Monday, March 05, 2012

Stalin's Death, March 5, 1953

On the anniversary R. J. Rummel takes a look at the butchers bill: How Many Did Stalin Really Murder? and Arnold Beichman asks why so many found the Tyrant appealing .  I add a few Unitarians to that list.

Consider The Unitarian who shook Europe on Noel Field.
So what are the lessons of Noel Field’s extraordinary life? I suppose in one sentence it is about the bewildering pitfalls for men and women of goodwill – idealistic, often innocent, sometimes naïve – who try to walk a hopeful path through a world in agony. Flora Lewis concludes her book The Man who Disappeared with these lines: “He was an ordinary man, a bit sweeter-tempered and a bit fussier and more frail than most. In other times, other circumstances, he would have lived a useful life with the normal amount of sadness and joy, failure and achievement, or perhaps even rather more than normal on the good side. But the times and circumstances were outrageously extraordinary, and he had the proud ambition to be an extraordinary person. It was beyond his capacity. He never managed it. It is not Noel but his story, which is not really his story at all but that of the way in which stronger or more self-knowing people used him, that offers special insights.”


JMP said...

Add Albert Rhys Williams as one who fell for the utopian hope of communism, supporting and befriending Lenin while blind to the "Red Terror". Later on, Rhys was disturbed by Stalin, but refused to criticize him. "He saw Stalinism as a temporary setback in a long train of history in which Communism would lead humankind to a better world."

Bill Baar said...

Thanks JMP.. these "Corlis Lamont" sort of Unitarians are the kind I remember growing up in Oak Park.