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Thursday, April 09, 2009
Dalrymple discusses the liberal idea that as long as you're strong in your beliefs, it's irrelevant to what ends you pursue those beliefs.
A recent story in the Guardian confirmed my suspicion of a lingering liberal indulgence toward the former Soviet Union. Headlined ORPHANED BY THE STATE, it consisted of an interview with Robert Rosenberg, the younger son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed by electric chair in 1953 for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Robert was then six, and surely anyone with the most minimal human feeling must sympathize deeply with his account of his bewilderment at the time. The interviewer, Joanna Moorhead, tells us that she had tears in her eyes as he related the story, thereby imparting an element of kitsch to the proceedings.
At the end of the interview he says that his parents gave him and his brother Michael “a life in which we can stand up and be ourselves and do the things we believe in.” Earlier, he had drawn a parallel between what his parents did and other people who, even today, commit acts of civil disobedience to further a cause they believe in.

It’s Moorhead’s neglecting to ask Meeropol what he thought of his parents’ cause that makes me suspect her of secret sympathy with the Soviet Union. For suppose that the subject of the interview had been the orphan of a couple executed for spying for the Nazis: would the interviewer then have let the question of what they believed in go without comment?

This is not the place to argue whether the communists or Nazis were worse (for what it is worth, I think the Nazis were worse, but I also respect the Johnsonian view that there is no disputing the precedence of a louse and a flea). What is clear is that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg supported in theory and aided in practice an ideology and a state that they should have known was responsible for some of the worst oppression and mass murder in history.

In its print edition, the Guardian chose to highlight Robert’s statement, “my parents gave me and Michael a life in which we can stand up and be ourselves,” as a callout, thereby forging an unlikely alliance between Stalinism and psychobabble. Whether standing firm for one’s convictions is a good or bad thing depends on what those convictions are. A monstrous cause is not any the less monstrous because people are ready to die for it; if the history of the twentieth century should have taught us anything, it’s that.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »