Posted by Peter W. Schramm
Here is another piece on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 from John OSullivan. And some photos.
I remember the end of the "Prague Spring" as the beginning of the end of my belief in "the revolution." I am, and was, so slow to understand things. It was a few more years before an understanding of the impossibility of "socialism with a human face" was entirely clear to me. You had to be able to believe that you could say anything, distort any truth, for a greater good. Any greater good that demanded such distortions of truth became increasingly unacceptable. Ideas such as "Individual freedom comes through collectivism" and incompatible truths as that the withering away of the state would come through totalitarian regimes came increasingly to cloy and to be known as the absurdities that they were. You had to endlessly lie to yourself to remain faithful to ludicrous ideals such as those. I do not understand how anyone continued, and yet lost friends did so, to remain part of the "New Left." "Boiling ice" was about it.
Some of my students read "1984" as it was on my book list for my class. They misunderstood it entirely as something to do with security cameras in department stores and stoplight cameras for traffic violations and airport searches and confiscations of pocket knives. This is totalitarian to them, and I hope they are observing the coverage of the Hugarian Revolt of 1956 and understanding my comments on their papers.
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