He who has seen the present has seen everything, said Marcus Aurelius, and this is why the floor of my study is made concave by the aggregate weight of all the newspapers and magazines I have acquired since moving to Cambridge: I simply cannot bring myself to throw away a single page of newsprint. In this sense I am a conservative.
Let me reach into the moldering pile. “Our ideas have crossed the front lines and conquered our enemies’ consciousness.” Is this Enoch Powell, in the Spectator of June 25, 1988, hailing the national revival of the Russian Empire? I read on:
Let us suppose that the Reds only think they are fighting for the glory of the International . . . and in fact are shedding their blood, however unconsciously, for nothing other than the restoration of the Divinely Protected Sovereign State of Russia. . . . If this is the case, it means that the “White idea,” having crossed the battle lines, has conquered their subconscious minds. . . . We have triumphed. . . . The White idea has been victorious.
No, this is not Enoch Powell but an intellectual forerunner of his, a Russian monarchist named Vasily Shulgin, writing in 1922. Shulgin was one of the founders of smenovekhovstvo, or the “changing landmarks” movement, of which the modern historians Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich say in their Utopia in Power:
The changing landmarks movement arose among the right-wing, conservative sectors of the Russian intelligentsia. Efimovsky was a monarchist, Ustryalov and Klyuchnikov supporters of Kolchak, Shulgin a monarchist, and Gredeskul a right-wing Cadet. They all “changed their landmarks” when they came to the conclusion that the White cause was being served by Red hands. The ideologists of this movement were adherents of such conservative thinkers as Konstantin Leontiev and Joseph de Maistre. They accepted bolshevism because the idea of liberty, so crucial to the left-wing intelligentsia, was a secondary matter to them.
“There is no need to be finicky about this,” Enoch Powell muses. “People who find it surprising and inconsistent that the Baptists, for instance, have received no obvious benefit from the new climate have failed to understand what is going on.” I return the Spectator to the moldering pile. My subject is neither the plight of Soviet Baptists, nor “Enoch Powell in Russia,” nor expatriate movements of old. It is, quite simply, the will to knowledge.
Mr. Shaw, a carpenter who came to repair a staircase a few years ago, asked me if it would be all right to watch television in our absence. I asked him what it was that he was afraid of missing. It was the Chancellor’s budget speech.
The pages of the newspapers that I am conserving in dust and tobacco smoke bulge with the sort of news Mr. Shaw is eager to know as well as understand. Mortgage rates, pensions, union power, 1992, balance of payments, inflation, NHS and a myriad other indices, concepts, or realities comprise his field of interest when he is sober or not working. Even so, he does not take a morning, “quality” paper.
In August 1988, a Gallup survey commissioned by the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies revealed that only 22 percent of the 171 regular readers of “quality” newspapers polled were aware that the Soviet Union has ballistic missile defenses. It is less important, perhaps, that the subjects of the survey were members of Parliament.
Although the Conservative Party has traditionally been seen as the “party of defence,” Tory MPs generally come out worse in the survey than their Labour counterparts. This is alarming, given that nearly a third of the Tories polled claim that defence is their main area of interest.
I throw the front-page Sunday Telegraph article back into the pile, noting only that “ninety-eight percent of Conservative MPs indicated their support for the START proposals of 50 percent cuts in strategic systems.” My subject is the will to knowledge, I whisper, and I must see these people as newspaper readers like myself, not as political leaders upon whose decisions our sovereignty depends.
The universe of quotidian concerns, which our carpenter and, evidently, even readers of “quality newspapers” inhabit, is complex and perceived as such. The best reflection of this is the level of public debate that frames every one of these concerns, no matter how ostensibly remote, or even spectral, its practical significance. I cannot reach into my Aurelian pile for an example from the business section of the Times because this is the part of the paper that I discard on arrival, yet the very existence of such a section—sometimes as extensive as all the other news of the day combined—is indicative of the seriousness with which “quality newspaper readers” regard such concerns.
For a neat contrast, I unfold a recent Sunday Telegraph (“START treaty should be ready for signing by the end of the year,” promises the front page) and turn to the current op-ed debate: “Hugh Trevor-Roper argues that we should support Lithuanian independence, but not promise more than we can secure,” while Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes “on why it’s time for appeasement over the Baltic states.” Again, it is not the mere fact that the debate, in a Tory “quality newspaper,” could just as well be taking place on Soviet television that is so mortifying. It is rather, from the viewpoint of my subject here, that no debate so restricted can be imagined taking place in a Western democracy on an issue of perceived concern, be it the need for a statutory incomes policy or the prospect of legislation against owners of dangerous pets.
When, at the end of March 1988, the 19-member Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate recommended full approval of the INF treaty, the 17-to-2 margin of the vote ensured that legislative review of the “deal” would be little more than a rubber stamp. During the 21 days of committee hearings, the battle against ratification had been waged single-handedly by Jesse Helms, the senator from North Carolina whose political isolation within his own Republican Party has only increased since then. In the end, it was his vote, seconded by North Dakota’s Larry Pressler, that kept the committee from being unanimous on the issue. When the full Senate finally voted approval, only two other Republicans and one Democrat dissented.
It is the perception of the INF treaty as politically unstoppable, a “done deal” the moment it had been sighed, that caused the dissenters to condemn it, far more than its actual significance as a kind of Maginot Line on paper. In a dry phrase that might have been used by De Gaulle fifty-odd years earlier, General Bernard W. Rogers, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, described his country as willing “to sacrifice deterrence on an altar of political expediency.” Indeed, the initial announcement of the INF “agreement in principle” was made by President Reagan on the bicentenary of the American Constitution. What had grown “inexpedient,” evidently, was the Constitutional mandate “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
If today’s Western electorates, including Mr. Shaw, are rarely at the mercy of their elected representatives in matters of domestic policy, foreign policy is as much the preserve of the politicians today as it was in the days of Queen Victoria. In areas like defense, in particular, the gap of accountability is wider than it has ever been, if only because totalitarian societies—whose existence justifies the expenditure in the first place—are a principally new historical phenomenon, one whose modus operandi has not had the benefit of centuries of study and discussion.
In his 180-page “Memorandum to Republican Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” which has yet to receive a mention in any British newspaper, Senator Helms attempted to bridge the accountability gap dividing the politicians from their constituencies as follows:
1. We don’t know what we are looking for. 2. We don’t know where to look for it. 3. If we find it, we don’t know what we have found. 4. If we figure out what it is, there’s nothing we can do about it. In each case, the “it” is an SS-20, the fundamental Soviet system constrained by the treaty.
In other words, the assertion that the INF treaty is enforceable by the American side is as meaningless as the proverbial medieval calculation of the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The analogy is not spurious, as the Soviet RSD-10 (SS-20) missile at the heart of the treaty is as much of a mystery today as it was during the treaty negotiations in Geneva, when the Soviet side refused to provide even a photograph of the weapon. When one was finally provided in Washington on the day the treaty was signed, it transpired that the object depicted bore no resemblance to what the American side had had in mind during the negotiations. Another, better quality, image furnished two weeks later confirmed that neither the proponents nor the opponents of the treaty could have known what an “SS-20” is.
I dwell on this example because the INF treaty is a milestone in the history of the West. Not because never before in history had a peace accord presented such opportunity for unilateral deception, but because not since the Dark Ages had free men given wholehearted credence to postulates that they could not prove by experiment or openly espoused doctrines that they were powerless to oppose.
It is not surprising that a military man like General Rogers should be so sensitive to the notion of expediency, political or any other kind. Military men are expected to understand the essential difference between tactics and strategy, and the risk of confusing the two. Expediency is synonymous with that risk.
The “poisoned pawn” in chess is a textbook example. By taking it to avail himself of a tactical benefit, the player makes a strategic blunder of which he is unaware and loses the game. It is, in fact, impossible to win at chess without the will to knowledge that is my subject here, and it is quite clear that its cultivation is what constitutes the game. Strategy is simply another word for the will to knowledge, while tactics—unless ruthlessly subordinated to strategy—is simply another word for wishful thinking.
Many chess-sets sold in shops these days will include a booklet on the game, often containing a dozen standard conseils pratiques. I shall cite the first two:
1. Try to make advantageous exchanges (a rook for a knight for instance) as this will make your task easier.
2. When ahead, change off men; when behind, avoid exchanges.
One need not be more than a beginner to understand the universal strategic truth of this advice. If Jack has ten apples while Jill has eleven, it is good strategy for wicked Jill to persuade dumb Jack that they should eat ten apples each, for at the end of the day Jill will have something while Jack will have nothing. I call Jack dumb because he lacks the will to know what will happen at sundown.
I am neither Marcuse in California nor Solzhenitsyn at Harvard, and the will to knowledge of which I now speak is not meant to have ethical, philosophical, or religious overtones. If anything, the emphasis here is on “knowledge” rather than “will,” though certainly each aspect of the notion deserves a separate commentary.
The knowledge of Soviet totalitarianism possessed by the West’s policymaking establishment is easy enough to assess without recourse to Gallup. I have never met a single appointed or elected government official with a working knowledge of the Russian language, nor can a single journalist on a British or American “quality newspaper” compose a grammatical sentence in Russian. This is roughly equivalent to the inability of a citizen of a democracy—Mr. Shaw or a Financial Times reporter—to add together two three-digit numbers. This, I maintain, is a more fundamental index of strategic failure than the total parliamentary ignorance of defense matters.
How can, say, a “Conservative think-tank” develop an insight into the workings of a totalitarian society and communicate it either to the “Tory leadership” or to a “quality newspaper” like the Telegraph if no one along the way is capable of reading Pravda? A case of the blind leading the blind, as the Gallup poll makes clear, is worrying enough, but before us are the blind who do not so much as suspect that others can see.
On October 4, 1980, according to a small item in Pravda, Petr Masherov, First Secretary of Byelorussia, candidate member of the Politburo since 1966 and bearer of seven Orders of Lenin, “tragically perished” in a car accident. Candidate members of the Politburo do not die in car accidents, and the fact that during the ensuing decade no “quality newspaper,” “think-tank,” or “Tory leader” has remarked on this, a pivotal juncture in modern Soviet history equivalent to Stalin’s assassination of Kirov, is emblematic of the ignorance that I seek to establish a priori. It can be demonstrated to a native reader of Pravda that on October 21, 1980, when the totally obscure provincial named Mikhail Gorbachev became a full member of the Politburo in the ill-fated Masherov’s stead, power in the totalitarian oligarchy—for the first time in Soviet history—openly passed into the hands of the secret police apparatus headed by Gorbachev’s mentor Yuri Andropov, while the actual transfer had taken place under the ailing Brezhnev several years earlier. But to demonstrate this to the reader of a Western “quality newspaper” is altogether impossible. Thus if Mr. Shaw were unfamiliar with the process. of addition he would not have the slightest interest in the Chancellor’s report.
I am speaking, then, of the existence of a foreign-policy culture sophisticated enough to bear anything remotely resembling a strategy where totalitarianism is concerned. No such culture has ever existed in the West, in my view, and the chances for its emergence are rapidly diminishing.
Since the autumn of 1917, when the world’s first totalitarian society came into being and was perceived as a threat to the future of individual liberty, democracy’s response to its strategy of serial deceptions has been one of self-deception. As each new deception was unveiled and launched, usually in the form of an ideological “seed coat” for the permanent aim of global expansion, democracy’s political culture proved itself capable of analyzing little more than the seed coat’s ingredients, and usually after it had already been changed. While Western observers were still reiterating the “changing landmarks” platitudes of de facto Soviet agents about the “Reds,” lo and behold, “Red Russia” returned to “capitalism.” While they talked of the “future of Communism after the death of Lenin,” in came Stalin and unveiled a comprehensive program for democracy, complete with a constitution and ballot boxes by the bedside of the infirm. While they talked “Stalin’s Constitution,” Stalin created Hitler, defeated him, and won half of Europe while preparing to replace “Communism” with—no more and no less—Russian Orthodox Christianity as the ideological seed coat for his future totalitarian empire. How long would they have talked Christianity? Ten years? Twenty years?
Stalin died and they talked “de-Stalinization” instead, even as today they talk the “collapse of Communism.” Excellent subjects for discussion: Stalin has been dead for almost forty years, and power has not belonged to the Communist Party in Russia for more than ten.
Historically, totalitarianism’s strategy has worked like a human heart. The oligarchy expanded to admit the West in peacetime, creating an appearance of democracy, a simulacrum of economic and political freedom, a sense of openness. Thus it prepared for war, while feigning weakness and paying homage to Western prosperity, wisdom, and other inherent or acquired virtues. Then it contracted into a dictatorship, to expel the West and mobilize for a war of aggression for which internal terror is a prerequisite. This was a perestroika—Stalin’s favorite word—and then the cycle began anew. The dictatorship expanded into an oligarchy, which it remains today while remaining as totalitarian as it has ever been. It is all but irrelevant that the composition of the current oligarchy is unprecedented; for the secret police apparatus, like the Communist Party, is a world unto itself, and there is no reason to believe that its management of this, the new cycle of Soviet history, will be inferior to that of its predecessor.
In the existing political culture of the West, where a Robert Conquest gets a hearing several decades after a dozen émigré historians publish their identical findings, such axioms are likely to fall on deaf ears. What, then, inhibits the emergence of such a culture today? And is there hope?
I now turn to the other, more problematic aspect of the will to knowledge. Again I begin with an axiom: truth can only emerge in debate, and it is here that the “will” of a democracy finds a practical definition.
Whether in Parliament or in the media, concerned citizens of a democracy can exercise their will. To what end? How can one escape the vicious circle of there being no answers because there are no questions and no questions because there are no answers?
By broadening the debate for the sake of broadening the debate, I reply. Even a person totally ignorant of finance will notice at once if the debate on taxation consists of only two points of view, say, that an Index X should be a function of Alpha or that it should be a function of Beta. A concerned citizen ought to be similarly alerted by the Telegraph‘s “debate” on Lithuania. He should be skeptical when, year in and year out, he learns from the Times that the future of Russia depends on whether “Gorbachev will survive.” He ought to smell a rat when two television “commentators” argue about whether the Soviet economy is already a shambles or will be a shambles soon.
Wishful thinking can sustain two opinions, perhaps even three. Feeding on received wisdom, it remains stable so long as the number of equipotent and independent points of view is kept artificially low in the debate that, often without premeditation, it is effectively controlling. Yet all it takes is for five or six individuals—”eccentric” journalists, “maverick” politicians, “irresponsible” men-about-town with access to the media—to raise their voices in defense of the principle of debate, a principle essentially nonpartisan, and a genuine political culture will be in the making.
The traditional polarization of the existing political culture into the “right” and the “left” inhibits genuine debate more than any single factor where the knowledge of totalitarian societies and the will to acquire such knowledge is concerned. The polarization creates an illusion of pluralism, and it is no exaggeration to say, for instance, that, today, the left is pro-Soviet because it is anti-defense (interpreting the “collapse of the Soviet Empire” to justify apparently unilateral disarmament) while the right is pro-Soviet because it is pro-defense (interpreting the “collapse of the Soviet Empire” to justify apparently bilateral disarmament). Now, I ask you: what sort of debate is that?
Let me ask you an even more impertinent question. Why should the concerned citizen, whose existence I accept as given, be convinced that totalitarianism is incapable of developing a strategy of deception, complete with a new ideological seed coat, that would appeal to those traditionally “on the right” just as easily as in the past it developed such strategies to appeal to those traditionally “on the left”? Surely Stalin’s secret plans for Orthodox Christianity would have won over Enoch Powell? Surely an industrialist can be enthusiastic about a new market unconstrained by the need for Congressional appropriations approvals and all that red tape? Surely a neoconservative intellectual will find the time for an op-ed piece in Moscow News?
The truth, then, cannot be entrusted to anything save debate. It will not dawn on a prime minister or a cabinet member, nor will it mysteriously appear in the hands of the opposition. Two points of view will never ensure that the debate breaks out of the partisan confines, even if these are bipartisan, and only the sound of the third, fourth, or fifth voice can awaken the voting public to set into motion the political process by which the West can arrive at a strategy.
The unchanging aim of totalitarianism is global expansion. Disarmament is the means to achieve that aim. Jill will try anything to convince Jack. Jack may be an expert on nutrition, conjecturing that Jill’s stomach is not up to the task (a “Soviet collapse”), or he may be an international lawyer, determined to persuade her to share the last apple with him (a “common European home”), or he may be a regular optimist, thinking that she has a hole in her pocket and will probably lose it anyway (an “ecological catastrophe”). The fact is. Jack has no strategy.
Jill will try anything to convince Jack. The totalitarian oligarchy, presently in a phase of expansion similar to that of the early 1920’s (in 1922, for instance, in Moscow alone there were 143 registered private publishing houses and 35 registered periodicals, most of them privately owned), understands full well that only a military deterrent in the hands of nations and individuals is an obstacle to global expansion. The rest is more or less a fiction, and consequently something to which the attention of democracies must be drawn to divert it from the one and only real issue. So Jill may mention to Jack, in passing, her family history of stomach trouble, or the hole in her pocket, or even her generally gullible disposition.
The idea that the Soviet oligarchs have “unleashed” a process that they are or will be “unable to control” is an intellectual drama scripted at the Lubyanka. The resilience of the West’s reluctance to see it for what it is can be measured by the recent revelations from “former Soviet captive nations” where “popular revolutions” have taken place: although it is gradually being admitted that these had been “engineered by the secret police” from Moscow, no Western observer has questioned the legitimacy of the status quo or called into question the earlier interpretations of the status quo ante. Thus the Times reported recently that, while the “revolutionary” events in Narodni Street in Prague (“561 casualties and one faked death”) had been simulated on orders from the KGB deputy chairman. General Grushko, the inevitable conclusion was that “Mr. Havel and the Civic Forum were swept into government by immense public enthusiasm, the beneficiaries of an unlikely plot by their worst enemies.” But why are Mr. Havel and the Civic Forum the Soviet oligarchy’s “worst enemies,” any more than their counterparts in Romania or Hungary are? For the one and only question for the Soviet leadership is: can Mr. Havel, or his counterparts in Romania and Hungary, do anything to develop their nations’ military capability to deter Soviet domination? Plainly, at a time when West Germany has proposed to pay for the stationing of Soviet troops on the “unified” nation’s soil, the answer is no. And without deterrence there can be nothing that the Soviet oligarchy will be “unable to control.”
A nobleman of old was known by his coat of arms. This, in a pre-totalitarian age, represented the eternal truth that honor is the surname of sovereignty. In our totalitarian age, the importance of the individual’s privilege to bear arms as a safeguard of his freedom has diminished, although the attention paid by the Soviet leadership to the possession of hunting guns in the “rebel republics” is evidence enough that the significance of this privilege, even today, is not entirely symbolic. At the national level, however, that privilege is the very substance of independence.
No “reform,” no “sign of democratization,” no “freedom” is too dangerous or too costly for the Soviet leadership to introduce, display, or grant for the sake of disarmament. Nationalist tensions? Here you are. Pornography? Just like Soho. Elections? We are learning. Credit cards, McDonald’s, environmental activism, rock music, Christianity? Say the word. Vietnam? Afghanistan? A free press? Of course.
It is a simulacrum difficult to expose. For instance, no report in the new, “free press” in Russia has ever suggested that the Soviet victory in Afghanistan has been the result of one of the most sophisticated, innovative, and efficient operations in the history of modern warfare. But has any report in the good old free press here ever suggested this? Officially, the Soviet Army calls it a withdrawal. The “new press” in Russia calls it a senseless bloodbath. The West calls it a military fiasco. Everyone is pleased, except perhaps the mujahadeen.
The term “Finlandization” was once a nasty. Gold War word. It was something that would happen to Jack unless he watched out: count your apples. Jack. Now the specter of Finlandization has become a lure, as the scarecrow of old has been dressed up in the finery of a window mannequin. Jack is expected to look at Finland, or a new Finland like the future Germany, and be reassured. Don’t bother counting the apples, Jack. For however useful it is to simulate “Western” virtues and vices on Soviet territory, it is more useful still to simulate them where they already exist.
It is only when the process of Finlandization is irreversible, and Jack has no apples left, that the stark realities of lost sovereignty will come to the fore. The remaining, last apple will make all the difference as the totalitarian oligarchy contracts into a totalitarian dictatorship: Hitler’s and Stalin’s dream of an empire spanning all of Eurasia, multiplying the Western industrial base by Soviet resources, will come true. It will be a nightmare.
Even here dumb Jack has something to say, especially if he read history at Oxford. Did not Greece and Rome fall in their day, he will muse, and yet the barbarian victors came to be civilized by the vanquished?
I very much doubt that Mr. Shaw, faced with the prospect of ruinous Labour taxation, would muse about such things. The hundred-year-old cliche of a paradox is, practically speaking, yet another damnable fiction.
Totalitarianism is a uniquely modern and, as I have already said, largely unstudied phenomenon. It is made uniquely modern by the power of science and technology harnessed by an oligarchy skilled in its use. By “science” I mean not only nuclear physics, but sociology and psychology. By “technology” I mean not only the production of tanks, but the development of the means of surveillance.
The individual’s relationship to that power, seen as a kind of ratio, is infinitesimally insignificant, and this excludes all possibilities of secret organization, clandestine communication, and meaningful dissent. Every expression of discontent, no matter how “threatening,” can take place only to the extent it is permitted to take place in accordance with the regime’s strategic aims. That even under totalitarian control individuals are likely to misperceive the regime’s tactical concessions to them for their own impact upon the regime’s strategy is not surprising, since the same misperceptions dominate the pages of the West’s “quality newspapers” in the absence of such control. In rare cases, the control is taken for granted, as for instance in the pages of Sergei Grigoryants’ dissident magazine Glasnost, though it is doubtful that a Grigoryants will retain his skepticism if, say, treated by the regime as a Sakharov. The only incorruptible saint is a martyr, and martyrs are rare even among saints.
Thus totalitarianism is assured of victory. To misconstrue an English proverb, “A watched pot never boils.” And if it should boil, as it did in Hungary in 1956, all one need do is turn down the heat. It is no coincidence that the Hungarian experiment was the work of Yuri Andropov: far from being demoted and punished for the laboratory accident, he was wisely promoted for his contribution to applied sociology, and rose to become the head of the new oligarchy that rules Hungary today. Certainly without his other famous experiment, in Czechoslovakia in 1968, his successors might have made mistakes in Narodni Street.
As for the prospective “civilization” of the victor by the vanquished, this is, I repeat, the ultimate illusion. “Modern Germany,” Orwell observed in 1941, “is far more scientific than England, and far more barbarous.” Today, ultramodern science and technology “in the service of ideas appropriate to the Stone Age” are joined, in the hands of totalitarian oligarchs, by culture—in the broadest, most comprehensive sense—in the service of the same ideas. Foreign languages, theology, literature, all play their part in the grand strategic design.
“What falls off the cart,” says a Russian proverb, “is lost forever.” Once Western Europe has followed Central and Eastern Europe in surrendering the sovereignty that can only be ensured and upheld by the force of arms, it will never be able to climb back onto the cart of democracy. Never is a vague word, and perhaps I should say for millennia.
Orwell, an English Socialist, was and remains the subtlest political thinker the West has produced in our century. Listen to him in 1940:
The English can probably not be bullied into surrender, but they might quite easily be bored, cajoled or cheated into it, provided that, as at Munich, they did not know that they were surrendering. It could happen most easily when the war seemed to be going well rather than badly. The threatening tone of so much of German and Italian propaganda is a psychological mistake.
“With the general public,” Orwell concludes, “the proper approach would be ‘Let’s call it a draw.'”
I am re-reading The Lion and the Unicorn as the Times reports from Washington on a U.S.-Soviet “agreement in principle” to sign a long-range nuclear missile accord, ushering in an “irreversible period of peace.” Substitute the West as a whole for the English, “Soviet and East European” for “German and Italian,” and the new Munich is before us, surpassing Orwell’s prediction in subtlety as well as effectiveness. In the same essay:
Perhaps England needs tanks, but perhaps it pays better to manufacture motor cars. To prevent war material from reaching the enemy is common sense, but to sell in the highest market is a business duty. Right at the end of August 1939 the British dealers were tumbling over one another in their eagerness to sell Germany tin, rubber, copper, and shellac.
In August 1939, however, totalitarianism in both Berlin and Moscow was avowedly “socialist” or “communist.” How much louder the tumbling when it jettisons such ideologies, misperceived in the West as its essence, and welcomes the dealers with open arms!
Orwell was an English Socialist because he did not want to see his country sold down the river. Such idealism is not incompatible with genius.
“No one is more of a slave,” said Goethe, “than he who imagines himself free without being so.” The tragedy of freedom—not in a new, improved sense, but in its original meaning of absolute sovereignty of the individual—is that the blinding truth of this Romantic vision is finding fewer and fewer adherents. Thus those in the West who imagine Soviet slaves of today, or Chinese slaves before June 4, 1989, as more free than they had been under Stalin or Mao are themselves slaves.
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