What We Can Learn from Communist Eastern Europe About Contemporary American Life

Double Reality was the situation under Communist rule in which one knew that everything was terrible but was daily  assaulted with the message that everything was wonderful. An important difference between the West today and the Soviet bloc experience from the late 1940s up to 1989 is that we at least can complain without getting hauled off to a reeducation camp.

What we also have in the West, however, is the implementation of a left-wing idea that supposedly applied to democratic capitalist society. The Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse called it “repressive tolerance” while the extreme leftist philologist Noam Chomsky called the other side of the equation, “manufacturing consent.”

In short, for the far left today,which has more power in the United States than ever before and arguably the same point applies (at least in the intellectual sphere) to Western Europe, Marcuse’s concept covers the side of, Let them talk but keep people from listening. The dissenters are ridiculed, their ideas distorted, they are accused of thought crimes, and when possible are ignored completely Continue reading