real man, which, as expected, rules with an iron hand.

And now — terrible: among those who admire this new, anti-liberal, authoritarian movement and intellectuals. And many of them right up to yesterday, spoke and wrote perfectly reasonable things.

Leftist ideals mockingly derided

Some were left a non-dogmatic variety. Some were liberals, and advocated free trade. Some were conservatives. And suddenly they glorify politicians who laugh at left-wing ideals. Which with the great pleasure would prohibit free trade. Who loudly booed at the conservative family values. For whom religion is a means to an end — because in reality Putin, trump and Erdogan do not pray to God, and the authorities.

What happened? People who yesterday were friends of a man suddenly began to endorse the open rudeness and blatant lie?

Partially change their political course is associated with the fear of radical Islam (in the case of Erdogan’s fear of Kurdish terrorism), that’s a justified fear. But he never fully explains the phenomenon. In the end, there is no need for fear of terror to creep into authoritarianism, the state of Israel shows it for decades.

There must be something else, something implicit. And that is Czeslaw Milos described back more than 60 years ago. Stalinism acted primarily as tempting because he supposedly got on his side the logic of history.

If you look out today, it can produce a funny experience because with a cheap prudence born later we know that the Communist power and the splendor of 1989 in the past (at least in Eastern and Central Europe).

But what the world looked like in the fifties? The iron curtain had just dropped on Europe, China defeated the army of Mao Zedong, after decolonization, many developing countries saw in communism an attractive alternative. And even in Western Europe, namely in Italy and France, there was a strong Communist movement.

The metaphysical idea for objections

Those who thought that Stalinism will be the social model of the future, was anyone but idiots. Renegade Whittaker chambers (Whittaker Chambers) believed, when he defected to the West, joining the losers in history. What he, however, defected, due to his Christian faith. But what do those who have no such faith?

Even today we do not know how things will turn out. If someone as old and powerful Republic like the United States, are not protected from anti-liberalism, all things are possible.

Maybe “leadership democracy” is the thing with unstoppable force goes the story. And unless Putin does not love his people? Can’t trump to rely on the support of 40% of Americans?

Can separate the intellectual to resist the powerful current? In the name of what? Anyone have a strong metaphysical idea that the rights of the individual are sacred, that there is no basis to oppose the new authoritarian movement.