A Russian Woman Working as a College Professor in the US Writes About the Sovietization of Amerika
Clarissa is a college professor who emigrated to the US from Russia as a young woman, a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. She is yet another ex-Soviet bloc person who is extremely anxious about the emergence of soft totalitarianism here. Of course she can’t use her real name, because she fears professional retaliation. It should tell us something that not a single academic from a former communist country that I interviewed for this book was willing to speak using their own name — this, in the Land of the Free. Why not? Because they were afraid of facing professional consequences for speaking out against identity politics and the “social justice” regime. Below, some quotes from our interview:
I have the feeling of extreme frustration. Our stories of people in the former Soviet space are constantly dismissed. I have no idea why. I think it happens because people still think that the ideas that existed in the Soviet Union are basically good – that it was the execution that was at times excessive. My father says what happened to us was not about the economic system. The economic system was just an excuse. This could happen anywhere – even under capitalism.
Totalitarianism is something that takes away from people the unbearable burden of freedom. It allows many people to hound and persecute with impunity. That is pleasant in many senses. There was a practice in the Soviet Union where people would be told to get together in groups at work and write letters to the newspaper to denounce famous poets or artists. We see that today in Twitter. People love that because it allows a little person to completely destroy somebody who has done something great.
This is very human. Once you have removed any moral or religious obstacles to that behavior, what’s to stop anybody?
In the Soviet Union, when you were a student and assigned to write a paper, you knew that the thing to do was to go straight to the correct books in the library and copy the relevant articles, word for word, with no deviations. That was your paper. When my family left, we arrived in Canada, and I entered the university there. When I was assigned my first paper, I found it impossible to believe that the teacher really did want me to think for myself. It was an incredible feeling! To think about something, and to say what I really thought about it! It was so weird, but so liberating.
Now, I’m seeing young people who are just like we were in the Soviet Union. They are afraid to think for themselves. They only want to know what the “right” answer is, and repeat it. It’s depressing.
The problem is that many people still associate totalitarianism with an all-powerful state, and if it doesn’t come from the state, it’s not totalitarianism. What we’re dealing with now is not coming from the state. None of us are afraid that the government is going to send secret police and take us to the dungeon. That’s not going to happen. No. We’re afraid of being humiliated and deprived of a living. Of being a pariah, of being marginalized, unpersonned, cancelled. You don’t need the government for that, especially in the age of social media. It wasn’t the government hounding those Covington Catholic boys, or J.K. Rowling.
h/t Natura Naturans