The Question I’ve Wanted To Answer for Twenty Years Is Suddenly So Clear to Me
Shortly after the turn of this century, I found myself standing in one of the halls of political power in former Czechoslovakia, after hearing the umpteenth horror story from communism, and saying to myself “I wish I could live through a little bit of communism to see how normal people allowed it to all happen.”
You see, I just couldn’t believe how this stable and prosperous interwar democracy could find itself in the throes of Stalinist communism and its psychological turmoil. It was shortly after World War II though, in 1948, that the communists came to power and there was a lot of “new normal” to deal with after the horrors of war. Akin to our current era, there was even a period of Czechoslovak communism called “normalizacia” or normalization.
What was this thing called normalization? It was the “second wave” of Stalinism led by the old guard, a return after the liberalization of the 1968 Prague Spring to the most oppressive communism, a “new normal.”
Normalization lasted from the fall of 1968 until November 17, 1989, when a peaceful revolution was set into place in former Czechoslovakia.
The Normalities Of Life Under Communism
From the surveillance state, to the uranium mines for political prisoners, along with other horrific impacts for thinking the wrong thing: no college for your kids, no permission to pursue your desired career path, no permission to travel (unless you were really awful, hard to repress, and they wanted to get rid of you), to the total control of almost all aspects of life for all people, political prisoner or not, to the total domination of media and culture for the political ends of government, in which there was even well-funded and encouraged official culture and unofficial culture.
If you stayed obedient, you were mostly treated okay compared to the others. If you got close to the most powerful, you were treated better. Within a few years, no one in society — from the highest echelon down —was living all that well. As time went on, the difference between west and east grew more stark. Virtually everything was chintzy in the east.
How could a people put up with it? How could anyone treat this as normal?
The stories I heard from so many seemingly normal and logical people in my many lengthy visits to post communist countries was “It was all so normal” and “We never realized anything was wrong with it.” Plenty will also speak openly about the abnormality of it all. To this day, in the post-communist lands, large percentages of the population, who are more comfortable being obedient to authority than figuring out how to add value in the world around them, lament the shift from communism.
Some people such as that have not made the shift to the logical and generous environment of capitalism very well. They miss the warm paternalistic embrace of being a lackey in communist society.
As I write this, on Friday, November 13, 2020, seven months into our free trial of corona communism, on the 241st day of lockdown in this most heavily locked down American city in which I hang my hat, I’m beginning to see the many similarities that made it all so possible for the people of Czechoslovakia to see it as all so normal.
Compliance Is At The Heart Of Totalitarianism
I stood with a European two weeks ago as he intimated to me the descent of the world into a state of compliance at all cost, and he related those details from his corner of the world since World War II, imbued with the memories of his forefathers.
Totalitarianism is compliance.
Article from LewRockwell