Skip to comments.Lenin and Religion
Posted on 03/10/2014 8:52:21 AM PDT by No One Special
From Chapter 2, The First Despotic Utopias
Men who carry through political revolutions seem to be of two main types, the clerical and the romantic. Lenin (he adopted the pen-name in 1901) was from the first category. Both his parents were Christians. Religion was important to him, in the sense that he hated it. Unlike Marx, who despised it and treated it as marginal, Lenin saw it as a powerful and ubiquitous enemy. He made clear in many writings (his letter to Gorky of 13 January 1913 is a striking example) that he had an intense personal dislike for anything religious. 'There can be nothing more abominable', he wrote, 'than religion.' From the start, the state he created set up and maintains to this day an enormous academic propaganda machine against religion. He was not just anti-clerical like Stalin, who disliked priests because they were corrupt. On the contrary, Lenin had no real feelings about corrupt priests, because they were easily beaten. The men he really feared and hated, and later persecuted, were the saints. The purer the religion, the more dangerous. A devoted cleric, he argued, is far more influential than an egotistical and immoral one. The clergy most in need of suppression were not those committed to the defence of exploitation but those who expressed their solidarity with the proletariat and the peasants. It was as though he recognized in the true man of God the same zeal and spirit which animated himself, and wished to expropriate it and enlist it in his own cause. No man personifies better the replacement of the religious impulse by the will to power. In an earlier age he would surely have been a religious leader. With his extraordinary passion for force, he might have figured in Mohammed's legions. He was even closer perhaps to Jean Calvin, with his belief in organizational structure, his ability to create one and then dominate it utterly, his puritanism, his passionate self-righteousness, and above all his intolerance.
Krupskaya [Lenin's wife] testifies to his asceticism, and tells us how he gave up all the things he cared for, skating, reading Latin, chess, even music, to concentrate solely on his political work. A comrade remarked, 'He is the only one of us who lives revolution twenty-four hours a day.' He told Gorky he refused to listen to music often because 'it makes you want to say stupid, nice things and stroke the heads of people who could create such beauty while living in this vile hell. And now you mustn't stroke anyone's head you might get your hand bitten off.' We have to assume that what drove Lenin on to do what he did was a burning humanitarianism, akin to the love of the saints for God, for he had none of the customary blemishes of the politically ambitious: no vanity, no self-consciousness, no obvious relish for the exercise of authority. But his humanitarianism was a very abstract passion. It embraced humanity in general but he seems to have had little love for, or even interest in, humanity in particular. He saw the people with whom he dealt, his comrades, not as individuals but as receptacles for his ideas. On that basis, and on no other, they were judged. So he had no hierarchy of friendships; no friendships in fact, merely ideological alliances. He judged men not by their moral qualities but by their views, or rather the degree to which they accepted his. He bore no grudges. A man like Trotsky, whom he fought bitterly in the years before the Great War, and with whom he exchanged the vilest insults, was welcomed back with bland cordiality once he accepted Lenin's viewpoint. Equally, no colleague, however close, could bank the smallest capital in Lenin's heart.
lenin - evil thru and thru
Solzhenitsyn’s LENIN IN ZURICH is interesting because it shows how Lenin always looked for revolutionary opportunity. He beleived that Switzerland was a perfect place for revolution because it was one country where the military reservists kept their weapons at home, Switzerland used three of the main languages of Europe (German, French, and Italian) and thus revolution could spread out from that central location, and there were some recent incidents of labor unrest.
But of course in reality land Switzerland was about the last place on Earth that was ripe for revolution.
Ever hear of a promoter of communism/socialism who could
see themselves as merely a “worker bee” in their socio-
economic system of choice? No, they see themselves as paid
philosophers, or leaders, or somehow associated with the “fair”
distribution of goods and service. It seems to me those involved
in distribution have to be among the wealthier communists.
I heard recently that Trotsky led some of comrades into Poland in 1918 because they thought they could start the world revolution there. It was a dud. Like you say, reality land is not where these people resided
Fair, of course. Always with the cute littlle justifications. Like shoplifting is just spontaneous socialism.
Even Stalin knew that trying to impose Communism on Poland would be, in his words, was as absurd as trying to "saddle a cow."