The 25th Anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Collapse

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Mon, 2016-12-26 20:45

The 25th Anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Collapse
By Edward Hudgins

December 26, 2016 marks a quarter century since the Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the collapsing wreck known as the Soviet Union. It was one of the worst tyrannies ever inflicted on humans by other humans who had lost their humanity. This communist regime left in its wake tens of millions of dead and hundreds of millions who suffered privation, repression, torture chambers, and Gulags.

I traveled there in the regime’s last years as part of Heritage Foundation delegations training those who, with perestroika, were seeking a way to economic growth as well as an open society. The economy in those last years was grim, even compared to what I’d seen there a decade earlier. Instead of stores with a limited selection of poor-quality products for which you had to wait in three different lines to purchases, there were no lines because the shelves were empty. Twenty-five years later Russia still struggles with the legacy of corruption, violence and murder that was inherent in the communist system.

What are the lessons on which we should reflect?

First, ideas have consequences. The Soviet state did not result simply from a popular uprising against the Czarist authoritarian tyranny. It replaced that tyranny with a totalitarian state, in which every aspect of one’s social, personal and inner life was directed by ruling elites. This tyranny was based on a collectivist philosophy which holds that every individual should be sacrificed to a “collective good.” Never mind that free markets demonstrably are the best way to allow individuals to rise from poverty to prosperity. The communists sought to control, through brainwashing and bullets, the lives of all individuals—with themselves as the ruling red masters. The battle then with communists had to be fought with ideas, and not just in scholarly circles but also in our culture and social institutions, just as the battle against control freak political elites today and, worse, Islamist must be fought.

Second, existential evils like he Soviet Union endure in part because of enabling, morally-degenerate dupes. During most of the Soviet Union’s existence, it had apologists in the freer world. Many in Hollywood in the 1930s presented and praised a lying image of a Red Paradise even as Stalin was condemning millions to death by starvation or firing squad. Today we see the same sort of dupes who hate the free West and America more than they fear the Islamists who are making the world a hellhole for Westerners and other Muslims as well.

Third, evil ideologies like communism must be countered with a compelling, positive, value-based vision. Example helps. The comparison between East and West Berlin or North and South Korea couldn’t be clearer. Similarly, thousands have risked their lives to escape Communist Cuba, voting with their rafts and rickety boats, oblivious to the degenerate dupes in America who shill for the Castro thugs.

But examples are not enough. After all, Communists then and many Islamist murderers today have been lived in the West and seen the opportunities open societies offer if one values life and is dedicated to prosperity through productive individual achievement. Communists, Nazis and Islamists reject those Enlightenment values. Thus, now as then, we must foster the best within us as human beings so that a compelling vision of liberty and prosperity will have compelling impact.

As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s demise, let’s not forget the victims of communism. Let’s not forget that even though systems based on mistaken or malicious ideas like the Soviet Union will eventually collapse on their own, they can inflict decades of horror on the world and be followed by something as bad without the right ideas and values. But for this moment, let’s just celebrate that 25 years ago, a terrible tyranny was swept into the dustbin of history!

They might not be Al Qaeda

Richard Wiig's picture

They might not be Al Qaeda supporters, Mr. Hudgin's but they are Muhammad supporters, and Muhammad is the most famous and greatest Al Qaeda supporter. They are lying to themselves when they say they don't support IS or Al Qaeda, or any other jihad organisation.

Bro Ed

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Tenets of Islam" includes Jihad, the Caliphate and countless exhortations to cut off infidels' heads. Your Muslim friends are honorary infidels, but in times like this we should treat them as merely dormant, ready to leer up again and start taking their ghastly religion seriously.

We certainly were spoiled by Reagan. I watched that whole speech right through again before posting it, and marvelled anew at the glory of his oratory and the miracle of what he was saying. Wish I'd savoured him more at the time. Incidentally, how many British Prime Ministers did you spot in the audience?

We were spoiled!

Ed Hudgins's picture

Linz -

First, you know my standard definitions. Muslims adhere to the tenets of Islam. Many--though by no means enough--also are not ISIS or Al Qaida supporters. I work with many who, rather than wanting to cut off my head, want to cut taxes and government regulations. Islamists are engaged in or are strong supporters of the violent overthrow of Enlightenment institutions in favor of Sharia law or some form of Islamist totalitarianism. Avoid measurement omission and don't equate every Muslim with ISIS or Al Qaida.

Second, I offer here, sort of, a criticism of the Gipper: He spoiled us! He took principles out of books and academia and made them real. He communicated intelligently yet compellingly, with passion. That was one of his unique talents. Fortunately, his opponents continued to underestimate him and denounced him as an idiot, even has he planned his victories both domestic and international.

So many of us have been looking for the next Reagan. But there is only one Reagan. So we need to learn from him and move ahead as best we can. And celebrate his memory and achievements!

Excellent, Ed ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... though I take issue as always with your use of "Islamist" as opposed to "Muslim" and would ask you again to explain the difference.

Your last line about the "dustbin of history" reminded me of Reagan's "ash-heap of history" at the House of Commons in 1982. 28 minutes or so in:

And of course, as we celebrate the Soviet Union's demise, we must also resist and smash its perseverance in American academia, media, ARISIS and the like in the form of cultural Marxism.

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