If you pardon the quotation from the classics, the title to this blog post comes from the Simpsons episode ‘Deep Space Homer’ from season 5 of that show. It is uttered by newsman Kent Brockman when live feed from the space shuttle shows an ant farm Homer has inadvertently broken. Kent interprets that as meaning that giant alien ants have captured the space shuttle and are on their way to conquer Earth. He of course is immediately looking at how to best preserve himself.
In that way, Kent Brockman was little different from E.H. Carr, the odious Harold Laski, and a number of other intellectuals of the 1940s, who, believing in the historical inevitability of communist domination, were quite ready to collaborate with Soviet Russia if it were to conquer Britain. On his deathbed in 1949 George Orwell was prepared to name suspected 135 fellow travellers, including E.H. Carr to ensure that they were not given positions of trust by the Foreign Office.
I do not believe in naming names or McCarthyist style paranoia or recrimination. The innocent often can get smeared along with the guilty, or the merely stupid.
But at this time, when we are faced with overt threats of violence from the totalitarian dictatorship which is Communist China, we do need to think very carefully about what communism actually stands for, and what it has done in the past.
The Simpsons, a softly satirical cartoon show we have watched for over 30 years, does give us some moral lessons. Aside from Kent Brockman and his welcome to the insect overlords, so reminiscent of collaborators and traitors, we could turn to the episode where the Simpsons and Marge’s sisters travel to Communist China.
That is an interesting episode, filled with the optimism about the future of Communist China of which we are now for the most part disabused. Homer, whilst acting the buffoon as usual (claiming his job is to be a Chinese acrobat, and getting painted as a Golden Buddha statue) does have some very informed and salient observations, like when he is bemused about how he can see emerging markets if they are all ‘commies’, and when he visits Mao’s embalmed corpse and says that he is ‘sleeping like an angel… an angel who killed 60 million people.’
An angel of death indeed.
Where do we all stand in relation to Communist China? Many decent intellectuals of the left, such as Professor Clive Hamilton, have tried for warn us for several years about the insidious attacks on our democracy. And yet we have had various of our politicians of either major party welcome donations from members of the Chinese Communist Party, and turn a blind eye to what those donations represent. Our iron magnates either stay silent or express themselves in relation to Communist China in words which go far beyond conciliatory.
What sickens me particularly is that the Liberal Party, which is meant to stand for individual liberty, and which at its foundation professed an anti-communism which is far less tolerant than my own, appear to have accepted with open arms members with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. If CCP members (probably current ones) or sympathisers are welcome in the Liberals, why not embrace active Marxists from within the Australian community?
Communism, as a form of tyranny is not dead, much as I hoped it was when I started my collection of kitsch busts of blood thirsty communist dictators several years ago (and no, keeping such iconography is not my personal insurance against Communist invasion ala the happenings of the Passover in Exodus 12.7). We should not forget it.
As T.S. Eliot put it:
Do you think that the Faith has conquered the World
And that lions no longer need keepers?