Last week we took a look at the first four chapters of Corliss Lamont’s explanation for why the Soviet Union unjustly was getting a bad rap and was actually a brilliant success. Any minor flaws in the ointment were solely due to American meddling and imperialism.
We were privileged to be set straight that democracy comes in many forms, including what the Soviet Union had, where democracy was merged into an interesting amalgamation with dictatorship. Possibly the greatest line from the first half of the book was that “...there is in the Soviet Union a mixed governmental system in which dictatorship is conjoined with strong and growing elements of democracy.”(Page 72).
Having learned this valuable tidbit of information about law and the Soviet political structure under Stalin, we finished up with a look at Comrade Lamont’s defense of religious freedom under Stalin, where in a brilliant example of truth twisting (worthy of ‘ole Joe Goebbels himself), Comrade Lamont explained away every single aspect of the massive, endemic, and state sanctioned Soviet persecution of all types and forms of religion. I’m sorry, I just realized that I said “explained”, a more accurate summation of Comrade Lamont’s chapter on religion in the Soviet Union would be “avoided talking about anything that clashed with his Communist ideals, and pretended that there was so much religious freedom in the Soviet Union that the entire population were midwestern church going Americans.” Other than the Wise, Intelligent, Tolerant Atheists of course. But they benevolently tolerated their lessers in their primitive superstitions.
Some may ask why it is worth fisking a book that was published over sixty years ago, has been out of print for decades and written by a man who has been dead for twenty years. Corliss Lamont was very influential in his day, and a number of his works are still in print.The arguments he used for socialism and in defense of socialism’s more honest twin, Marxism, are still in active use today by adherents of those failed philosophies. It is instructive to see just how little changes in liberal duplicity from generation to generation, and how empty and foolish its adherents’ words and practices are. What Corliss Lamont had to say is no less than what is taught in American universities today, with its America hating and totalitarian loving teachers. Hardly surprising in a man who was a director at the ACLU for 22 years.
So let’s once again enter the mind of a man who was convinced that Soviet civilization under a totalitarian dictator was infinitely superior to American capitalism, other than in a few ways that were doubtless temporary, and would quickly pass, leaving the New Soviet Man as the most notable resident of Earth. And as in the last installment, I will be appending the epithet “comrade” to Mr. Lamont’s name, as in spite of the fact that he always declined to call himself that, if it looks like a marxist, quacks like a marxist, and defends the excesses of a marxist...it's a Marxist. Or possibly a professor of Gender Studies.
The last six chapters of the book are no less brilliantly propagandizing on behalf of the Soviet Union than the previous four were. The chapters are as follows:
- Chapter V. Soviet Economic and Cultural Progress
- Chapter VI. Contrasts between Soviet Socialism and Fascism
- Chapter VII. American-Soviet Relations
- Chapter VIII. Soviet Foreign Policy
- Chapter IX. Co-Existence or Co-Destruction
- Chapter X. Final Reflections
Given the depths of Comrade Lamont’s moral, philosophical, economic, and cultural ignorance and duplicity, I have decided to deal with only one chapter at a time. So this entry will focus solely on Chapter V. Each of the succeeding chapters will be dealt with in separate posts.
Let’s jump into the Twilight Zone of Comrade Lamont’s mind once again! Where everything is so topsy-turvy and distorted that you don’t know up from down, freedom becomes a narrow minded attitude, and the tyranny of a despotic dictatorship becomes Progress and Liberty.
Chapter V. Soviet Economic and Cultural Progress:
(Page 156)“A nation which was thought to be the most backward, careless, least efficient and least patriotic in the world has checked a mighty host from the nation which has been assumed to be the most advanced in organization, morale, leadership, and efficiency.”
This chapter starts out by praising the Soviet accomplishments during the fierce battles on the Eastern Front. It lauds them for their tenacity, and their dogged persistence in defending their homeland from the Nazis.
So far so good. The Soviet army did indeed fight hard and were ultimately successful in driving the Nazis from their homeland. But Comrade Lamont isn’t content to just praise the Soviet military for their undeniable victory on the Eastern Front. No, he has to ensure that the reader knows that the Soviet war machine was the product of the massively successful Socialist Wonder Society, guided under the wise and benevolent GOSPLAN (GOSPLAN is the formal name for the Soviet body that oversaw economic goals and prices), whose apparently amazing successive Five Year Plans built on success after success, and enabled the Soviet Union to essentially on its own defeat the German invasion. Page 158 makes the rather meaningless claim that the entirety of the Lend Lease program never supplied more than ten percent of the Soviet military material.
Comrade Lamont glowingly mentions the Soviet Five Year Plans so often, and heaps so much praise on them, that I personally suspect he had a little shrine to them in his office, right between his shrine to Lenin and his shrine to Stalin.
Comrade Lamont expansively claims that the wonders of Soviet Socialism, Five Year Plans, and the benevolent leadership of Joseph Stalin had resulted in the Soviet military having “up-to-date, mechanized equipment, in large quantity and of excellent quality…(Page 158).” Going further, he lauds the “socialist economic system(Page 159)” for having been developed to such a degree that it was able to be “remarkably successful” throughout the war.
He kindly throws America a sop on the bottom of Page 159, when he admits that during the “last two years of the war” there were a couple hundred thousand American trucks and jeeps helping transport and mechanize the Soviet military. Then he quickly moves on to declaim more about the wonders of the Soviet railway. A total of thirty-four words are used to briefly touch on this, then Comrade Lamont hurries onto a rather lengthy paragraph of over one hundred words of hagiography on how the Soviet railways were a marvel of “country-wide socialist planning” that saved the Soviet industry.
Leaving the socialist paradise that existed solely in Comrade Lamont’s head, in order to once again take up residence in the real world, let’s briefly touch on some of the reasons why once again he was either deliberately lying through his teeth or was accepting war and post-war Soviet propaganda with a level of brain dead credulity so immense that I suspect LSD brownies. Or possibly a gender studies degree.
During 1942 alone, when the Soviets were suffering their usual massive tank losses, the West in general and America in particular not only replaced Soviet tank losses...they exceeded them by a factor of three. Regarding transportation, in 1941 alone the Soviet military lost in excess of fifty percent of its vehicles, which Lend-Lease replaced with over 400,000 vehicles from the evil western powers. From 1941-1945, Studebaker alone provided over 150,000 “Deuce and a half” military trucks to the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union’s socialist wonderland was also essentially incapable of producing the high octane gas required by the advanced Allied equipment that the West supplied Stalin with, and so had to import massive amounts of it, along with huge amounts of raw materials such as metals and chemicals that their inept industry could not produce in significant quantities.
Furthermore, regarding the extremely dubious claim by Comrade Lamont that the Soviet military was well supplied with up-to-date equipment...he once again proves that a SJW will swallow and repeat any lie, no matter how dubious of origin, if it advances their ideological cause. To take one example, the head of the Soviet artillery, a Grigory Ivanovich Kulik demanded that one of the few modern and well made artillery pieces that the Red Army possessed, the 76.2 millimeter mechanized gun, be immediately stopped in production and replaced by the venerable (i.e. ancient) 107 millimeter howitzer. A weapon so old that it was used by the Czar’s armies and was “mechanized” by the efforts of literal, as opposed to figurative, horsepower.
Thanks to this masterstroke, the Red Army was largely deprived of one of its most formidable anti-tank weapons at the start of hostilities, a weapon good enough that later in the war after it had been frantically put back into production, the Germans would mount captured versions of it onto old tank chassis and use it as their own anti-tank weapon.
Yes, the Red Army did have two very good tanks, the KV1 and the famous T34. However, both tanks (along with all the other tanks that the New Soviet Man built) were hobbled by poor quality materials and such terrible quality control that the in 1941, out of the entire Soviet tank park of perhaps 24,000 vehicles...almost half of them (44 percent) needed to be rebuilt partially in order to function, along with 29 percent of them that were immobile unless a major part such as an engine or a transmission was replaced entirely.
Comrade Lamont appears to have baldly accepted and repeated the entire Soviet propaganda about their production quotas, and in typical SJW fashion, questioned neither the numbers, nor dug into what the numbers said. Even if the American Lend-Lease act provided only about ten percent of the total Soviet military material as Comrade Lamont claims, it would have been the highest quality ten percent in the Soviet Union’s arsenal, and the ten percent that could actually function.
Soviet tanks had such poor lifespans that simply teaching a novice how to drive it correctly drastically reduced the tank’s operational life. For this reason, the Red Army tank corps was lucky to get a driver with as much as five hours of instruction. Hobbled by poor quality tanks, and crippled by poorly trained operators, the Red Army suffered massive casualties and defeats throughout the battles on the Eastern Front.
It didn’t help matters any that the Red Army had been decimated by the purges that Stalin instituted in the late 1930s. By 1938, three out of the five Red Army marshals had disappeared, along with thirteen out of the fifteenth army commanders, fifty out of fifty-seven corps commanders, and one hundred and fifty four out of one hundred and eighty six divisional commanders. Most were shot, all were most likely tortured some were dumped into gulags and shot, and perhaps a few survived to come back to the Red Army in its hour of trial. Khalepsky, the primary tank expert of the Red Army...was shot in 1938. The Red Army was left leaderless, and with a major paralysis of action, as the cowed survivors were afraid to call attention to themselves.
But what did Comrade Lamont say about this? Page 163, “Events did not bear out the claim that the Moscow Trials and general purges of 1937-1938 had fatally weakened Soviet leadership.” He then goes on to improbably claim that Stalin was justified in crushing this vast, Nazi conspiracy that threatened the Soviet Republic(he uses that word...I do not think it means what he thinks it means). Yes. And Santa Claus exists. It boggles the mind how any reasonable man could ever claim that there was anything justified in how Stalin went about this terror in during the Purge(not the movie. The real thing). Confessions were obtained by torture: toes were smashed with hammers, fingernails pulled out, teeth punched out, jaws were broken by NKVD interrogators, ribs were broken during brutal, hours long interrogations. Written confessions were stained with blood. But to Comrade Lamont? All quiet on the Eastern Front. He makes Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes look positively eagle-eyed.
SJWs will lie. They always have lied. And they always will. They are the enemy of any man who loves freedom, and they must be ruthlessly fought. Do not be fooled by pretenses of neutrality and freedom of speech. Corliss Lamont was willing to call a totalitarian dictatorship ”a mixed governmental system in which dictatorship is conjoined with strong and growing elements of democracy” and defend the actions of a murderous thug like Stalin. He ignored the excesses of a nation that had no judicial process, no trial by impartial jury, and no innocence until proven guilty, and one that imprisoned, tortured, and beat confessions out of any unfortunate enough to fall afoul of the gangsters that ran it.
Comrade Lamont then casts his eagle eye onto the economic “success” of the Soviet Union, with special attention paid to the workings of GOSPLAN and the Five Year Plans. Going over every single economic fallacy that he presents would require a book longer than Soviet Civilization itself, but a couple ones are worth fisking.
Comrade Lamont clearly fully subscribed to Marxist thought and was a firm adherent of its specific economic theory as espoused and implemented by Lenin and then Stalin. Both of whom, being murderous thugs, were of course great heroes to Comrade Lamont’s simple soul.
On page 168, Comrade Lamont says the following “Soviet and Marxist economists….(achieve) economic stability by maintaining a proper balance between production and consumption, between supply and demand.”
Yes, about that. Thumbing through my exceedingly useful copy of The Soviet Economic System, Chapter 3 (Centralized Pluralism) goes into some general detail on the massive Soviet GOSPLAN interest groups, whose private fiefdoms and power struggles vastly complicated the already impossible task of manually controlling supply and demand over an entire economy. Chapter 4 (Industrial Management and Micro-Economic Problems) goes over in specific detail some of the major issues that affected the Soviet command economy. For example, GOSPLAN sets a quota for water-pipes, measured in tons. The result? Factories built water-pipes as heavy as possible, with massive waste in materials and time. If glass output is measured in square meters, then the glass is made so thin that it is dangerously breakable. Cloth measured in linear meters becomes narrower and narrower, corrected to square meters, it becomes thinner and thinner.
Multiply this behavior by an entire economy, and it's no wonder that the Soviet economy was incapable of producing consumer goods in any decent quantities or quality. And without the ability for market signals to be received, not only was the pricing of goods terribly off, but consumer demand was unable to be signaled to the producers. Hence why, as stated in the excellent book The Russians, the people of the Soviet Union were constantly dealing with shortages and poor quality materials. To add insult to injury, frequently hours every week had to be spent standing in a long line just to get the aforementioned goods.
Comrade Lamont does grudgingly state on Page 169 that “The national wealth and standard of living in the Soviet Union are of course not nearly as high as those of America, but they would have remained far lower had it not been for the Five-Year Plans.” Note the weasel words of “not nearly”, that’s putting it mildly. While American wealth and opportunity expanded in the 1950s, the Soviets experienced shortage after shortage, worthless money, and nothing worth buying with their money even if they wanted to. A pattern of behavior that lasted for the next...actually it lasted until the fall of Soviet Communism in 1991. By that time of course it was firmly ensconced in American academia, where Comrade Lamont’s fellow SJWs could inculcate their failed philosophies into the next generation of young minds.
Page 175 talks about Soviet banks (which, according to Comrade Lamont, are far superior to sloppy American banks) extending credit to an automobile factory to manufacture cars and then holding that factory accountable to produce cars as part of its fulfillment of The Plan. Supposedly, the Soviet banking system is a vital part of the fulfillment of The Plan.
All I have to say about it’s success in this particular scenario is an old Soviet joke. A woman saved for ten years and finally could order her very first car. She went to the automobile factory to order it, where the manager took her money and said “You car will be delivered in ten years.” The woman replied “morning or evening?” Confused, the manager asked “what difference does it make if it's morning or evening?” The woman responded, “the plumber is coming in the morning.”
For all of Comrade Lamont’s intellectualizing about the wonders of the Soviet planned economy (an economy so amazing that he never tried to move there), the fact remains that the Soviet planned economy was a disaster. Its people had useless money to spend on shoddily made goods, and they had to stand in line and wait for even those. Factories made large quantities of things nobody wanted, and small to no quantities of things that people actually did want. The consumer had no voice or say in what was sold, and there was no competition for their business.
No wonder that a massive and significant source of Soviet revenues was the sale of vodka, a state monopoly. Drunkenness on the job, off the job, and on the way to the job was endemic to the Soviet people and all attempts to curb it failed.
And it gets even better. We still have multiple chapters to go! Next up is Comrade Lamont’s explanation for why socialism (Communist) is different than, and far superior to socialism (Fascist)!