The Times's Leftist Blindness
by Tibor R. Machan
In The NY Times Sunday Magazine, October 1st, the Profile feature,
"Questions for," is devoted to Warren Beatty on the occasion of a
revival of his 1981 movie Reds -- one that recounts the journalist
John Reed's love affair with Soviet communism -- for which he
received the Academy Award as the director. I have seen the thing
once, I believe, and it just goes on endlessly casting the beginnings of the murderous era of the Soviet Union in pretty favorable light. (As an antidote, one ought to read or see the movie of Ayn Rand's novel, We the Living! Even Reds acknowledges in the last analysis, though, that the Bolsheviks were up to no good.)
Now there is nothing all that much new about this. The New York Times has always favored the Left, however rotten it has been demonstrated to be over the decades. Even in our times, it tends to side with the Leftists in the Middle East, never mind that their latest heroes violate nearly all the egalitarian ideals The Times has been championing over the decades, such as equal rights for women, due process, gay rights, etc.! I suppose those who hate George W. Bush enough will gain the support of The Times and other Leftists no matter how bloody their hands. (Just take a look at The London Review of Books and see how they bend over backwards to rationalize every evil perpetrated by violent Muslims, never mind how these people stand against everything that's part of the liberal ethos.)
Beatty produced, directed and starred in Reds and this movie is loved by all those who supported Lenin and Stalin and the rest of those Bolshevik thugs because it makes all the supporters out to be idealists, naively hoping that this time a massive tyranny is going to end up righting all the wrongs of the world. That this can still receive approval from American Leftists just goes to show that 20 million deaths at the hands of reds isn't enough to dissuade the enthusiasts.
The late Susan Sontag was right for a while when she shocked her
fellow Leftists by saying that communism is successful Fascism. She said this, of course, several years before the Soviet system finally bit the dust, an event that showed that neither communism nor Fascism manages to be very successful at anything more than causing death and misery for millions. Still, if there were a movie made called, say, "Blacks," honoring the idealistic Nazis and Fascist black shirts, we would not see many sentimental remembrances to its creator in The New York Times Magazine.
Somehow these people still suffer from that macabre illusion that one tyranny can be more honorable than the other, what I call the Victor Navasky (of The Nation) thesis (advanced in his book Naming Names). Even after it has been shown that between the Red Soviets and the Red Chinese the toll of communism has been more than double that of Nazism, these Leftist sentimentalists just will not accept how destructive their vision has been, how much horror they have helped unleash in their blind championing of the "ideals" of the reds.
This, by the way, is what is also happening at high schools, colleges and universities across the land, with all those sophisticated Leftist professors treating the reds with kid gloves compared to how they, rightly, treat the Nazis as vicious murders. The crimes of the Right are, to them, unforgivable but those of the Left get cast in understanding terms (the struggle for the poor can lead to mistakes, etc., etc.).
With this sort of scenario on our intellectual landscape, it is
difficult to be properly upset with George W. Bush and his nearly
total abandonment of the libertarian inclinations in the American
conservative movement. Yes, Bush is a traitor to the ideals of the
American Declaration, what with his total rejection of Ben Franklin's insight that "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." But compared to the blindness of the Left, with its ongoing failure to acknowledge how evil communism was and how culpably naïve are the likes of Warren Beatty when they romanticize the commies in vehicles such as Reds, Bush is somewhat tolerable.