When the Lie Becomes a Pillar of the State
It was the film’s most wonderfully stirring scene.
Cheering crowds, including newly released concentration camp victims still in their black and white striped prison garb, swarmed to meet Comrade Stalin, who had descended from the sky in his personal plane to celebrate the Russian victory over the last Nazi forces in Berlin.
“Glory to Stalin! He is forever true,” the crowd shouted and sang. They simply could not contain their euphoria.
Stalin, clad in a snow white, bemedaled jacket matched with crisp, sharply creased black trousers, slowly descended the stairs. He then greeted the victorious military leaders one by one, all the while graciously accepting the acclaim of the fevered mob.
Later, Sofiko Chiaureli, the beautiful daughter of the film’s director Mikheil Chiaureli, recalled the initial viewing of the ecstatic scene from the film The Fall of Berlin. The entire Politburo was gathered to view it.
“The film was running. My father was sitting at the back. Of course, everybody had their eyes glued to the screen, but my father was watching Stalin and observing his reactions because for him it was a matter of life or death.
“In the episode where Stalin emerges from the big plane and the whole of Berlin kneels down before him, my father saw that Stalin slowly raised his hand and then wiped tears from his eyes. Only then could my father breathe freely and say to himself, ‘I’m saved.’”
Chiaureli could breathe again, knowing that at least for a time he would not suffer the fate of Stalin’s portraitist, who was shot dead because he painted Uncle Joe’s face realistically, pockmarks and all.
Sofika added, “Stalin really did like the film. After the showing, he said to my father, ‘Bravo!’”
Then the Man of Steel said regretfully, “If only I had done it and had really gone to Berlin.”
Stalin’s wonderfully inspiring entry to Berlin never happened. The reality was the reality of Potemkinland, a fantasy conjured in order to deceive the masses.
But the fact that a scene never happened did not matter to the Soviet propagandists who wished to make up truth to bolster the Communist Party’s goals of transforming Russian society and indeed, the entire globe. The whole Soviet system was built on lies. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn was later to write, “In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.”
An unceasing attempt to establish the Lie and to destroy the truth has been as characteristic of the Left here in America as it was in Soviet Russia.
The Lie has become systemic because a reductionist ideology based on lies has thoroughly invaded the academia, the media, and the body politic. It has metastasized to the point that if it is not eradicated -- not just modified -- the body will die.
What is the chief characteristic of the great Lie that grips so many of America’s institutions? It is that human beings are on their own when it comes to the pursuit of Truth. The issue has been the same since the creation of mankind. It is the belief in the sovereignty of the individual as opposed to the sovereignty of God. For the radicalized modern, humans are on their own to make up and to act on their self-authorized reality, assuming the place of God/gods.
Propagandists, some of whom feared for their lives if they did not lie, made up a hagiography that lionized Stalin. But the stories about the Man of Steel who was ushering in a glorious future for his nation were not true. The new communist reality he created had to be forced down the throats of the Russian people, who died in the millions. The Lie lived only because millions who told the truth were eliminated.
The lie that there is no God except for the Self devoted to power and destruction is the lie behind all twentieth and twenty-first-century ideologies, all of which have an evil simplicity that reduces mankind to a singularity, be it by theories of race, class, economics, or gender.
To put it another way, the greatest lies are not one-off incidents. They are not the occasional white lie to the wife who asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?” They are not the lies wherein people of conscience say the equivalent of, “No! No Jews are here.” They are not even the lies of the con artist who still knows he is conning people. Most people who tell those sort of lies still know they are lying.
No, the biggest lie, and the one currently afflicting our society, is the total loss of discernment between what is truth and what is a lie. It is the belief there is no truth possible. It is the belief we can make up our own truth as we see fit. It is the belief that we may use power to force others to submit to the lie.
It is to the West’s great shame that its top intellectuals believed and still believe in the great lies that nearly annihilated Russia. As John Sullivan pointed out in National Review some years ago:
“It was in the West that the most extravagant lies of Stalinism were believed most strenuously -- and not by ordinary citizens but by the intellectuals who embraced or even merely flirted with Soviet totalitarianism. Some very clever people on the left swallowed the Moscow show trials whole and the myths of the Gulag as reformist prisons whole. French intellectuals continued to do so as late as the 1970s when Solzhenitsyn arrived in the West and finally made them ashamed of their willed gullibility.
As the Soviet experience fades into history, we should probably expect that its crimes will be increasingly denied or marginalized by people sympathetic to its, er, ideals.”
Sullivan goes on to point out how absurd the lies became during the Soviet purges:
“A passage on the Moscow purges and the Gulag includes the story that the director of the Leningrad zoo was accused of forcing the local corps de ballet to perform at night in front of the monkeys’ cages in order to drive the monkeys mad. What is more he confessed to the crime and was given a long sentence.”
In some circles in America today, innocent people are being harassed, targeted for dismissal from their positions in academia and the media. They are being asked to believe the equivalent of the idea that ballet drives monkeys mad and the person responsible for the madness should be put behind bars while the monkeys and their psychotherapists roam free to take power.
While the radical powers that be may not be sending people to jail for making monkeys crazy, they are criminalizing people who believe humanity is divided into two sexes; male and female. They are going after people who believe marriage is between a man and a woman. They are harassing parents who do not want their children subjected to hormone therapy and mutilation because the kids are confused about their identities as boys or girls.
Stalin at least acknowledged he was not really in Berlin at the time of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany. He still grasped the fact he told lies. He told them and enforced them because he was addicted to power.
But the new radical Left has completely lost any idea of what the truth actually is. They have absorbed the Lie completely; but like Stalin, they prefer speaking only power to truth tellers who expose their Lie. Power alone is seen as truth.
Now is the time for all good men and women to stand up and tell the Truth.
To do otherwise is to grant the victory to people who are pathological liars who see no distinction between good and evil or the truth and the lie; and who are intent on silencing those who see the difference.
Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, which awarded her the prize for excellence in systematic theology. She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many other online publications, including National Review, CNS, Fox News, LifeSiteNews, and RealClearReligion. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org