Book Review: Witness by Whittaker Chambers

Witnessby Anniel   7/23/14
Witness is a beautifully written book. It is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand the crisis of the western world and how men and women are seduced by communism or socialism in any form.

This book was originally published when I was 12 years old, and is available on Kindle in its 50th Anniversary Edition. I don’t remember now how I received a copy of it when I was so young, but I think it was because I read the FOREWORD IN THE FORM OF A LETTER TO MY CHILDREN first published in The Saturday Evening Post and expressed a desire to read the whole book. I can say that this book was the most powerful witness to me of God, the horrors of communism, and the peril our world faced. The imagery of Whittaker Chambers’ words was burned in my brain forever, and I resolved to read at least the Foreword to his book once a year.

When William F. Buckley, Jr., began his magazine National Review he met Whittaker Chambers and hired him as a Senior Editor. Buckley once sent a letter to Chambers with his starry-eyed view of what he hoped to accomplish with the magazine. Chambers quickly responded:

“It is idle,” he rebuked me, “to talk about preventing the wreck of western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more now than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury it secretly in some flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men begin again to dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of love and truth.”

In his preface to the 50th Anniversary Edition, Buckley tells how he gave those words to Ronald Reagan who said he treasured them as one of the great calls to freedom. Obviously Reagan had more hope that the nation would survive than Chambers did

Mr. Buckley also said that when Chambers left the Communist Party he thought he was moving to the losing side, and he never changed his mind. Chambers said there were “two irreconcilable faiths of our time – Communism and God.” He believed that the west had willingly turned it’s back on God and unless men turned back to Him there was no hope for freedom and communism would win. Despite his pessimism about the west, Buckley swears that Chambers was a man of great good humor and cheer.

If people do no more than read Chambers’ Foreword to the book, they will be more than amply repaid. In that letter Chambers tells his children who he really was as a man, why he became a Communist and why it was a moral decision, why he left the party, and what he had done in testifying against the communist spies in the American government. He opens his soul for their sake, and for the sake of all generations to come. He bears firm witness of God in the happenings of his own life and knew we must return to strong faith as the only antidote to communism.

The main part of the book is autobiographical in nature, covering his parents troubled marriage and family life, and his perception of the world’s history from the time of his birth to his life following the Alger Hiss trials. He tells in great detail what he perceived to be the great conflict of our time, how it came about and where he stood on the matter until he found God.

He was a committed communist, not a dabbler. He was able to watch as Stalin purged the party, killing his friends and enemies alike, starving the Ukrainians and establishing the prison camps, and he still agreed that Stalin had done the right thing for the advancement of the party. From that standpoint all the killing and horror were correct. Chambers did not believe that there could possibly be a God and placed all of his faith in the party.

Two small items occurred that began a great change in his thinking. His wife became pregnant and he was overjoyed for he had always wanted a family. They decided to have the child, despite party opposition. One day he was feeding his daughter and saw the beauty of her ears, and for a few brief moments he realized what a miracle life is, that it could only come from God. He pushed those thoughts aside, but they stirred in his soul. Then he read a banned book entitled I Speak For The Silent – Prisoners of the Soviets by a Russian escapee named Vladimir Tchernavin (also available on Kindle). If anyone found he read the book it would have meant expulsion from the party and probably a death sentence. He was horrified at what he read and began to turn from the party. He tells of meeting a young woman who told him her father left the party when “one night he heard screams.” Chambers says he knew exactly what her father meant, for he also heard the screams.

Chambers says his final realization was that, yes, Stalin was evil, but he was only the manifestation of the real evil – communism itself, and the idea of man without God. And so he turned to prayer, which soon became as vital to him as breathing.

Because of his standing in the party, and the high level espionage he had engaged in, Chambers knew his break would be dangerous in the extreme to him and his family and he had to plan carefully for their escape. Many people he knew had been killed by the party over the years he had been a spy.

A large part of the book covers the years the Chambers family were in and out of hiding and then involved in testifying about the traitors in government. When Chambers finally decided to testify before the House Unamerican Activities Committee, he knew he would be persecuted by the elite in government, particularly in the State and Justice Departments, but he was shocked at the hatred that persisted against him long after Hiss had been found absolutely guilty.

The accounts of the Hiss trials in the book are riveting, part of the time, and boring as all get out when pages and pages of Congressional and Court testimony are gone through in order to show how the cases against Hiss and the other traitors were slowly and carefully prepared. If a person can stick with the trials and the political machinations, it’s easy to see that not much has changed in Washington, D.C.

This book is also a philosophical treatise about truth, politics and liberalism. Even Harry Truman refused to believe that Chambers was telling the truth, and swore that Hiss had to be innocent because he came from a good family. Two Supreme Court Justices were character witnesses for Hiss at one of the trials. Even today, over 70 years later, there are those who laugh at the idea that Chambers could have been telling the truth. Chambers said he knew his testimony and truthfulness, his very life would be sneered at because of people who could never accept the reality of what communism does to people. He said, “I see in communism the concentrated focus of evil in our time.” The reemergence of the hydra in our day proves that socialism is just communism lite and must be defeated.

As an example of Chambers’ lovely writing I have decided to end my review with the last page of his book:

One of the tenderest of Greek fables tells how the gods decided to go down to earth as beggars to try the charity of men. The god Hermes, clad in rags, knocked at many prosperous doors and was driven from each. Toward evening he came to the meanest door of all, a mere hut, where two old people, Philemon and Baucis, his wife, tended a few vines and milked their goats. Hermes knocked there. Because his need touched them, the old people took him in. They shared their meal with him, and, at night, let him sleep on the floor before their fire, trusting to their poverty and their age to prevent any harm that the beggar might intend.

In the morning, Hermes asked each of the old people to name his most secret wish, supposing that it would be for longer life, gold or great flocks. The dearest wish of each turned out to be the same – that each might die, as they had lived, together, that neither might die first, for neither could endure what remained of a life that would be unendurable without the other.

The god, now gleaming through his rags, raised his staff – the caduceus with the twined snakes, interlacing good and evil. Where Philemon and Baucis had stood, two trees rustled up whose branches met and touched when the wind blew.

In a world grown older and colder, my wife and I have no dearer wish for ourselves – when our time shall come, when our children shall be grown, when the witness that was laid on us shall have lost its meaning because our whole world will have borne a more terrible witness or it will no longer exist.

After reading Witness, the French writer Andre Malraux wrote to Whittaker Chambers, “You have not come back from hell with empty hands.” • (9784 views)

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57 Responses to Book Review: Witness by Whittaker Chambers

  1. Glenn Fairman says:

    This is a passionate and beautiful thing you have written. I have often considered a piece on this book but the words failed me. I could not get my mind around both the beauty and the tragedy of Chambers’ labor. As far as political memoirs go, only David Horowitz “Radical Son,” Solzhenitsyn’s “Archipelago” and “The Oak and the Calf’ or Czeslaw Milosz’s “The Captive Mind” come close to the noble and sublime melancholy of “Witness.” Thank you.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Yes, that is a terrific review. I particularly like this thought:

    The reemergence of the hydra in our day proves that socialism is just communism lite and must be defeated.

    If we could just convince people that the stick they have taken up (although somewhat smooth where they hold it) is not a stick but a rattlesnake, we could win this.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more now than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury it secretly in some flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men begin again to dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of love and truth.

    Those words of Chambers are too long to fit on a bumper sticker. But they could be the mission statement of this website. Many of us here (but by no means all of us) think the “tipping point” has already been reached and there isn’t much more to do but let it play out.

    But because men are not omniscient, we must work for our goals no matter how hopeless they may seem. They may not be.

    What I have gotten an appreciation for as I see Obama, the Democrats, the Loony Left, and the mainstream media go stark raving mad in political vice and ideological corruption, is just how programmable the human mind is, as well as how treacherous it is.

    And it is all the more evidence for how we need good templates for ourselves (thus The Ten Commandments symposium). Man is not the measure of all things and, in fact, is a bent ruler much of the time.

    Chambers has gone beyond where I’m willing to go as far as defining the question. But there is much truth to the idea that the antidote to godless Communism is to be un-godless.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    I haven’t read Witness, though I have read Allen Weinstein’s Perjury, which studied the case extensively and concluded (to Weinstein’s surprise) that Hiss was indeed guilty. I think I have something or other by or about Chambers around here somewhere.

    Note that when Chambers left National Review, he differentiated between himself and Buckley by noting that he was a “man of the right” (i.e., an ideologue) whereas Buckley was a conservative (i.e., cautious about change). This is a relevant distinction even today (though I probably qualify as both).

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I downloaded the Kindle sample of this last night and read the introductions by Buckley and Novak. Novak, in particular, had something interesting to say. He’s quoting Chambers:

    Herein is Chambers’s explanation of why his exposure in 1939—to Assistant Secretary of the State Adolf Berle—of a highly placed espionage ring, including HIss, went unheeded until his subpoena from the House Committee on Un-American Activities, in 1948.

    It was not treason: “Men who sincerely abhorred the word Communism in the pursuit of common ends found that they were unable to distinguish Communists from themselves…. For men who could not see that what they firmly believed was liberalism added up to socialism could scarcely be expected to see what added up to Communism. Any charge of Communism enraged them precisely because they could not grasp the differences between themselves and those against whom it was made.”

    No doubt this element — fully understood — was why Chambers was so pessimistic about the prospect of shaking off Communism in our own country. It is exactly true that those who are engaged in “liberalism” do not see how it adds up to socialism and, from there, Communism.

    I have a friend who last night might be starting to grasp in the barest sense who the Democrats really are. He had an experience with environmental wackos (and he is sort of a useful idiot in this regard already, the love of “green” being the secular religion of many) that is going to cost him an extra $2000.oo plus $185.00 per year for inspections. Money might make some of these useful idiot yuppies wake up. But they have little to no understanding that the “socialism lite” they are embracing is precisely that and has precise implications as well. They have no idea where this inevitably will lead.

    For now, all my friend sees is that this is going to cost him money. I seriously doubt that he can see beyond his own blinkered opinions about what conservatives supposedly are. Most of these types hold very flattering ideas of themselves, if only based on the hobgoblins they know they are not and that the other guys are. When conservatives are painted as the devil and you, conversely, are considered the nice, tolerant, and enlightened one, how are you going to change your beliefs, especially since much of this deceit has been of the collaborative type? That is, these people weren’t fooled. They liked the agenda of the Left (as they understood it).

    Will actual financial hardship bring this friend around? Well, as they say, a thousand mile journey begins with a single step.

    And, by the way, I feel something must be said. It’s great to have Whittaker Chambers on our side. And if he’s good enough for Bill Buckley Jr., he’s good enough for me. And what man hasn’t been in error or sinned? It is the human condition. But there’s something odd about a man who could not see that Stalin was evil and who thought killing millions was okay if it advanced the cause of the party.

    Chambers’ blood, like a lot of people, seemed to run hot. He seemed to lack a certain amount of prudence. And as for his distinction of being a man of the right (somehow different than Buckley), the distinction seems an empty one. But, much like Horowitz, he’s been useful in understanding what drives these mad and evil people of the Left.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Chambers’ blood, like a lot of people, seemed to run hot. He seemed to lack a certain amount of prudence. And as for his distinction of being a man of the right (somehow different than Buckley), the distinction seems an empty one.

      I found Chambers’ distinction between himself and Buckley very telling. To me, it indicated Chambers imbued his belief with religious zeal whereas Buckley was merely prudent as regards change.

      To a Catholic conservative like Buckley, there was no need to give a religious significance to the political. To an ex communist like Chambers, I believe such zeal would be a carryover from his materialist days when communism replaced religion. Perhaps he was a “zealous” type to begin with.

      This difference in zeal is an important difference in the way politics is viewed by the Left and conservatives. For the Left, politics is their religion. For conservatives, politics is simply one part of life, and not necessarily the most important part.

      By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY oh fearless publisher, editor, chief cook and bottle washer.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I found Chambers’ distinction between himself and Buckley very telling. To me, it indicated Chambers imbued his belief with religious zeal whereas Buckley was merely prudent as regards change.

        Well, now that I think of it, that’s a pretty fair way to describe it, Mr. Kung. Chambers was a natural “activist.” And one thing I read that I have to agree with is that Chambers said he had little or no time for keyboard-based pontificating. He believed that if the right was going to be effective, they had to get out there and *do* something and not just write essays.

        Okay, that’s a “physician heal thyself” situation. We do need to get more involved. But somehow we have to find a way to do so where we don’t just become one-dimensional political animals.

        Historically, Americans have been very involved…in their communities. Private organizations, not government bureaucracies, are the historic method of citizen involvement. But ever since (at least) the New Deal, the balance of power has shifted. FDR and others have concentrated real power in the Federal government. And most of the states have joined suit. It has made it a case where either we get involved with politics or the politics gets involved with us.

        Now we must be activists in the small hope to be merely treading water. To actually advance the agenda back from Communism will take a special alignment of the planets or the intervention of God Almighty Himself.

        Certainly Chambers could be said to have always been looking for God. And like a lot of people, he was looking for Love in all the wrong places. Certainly you and I understand Leftism as a religion. One’s Cathedral can be a stained-glass building with an altar or a government building with a Party. The Left wants the latter.

        Of course, Buckley was a very religious man in his own right. He just was never what I would call a zealot. He was a steady, reasoned, and fearless conservative. And that’s a good point about politics being the Left’s religion. It’s not just that they have a certain set of beliefs that they turn into a religion. It is indeed that politics is their religion. And this being the case, you can have instances where these hardcore Leftists turn on a dime regarding very major and central aspects of their platform.

        Something like this is not really possible for conservatives because politics isn’t a religion and their beliefs are grounded in something other than zealotry or statism. It’s more of a civic virtue that we must engage in. And sort of a necessary evil. But, good god, what kind of pathetic person wants to worship the equivalent of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles writ large? But that is what we are talking about.

        Thanks for the recognition of my birthday. We are all growing older.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It’s bad enough that liberals tend to see a government edifice as their cathedral. But even worse are those who prefer child-butcheries like Kermit Gosnell’s. “Thank God for abortion,” said Barry Screwtape Obama to Planned Parenthood. There used to be Democrats who genuinely were pro-life. Now (except at the lowest level) there only seem to be a few fakers, who quickly expose their true natures whenever a significant restriction on abortion appears.

  6. Anniel says:

    Glenn – thank you for your kind words. I struggled so much not to go sprawling all over the place with all the insights Chambers gives in the book. I even began to get, at least a little, the mindset of a “real” communist as opposed to a liberal. It is hard to understand how any man could see the havoc of communism and still believe. But we do watch the same thing in people today, and must deal with and open the eyes of those true believers.

    Brad – I’m so glad you’re stubborn enough to keep this site going and open to all who are looking for truth and hope. Thanks.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Annie. And as I like to say, this is your site every time you post an article on the front page. I’m just the worker bee. 🙂

      And hopefully I can find some time and inspiration to read more of this book.

    • Rosalys says:

      It is hard to understand how any man could see the havoc of communism and still believe.

      They fool themselves (make fools of themselves!) by insisting that it didn’t work this time because they didn’t do it right. They just have to keep tweaking it until they find success.

  7. Kurt NY says:

    The revelations of Whitaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley greatly contributed to the discord in American society following WWII. Conservatives were shocked by the degree to which our society and governance had been penetrated by those sworn to overthrow them while much of the left went into full protect and denial mode that anyone who avowed loyalty to it could possibly have been working for the Soviets all along.

    During WWII, the Soviets were using one-time pads to communicate with their spies, an unbreakable code as there is no repetition of pattern. But at some point they reissued those pads, allowing our security folk to decode much of the traffic. The project to do so was called the Venona Transcripts and were secret until fairly recently. But they were also why the feds KNEW the Rosenbergs and others were guilty yet, because of their secrecy, they could not admit how and why they were so sure. I believe some of those have now been declassified.

    Additionally, after the fall of communism, in the brief Kumbaya interlude where we believed true rapprochement with Russia was achieved, the Russians allowed some of their espionage documents to be studied. In addition, a man named Mitrokhin, who served as a KGB archivist for 30 years, defected and smuggled out with him copies of decades of Soviet records.

    The effects of these three developments are only recently being fully absorbed, and they are disturbing. For one, the threat mentioned by Chambers and Bentley was very real, and a large number of Americans actively spied for the Soviets, including Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs, who the left so vehemently have defended. Harry Dexter White, our main negotiator at the Bretton Woods Conference setting up the post-war global economic setup, was a Soviet spy. Congressman Dickstein, the ranking member of the precursor to be the House Unamerican Activities Committee, was in Soviet employ. The OSS and government were riddled with them. And it is shocking how many of them we know to have spied and how many have never been publicly identified or punished. And how many threw themselves on the left’s mercy to defend them, all the while knowing they were guilty as sin.

    Whittaker Chambers did a crucial good deed, an essential good deed for the Republic. Had he not done so, God knows how much further damage these traitors would have inflicted.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Just as a little lagniappe for Chambers fans, when Elizabeth and I visited the art museum in Huntington, West Virginia over a decade ago, we encountered a set of paintings of birds by John Jay Audubon. One was a prothonotary warbler, which naturally amused me.

  8. Pst4usa says:

    Great post Anniel, I will have to add this to my long list of book to read.
    Happy Birthday Brad, and I will lay down a challenge to all the readers, find the donate button in honor of the editors birthday and make a donation to offset some of the costs. I just did.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Holy smokes, Pat. I’m going have to name a wing of the place for you. I don’t know what to say (he says, knowing he can fill a wall with text).

      Yes, it is my birthday. And, yes, I’ll take all the financial help I can with this site. But I won’t beg. And I will, of course, acknowledge the high value I put on these great contributions from the crew of great writers we have here. As soon as the Koch Brothers show up with their millions, I’ll be paying for articles.

      So I certainly don’t expect a monetary contribution from those who are providing the bulk of the material. It’s I who should be paying them.

      But what’s the excuse for the rest of yuze? 😉 I’ll certainly take whatever contribution you want to give and promise not to spend it on a cruise to the Bahamas or something like that. It will be spent for maintaining this site.

      Pat, again, I don’t really know what to say, buddy. I don’t pick my friends because of their support of my causes. But if I did, you’d be on the top of the list. As it is now, you’re already there. Thanks again.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I finished reading the letter at the start of the book. And you’re right, Annie. It is terrific. I’ll probably comment on it further and pull a few quotes. There’s a lot in there to digest.

    And that letter is included in the free portion of the Kindle sample — for anyone else who is interested. You don’t have to buy the book for this part.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I may have to buy this book just to get access to the sections of text that I highlighted on the first readthrough. It’s generous of Amazon to allow you to at least highlight sections of text in the “sample” version, although I’d be surprised if the highlight carries over to the purchased version of the book. And that is because they appear as two separate entities inside your Kindle reader. But who knows?

    The point is, in that opening letter to his children, I’ve highlighted at least a dozen or more sections. I’ll just have to type a few of them in.

    The gist of Chambers is that we must choose between God and man. The disbelief sown by various elements has helped to make Communism (aka “Progressivism”) an attractive choice. And I would say our material abundance, as a result of political and economic freedom, has made the Communist (aka socialist, Leftist, or Progressive) world view more appealing. Who needs God when you are swimming in hi-tech? Or to quote Chambers:

    …that reverence and awe that has died out of the modern world and been replaced by man’s monkeylike amazement at the cleverness of his own inventive brain.

    Perhaps that’s why I see the souls being sucked out of kids (or adults) as they pray (they seem to take on the same posture) to their electronic text-messaging devices. Chambers says,

    The crisis of the Western world exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God. It exists to the degree in which the Western world actually shares Communism’s materialist vision…

    We have the choice, in the micro, of iPhones or something a bit more soul-enriching, whatever that may be. Cleary in our world we see the gradations of Communism and the various vectors into, and implications of, this materialist world view. That is, we’re getting Communism by degrees as the “useful idiot” masses are led to it, whether by the diversion of “saving the planet” or “diversity.” But those at the top have other plans, plans of which the useful idiots have not an inkling.

    Chambers defines the issues clear (whether one believes in his basic assumptions or not is another issue):

    A Communist breaks [loses his faith in Communism] because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites—God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom or Communism.

    The “Soul or Mind” has particular import in regards to Libertarians (or, really, any intellectualoid faction). “Reason” is not enough. And I find that as we emphasize “rationality,” conversely something else leaks out of us. We can well call that “soul.” It’s something that brings us to a thoughtful level above mere Homo economicus and makes us more than just a dumber version of stimulus-and-response.

    Chambers articulates the importance of this soul:

    God alone is the inciter and guarantor of freedom. He is the only guarantor. External freedom is only an aspect of interior freedom. Political freedom, as the Western world has known it, is only a political reading of the Bible. Religion and freedom are indivisible. Without freedom the soul dies. Without the soul there is no justification for freedom.

    Emphasis mine. This is completely incompatible with the Libertarian creed that society is formed by, and is a function of, free markets. It’s obviously also incompatible (and for some of the same reasons) with Godless Communism.

    But here we do have to step back a bit and ask “Which God?” for Allah sure as hell is not the path to freedom. Nor, I would say, is belief in God (at least these days) a guarantor of anti-Communism, for “social justice” and other Communistic beliefs have infiltrated the Christian church and overwhelmed the Jewish synagogues.

    Surely we could say belief in God is necessary but not sufficient. I think there is certainly an attitudinal, philosophical, and moral adjustment that happens to the authentic Christian which makes him contrary to earthly forms of Utopia and the centering of one’s life via material “stuff.” But clearly, too, plenty of people believe in God and yet are letting Communism in the back door via various means.

    Probably this is a case of people wanting to have their cake and eat it too. They want the spiritual, but they also want the best of the material, and see no reason these two elements can’t party-down like Wayne and Garth. And then that leads us to wonder what we mean by “God.” Do we mean something that is a construction of our own earthly wishes and a product of our psychology, or do we mean something more mystical and transcendent?

    Clearly Chambers seems the type (at first reading) to be chasing for God. This is likely why he became a Communist in the first place. He seems a passionate man – passionate to the point of imprudence. But if there is no god, and one wants to climb to the pillar of human achievement or wonderment, there is nowhere else to go than the Party which says it is the be-all, end-all of humanity. Chambers describes the motivation thusly:

    Communism does not summon men to crime or to utopia, as its easy critics like to think. [I beg to differ – Ed.] On the plane of faith, it summons mankind to turn its vision into practical reality. On the plane of action, it summons men to struggle against the inertia of the past which, embodied in social, political and economic forms, Communism claims, is blocking the will of mankind to make its next great forward stride.

    You see the underpinning of the dogma that says that it’s more than okay to “break a few eggs” to come to your utopia…err, I mean your “practical reality.” Chambers notes in this opening letter to his children that there are other, less faithful, believers of Communism. But it’s worth considering the idea that for ambitious men, or highly intellectual men, or simply men who thirst for power, the top of the totem pole of human life is the Party. Not the family. Not your work. The Party. If you desire to “commune” with the peak of human potential, this is where you go if your philosophy contains nothing transcendent.

    It makes you realize just how Communistic our society has become, measuring only by materialism, the drive for economics. Consider how Europe (and we are not far behind) has traded its very demographic existence (they are not having babies at replacement levels) in order to chase the materialist vision (sites set no higher than one’s next vacation). Consider this alongside the fake “war on women” distraction (which is meant to be a distraction). You can get an entire society of women (and men) to put family and children behind the economic choice of “career.” You can even get procreation itself to be not just secondary but (soon) considered offensive because it contradicts the gender-bending emphasis of today.

    Here Chambers elicits the Communist faith and its attraction. And I thought this was a great insider view of things:

    It is not new. It is, in fact, man’s second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: “Ye shall be as gods.” It is the great alternative faith of mankind. Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision. Other ages have had great visions. They have always been different versions of the same vision: the vision of God and man’s relationship to God. The Communist vision is the vision of Man without God.

    It is the vision of man’s mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world. It is the vision of man’s liberated mind, by the sole force of its rational intelligence, redirecting man’s destiny and reorganizing man’s life and the world. It is the vision of man, once more the central figure of the Creation, not because God made man in His image, but because man’s mind makes him the most intelligent of the animals. Copernicus and his successors displaced man as the central fact of the universe by proving that the earth was not the central star of the universe. Communism restores man to his sovereignty by the simple method of denying God.

    The vision is a challenge and implies a threat. It challenges man to prove by his acts that he is the masterwork of the Creation—by making thought and act one. It challenges him to prove it by using the force of his rational mind to end the bloody meaningless-ness of man’s history—by giving it purpose and a plan. It challenges him to prove it by reducing the meaningless chaos of nature, by imposing on it his rational will to order, abundance, security, peace. It is the vision of materialism.

    Thus we surely see, despite the exact nature and purpose of God, that a belief in something Larger than the human “rational mind” will produce a general orientation to life. And one that places that “rational mind” at the center of the universe has drawn the line of what truly counts as purely material. In our own age that means iPhones and “free stuff.” In the extreme (or in the pure) it means amoralism (at best) and more typically immoralism.

    Chambers paints in broad strokes and I find myself imaging a prolonged essay just filling in some of the blanks of just one sentence. He makes large statements and, at times, I would say some of his leaps of logic are unwarranted. Be he certainly seems incapable of speaking namby-pamby. I’ll give him that.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The crucial aspect is that Communism regards the individual as nothing; only the collective matters. Or, as my father pointed out half a century ago, the problem with communism is that it treats its people as human fertilizer to be expended to build their new society. They break a lot of eggs (millions and millions of them) to create an inedible omelet.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Or, as my father pointed out half a century ago, the problem with communism is that it treats its people as human fertilizer to be expended to build their new society.

        I’m glad you mentioned that aspect, Timothy. While reading this opening letter in “Witness,” it occurred to me (not for the first time) how difficult it is to say what is Communism and what is not. Why is it appealing? Why is it horrible? And we can go around and round forever on this (if only because there are so many different type of collectivism). It’s an intellectual quagmire. And it might be somewhat beside the point.

        What occurred to me while reading “Witness” is something that is so central to the subject, I can only assume that Chambers handles it in more detail later in the book. As it is, he seems merely to be beating around the bush. But he is in good company in this regard. I’ve read many a book on socialism or Communism only to be left with the impression that the author could not succinctly define the problem.

        If I had to state the stark difference between a constitutional republic such as the United States and a Communist government, it would be in regards to their approach to the ends justifying the means.

        And forget about ends themselves. That isn’t the point. The point is what one feels justified in doing, whatever the ends. And for the Left, the individual human life warrants little or no merit. The Plan is not expendable but people are.

        In the traditional Christian/American/conservative view, the individual has unalienable rights. You can’t just do what you want because you want it, no matter how noble that cause supposedly is. There are larger considerations than mere “will” (an aspect Libertarians are clueless about).

        Even the communist (small-c) idea itself isn’t evil. If a group of religious people (monks, for instance) wish to get together and voluntarily live a communistic lifestyle, this can be accomplished through peaceful means and result in good ends. It’s not communism that is the problem, per se. It’s forcing people to live a certain way on threat of the risk of loss of job, property, and/or life.

        And one can thus see “political correctness” in its proper light. It is simply an expression of people who want to force their way of life on you and will gladly take your reputation, job, or property in order to do so. No American should ever abide by their tactics. But we have unfortunately gotten used to them.

        This also shows the centrality of abortion to this subject. This shows conclusively the lengths that the Left will go to in order to advance their utopian/materialist world view. Today it may just be your reputation, job, or property that is lost. But you can see the lengths they are willing to go. It’s perhaps unlucky for the unborn that they can’t vote, for if they could, then perhaps they would have some value to Democrats and the Left.

        What most separates the conservative vision form the Communist one is the lengths we are willing to go to in order to promote our cause. And this, of course, is the source of the inherent weakness of traditional Americanism in the face of an enemy who has no ethic other than advancing its cause. There’s some truth to the saying “If we take on the tactics of our enemy then we are no better than they are.” And this is the good American character that is being taken advantage of by Alinsky tactics, for instance (which, I’m told, libertarians are prone to in at least one local election). Our goodness is exploited.

        I believe several authors have addressed this issue from different angles. How do we fight back, and fight back hard, without despoiling ourselves or our nation? And the answer is obviously not to dishonestly take on the role of the namby-pamby, as “centrists” do, in a belief that they are adhering to the old-style American form of ethical conduct by not pushing back at all which would be to upset someone, somewhere.

        The question of tactics is an important one. But for me, the primary question isn’t how to defeat what is still a relatively handful of committed Communists/Leftists. It’s convincing the legions of useful idiots and low-information voters not to take unwitting part in their evil schemes. We must (as my friend, Pat, often tells me) find a way to get people to see through their clever marketing. And, as Chambers says (and I think this is a key insight, one that we too easily miss), is that we must put forth a positive program that can attract the people. It’s not enough merely to sit back and punch rhetorical holes in our enemy.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The Christian aspect of the alternative to Leftism cannot be ignored. Christianity regards all souls as equally meritorious (despite occasional glitches such as Calvinist predestination), whereas Leftism treats individual souls as unimportant or even nonexistent. This is something “social gospel” believers ignore (which is another reason to describe that as Marxism with a Christian fig leaf).

    • Rosalys says:

      But here we do have to step back a bit and ask “Which God?” for Allah sure as hell is not the path to freedom.

      As the saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” The same can be applied to Satan. Allah bears a striking resemblance to Satan in all aspects. Therefore, I must conclude that Allah is Satan!

      And then that leads us to wonder what we mean by “God.” Do we mean something that is a construction of our own earthly wishes and a product of our psychology…

      You can read the Bible and discover God as He has revealed Himself. God made man in His own image. Today’s pseudo-Christians are busy making gods in their own image – and God doesn’t like that! In fact it is a violation of His first and primary commandment.

      Belated birthday greetings, Brad!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’ve made that point elsewhere, particularly given the recent Sharia proclamation by the Islamic State mandating female circumcision for all women aged 11 to 46. This sounds like Shaitan, not God. No wonder Islam means Submission.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks, Rosalys. And, yes, if there is a real, live Satan and he is active in our world, I think Islam is thoroughly infiltrated by Beelzebub.

  11. Anniel says:

    Brad – after you said you had read the letter I decided to go back, again, and read it through. Then I did a second read through. So I came back to the postings just in time to read the latest by you and Timothy. I’m glad you pulled out the quotes you did, especially the one about this being the second oldest faith, “You shall be as gods.” Every time I read that I get a chill and a sense of how the freedom of mankind is the eternal struggle and, as Chambers said about man becoming what communism says he is, “the most intelligent of the animals.” Making himself the center of creation. But men have need of saving grace, so they turn to the counterfeits of life, those who promise salvation through material possessions and rationality, through man’s own knowledge only.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Making himself the center of creation.

      The Objectivist philosophy (or “faith,” if you will) is about making man’s ego central to his existence. It’s odd that both Objectivism and libertarianism are often thought of as being on the right. True, both have a dislike for collectivism. But nature abhors a vacuum. Neither philosophy is willing to see or admit that mere opposition to collectivism is not enough. Some other glue is necessary to, at the very least, keep collectivism out.

      But there is much more to this than politics or an economic model. Even if we don’t all believe in God in the same way here at this site, I believe most of us agree that materialism produces a shallow and one-dimensional man. There are dimensions and potentialities to our lives which can either be opened out or closed shut. And I, of course, mean the “opening out” in terms other than just economic gain or the gathering of as much “stuff” or status as you can. We can call the opening-out our “spiritual” nature or something else (wisdom, knowledge, creativity, intelligence, curiosity, high morality). It means adding to the complexity and richness of man’s life in ways that are atypical to mere worldly pursuits.

      The closing is what we see happening all around us as this Communistic materialism grabs more and more mindshare and turns man from a subtle, thinking, moral creature to a dull, unthinking, immoral animal.

      And if man has value – and it would be pure nihilism to assume he does not – then we should stick up for the vision of man who is more than mere dumb animal. There is no finer example of man being “the center of his own creation” than someone staring down for hours into his lap, legs crossed perhaps yoga-style, texting dumb nothings to no one in particular. He moves inward and goes nowhere. As I had quipped to Mr. Kung, it’s an example of hi-tech and low culture.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Rand didn’t care much for conservatives (too much God for her taste, and she eventually rejected Reagan because of abortion, or at least the religious impulse behind the “right to life” even though that was an Objectivist absolute — at least once someone is born), or for that matter libertarians. But plenty of both appreciate her good points (and she was a brilliant woman who had plenty of good points, if not as many as she thought), whereas liberals are reflexively (as usual) hostile to her. Hence her connection to both conservatism and libertarianism.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Maybe ultimately, Timothy, we are defined (for good or ill) by our excesses. I think most of Objectivism and libertarianism are brought down by them, despite whatever good qualities they have.

          I’ll try to keep mine to a minimum unless I’m “self-actualizing,” then all bets are off. 😉

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      But men have need of saving grace, so they turn to the counterfeits of life, those who promise salvation through material possessions and rationality, through man’s own knowledge only.

      Yes, that’s a great point. When man has no greater possession or goal than earthly pursuits, then his greatest possession and tool is his will. And this will is an untamed beast by nature. It wants and does not admit the legitimacy of the “shall nots.” And it will not naturally find those “shall nots” because it does not want to.

      And what is often called “rationality” by some is little more than a euphemism for “will.” Ayn Rand, for instance, considered any religion to be just so much mumbo-jumbo to get in the way of the self-actualized person. “Rationality” is simply a dishonest way to say that nothing should stand in the way of one’s will.

      This is the pathway to man, the animal. And this animal can obviously be bought by material possessions, especially if you can unleash the animal by telling him that all transcendent ideas are mere fantasy while inculcating in him a cult of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. This is the state of the West today as it has been corrupted by its own material success and has listened to the siren song of the Communists who wear the same tie-dye ideas that the useful idiot generations mistakes as “cool.” They do not see the viper’s fangs and do not want to see them.

  12. Anniel says:

    This also explains the use and misuse of language to control and lead the mere “animals” to misunderstand their moral nature. If we can indeed be convinced to believe we are mere “dumb” animals with no free will then we can be entranced by toys and not pay any attention to culture at all.

    Isn’t it fun to think about all the things we can do if we are simply left alone? Isn’t it just plain fun to THINK?

  13. Anniel says:

    By the way, I have always hated the term “self actualization.” Was Lincoln not an “actual” person when he taught himself Latin and Law while also plowing a field? It seems so egocentric that only some people are “actualized.” It also flys in the face of finding your life by losing it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yes, and I hope that my sneer when using that word was clear. 🙂

      One of the worst things we can do is turn life into a function of psychology. From “self-actualizing” to taking mindless “selfies” is a relatively small step.

      To see life as a function of psychology is to want to raise up things artificially such as “self-esteem” as a worthy goal. To pluck one useful element of man’s nature and make an idol of it is to do what Objectivists, libertarians, and Leftists do (who worship at the altar of “equality”), and which is a thing that is most destructive.

      To make of man a mere function of psychology is an idea completely in line with the materialism of Cultural Marxism wherein man is reduced from a noble agent in search of truth and meaning to a mere animal, and one (because he is a mere animal) to be controlled, trained, and used as a cog in some vast “project.” He has no worthwhile meaning onto himself. He exists for the state. He exists to reinforce the idea of the state as put forth by people who are psychological baskets case unto themselves and who can’t do as Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

      That, in itself, could describe the “Progressive” personality disorder. Instead of working out one’s own junk in the privacy of one’s own home or circle of friends, one must instead project one’s impulses (especially one’s distempers) out upon the public at large so that they can be normalized by being reflected back to them (you now surely understand the whole “gay pride” obnoxious baloney).

      To have to discipline one’s passions, we have learned, is to be “repressed.” And so we learn from this psychobabble worldview that the point of a human life is merely to “emote” and emote some more. Man is reduced to an impulse. He loses his ability for complex thought which means he loses his ability for wisdom and deeper meaning. Such a man will inevitably be a pawn in the ruling-power’s “Progressive” use of government which he uses and manipulates in order to find his own meaning.

      Certainly having lofty goals and wishing to advance in life is no sin. But with the “self-actualizing” crowd, we’re talking about an attitude that expects pleasure and fulfillment all the time and tends to be thoroughly ego-based. This, surely, is connected to Patricia’s article about the “prosperity church.” Such a mindset does not want to have to deal with limitations. And in our limitations…well…let me just quote Chambers once more:

      You will know that life is pain, the each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wise.

      • Pokey Possum says:

        That is a great quote Brad. So, if our cross is indeed ourselves, and we must take it up and carry it each day, then the more of ourselves we lose or give away then the lighter our load!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          …then the more of ourselves we lose or give away then the lighter our load!

          I think there’s a lot of truth in that, Pokey. But such a statement would scare the bejeezus out of an Objectivist, in particular. They have a view of life wherein only ego-based achievements are the only marks that go on the scorecard of life. And I find that to be a very barren viewpoint.

          According to this viewpoint, to reduce yourself in any way is not to lighten the load, it’s to open the way for collectivism. The ideas of Ayn Rand are so hostile to religion that she can see no other option for what Christians understand in the words, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” She is stuck completely in politics, her view having narrowed excessively.

          Buddhists have some value for the reduction of the ego in our daily outlook. But as with any cult, they take it not to just the reduction of ego but to the elimination of the ego. Again, we see people taking one aspect of human nature and making an idol of it, in search of a type of utopia (Nirvana, in this case). The words of Chambers remind us,

          True wisdom comes from the overcoming of suffering and sin. All true wisdom is therefore touched with sadness.

          This is not, frankly, a message our narcissistic me-me-me culture wants to hear. In plainer language, the idea of making lemonade out of a lemon is not appreciated by most.

  14. Anniel says:

    Hallelujah. Thank you.

  15. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I think we all want to touch perfection or try to create it. This is not a bad thing unto itself, for it is said that God has implanted in us the desire to know the Divine. But if you have been damaged by the Left, then there is little chance of religion or God. Those things have been slandered as mere superstition.

    Thus those wishing to touch perfection who have been poisoned by the Left have one avenue left: The human will. Communism, Nazism, and socialism are all driven by the belief in the supremacy of the human mind and the superior efficacy of the “enlightened” human will of those guided by “reason.”

    Perhaps that’s Chambers’ story. He went looking for love in all the wrong places (Communism) and then came back home like the prodigal son. But we can understand his search.

    But too often that search for the Perfect becomes a bad thing if only because it causes a lack of gratitude for the myriad things that are good and work just fine. Anyone here at this site certainly is aware of how the Left finds the best of Western culture to be intolerable merely because it is not perfect or does not meet their utopian standards. And so these mean and spoiled children deign to throw it all out and start again thinking that with their uncorrupted and enlightened hands, they will always produce gold.

    Jonah Goldberg does an outstanding job in his book, “Liberal Fascism,” in describing the mindset of the Left. They don’t just have different politics. Their politics are raised to the level of a religion. It is their meaning of life.

    It’s not always easy to draw a clear line between what is “progress” and what is “Progressive.” But there exists an intemperance in some men. They seem to live to show the world that they are the Shining Sun. It is, I think, a proper criticism to say that these types want to play god, for they are not satisfied with merely worshipping God. To be faced with the possibility of something greater than their own minds and sense of superiority (a trait often shared with libertarians) is unthinkable.

    And while reading “Lords of the Sea,” which is a book about the Athenian navy, I ran across this quote from Pericles who seems to have the mindset of your typical Progressive or Leftist:

    We do not say that a man who takes no part in public affairs minds his own business; on the contrary, we say the he has no business here at all.

    You can see in that the centrality of the state as the purpose for the individual. No other pursuits are deemed legitimate.

    This was in the middle of a passage telling how Pericles opposed superstition and was for “reason.” And there’s nothing wrong with the advance of knowledge. And he did support the building of schools and such. And perhaps there is little to be said for superstitions. But he just seemed reminiscent of the types we have today who must change “A.D.” to “C.E.” The author writes:

    Some Athenians readily accepted innovations, but other found them shocking. Among the common people there was a widespread mistrust of scientists and philosophers whose theories seemed based on the theory of a universe without gods.

    There is very good reason to mistrust the intellectuals – then or now.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One might note that the word “idiot” comes from Greek and originally referred to someone who took no part in public affairs. Pericles was simply reflecting his culture — an advanced culture in some ways, but still one that relied on slavery (even the police were slaves from Scythia) and superstition (after the miracle victory at Arginusae, they executed the victorious commanders at least partly because they failed to provide the proper funeral rites for their dead, thus condemning them to wander the world instead of going to Hades).

      The basic problem of Leftism is that it replaces worship of the transcendant with worship of some aspect of the real world. And when that aspect fails to merit such worship? Then they are forced to deny reality — and to treat those who insist on that inconvenient reality as heretics and blasphemers.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        In defense of Pericles, a fascist-like state (“All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”) made sense. Athens was a city-state, one of hundreds in the region. And they showed that by having a clear goal (command of the sea), it could be very beneficial…to them and their league, which often devolved into coerced client states in which Athens could seem more a curse than a benefit.

        At home, of course, they had much more of a liberal attitude toward themselves. I was shocked to learn that playwrights were allowed to write rather mocking plays of leading political figures, even the leading political figure — even when they were sitting front-and-center at the debut of a play.

        And, of course, Athens frequently overreached. They could have perhaps became Rome if they had aligned permanently with Sparta and planned things better (they were often driven by the mad impulses of a “democracy”), but it was not to be. Athens eventually self-destructed.

        But they showed you don’t get fame or glory — let alone survival — by just sitting around. They committed themselves to a purpose and did it with excellence. Other cities had plenty of triremes, but only in Athens did they perfect the art of war using the trireme and all the hard drilling it took to master them. Imagine a fleet of over 80 enemy triremes taking a defensive posture against a small fleet of 20 Athenian triremes. The Athenians were respected and feared. And Athens kicked their butt.

        This is the lesson that our own idiots haven’t learned. Either you are expanding your influence or someone else will expand theirs. And would most of the Libtards really prefer living under an Osama bin Laden than another Bush? (I know it’s a close call even for myself, but I’ll go with another Bush if need be.) This is why multiculturalism and relativism will be the end of us. Oh, in the near term, you have plenty of people who think they are the cat’s meow because they stick up for Sodomites. But in the end (no pun intended), we have lost a sense of purpose and we will be gobbled up (as Europe is being gobbled up by Islam) unless we regain one.

        I may do a review on this book about Athens and the Athenian navy if I can stick with it. I’m about halfway through it. It was a glorious time punctuated by political idiocy of the type that almost makes Obama look like a sane and reasonable man. But I may have hit my limit. It’s now just going to be one mindless battle after another and they’re all starting to look the same. We’ll see.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, Arginusae and Aegospotami should at least be worth reading about, and perhaps also Sphacteria. The Second Peloponnesian War was very interesting in many ways (Donald Kagan did a 4-volume series on it, though the first volume included the First Peloponnesian War, the interim events, and the beginnings of the Second [basically, up to the Spartan declaration of war against Athens]).

          I also think it would be a bit much to apply modern terms such as fascism to classical Greece. Absolute monarchies were the norm. (An interesting take on this can be found in a Harry Turtledove alternate history, “Counting Potsherds”.)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I don’t think Athens was a fascist state either, per se. But what I did say, or intimated, was that the quote by Pericles would have been consistent with something out of the mouth of Mussolini.

            Certainly Athens had a dictatorial element (sometimes it evinced itself as the dictatorship of the masses). They would sometimes murder entire populations from cities that had rebelled.

            And the problem with fascism is that it’s not all bad. Or, at least, it has goals that you could say are good but that are simply taken to an extreme. Certainly Athens believed in itself. Places such as Nazi Germany did as well, but to an extreme degree. Athens had a little of that “Athens Uber Alles.” But unlike Nazi Germany, it was fairly cosmopolitan and liked the fact that it was.

            We can relate this to the present subject. What is Communism and what are simply the natural changes that time brings? Well, it’s a Communist goal (which one can agree with or disagree with in the micro) for the Federal government to set nutrition standards in order to combat the supposed epidemic of overweight kids.

            It’s wrong because the purpose of a freedom-based government is not to tell people what they must eat. But one driven by a Communist instinct is similar to the fascist instinct because it believes “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state, and the mother state will always be there to wipe your nose.” That last part was put in there to accommodate the “liberal fascism” that we have today. It’s Communism combined with fascism, energized by feminism (we will have a Mother State, not a Father State), and made mad by an anti-religious bent brewed with a disingenuous drive for “equality.”

            There shouldn’t be a school lunch program at all. But if the state means to take the place of families (a Communist goal much more than a fascist one that usually venerates the family), then it will tell you what to eat. It will also tell you what to think, what you can say, and eventually where you can live (as they do in California via environmental wacko regulations). And, as in the old Soviet Union, they will get around to telling you where to work. There is no “off” button in regards to the drive for a maternal utopia.

            Athens, from what I can gather, left most of the personal choices up to people. Aside from the “demos” going mad every once in a while, it sounded as if it was a pretty good place to live – probably the most liberal (not Leftist) place in the world at the time. And aside from its occasional excesses, it is a culture far in advance of our own in many ways. We could do well going back to Athens and not forward to Utopia.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Yes, I think you have the point. Patriotism was a key element of Greek thought, and the rich were expected to support the military directly (a hoplite paid for his own equipage, and a rich man was expected to pay for at least one trireme — which no doubt is one reason they were less than thrilled with the navy). But the state didn’t run their businesses.

  16. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I also think it would be a bit much to apply modern terms such as fascism to classical Greece.

    But don’t forget, Hitler considered Sparta to be the first National Socialist state.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One can certainly see the similarity, given that the Spartiates could be considered the ultimate precursors of the SS. But the government of 2 kings and the ephors was hardly a fascist-style dictatorship, more like the oligarchy the communists preferred (though they tended to end up with leader cults just like the Fascists and Nazis in practice). So Sparta perhaps more accurately would be considered the first communist state — if such terms were really applicable at the time.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The clear thread between Sparta and Nazi Germany was the masculine, authoritarian-style of society, as well as the “master race” aspect wherein the Helots were treated like a lesser race — one not subject to the normal rules of human behavior.

        But being Greeks, they were all boy-lovers, right? So they also might fit in with today’s Western crowd, although I don’t think the Spartans would be okay with gender-bending. Just a guess.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Accidentally or not, the homosexual orientation (which was mostly pederastic) tended to reflect population pressures. It also was bisexual. Athens was the most homosexual, but the hetaira Phryne was much admired for her beauty.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I don’t get the “population pressures” aspect of that. Maybe you could elaborate.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Homosexual behavior doesn’t result in children. It thus is one way to respond to an overly large population. Whether that was an aspect of Greek homosexuality (since, as I said, they were actually bisexual) I can’t say, but they were heavily overpopulated and their peculiar sexual practices probably did help mitigate the problem.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Homosexual behavior doesn’t result in children.

                You homophobe! How dare you say that.

  17. Timothy Lane says:

    Hey! One of my best friends . . .

  18. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I finished “Witness” last night. Like Anniel, I found the book an excellent read, even the pages of HUAC and Grand Jury testimony. It is in such places that one most often finds the truth as to what is going on in and around government.

    In my reading, “Witness” if first a book about a religious pilgrimage. It takes the reader through a very explicit journey of a man who was clearly searching for the meaning of life. The journey is, at times, not pleasant and it is never easy. That the writer is willing to bare his life and soul in such a way is perhaps disturbing, but given his intent, I believe necessary.

    That intent is to rip away all pretense, disperse all fog and destroy all the lies about the great modern struggle. Most of us know it as the struggle between Communism and Free Market Capitalism, but Chambers will have none of that. In his mind, and I must agree with him, it is a struggle between the forces of Almighty God and Almighty Man. Chambers, through personal experience, knew long before we did that Communism is another faith, which replaces the loss of other faiths.

    He wrote;

    Communism is never stronger than the failure of other faiths of failure of civilization

    I believe this agrees with our contention that Communism is foisted upon the rest of us by those alienated from their own traditions. They must spread their despair in order to destroy the hopes and beliefs of others. Once this is done, they try to substitute the third-rate God of history and the perfectibility of mankind. This is a poor substitute for the God of Christianity, but its better than nothing.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I believe this agrees with our contention that Communism is foisted upon the rest of us by those alienated from their own traditions. They must spread their despair in order to destroy the hopes and beliefs of others.

      Without a doubt that has to be a large part of it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Rejection of tradition is certainly a key aspect of leftism. That’s one reason for their lack of ethics and integrity — we have traditions to try to ensure those qualities, and of course they reject those as they reject other traditions. This is also why many, often leftist, states with traditions of honest politics (you get a lot of that in the upper Midwest) are finding that the new left has brought corruption with it, whether it be Al Franken’s stolen election in 2008 or the effort by a Wisconsin DA to criminalize conservative activism.

  19. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I just finished “Perjury:The Hiss-Chambers Case” by Allen Weinstein.

    This is not a book for your average reader. It is a densely-written, detailed-laden tome written in an almost legal manner. To save others the pain of plowing through the book, I read it.

    I found it an interesting companion to Chambers’ own “Witness.” There is a lot of information in “Perjury” that is not contained in “Witness.” More details on the personalities of both Chambers and Hiss, are laid-out. Chambers was a very odd duck, while Hiss would seem to have been a Boy-Scout. From this point of view, it is understandable that Hiss had so much establishment support, while Chambers was something of an outcast.

    However, when all is said and done, “Perjury” makes clear that Hiss was guilty of perjury before a grand jury and spying for the Soviet Union, probably longer than was originally thought.

    After Hiss was released from prison, he sued and won to have his government pension reinstated, he petitioned and got his law license back, and he became an upstanding member of the North Eastern leftist clique’.

    That the left still denies Hiss’s guilt and holds him up as a martyr is just another sign of the dishonesty which permeates the American progressive movement.

    And less anyone forget, Hiss was only one of many communist spies working in or around the US government and military in the 1930s-40s. Very few were brought to justice.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As I recall, Weinstein started researching the case believing Hiss to be innocent, as his friends mostly did as well. Unlike most liberals/leftists, he was ready to go where the evidence led him. Henry Wallace supposedly planned to name Hiss as Secretary of State and Harry Dexter White as Treasury Secretary. Good thing he was replaced as VP by Harry Truman just in time.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Chambers was a very odd duck, while Hiss would seem to have been a Boy-Scout. From this point of view, it is understandable that Hiss had so much establishment support, while Chambers was something of an outcast.

      Considering how all of the politicians are selling out our country (debt, illegal aliens), it seems that if you wear a nice suit and have gentlemanly manners, it’s about all that matters. The generations being indoctrinated are more Hiss-like than Chambers-like. Hiss’ side won. And now many of them have, of course, dropped even the good manners.

      Only a tidal force of real men (and real women) rebuking this stuff has any chance of rolling back the socialist state. Being a Communist is no longer seen as subversive. How odd that the Left makes such a big issue about Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia since it is the Left who have long been in bed with the Russians.

  20. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    How odd that the Left makes such a big issue about Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia since it is the Left who have long been in bed with the Russians.

    I have thought the same thing, but the Left no longer controls Russia. I believe they see Putin and the present crowd as something of a throw-back to Tsarist days. Since this is the case, the Left has reverted back to a pre-Bolshevik stance.

  21. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    One completely new bit of information I learned by reading “Perjury”, was the fact that Soviet and Nazi intelligence were working together in the USA from 1937 onward. That is two years before the so-called “Ribbentrop Treaty” was signed.

    Chambers had predicted this would happen and it became one of the reasons he defected from his spying career. He lamented that all the information he and his comrades collected would go straight to the enemy which they had been fighting.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty turned off a number of American Communists. Of course, a party loyalist was supposed to switch with the party. Apparently there was an actual incident of a party speaker in June 1941 switching sides in the war in mid-speech when told of Hitler’s invasion of Stalinstan — a scene later repeated in 1984. Perhaps Orwell heard of it, or perhaps something like that happened in Britain.

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