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Tuesday 18 July 2017

Dan, Dan The Communist Fibs Man

Fresh from his continued failure to convince Britons that Brexit is A Very Wonderful Thing, MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan The Oratory Man has dashed off a piece for the International Business Times making a number of highly creative claims about Nazism and Communism, as he once more pretends that the Labour Party is in thrall to not just the socialist left, but a clique of unreconstructed Commies.
What am I bid for this whopper? It's with you sir, yes you, the man with the moustache and twitchy right arm

Sadly, Hannan goes wrong at the start, as he tells “We wouldn't celebrate a statue of Hitler. So why Engels? … Nazism killed 17 million people; Communism 100 million”. Warming to his theme, while also displaying his flair for talking well, but lying badly, Dan adds that “Marx [was] a notorious cadger who never properly worked for a living”. Marx, although terrible with money, was paid well for his writing, notably by the New York Tribune. One wonders how Hannan would manage without his MEP’s salary.

Still, back to the tiresome comparison of Engels and Hitler: “As far as we are aware, neither Hitler nor Engels personally murdered anyone”. Wow, David Irving must already have put the cheque in the post. Hitler was the head of a brutal, genocidal and racist régime which systematically murdered and subjugated its opponents.
My dog's got no nose

Engels, on the other hand, was a political theorist who looked for ways in which ordinary people would do rather better than their mid-19th Century lot, which, more or less, consisted of back-breaking toil, poverty, disease, squalor, an early death, and of course no say in the way their society progressed. All those at the bottom of the pile did not have the vote, and the poorest would not have it in Britain until after The Great War.

But let’s return to Hannan’s assertion that Communism killed 100 million people: this may have several flaws, not least that it is one of those suspiciously round numbers, but we can deal with one of them directly. Those killed in Russia during World War 2 are put down in the “Communist Deaths” column. Who kicked off World War 2, and especially Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the then Soviet Union? Clue: not Communism.
Statue of Marx and Engels in Berlin

Moreover, Hannan can’t get his head round the fact that while Hitler was there at the time, and very much in charge of what the Nazis did, all those deaths he ascribes to Engels (and to Karl Marx) were down to régimes they had no influence over, having both been dead for decades beforehand. All he can manage is “Marxism is somehow judged as a textbook theory, unrelated to its real-world outcomes”.

Duly emboldened, he continues “In fact, every Marxist regime ends up being homicidal”. No, some régimes which claim to govern in his name imprison, enslave, torture and kill. But, guess what? So do many other régimes which make no such claims. And when Hannan claims “Marx and Engels taught that the end justified the means”, no they didn’t. But when you truly believe they did, that’s not a big problem.

Daniel Hannan’s numbers are deeply suspect, his comparison of Engels and Hitler is preposterous, and his analysis typically dishonest. So no change there, then.


Jeff Pickthall said...

He seems to have missed the key point that it is authoritarian regimes that tend to kill large numbers of people. The economic beliefs of those regimes are irrelevant.

Gonzoland said...

Dan, Dan writes for those who think that Engels is what people do with a rod and line, Plato is a washing up liquid and Voltaire is an electric fan.

DarrenG said...

The sad part is that when we come crashing out of the EU, instead of joining the queue at the local job centre, whatever tory is in charge will give him a safe tory seat, or a civil service position, just like mayhem did with the recent tory mps who lost their seats.

Unknown said...

Seeing as Dan blames a writer for events that happened after his death, does this mean we can blame Adam Smith and David Ricardo for the famine deaths in Ireland & India that occurred long after both popped their clogs?

Dan Hannan. Nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.

Anonymous said...

Hannan: “Marx and Engels taught that the end justified the means”

Nope: that's the line usually attributed to Machiavelli. Either Hannan had some bad teachers or he wasn't paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Dan really is a very stupid man.

And an evil liar.

But that's what hysterical desperation does for you.

Anonymous said...

>Who kicked off World War 2, and especially Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the then Soviet Union? Clue: not Communism.

I'd be careful with this one. Isn't the Invasion of Poland generally held to be the start of World War II in the sense that it made a Central European land grab into a global one? Would Hitler have invaded Poland were it not for his assurances from Stalin and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?

Your point, of course, stands. I'm merely being a pendant.

Engels isn't as strongly associated with Communism as Marx either. He himself wrote in the preface to the 1883 edition of the Communist Manifesto: "this basic thought belongs solely and exclusively to Marx." Ultimately the Communism of the 20th Century diverges from Marx and Engels in one very basic and profound way; they believed in the workers taking charge, Lenin believed an elite had to take charge on behalf of the workers.

Marx didn't coin "Dictatorship of the proletariat", but he did adopt it. He didn't mean an actual dictatorship. In Marxist theory a "dictatorship" is where one social class controls government at the expense of the other.

In 1891 Engels described this dictatorship saying, "Do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat [...] it filled all posts—administrative, judicial, and educational—by election on the basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, with the right of the same electors to recall their delegate at any time."

Doesn't sound much like Soviet Communism to me...

So Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and those deaths Dan attributed to Engels are really divorced from him in three points: 1) Communism wasn't 'his', 2) the Communism he advocated should be run by the workers not merely in their name, 3) The Communism he advocated wasn't a dictatorship, it was direct democracy.

Anonymous said...

To James, ref your first point: The clue is in Tim's use of the word "...especially..."

But the rest of your comments are bang on.

Not that any of it will matter to people too stupid or wilfully ignorant to understand it. Or those intent on distorting or lying about it. It's been that way for one hundred years.

Still, nil desperandum. The first English revolution was over three and a half centuries ago and we have yet to dispense with the Puritan deliberate confusion of property with "God". And we weren't rid of the plural vote until after World War 2.

We must hope the race for COMMON sense is won before the property Gods incinerate us all.

mirandola said...

In case you haven't seen this.

Dan goes for a lovingly described stroll over the downs of Hampshie and, to illustrate his walk, posts photos of rural Wales and rural Vermont: