No matter what, one thing you can say about Lenin and the Old Bolsheviks is that they passionately believed in their cause. Of course, Lenin and the others were mass-murdering maniacs, and their utopian delusions were completely contrary to reality, but a distinguishing factor of, say, Leon Trotsky’s work is that what he wrote was what he believed, and what he did–including his murders–reflected that.
By the time Leonid Brezhnev became Premier, the USSR was little more than a rotting husk of an empire mouldering upon a core of lies. It is hard to say whether anyone much believed in Communism, the USSR, the World Proletariat, or any of that by 1977. What the average apparatchik did believe was that lying was the best way to get by. So everyone just lied. The men at the top lied to keep their jobs. The military commanders lied about their armaments to keep Americans fearing Soviet strength. The common man lied about his happiness to keep his family safe. The apparatchiks lied to keep the people subservient. The industrial planners lied about production numbers to stay out of Siberia. You lied, lied, and lied some more, hoping that it would get better, or that at least you’d be able to lie your way to a comfortable retirement, perhaps near the Black Sea.
Mikhail Gorbachev thought he could change things, thought he could start telling the truth while keeping the old system, that he could preserve the great statue of Lenin by blowing off the dirt. But when he did, he revealed that the statue had been made entirely of delicate ash all along. Virtually overnight, the USSR vanished, the Iron Curtain disappeared, and the Berlin Wall was torn down. When people stopped telling lies, there was nothing to keep the Soviet Union around anymore.
The similarities to Progressivism are striking. Up until about 1967, the Progressives were idea men. They believed passionately in their dreams, in their intelligence, in their utopian ideals, and the boundless capability of smartly-run government to create happiness and global peace. Their ideas were mostly terrible, but at least they had them, argued for them, and campaigned for them.
But modern Progressivism, like the USSR of the 1970s, is nothing more than a shell of lies. It is a plane on autopilot with rotting corpses strapped in the seats. In the government, the universities, the courts, and the media, progressives no longer make their case nor have a case to make. Instead, they lie. They lie about themselves, they lie about their opponents, they lie about what they know, they lie about what they don’t know, they lie about what’s in front of their faces, and they lie about their lies.
When confronted with facts, whether it’s rising numbers of people losing their health insurance, homicide correlating positively with black population and negatively with gun ownership, or the divergence of measured global temperatures from model projections, the modern progressive no longer seeks to incorporate the new knowledge into his views and reform them accordingly. Instead, he grows agitated, defames the character of whomever challenged him, and doubles the volume with which he chants official lies. He has no moral core of right and wrong by which he uses information, only a creed by which he decides which facts may be spoken and which must be screamed down. University professors, journalists, and Presidents no longer ask us to reason; they demand we repeat their lies as a show of faith and testament of our purity.
When cultural, social, and political establishments are forced to lie about everything to maintain their grip on society, it means they are rotted to the core, a hollowed out husk that no longer maintains any of the founding principles of its strength. Eventually, truth becomes so undeniable that, almost in a flash, the lies become nakedly absurd to everyone. The corpse-plane must eventually run out of fuel, when it will fall into the bottomless sea and be lost forever.