In response to:
What Price Glory? from the February 25, 1965 issue
To the Editors:
Malcolm Muggeridge…in his review of the DeGaulle books…has finally elevated himself to the status of a major moral menace. I refer to his estimate of Stalin as one “of the three outstanding men of action of our time,” along with Gandhi and De Gaulle. Such an ill-assorted trio has scarcely appeared since the Crucifixion.
True, Muggeridge concedes Stalin’s “unspeakable brutality.” But he applauds Stalin’s ability to get rid of “the revolutionary riff-raff that Lenin had bequeathed him.” Presumably, this term refers to Isaac Babel, Nikolai Vavilov, Ehrlich and Alter, and assorted millions of Soviet intellectuals and Ukranian peasants…
To praise Stalin as a man of action is to praise a man who whimsically slaughtered millions of his subjects, debased the intellectual records of his country, enslaved half its science, ruined its literature, and—through an ineptly larcenous pact—led it into a war which destroyed twenty millions of its people…
Admittedly, Stalin, to save his own skin, helped defeat Hitler, after the initial confusion about who was egging whom on was cleared up. This suggests that Muggeridge adheres to the Wagner-Jauregg axiom of Politics. Wagner-Jauregg was the Viennese physician who discovered that it was possible to cure syphilis by giving the victim a dose of malaria. There are no reports, however, that he admired malaria.
For a writer to praise Stalin, who did more than any other man in history to destroy the recorded facts which alone make human communication possible, is not only incredible, it is intolerable.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 6, 1965