March 31, 2008


Saddam’s Useful Idiots: Keeping up a long, ignoble tradition of the American Left. (Daniel J. Flynn, 3/30/08, National Review)

Ideological tourism, in which totalitarian powers engineer the junkets of influential leftists in exchange for positive publicity in the enemy nation, has seduced the likes of such radical heavyweights as Lincoln Steffens, W.E.B Du Bois, John Reed, and Tom Hayden.

Jack Reed is the father of the political pilgrimage. He traveled to witness the Russian Revolution on the dime of an American heiress. He later departed Soviet Russia with “Moscow Gold” — a million rubles (mostly in diamonds, actually) — and tales of utopia beyond the Urals.

“I suddenly realized that the devout Russian people no longer needed priests to pray them into heaven,” Reed, witnessing a Bolshevik funeral, wrote in Ten Days That Shook the World. “On earth they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer, and for which it was a glory to die.” Although the author was a paid agent of Soviet Russia’s Bureau of International Revolutionary Propaganda, in 1999 a panel convened by New York University named the book one of the 20th century’s ten best works of journalism.

Reed’s inspiring book, and evangelistic fervor, motivated others to make the Hajj to the Left’s Mecca. Reed’s mentor Lincoln Steffens journeyed to Soviet Russia on his apprentice’s advice. “The revolution in Russia is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, now,” wrote Steffens — using “Christian” as his appropriate nom de plume — “in order that Christ may come soon; and, coming, reign forever. Forever and ever, everywhere. Not over Russia alone. The revolution in Russia is not the Russian revolution. It is ‘The Revolution.’ ”

The revealing thing is that even sixty years later the Left was still lionizing these dupes, in films like Reds and defending Alger Hiss.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 31, 2008 8:11 AM

Comsymps are so-o-o-o evil. They are right up (or down) there with the grand-child aborters.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 31, 2008 6:40 PM

"And the beat goes on."

Posted by: Genecis at March 31, 2008 8:26 PM