Anyone who has read a sentence or two of Lenin’s writings will know how ugly they are. Not merely aesthetically-speaking but also ethically and linguistically. He was not a nice man.
His prose is as violent as his conduct was in life. There subsists beneath his writings, in my opinion, a visceral and constant sense of anger and bitterness. This manifests often as contempt; especially for whom he called ‘the bourgeoisie’ and for what he witness to: this class of person’s , too commonplace adherence to double-standards in morals and affections.
I am a Christian and not a follower of Lenin; nor have I political sympathies with Marxism or Communism; yet I have to say if I were told to be quite honest, that Lenin, for all his manifold ugliness making him in many ways unreadable, has some of my sympathies sometimes
But he reacted to violence and hatred, duplicity and self-righteousness with the same set of tools, but consciously chosen and used. He might have justified this strategy of his with a thought like ‘Fight fire with fire’, but however he squared things with his conscience (I doubt really whether he considered conscience to be anything other than a bourgeois affectation) he did not consider other than that ‘the ends justify the means’.
He certainly did not appear to have considered seriously that ‘those who play with pitch shall become defiled’; but he did play with it and it is, as it was for him, a truth that doing so defiles a person or an organisation.
Dylan’s variation on this proverb goes:
‘Your corrupt ways have finally made you blind’
From: Idiot Wind
A playful proverb which I saw first on a poster pinned and taped to a church hall wall says how such corruption creeps:
‘Mud slung is ground lost’
Just like the persons who answered those adverts which appeared long ago on daily newspaper front pages and offering home correspondence business English polishing courses – which were headlined ‘Shamed by your English?’ – any person who exposes to a public or an audience what is termed euphemistically, a vulnerability, will find that chink in her/his armour quickly becoming exploited and leverage of it is made by opponents against her/him.
And who has been more politically reviled than Lenin has been? Maybe a few? Mao, Poll Pot, Hitler, Stalin, but three of four of these guys were in all probability endebted to Lenin for at least some of their views and tactics? It remains, and it has to be said, that Lenin spread his poison into many wells and helped to harm many millions of people, including many seeking to slake their thirst at his spring.
A small thing to say, maybe not in his favour, maybe in his explication, is that possibly he saw too much and too far into the parts of the world which themselves are its most ugly features. I admit my own bias has entered in here in making this judgement. Because I too can feel anger and hot scorn sometimes for what appear to me to be travesties or weasel words or glaring acts of injustice and atrocity.
The difference always shows in how a person deals with such burdens on their mind. Lenin is the guy who gets beaten by the mob but who comes out fighting with blades and guns and with anything which might act as a weapon aiming to massacre the lot of them. And their families. In word and in deed.
But as for his conceptions about the bourgeoisie, about their preciousness and their precocious delicacy on the one hand and their inveterate and attritional hard-heartedness and harshness against their enemies, or their fancied enemies, on the other; I fear that the bourgeoisie generaly were like that, and remain like that today, and that in these things they were and they remain generally creatures of the world, and not of the spirit.
This is a generalisation and not an absolute accusation. One can see well the typical and ugly behaviour of our bourgeoisie in what I go on to say next. I have always considered it unmannerly to a) state the obvious when a person makes an obvious mistake, and b) nonetheless to castigate a person who knows s/he has made that mistake, and c) to consider it a duty or prerogative to punish that person, even publicly, for having made that mistake. These kindly allowances are not within the kindliness of the people I hear and see daily acting and speaking around me.
I allow them in lower classes of person, not because they show less heinous in them, but because a) these people generally have no education to speak of ; and b) they are to often sheep whose sense is to follow the lead of what is offered to them from others who ought to know better. They remain persons responsible for their actions notwithstanding, but it would be a hard uphill task to try to enlighten them so far that the truth hit their hearts, because there is so far in nurture for them to come for them to get a solid grasp of such an understanding.
Yet there remains the class of persons who foment and manipulate, even when, as much of their antics might be, it displays weakness and cravings for the spotlight, or for advancement, or for sheer revelry in sensationalism. This class of person generally has had a fair to good education; has had at least a good opportunity to attain one, yet s/he has succumbed to the world, and so is hapy to pay the piper of gossip, and assume frowsy and prissy respectability, and enjoy a simple glory in position and influence.
These will go home from a job which is no job when put beside the jobs the plain and common people work at; and perhaps eat out nightly over a bottle of wine or two, which is impossible for plain and common person to afford. In fact plain and common people serve them their dinners; whenas thereafter they settle to ‘chew the fat’ of the day with partners and friends, which ordinary common people do not have the articulation and the vocabulary to do; and beside they do not possess such extensive leisure time. Thereby the self-satisfied contemporary bourgeoisie reveal and revel in after dinner, what they would term post-prandial, private and off the record comments and judgements, prejudices and triumphs, being their personal fillips gathered viscerally throughout their day. Thse fillips asssume a tang of tittilation for the party, but often they have cost many ordinary common persons among the public several more retrograde steps towards becoming even more ill-informed and misguided into petty, and sometime bigger, prejudices and misconceptions, hatreds and sickly sentimentalities. Too often the trick has been to pose, and set-up, aunt sally villains against snow white held-harmless heroes, heroines; just like in fairytales.
This, I believe is why Lenin was always viscerally angry and antagonistic against such persons. He was no Puritan; but he was disgusted. He, like the persons he was so angry at, saw his whole answer as being within the world and within the dealings of the world. I don’t think so.
It is not good behaviour to notice mistakes people themselves have noticed themselves making. It is not good behaviour to point up such mistakes publicly. It is not good behaviour to set oneself up as judge and punisher of them. There is one Judge. S/he is Regent Overall, of things seen and unseen, of things known and not known, of things knowable and unknowable.
How different is the exampleof The Psalms. Even without the Light of the Messiah the singers of the Psalms were able to find restraint and reason enough to reserve punishment of their enemies to their God. They petitioned for it, which is unseemly. They never offered it of themselves directly, at least not in the presence of their God, whilst praising him with a Psalm.
An ancient distant and foreign people, and too many would say a less civilised one than are we, the Hebrews of the period of the Psalms were able to find such levels of honourable self-denial of the gratuitous passions of their hearts; and we, we have our bourgeoisie conducting itself like prima donna guttersnipes across our nation publicly, daily, in our newspapers, on our TV news magazines and on our Radio discussions.