Features March 1988
Thinking about “Witness”
On Whittaker Chambers’s Witness.
Almost all of the prophecies of Marx and bis followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful, any more than it did in the case of chiliastic sects: fir it is a certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed “historical laws,” but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense Marxism performs the function of a religion, and its efficacy is of a religious character. But it is a caricature and a bogus form of religion, since it presents its temporal eschatology as a scientific system, which religious mythologies do not purport to be.
—Leszek Kolakowski, in Main Currents of Marxism, Volume III
At this distance in time the mentality of the Communist-oriented intelligentsia of the Thirties and Forties must strain the comprehension even of those who, having observed it at first hand, now look back upon it, let...
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