Skeptics of America Who Swooned For The USSR

Unheeded Warnings In History

In his book Political Pilgrims (Oxford University Press 1981), Paul Hollander talks about alienated Western intellectuals who visited Communist countries such as the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and North Vietnam in search of a better society. These intellectuals poured out praise for regimes that had killed large numbers of their own people, put political prisoners in labor camps, and indoctrinated the average citizen. As Hollander says “It seemed that they (the intellectuals) had a tendency for a selective preoccupation with various historical and social events and issues while allowing others to bypass them completely. I was struck by a puzzling juxtaposition of insight and blindness, sensitivity and indifference.”

How could these political pilgrims not see the underlying reality of the countries they visited? Hollander quotes a former admirer of Mao’s China, Jonathan Mirsky, who wrote in 1979 of his attitudes in 1972: “Throughout our trip…we sheathed the critical faculties which…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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