Monday, February 25, 2008

Concerning Arthur Koestler

In democratic countries, an infatuation with communism is a somewhat common adolescent malady, one with which I was afflicted for several years in my teens. I will forever be grateful to the United States for being a safe place in which to explore my misguided ideology. In many countries, I would have been imprisoned or simply disappeared, but America, like my own father had the confidence to wait serenely as the history of a failed ideology penetrated my consciousness.
Ultimately, the Cambodian genocide and communist Vietnam's persecution of ethnic Chinese in 1975 claimed my belief in Marxism as an additional casualty, paving my path to Judaism and its repudiation of class warfare.
In my teens, my mother had urged me to read "The God That Failed." It was a compilation of biographical sketches of famous individuals who had once been communists. It detailed their process of infatuation and disillusionment with Marxism. It was compiled by Arthur Koestler, most famous for "Darkness at Noon" which was a novel about Stalin's show trials. His most infamous book, "The Thirteenth Tribe"' was very controversial because of its claim that Ashkenazic Jews are descended from Khazars and not of a semitic bloodline. DNA research has joined contradictory scholarly evidence in refuting Koestler's theories.
Despite this flaw in his contributions to modern thought, his works on communism from the viewpoint of a true believer have been priceless. Since recovering from the adolescent malady of infatuation with communism, I have realised that like measles and chicken pox, it leaves the individual once afflicted with an immunity to the discredited ideology. Now, in the ism tainted air of political discourse, new ideas overtake me like a weak virus that leaves me with a low grade fever until their contradictions become apparent.
As skeptical as Koestler was of any creed or belief system, I find that allegiance to my faith raises the possibility of discerning the fragments of truth that all men possess , leaving behind falsehood and revisiting later the unanswered questions.
What Koestler discovered in his generation, I rediscovered in mine. I have reached the weary realisation that a new generation is afflicted with the same historical amnesia that blighted my understanding. My parents generation saw the rise of the gulag and planet Auschwitz. My generation has seen Rwanda and Cambodia. What will emerge from the elective blindness of this generation?

Copyright 2008 Magdeburger Joe Sphere: Related Content

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