Trudeau in London:  Reflections on Communism

Category:  Historical Reprints.
SourceStraight Talk! The Official Bulletin Of The Edmund Burke Society.
Editor:  Joseph A. Genovese
Associate Editors:  F. Paul Fromm, D. Clarke Andrews
Typist:  Veronica O’Hare
Distribution Manager:  Jeff Goodall
Writers:  EBS members and friends
Directors:  The Council of the EBS
Volume I Number 4, January 1969

The Edmund Burke Society is a conservative organization unaffiliated with any political party.  We are dedicated to the principles of individual freedom and responsibility, free enterprise, and firm ACTION against all tyrannies, especially Communism and all its manifestations in Canada and abroad.

The E.B.S. is financed mainly through small donations from generous Canadians.  Straight Talk!  is produced by voluntary labour.  Straight Talk!  is authorized as second-class postage by the Post Office Department of Ottawa and for payment of postage in cash.


Trudeau in London:

Reflections on Communism

On the occasion of the Prime Minister’s visit to London for the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, the press had itself its usual ball reporting on the “impact” of our national “swinger” on the British public.  It also reported on the more serious confrontation of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau (“We do have to put up with some bums in the Liberal Party”) with a few hundred Canadian students studying in the United Kingdom.  It was on this occasion that he was asked a direct question re Marxism.  According to the transcript published in the DAILY STAR (January 13), it went something like this:

“QUESTIONER:  What society would you choose to make Canada?  Socialist or capitalist?

TRUDEAU:  Labour Party Socialist, or Cuban Socialism, or Chinese Socialism — Socialism from each according to his means?

QUESTIONER:  From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.  Would you support that?

TRUDEAU:  Yes, in theory, but not entirely in practice … (Editor’s Note:  the TELEGRAM’S Peter Thomson deleted the key word “entirely” from his report.)

QUESTIONER:  Would you support Communism?  Would you consider that ideal?

TRUDEAU:  Yes, I would, in a better world.  I think that small societies, religious societies, Kibbutzim, people living in primitive societies, can work these things out … I do not think it is workable under present circumstances … But if you ask me if it is an ideal, a beacon, something which the world should have, yes, I think it is … but if we were only saints, we would have this society, but we ain’t” (sic).

MYTH v. REALITY

The official theory of the Soviet dictatorship is that the absolute despotism of the Communist Party (“dictatorship of the proletariat”) represents the Socialist “stage” which will usher in the utopian paradise (“Communism”) when men are “perfect” and the government (“the state”) will “wither away”, because it will no longer be needed.  This is Marxist mythology, not the Red reality.  Trudeau’s interlocutor gave him an out when he settled, at Trudeau’s prompting, be it noted, for this spurious definition of Marxism (“from each according …” etc.), otherwise what began as a direct question might have put old Prussian Pierre on the spot.

What is the reality of Marxism?  Lenin put it squarely on the line back in 1920 when he said that “Soviet Socialist democracy is in no way contradictory to one-man rule and dictatorship … a dictator sometimes fulfils the will of a class.”  So did Mao Tse-tung in 1930 when he wrote, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

As for those fantasies about a “Communist” utopia with the state withering away, and all contributing according to his means, etc., it would be well for us to remember that “The language of Communism … is not so much a means of explaining to an unbeliever what Communism means, but an armory of weapons and tools intended to produce support or dissolve opposition to communist policies on the part of people either hostile or indifferent to them.  The meaning of a communist word is not what you think it says, but what effect it is intended to produce” (Cf. Harry Hadgkinson, DOUBLETALK, THE LANGUAGE OF COMMUNISM, London, 1955).

The Rev. Bruce Vawter, C.M., once wrote, “There is a point beyond which cant and hypocrisy cease to disgust, and merely fascinate.”  We are fascinated.

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