Michael Malice is an anarchist, author, and podcaster. In this interview, we discuss his latest book, The White Pill: A Tale of Good and Evil. It charts the rise and fall of Russia, its insidious evilness, how western intellectuals supported and justified the communist state from afar, and why it is impossible for those in the west to comprehend how pervasive a totalitarian regime can be.
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Ask anyone to name the evilest empires in history and it is highly unlikely that the Soviet Union will be anyone’s first suggestion. And yet, the regime is estimated to have killed 61 million people during the 20th century, most of them by Stalin. It is called democide, the mass murder of citizens by their own government, and the Soviets are history’s worst.
The killings of people throughout the Soviet empire took various forms but included executions, famine, forced labour, starvation, mass deportations and massacres. Human life was cheap, and nobody was immune from the wicked regime. And, in addition to the violence, the state employed an all-encompassing oppression of its citizens, involving surveillance, censorship, and fear.
The reality of the Russian Communist State was maintained well beyond the moment it should have ceased functioning, chiefly because everyone had been brainwashed, from workers to the leaders. That this fairytale was a sham couldn’t be hidden forever, and once the facade started to give it didn’t take long for the whole edifice to crumble away to dust.
So why has the evilness of the Soviet Union been downplayed in the west? There are many reasons, but an intellectual affinity for communist ideals is the root cause. Western intellectuals were often in favour of the Soviet Union and its goals of creating a socialist utopia, and many supported the idea of the state as a progressive force. This attitude was rife in the 1930s, but, it still has centres of support today.
That a massive country can rapidly change its governance structure, inflicting violence and fear on millions and millions of people, and maintain its position for decades despite corruption, abuses and stagnation, is a salient tale for us all. Notably, as many of the cultural elites defended the regime from afar, and, that this story has been largely forgotten.