Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More on Lech Walesa

Edward Lucas of the Economist writing on ex-President and former heroic leader Lech Walesa and the swirling passions around his political record. (Yes, Mr Lucas is right - Mr Walesa was not a very good president. In fact, he was a disaster but that is probably because he was not a suitable person for that post and past record as heroic trade union leader is not necessarily an adequate qualification.)

The problem is only partly a matter of not being able to understand human frailty as Mr Lucas says - these messy situations are bound to arise if lustration is to continue. Those who have been calling for full lustration have largely ignored one of the most important aspects of Communism. It deliberately involved everyone in the system. Nobody was allowed to stay outside it as long as they kept quiet as it would be possible in an ordinary autocracy.

Lenin was much influenced by Sergei Nechayev in his political thinking. Nechayev's idea (never fully worked out in practice) was just that - involve everyone in the bloodletting. There can be no innocent victims.

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