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Nederlog

  March 25, 2013

Dutch Stalinism + Montefiore interviewed about Stalin

" (..) this age makes me so sick that sometimes I am almost impelled to stop at a corner and start calling down curses  from heaven like Jeremiah."
(
George Orwell - A Life, by Bernard Crick, p. 271)









Sections

Introduction   
1. The stalinist degeneracy of the University of Amsterdam
2. Montefiore interviewed about Stalin
About ME/CFS


Introduction:
As before, I keep having problems with my eyes, for which reason the Nederlog of today is shorter than it could have been.

And also as before, the present Nederlog could very plausibly be understood as a continuation of the previous one, About authoritarian personalities - 1, but it is not, though I was put on the trail of my present subject by checking out things about John Dean again, as I will explain.

1. The stalinist degeneracy of the University of Amsterdam

As regular readers of Nederlog may remember, I am interested in Stalin and the history of the Soviet Union for a number of reasons, that I will not try to list all, but that comprise the fact that I come from a communist family, but gave up communism aged 20, in 1970, because I had ceased to believe in Marx; that I had come to realize that the Soviet Union and its empire were not socialist or communist in any sense my parents, or for that matter Marx and Engels, understood these terms, and that Stalin had been a cruel dictator; and that my experiences with "student revolutionaries" in France in 1968, in Amsterdam in 1969, and again in the University of Amsterdam between 1977 and 1987, when communist students and socialist directors ruled the University of Amsterdam like a Soviet university, had shown me that a totalitarian mind set is far more common than most people realize, and indeed than those with totalitarian mind sets were and are willing to acknowledge.

Let me briefly explain what I said about Marx and about the Dutch universities, and start with the first.

There are brief pieces on Marx and Marxism in my Philosophical Dictionary, and for readers of Dutch there is an essay on the Dutch Communist Party that I wrote in the early 1980ies. I could write and could have written much more on the subject, but since I did not, let me only briefly say why I ceased to believe in Marx, of whom I have read a fair amount. It had little to do with my giving up the Dutch CP, since I had known for years that I disagreed with its stances and theories, which indeed had very little to do with Marx's writings, except ritualistically and verbally.

It had a lot to do with my starting to read other philosophers, and with a serious interest in mathematical logic and philosophy of science that started when I was around 19:

It seemed to me that Marx was not by far as great a philosopher as his followers claimed he was, once one had read Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Ockham, Aquinas, Montaigne, Hobbes, Descartes, Hume, Leibniz, Peirce and Russell, though at age 20 I was especially impressed with Plato and Aristotle, and with Descartes, Hume and Russell. Also, by the time I was 19 I had given up on Marx's dialectics, labor theory of value, and economic reductionism. I think these were my main reasons, next to the general vapidness and stupidity of those who were modern Marxists then, whether from communist parties - Garaudy, for example - or at universities, such as Althusser and Habermas [1]. But I do not deny (and never did) that Marx meant well, was a courageous man, and had many interesting ideas. What I do think is that one cannot judge him well if he is judged as a communist saint of unsurpassed genius and unfailing insight, nor can one judge him well without a good knowledge of other philosophers and economists. [2]

Next, about the totalitarian sickness that ruled the Dutch universities for 25 years, with the consent of its staff and with enthusiastic support of its students, who could achieve M.A.'s in philosophy by taking part in leftist demonstrations:

For non-Dutch this is very difficult to get or believe, but the fact is that in 1971 the Dutch government seems to have been so much afraid of revolting students that they turned over the governance of the Dutch universities to the staff and the students of the universities on the basis of a 1 man / 1 vote principle, and in such a fashion that the universities and the faculties in universities all got their own councils, effectively like Soviets or parliaments, that were yearly elected by students and staff, and that would have the formal power in the universities, more or less in the way the parliament has in the Dutch state.

This lasted until 1995, when it got terminated by a new law.[3] Effectively, this construction that was in force from 1971 till 1995 denied any and all scientific authority, and very much politicized the universities, while handing over the power in those soviets or councils to radical students, who between 1971 and 1984 often were members of the Dutch CP, and got their orders from the Dutch CP's leaders [4], while the boards of directors of Dutch universities generally were in the hands of key members of the Dutch Labour Party, who spoke with forked tongues, and were only out for personal power and money for themselves and for university jobs for members of their party. One of the frightening and sickening things was that almost no one in the scientific staffs objected, and that the few who did - Daudt, Hermans - indeed generally were removed, by hook or by crook, from the universities.

I have written about this in English in Nederlog: The Dutch Universities since 1971: "We are all of equal value as Stalin". As far as I can tell, the corrupt staffs of the Dutch universities do not want to discuss this, and indeed never did and never wanted to discuss their own corruption and betrayal of science, civilization and good education, and will insist I "exaggerate", rather like Beria's family will tell others that the stories about him are "exaggerated". I don't think so, and I am not, like most of them, a child or grandchild of Nazi-collaborators, nor did I collaborate with the communists, Stalinists, and careerist appartchiks that ruled the Dutch universities for 25 years:

From 1971-1995 all students were systematically told that "all human beings are of equal value", and that "everyone knows that truth does not exist", while almost all of the scientific staff either taught these notions or kept silent about their degeneracy - since they logically imply what I concluded in my title: everyone is of equal value as the most monstrous of men, while it cannot be true that there were Nazi concentration camps (truth does not exist), nor that there were Gulags. 

To return to the subject of totalitarianism outside Holland:

2. Montefiore interviewed about Stalin

If you want to know about totalitarianism and man's inhumanity to man, the histories of Germany, Russia and China in the 20th Century are most instructive, and also quite horrific once you delve into them. [5]

Simon Sebag Montefiore is an English historian who wrote two books about Stalin: Stalin - The court of the red czar, and Young Stalin, in that order, both of which I read and reviewed in Nederlog, in 2009, when I wrote Nederlog in Dutch

I think they are both quite interesting and good books, though the second on the list, and the first in the order of writing, seems to me to be better than the other.

Presently I am concerned with the second one, "Stalin - The court of the red czar", because it turns out that, not long after its original appearance, there was a series of two interviews with Montefiore, each lasting almost an hour, that are available on the internet, that are quite interesting, whether you read the book or not:

These are good interviews, that explain a lot about the book, the man, and the man who wrote the book.
----------------------------------
P.S. Mar 30, 2013: Corrected a few typos.

Notes

[1] These three worthies - Garaudy, Althusser and Habermas - were revered in leftist circles in the late 1960ies, Garaudy especially in the (then quite large) French CP, and Althusser and Habermas especially by leftist students. I think the only things they excelled in is bullshitting. The first two, at least, also show a rather strong looniness (as the links also show).

[2] I do not think Marx was a great philosopher, as I use words, as contrasted with Aristotle, Lucretius, Montaigne, Leibniz or Peirce, for example. He might have agreed and he also might have insisted - as in fact he did - that he was not interested in interpreting the world but in changing it. There is more to be said for Marx as an economist than I realized around 1970, which was brought out by Piero Sraffa. Interested readers should also check out Ian Steedman's "Marx after Sraffa".

[3] Showing that neither the Dutch politicians nor the Dutch scientists cared for science or education or civilization, except in so far as these enabled their own careers, standing and incomes: La trahison des clercs, on a major scale, for 25 years, also without any excuse of dictatorial government, as does hold for the intelligentsia in the Soviet Union. (For Dutch readers, see Komrij, about "Het verraad van mijn generatie", of which there also is a video.)

[4] As they themselves declared in a booklet "Alles moest anders", published in 1991, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and
after the Soviet Union and the Dutch CP collapsed: The top of the Dutch extreme-leftist careerists, and destroyers of the Dutch universities, trying to wash themselves clean, so as to continue their careers. They're still there, or else have pensions ten or twenty times the size of my monthly minimal dole income. Well comrades:

"Orwell marked this passage in a copy he gave to Geoffrey Gorer, telling him that it was the key passage" en dat "all the pigs were in agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon:"

'Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain-workers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.'

From: Bernard Crick: "George Orwell - A Life" p. 490

[5] See my Introductory texts to politics, and specifically, for Nazism: The Holocaust Encyclopedia; for Maoism: The burning forest; and for Stalinism: The great terror.

And in case you did not read more of my site: I am the only Dutchman who has been thrown from a Dutch university - namely: the University of Amsterdam - since WW II ended because of my publicly outspoken ideas. These horrible ideas, all in the form of questions, you find here: 39 questions about the decline of education and government in Holland. It seems that according to the Board of Directors, the leadership of the faculty of philosophy, 16 academic professors and lecturers of philosophy, and the ethicist prof.dr. Frans Jacobs this text shows that I am "a fascist" and "a terrorist". Or that is at least what I was scolded for, upon finishing reading my text, and after winning some debating points: Those were the morals of the University of Amserdam then, and still are, except that they are packaged differently these days. (In case you ask: Four Dutch lawyers - who can make a lot of money defending drugs criminals - declined to take up my case "because it is too political", which means "would displease the worthies of the Dutch Labour Party".)

[6] The explanation is that I clicked on a link that promised an interview with Dean, which turned out to be about a theme that doesn't interest me, but which also provided a link to the first part of the Montefiore interview listed in the text. This is called serendipity.


About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)


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