Skip to comments.The Cold War and Whittaker Chambers: A Witness to the Crisis of the Modern Soul
Posted on 07/15/2018 12:14:04 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
Whittaker Chamberss Witness was published fifty years ago during the coldest days of the Cold War. It tells the story of a brilliant man driven by despair over the crisis of our time into the arms of the Communist Party.
The most famous part of the book is Chamberss gripping account of the two perjury trials of Alger Hiss in 1949 and 1950, which pitted the cerebral if somewhat disheveled Chambers against the worldly Hiss, a man who had been Chamberss friend and protégé.
But Chambers believed that his witness was about much more than an espionage case or the sordid realities of Communist subversion.
Chambers wrote that two points . . . seemed to me more important than the narrative of unhappy events which preoccupied his readers. These two capital points dealt with the nature of communism and the struggle against it. For Chambers, the crux of this matter is whether God exists. If God exists, a man cannot be a Communist, which begins with the rejection of God. But if God does not exist, it follows that communism, or some suitable variant of it, is right.
Even if the West turned out to be successful in its secular struggle with totalitarianism, it still risked revealing itself to be a mere frère-ennemi of its great rival.
According to Chambers, communism itself was symptomatic of a much larger crisisa total crisis, as he called itthat was convulsing the entire world. Its defining trait was the Wests loss of confidence in its animating principles.
Properly understood, external freedom is only an aspect of interior freedom. For Chambers, religion and freedom are indivisible. Without freedom the soul dies. Without the soul there is no justification for freedom.
(Excerpt) Read more at firstprinciplesjournal.com ...
Communism would still be evil and vile no matter what. Erecting a replacement for God in the form of the socialist state is worse than not erecting a replacement for God but letting people find their own way for either good or ill.
Untold billions of man-hours of work, of effort, of thought, of time have been spent writing paragraphs, and tracts, and novels, plays, and movies, all to make communism look good and appear to work, all to sell the idea that this perverse bizarre concept will bring to mankind an earthly paradise, the exact opposite of what actually happens wherever it is tried.
Yes Whittaker Chambers left the world of communism, and he explains why it was a spiritual transformation, not merely political or economic change of heart.
He points out that the West’s secular victory over totalitarianism, does not necessarily represent a true break from the system. By rejecting God, Westerners end up resembling what we were supposedly fighting against.
Communism is always wrong.
I’ve stood in what was once the pumpkin patch where Chambers hid the microfilm rolls that sent Hiss to the slammer.
In Washington, DC, the homes where Chambers, Hiss and Nixon lived are still standing. However, when I was last in DC, the hearing room where Chambers confronted Hiss is closed and undergoing renovation.
I read “Witness” by him in the early ‘90’ at the suggestion of my mother. My world view changed. With his testimony particularly concerning the times of the story, I got continuity. That is, I saw WHY we are where we are now. He connected the dots, so to speak.
“a long but enlightening read.”
indeed. should be on the must-read list for serious conservatives ...
Unfortunately the Millennials and the generations which succeed them will never read this book and therefore never know the truth.
As President Ronald Reagan said "Freedom is only one generation away from extinction."
“False dichotomy. Communism is always wrong.”
agreed. an economic systems in which the government owns EVERYTHING is totally unrelated to the existence of a Divine Being ...
Also unlike today, Hiss was sent to prison two years after the hearings.
Chambers had accused Hiss of being an undercover agent for the Kremlin. Hiss vehemently denied the charges. Referring to the disputed statements between the two men, Committee Chairman J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey began the proceedings, informing both witnesses that, certainly one of you will be tried for perjury. After more than six hours of testimony, the day of questioning ended inconclusively. In an open letter dated August 24, 1948, Hiss claimed that the committee needed to end its verdict-first-and-testimony later tactics. After the hearings, many Republicans asserted that the investigation demonstrated that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were soft on communism; Democrats claimed it was a smear campaign. Committee investigators subsequently turned up additional evidence against Hiss, and a federal grand jury indicted him on two counts of perjury. In 1950, a trial jury convicted Hiss and he was sentenced to five years in prison.Always true to form, the 1948 Democrats sided with the communist spy just like in 2018 they are siding with the intelligence community traitors and subversives.
“But if God does not exist, it follows that communism, or some suitable variant of it, is right.”
I slowly came to the opposite conclusion—even if there were no God, it would be much better for humanity to act as though there were.
After the French Revolution, there was a lot of thought along just those lines.
Nonsense, why would those be the only two options.
Witness and Atlas Shrugged. Two great books by two great minds.
Too bad they couldn’t stand each other.
Chambers worked himself to death, trying to get the word out. Of course, the dissipated lifestyle he lived as a younger man, and while in the clutches of communism, took a heavy toll on his body, as well. He died young, but he died in the arms of Jesus; it will be my privilege to meet him in that great eternal day.
Correct. In the end the USSR was rich only in propaganda, secret police and armored vehicles.
It is a reasonable postulation. God either exists or not. It is binary.
If God does exist, a man cannot be a communist.
If God does not exist, man will exalt the state to the same level as God. Power hungry men will demand they be revered as God and control everything you are. Look at every communist state - NORK (Kim dynasty), China (Mao), USSR (Lenin, Stalin, et al).
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