Monday, January 08, 2007

Smarting With Illusions

For many liberals, there simply is no such thing and never was such a thing as a communist. These alleged "communists" were simply liberals in a hurry, or they were innocent victims of McCarthyist witchhunts. Even after all these years, after it's been proven that the liberals in a hurry were really stalinist stooges, and the blacklisted artists were in fact out and out traitors, there's still some spiritual boundary that liberals seemingly dare not transgress, to call someone a communist.

In the early years of the end of the Cold War, some eastern European countries took formal steps to call their former communist masters to account. Czechoslovakia was probably the model for this swift and just societal purgative (though it is a shame the country broke up along ethnic lines). There was a book, which unfortunately I don't remember the title of, which recounted the case of a Czech human rights activist whose own husband spied on her for the security forces. Westerners simply do not comprehend the extent to which the communist evil insinuated itself into people's ordinary lives. Nor do they comprehend the heroism of the Polish Catholic church in resisting High Stalinism, and the later, subtler (by comparison) blandishments of Stalin's successors. The de-sovietization process is still going on in some countries, including Poland, speeded or slowed as passing political winds dictate.

So here is a story of the new Archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, forced to resign, because allegations of collaboration with the communist government seem to be sticking. Even NPR and the New York Times reported it straight, the Times going so far as to mention the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, murdered by the secret police in the 1980s. (I still remember the astonishment of the spooks when they were convicted and sentenced, some time later.) However, for TIME magazine, it's...drumroll...McCarthyism. An Archbishop Falls to a Witchhunt, is their headline. The article, co-reported by, click, click yep, Jeff Israely, sees instead the sinister hand of gasp right-wing political parties. As someone once said, "right-wing" is simply the news media's way of whapping the reader on the nose with a rolled-up newpaper and saying "bad dog!". No mention of Popieluszko. And as for Pope John Paul the Great's heroism against communism, there's this: "The late pontiff, while a strident anti-communist,..." Now tell me, dear visitor: have you ever seen the press say...oh, you know the comparison that's always made in these cases. Just see for yourself!

TIME had bugged out of the Cold War a decade before it ended, roughly at the the start of The Dread Ron's administration. By the end, they were really, reeeally mortified to be represented in the world by The Gipper. If they don't "get" communism by now, they never will. So, here's hoping that Pope B16's staff does a better job vetting the next Warsaw archbishop.

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