meet your commie masters…

I am reviving this post, because I am lazy and it is funny.

I ran across the following while browsing through a book at home:

In 1984, when we were still fighting the cold war, Robert Conquest and Jon Manchip White wrote a book called What to Do When the Russians Come. These excerpts give you an idea of what they thought life in the U.S. would look like… after the invasion.

You will be anxious to know how someone of your particular professional and ethnic and political and temperamental background is likely to fare [under Soviet rule]. In the pages that follow, we will look into the special conditions facing a wide variety of these, of a reasonable representative nature, from Academic to Farmer, from Realtor to Industrial Worker, from Homosexual to feminist…

Academic. When universities reopen after the crisis, student numbers will have gone down. Some will be dead, some in prison, some in the partisan movement. Private, religious and racially or ethnically oriented institutions will have been taken over by the state. All departments…will be purged of “incorrect” teachers with great thoroughness. Colleges will be run by Communist-appointed functionaries, including representatives of the secret police, and there will be no “Academic Freedom.” If you are at the moment an academic with Communist or Marxist leanings, you can expect to become at least a dean or the head of your department….Sneaking and denunciation will be the order of the day, and since the arrest rate will be one of the highest in any field, you will be hard put to trust your colleagues, for you will not be able to tell which of them have become police informers, either of their own volition or through blackmail…Be generous with your grades, otherwise disgruntled students will denounce you.

Barber/Beautician. Any but the most orthodox haircuts will be heavily discouraged. You…will become standardized and paid as a public servant, under a new Department of Internal Trade. Most beauty salons will close for lack of patrons with enough money to be able to afford such luxuries. A few will remain open to serve the new Communist elite and the wives of Soviet generals.

Dentist. The level of dental care in the population will fall. Dental stocks will dwindle and dental equipment will deteriorate for lack of spare parts. Dental techniques will become basic, with extraction taking precedent over filling. Denture will be poorly made and ill-fitting when available. Extractions will be performed without anesthesia because of the absence of supply. Many dentists will give up in despair.

Environmentalist. No public organization, demonstration, or other activity will, of course be permitted. As for nuclear power stations, they will be developed to the limit. No sort of objection to them will be permitted under any circumstances. However, there will be one area in which improvement will have been made: the shortage of private cars will mean less pollution from gasoline.

Funeral Director. Services will be speedy, drab, and uniform. Atheist forms of committal will be encouraged, religious forms banned or perfunctorily performed. Only in rare cases will services be carried out in churches or other religious buildings, the majority of which will be closed. However, Communist burials, while lacking frills, will at least be inexpensive.

Garage Employee. There will be very few cars on the roads and consequently no need for a large number of as stations….Although there are fewer cars, production and servicing standards will be such that motor mechanics’ skills will be saleable on the balck market. And you may also try your hand at, and profit by, the repairing and refurbishing of bicycles.

John Birch Society Member. Your life will, of course, be automatically forfeit.

Lawyer. Lawyers, will, in general, be regarded as a hostile class element. This will be more so in their case because so many of them are…concerned with rights, balances, constitutionality, and common law – all totally opposed to the Communist principle. Casualities, therefore, will be high.

Librarian. Your old reference books, such as encyclopedias, will be withdrawn and pulped. You should keep handy a pair of sharp scissors and a supply of paste , as you will have to cut out or replace those entries that become politically inconvenient – a normal Sovier practice. As the years go by, even the more harmless books on your shelves will be gradually replaced. as works commissioned and printed by the State begin to appear in adequate numbers. If you can safely save an secret some of the books that are being discarded, well and good; although your superiors will be on the lookout for this, and it may be hazardous for you or your friends to be caught reading them.

Pet Shop Owner. It is unlikely that families will be able to spare any scraps of food for feeding pets, let alone extra money for grooming them or purchasing accessories. Most cats and dogs will have to be put to sleep or allowed to run free and take their chances. After the fighting stops, there will be a serious infestation of ownerless dogs running in wild packs with which authorities will have to deal. Owners of pet shops should lose no time in making plans for alternative employment.

Psychopath. If you are able and prepared to control yourself in all matters where you might offend authorities, a wide field of activity of a type you will find rewarding will remain open to you. Those not afflicted with consciences will be in demand not only to occupations offering opportunities of violence, but also in all other institutions, where it will always be possible to denounce anyone who stands in the way of your desires or to blackmail them into submitting. Indeed, the Soviet system…has been described as a psychopathocracy. If your condition is of the right type, you may rise very high indeed in the new hierarchy.

Sadist. Although the secret police will have some use for torturers, such positions are unlikely to be open except to men with political acumen and training, but low-grade thugs, known as “boxers,” are often employed for routine beatings….If you apply for the post of an executioner, you might be enrolled in one of the municipal firing squads. Your opportunity to carry out individual executions, if that is your taste, will probably be somewhat limited. The traditional Soviet method of executing single offenders is by means of a bullet in the back of the neck and is invariably conducted neatly and expeditiously by a specialist of officer rank. Mass executions are bound, of course, to occur, and you may well be given a chance to participate in some of them.

Just as airlines hope that their passengers will never have to follow the instructions they give you on what to do in case of a disaster, so we, for our part, hope you may never have to follow the advice we have given you in the preceding pages. But time is running short. We would be deceiving you if we pretended that the nightmare we have described is not a real and deadly possibility….

My good friend google informs me that Robet Conquest is a pedigreed scholar, specializing in Russia. His last post was at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a traditional home of anti-Communist scholarship on Russia. George W. Bush showed us all, once again, how much he values good scholarship by awarding Conquest the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. And I am proud beyond measure to announce that Mr. Manchip White is a creative writing professor at a University that I attended.

I have read this thing a few times trying to figure out where, exactly, I should focus my disdain. As much as I want to believe this book was a massive joke, I mean it was written in 1984 for christ’s sake, it was not. These guys actually believed this stuff – in 1984. NINETEEN-EIGHTY-FOUR!!

I don’t even know what to say. But I do know that there is a glass of Blanc de Bois and a nice piece of chocolate screaming for attention. Ciao.


Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever. – Aristophanes [424 B.C.]


~ by aikaterine on August 5, 2007.

2 Responses to “meet your commie masters…”

  1. I’m interested in which parts of the excerpt get you so worked up and why?

  2. One of the first things I noticed was

    “from Academic to Farmer, from Realtor to Industrial Worker, from Homosexual to feminist”

    Kind of nitpicky, but

    (1) Academic to Farmer – o.k. I get it white collar to blue collar

    (2) Realtor to Industrial – again white collar to blue collar

    (3) Homosexual to feminist – What do these things have to do with one another? How do they fit in to the previous two comparisons? Knowing that these guys are right-wing christian types, I find it interesting that they compare the two.

    But to the meat of the text. I should say that the authors were addressing communism as a whole (not just Soviet communism); the excerpt does not make that clear. There are most certainly problems with communism; lots of problems the way that it was practiced in Russia. There are also problems with democratic capitalism, lots of problems the way it is practiced in the U.S..

    The whole excerpt is, at best, blatantly one-sided and extremist; and, at worst, it is patently false and designed to scare people into hating communism.

    Brilliant scientists, authors and artists have come out of communist countries. People do get hair cuts, fillings, and education. They do have pets.

    But the sections on Psychopaths and Sadists are just absurd. Are there people who actually believe that communist governments always show favor to psychopaths and sadists?

    We have an ethical obligation to give the “opposing” view the benefit of the doubt. To address their best arguments with our best arguments. Not take the worst lifeboat cases, spin them into something scary and pass it off as “reasonable representative nature.” These guys should have known better.

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