A Century After Lenin’s Death, His Evil Legacy Lives On: Believing that the class struggle justified any means, he glorified murder as a moral obligation. (David Satter, Jan. 19, 2024, WSJ)
Vladimir Lenin has been gone for a century, but the evil he did lives on. The first leader of the Soviet Union died on Jan. 21, 1924, in Gorki, Russia (now called Nizhny Novgorod), after repeated strokes. His legacy is a world whose moral equilibrium he helped to destroy.
The Soviet Union was based on Marxism, a secular religion, and Lenin was the architect of its system of antimorality. For Lenin, as he said in his speech to the Komsomol on Oct. 2, 1920, morality was entirely subordinated to the class struggle. An action was right not in light of “extrahuman concepts” but only if it destroyed the old society and helped to build a new communist society.
The effect of this theory is felt today in post-Soviet Russia, where the legacy of communism’s blanket rejection of universal morality destroyed the hope for democratic reform.
One of the oddest anti-anti-Communist tropes from back in the day was that Western Communists should be excused as “idealists” as long as they bailed on the USSR once Stalin took over. Of course, Gorbachev’s great miscalculation was that he believed the same. But once they were permitted an opening, dissidents discredited the Revolution itself, not just Joe.