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The Great Liberal Death Wish


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MuggeridgeLiberal.php
Orthodoxy Today:

Malcolm Muggeridge
May 1979

(Snip)

Later on I want to say something about all this, showing how this humane holocaust, this dreadful slaughter that began with 50 million babies last year, will undoubtedly be extend-ed to the senile old and the mentally afflicted and mongoloid children, and so on, because of the large amount of money that maintaining them costs. It is all the more ironical when one thinks about the holocaust western audiences, and the German population in particular, have been shuddering over, as it has been presented on their TV and cinema screens. Note this compassionate or humane holocaust, if, as I fear, it gains momentum, will quite put that other in the shade. And, as I shall try to explain, what is even more ironical, the actual considerations that led to the German holocaust were not, as is commonly suggested, due to Nazi terrorism, but were based upon the sort of legislation that advocates of euthanasia, or "mercy killing," in this country and in western Europe, are trying to get enacted. It's not true that the German holocaust was simply a war crime, as it was judged to be at Nuremberg. In point of fact, it was based upon a perfectly coherent, legally enacted decree approved and operated by the German medical profession before the Nazis took over power. In other words, from the point of view of the Guinness Book of Records you can say that in our mad world it takes about thirty years to transform a war crime into a compassionate act.

(Snip)
Now I want to throw my mind back to my childhood, to the sitting room in the little suburban house in south London where I grew up. On Saturday evenings my father and his cronies would assemble there, and they would plan together the downfall of the capitalist system and the replacement of it by one which was just and humane and egalitarian and peaceable, etc. These were my first memories of a serious conversation about our circumstances in the world. I used to hide in a big chair and hope not to be noticed, because I was so interested. And I accepted completely the views of these good men, that once they were able to shape the world as they wanted it to be, they would create a perfect state of affairs in which peace would reign, prosperity would expand, men would be brotherly, and considerate, and there would be no exploitation of man by man, nor any ruthless oppression of individuals. And I firmly believed that, once their plans were fulfilled, we would realize an idyllic state of affairs of such a nature. They were good men, they were honest men, they were sincere men. Unlike their prototypes on the continent of Europe, they were men from the chapels. It was a sort of spillover from the practice of nonconformist Christianity, not a brutal ideology, and I was entirely convinced that such a brotherly, contented, loving society would come to pass once they were able to establish themselves in power.


(Snip)

It's difficult to convey to you what a shock this was, realizing that what I had supposed to be the new brotherly way of life my father and his cronies had imagined long before, was simply on examination an appalling tyranny, in which the only thing that mattered, the only reality, was power. So again, like the British raj, in the USSR I was confronted with power as the absolute and ultimate arbiter. However, that was a thing that one could take in one's stride. How I first came to conceive the notion of the great liberal death wish was not at all in consequence of what was happening in the USSR, which, as I came to reflect after-ward, was simply the famous lines in the Magnificat working out, "He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek," whereupon, of course, the humble and meek become mighty in their turn and have to be put down. That was just history, something that happens in the world; people achieve power, exercise power, abuse power, are booted out of power, and then it all begins again. The thing that impressed me, and the thing that touched off my awareness of the great liberal death wish, my sense that western man was, as it were, sleep-walking into his own ruin, was the extraordinary performance of the liberal intelligentsia, who, in those days, flocked to Moscow like pilgrims to Mecca. And they were one and all utterly delighted and excited by what they saw there. Clergymen walked serenely and happily through the anti-god museums, politicians claimed that no system of society could possibly be more equitable and just, lawyers admired Soviet justice, and economists praised the Soviet economy. They all wrote articles in this sense which we resident journalists knew were completely nonsensical. It's impossible to exaggerate to you the impression that this made on me. Mrs. Webb had said to Kitty and me: "You'll find that in the USSR Sydney and I are icons. " As a matter of fact they were, Marxist icons.

(Snip)


Of course nothing like what happened in the 20th century could happen today, because we are so much smarter and well meaning than those old guys. :rolleyes:
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