Three book reviews

2014-01-11 3 book reviews

…..with one message

The Iron Curtain

I’m not sure my words can do justice to Anne Applebaum’s book, Iron Curtain: The crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956
This is one of the best history books I ever read. The subject is close to me, I was born in communist Hungary, my family was affected very much by the events and policies described in the book. It couldn’t tell me much I did not already know, but it is telling it so well that it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Although I knew many of the details, I did not have a full understanding of how deliberate the plans and the actions of the communists were.
What makes the Iron Curtain so powerful is its organization. It is not a chronological account of the events in the region; it simply picks different spheres of the communist takeover to explore how they played out in different countries.  Through focusing on these different areas, the book shows how the communists systematically took control of some (communication, education, arts, publishing); subdued and oppressed others (Churches and ethnic organizations) or outright destroyed the rest (just about any other civic organization) to prepare the ground for their totalitarian takeover.
The point, again, is the deliberation. The directions and supervision came directly from the Soviet Union where all the steps were planned; all the future “leaders” were prepped well before the end of the war.
What this book shows is that it didn’t just happen. It was never popular. It always required stealth, lies, secrecy, and sleazy manipulation – even in places and times where communists had powerful military backing. Communists can never win honestly.

The Shock doctrine

The shock doctrine, Naomi Klein’s book, is painfully dilettante and dishonest to the point of being sleazy. Jonah Norberg wrote an excellent review of it with a blow by blow exposure of the manipulative contortions Klein had to go through to create at least a semblance of a coherent message.
The evil corporations are hurting the innocent, simple, ‘ordinary’ people with the help of the evil neo-conservative intellectuals who provide the libertarian ideology to support the evil deeds of the even more evilestest corporations.
The message is ridiculous and simplistic, full of contradictions and primitive interpretations of both politics and the economy, but it has a captive audience hungry for exactly this kind of message.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Naomi Klein’s  “The Shock Doctrine” could turn out to be among the most important books of the decade.”
I am afraid they may be onto something….. Klein is the darling of everything leftist: she is the celebrated speaker of occupy protests, anti-energy, anti-globalization, anti-development events and riots. Not surprisingly, she is also beloved by the media and academia. I saw her in a discussion panel at CUNY with Joseph Stiglitz, Hernando De Soto and Dave Harvey. It was outright painful to watch how inadequate she was when surrounded by adults. They are communists and socialist, but at least they knew what they were talking about. Klein has no understanding of the economy and knows nothing about politics. She is a propagandist spewing primitive slogans with incredible emotional vehemence, which, on the other hand, is exactly what the crowd she is catering to needs.
The Shock Doctrine isn’t just a bad book; it is the work of a dilettante that reeks of leftist radicalism.
The only reason to read this book is to get a glimpse into the distorted mind of the left and to understand how they are willing to lie and manipulate facts to create the message to arouse the even more poorly informed mob.

The Shadow Party

The Book that brings the above two together and make them relevant and eminently urgent for our time is  David Horowitz’s “The Shadow Party.” He wrote it 7 years ago, before Obama was elected President. Things got much worse since. In this rather scary speech Horowitz talks about how it did and can possibly get still worse. The point of the book is to demonstrate how planned, how focused, how deliberate is the left’s effort to destroy the world we are living in. Unlike the communist of after war in Eastern Europe, the neo-communists of today have to be even more stealthy. We still have some freedoms, we still have a democracy but I live with an ever more frequent sense of déja vue, the scary feeling that my past of living under communist rule is creeping back into my life. The neo-coms already run the media, the universities, the entertainment industry, they are advancing strongly in in the legal system and through their unions, in government bureaucracies.
What Horowitz shows very clearly in his book is that it is not by accident. It doesn’t just happen. It is not the zeitgeist. They are the results of focused, deliberate and extremely well financed efforts. In the speech linked above, he points out that left outspends the right 10 to 1 when it comes to political activism. My compatriot, George Soros spends over 500 million dollars a year on various leftist organizations, most of which are his own creation.
The left has more than a dream. They have a plan and they are actively working on it.

The libertarian lesson

Dreaming of liberty is a beautiful thing. Hoping that we can convince our opponents in open debates about righteousness of our ideas is great. Refining those ideas and thinking of ways to make them reality is engaging.
Hoping and assuming that our ideological opponents are approaching their project with the same degree of idealism, honesty and morality is a suicidal delusion.

We cannot afford the luxury of ignoring the left. Reading these three books can be a wakeup call.
The Iron Curtain and The Shadow Party are musts, the Shock Doctrine can be skipped although it is a perfect illustration of the left’s dishonesty.

The message of these books should not be ignored.

And maybe, just maybe, libertarians should also stop the collective navel gazing and start working on an action plan.

One reply

  1. […] As I was looking at the three socialists, I was wondering what makes the difference between them and the bloodiest of communists. Not much, I’m afraid. The difference is just a matter of degree. These three were the perfect examples of the communist archetypes: the cynical, corrupt careerist, the exuberant but extremely naïve and ignorant cheer leader and the pious fanatic. This last one is the most dangerous type. I can perfectly picture her signing the arrest warrants for the likes of me.  Regardless of who they are and what they represent, they seem to understand that the road to serfdom is a slow process with lots of deception, propaganda and manipulation. (Read my review of “The Iron Curtain”) […]

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