We are now witnessing the last phase of the EasternnEuropean totalitarian state, with the governing bodies innPoland, Hungary, or Yugoslavia no longer demanding of thengoverned to believe in the discourse of the Grand Idea, butnsimply to maintain the pretense of doing so. Faced with andouble image of the world and impelled by instinct fornself-preservation, the man of “real socialism” createsnecond image of himself as well, so he can go on livingnas if . . .nStrangely enough, there was initially some truth in thendiscourse of the Grand Idea, when it promised to release thencreative forces of literature, the sciences, and the fine arts.nBut their liberation was short-lived: after a brief period ofneuphoria, the creative forces themselves soon began tonappear as a threat to the New Order all over EasternnEurope.nThe Bolshevik Revolution illustrates this process clearly.nChagall, Kandinsky, Malevich, Soutine, Mayakovsky,nMandelstam, and many others now forgotten fled to thenWest, committed suicide, or vanished in the Gulag. Andnhow many other unknowns were simply swallowed by thenmaw of the revolution? How many lives and promises werenwrecked? How many pictures were never painted, hownmany books never written because the revolution was afraid?nAnd what was the revolution afraid of? Of counterrevolutionaries?nBomb-throwers? No, it was afraid of men whonpainted pictures or wrote poems, of thinkers and composers.nThese were the very men, moreover, who had prepared thenway for it, and who later welcomed it as the time of “sunrisenpromises.”nThe change which occurred in the discourse of thenGrand Idea after the seizure of power all over the world maynwell be described as fraudulent substitution. In the NewnSociety, it became more and more embarrassing to speak ofnjustice and humanity, for the New Glass was setting up itsnown privileges quite openly and shamelessly. The existencenof concentration camps has been no secret to anyone innIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles:nAll Booked Upn”Any simpleminded economist could explain the relationshipnbetween censorship and patronage. Imagine a societynthat has, say, only a billion dollars to spend on the writtennword. If the powers that be decide that 950 million willnbe spent on Barbara Gartiand novels and copies of ThenNew Republic, the chances of success for a serious novelnor an open-minded magazine are somewhat reduced. Ofncourse in a free market economy such a scenario wouldnbe ridiculous, but we do not live in a free market economy.nLiterature is controlled by monopolies and cartelsnthat are about as open to to competition as the postalnsystem: Northeastern publishers, book agents, reviewers,nfoundations, government agencies, and the vast networknof libraries and universities, private as well as public.”n161 CHRONICLESn— From “Kazin and Caligula” by Thomas FlemingnnnRussia ever since the 1920’s. This is why the Sovietnrevolutionary discourse has had to return incessantly to thentime of the October “Revolution” and its deified foundingnfather. What Soviet communism is doing, more or less, isntaking refuge in the period of fictional purity and real hope.nUnable to discuss the ideals in whose name the revolutionnwas launched, the Soviets exalt a revolutionary moral codenwhose essence can no longer be explained. From being anmeans of building a new society, the revolution has beenntransmuted into its own raison d’etre, while its discourse onna more just and humane society has been relegated to thenprops department. This switching of categories has culminatednin the first narcissistic revolution in history.nIn 1931, posters in Moscow declared Already We ArenLiving Better, while at the same time in the Ukraine, whichnhad once been the granary of Europe, a horrific, partyinducednand -administered famine was killing millions ofnpeople.nThe new masters of Russia beheved they could fashionnreality as they chose, simply by seizing control of all meansnof communication and establishing a monopoly over thenspoken and written word. In doing so, they committed thenoriginal sin of every totalitarian society—the suppression ofndissent.nFor only dissent permits us to see ourselves. Dissent is thenother whom we see in the mirror, the other who, like ancounter-discourse, is the only means of making our ownndiscourse credible. In suppressing that, the discourse of thenGrand Idea condemned itself to solitude — and to solitarynstupidity.nInsistence is always a sign of stupidity, says Camus. Andnwithin that solitude, anything is possible. You can make yournhorse a senator or you can vote, unanimously, for a lawnproclaiming the memory of Comrade Stalin to be eternal (asndid the Chamber of Representatives of the HungariannPeople in 1953). Strangely enough, those who thought theyncould appropriate to themselves, in its entirety, the languagenof ideology, are now reduced to what Russians call woodennspeech.nUp to a certain point, the fate of words is like the fate ofnmen, for words are also born, and live. Men, however, arenmortal, while words, like the phoenix, constantly arise fromntheir own ashes. Ceaseless examination of meaning is tonwords what air is to humans. Without this questioning,nmeaning fades away. And when words are imprisoned innstultifying discourses, they revolt and start signifying thenopposite of what has been imposed upon them. This is thenpoint at which tyrants begin to tremble.nThere is not much talk of liberty in the East, just as therenis not much talk of rope in the house of someone who hasnhanged himself. Yet still They manage to denigrate it atnevery opportunity—a thing that unfortunately happensnhere in the West, too. In the East, however, They denigratenliberty because They cannot offer it, whereas here we havenmore of it than we know how to manage. To hear its foppishndetractors talk, we might think that now, at the end of thencentury, liberty has become a luxury. They claim it representsnnothing but the freedom to starve and They assert thatneveryone prefers to enjoy the certainty of filling his bellynevery day. To the poor They offer the exchange of theirnliberty for some soup and a bed, but woe betide those whon