W.B. Yeats. Photo: National Library of Ireland

Modern prophets of revolution invented brutal slogans to justify their use of violence in order to change the world and begin a new order of justice and peace. Lenin defined a “Who,” the few active tyrants, and a “Whom,” the many passive victims of violence. Mao declared that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and seized power by killing millions of his own people. But, as George Orwell revealed in Animal Farm, revolution almost inevitably leads to totalitarian terror: new and more vicious dictators replace the old oppressors and increase the suffering of the perennial victims. The ruthlessness of Stalin and...

 

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