To Ronn Neff's main article.
The following first appeared as a segment
in the Recon section of TLD, Whole Number 17, July 7, 1997.
Related observation by Strakon
The most radical blind spot
of this century
If any readers new to TLD wonder why they see so many Stalin-vs.-Hitler comparisons hereabouts, I have first to commend them for their charming ignorance of the aggravating mindset of the established media. And second, I must assure them that we're engaging in nothing more than a little wholesome Reaction.
Much as I hate to violate any reader's sweet innocence, another fine example of the media mindset I refer to has crossed my desk, and I have to share it. In a May 9  column published in the Washington Post and syndicated widely around the country, the Jewish columnist Charles Krauthammer considered a conservative in some circles attacks various aspects of the kitschy new memorial honoring Franklin Roosevelt, whom he says he "deeply admire[s]." Near the end of the piece he sums up the dictator's great achievements: "FDR revived a nation, reconceived its government, bequeathed a social safety net and then vanquished the most radical evil of this century." (That emphasis is added, you betcha.)
Krauthammer has got to be talking about Hitlerism, and he's got to be referring mainly to the fate of the Jews who fell into Hitler's clutches, don't you think? I mean, if the Nazis had pursued the same diplomatic, military, and police-state policies they did pursue with the one exception of leaving the Jews alone, establishment types half a century later would probably lump them in with Kaiser Bill and General Ludendorff nastier than those two worthies, yes, but in the same ballpark. Hardly prizewinners in the radical-evil sweepstakes. And even to hammers-of-Krauts, World War II would look a lot more like World War I that is, like a free-for-all among several competing empires, with none of the combatants fighting on very high moral ground.
The trouble is this: if Hitlerism was "the most radical evil" on account of the innocent civilians who were murdered, what does that make Stalinism? Even if the orthodox Holocaust accounts are accurate, Roosevelt's pal Stalin still killed vastly more Christians than Hitler killed Jews. (Stalin killed some Jews, too.) But Stalin's victims just don't show up on Krauthammer's radar screen or on the radar screens of his confreres. Lenin's and Trotsky's victims don't, either or Mao's, for that matter, and some historians say Mao managed to outperform Stalin in wholesale murder.
We like to point out these odd facts from time to time. For what they're worth.
Posted June 4, 2002.
© 1997, 2002 by WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.
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