For this weeks book notes, I covered up to chapter Four of Witness. I want to focus in on the third chapter. I thought this chapter was very interesting because Chambers explains why people become communists and why he became a communist. Some of the reasons are still out there today. While we don’t think of Communism as a threat in today’s world (we are more concerned with Islamic terrorism) I think we should be worried.
Towards the end of chapter three, Chambers describes the scene where he consciously accepted communism. Below is a partial excerpt of his choice. This is important because Chambers made a conscious decision to become a communist, no one held a gun to his head. As you read this ask yourself if these paragraphs apply to today’s world:
The dying world of 1925 was without faith, hope, character, understanding of its malady or will to overcome it. It was dying but it laughed. And this laughter was not the defiance of a vigor that refuses to know when it is whipped. It was the loss, by the mind of a whole civilization, of the power to distinguish between reality and unreality, because, ultimately, though I did not know it, it had lost the power to distinguish between good and evil. This failure I, too, shared with the world of which I was a part.
The dying world had no answer at all to the crisis of the 20th century, and when it was mentioned, and every moral voice in the Western world was shrilling crisis, it cocked an ear of complacent deafness and smiled a smile of blank senility — throughout history, the smile of those whom the executioner waits.
Only in Communism had I found any practical answer at all to the crisis, and the will to make that answer work.
I think this is a very important passage. How many young activist might sit down and think these same thoughts? How many young environmentalists might yearn for a strong government that could simply force global warming solutions on the country? Remember, Chambers says that he had also failed to see the difference between good and evil. I think many who think of themselves as socialists or environmentalist have fallen into this trap. They believe anything is acceptable if it “saves the planet” without recognizing the dangers that road is fraught with.
While the Soviet Union has collapsed, a communist Russia and a communist China are on the rise. I think the book notes project has shown us that socialism eventually leads to communism. Who can argue that socialism isn’t on the rise in the West and here in the United States? We as conservatives must arm ourselves against this. We must look for those who make the same arguments Chambers did and who begin to draw the same conclusions. Then we must step in and show those lost souls where they are going wrong, and why conservatism does offer a solution to these problems.
For Next Week. I plan on reading up to section X X I V of Chapter 4. Have a good week!