It's an excellent reminder of how deeply sympathetic much of the western intelligentsia was to communism, and their resistance to seeing the truth of it willful. If there is a rewriting of the history of the 20th C in favor of America:All Things Great, there has been an even more inaccurate account that can find nothing to praise in its mainstream culture, discovering heroes and heroines only in those who correct its errors (or think so). But the rise and fall of communism, with the slaughter of at least 100,000,000 of its own people - never mind those it found to war with - is the dominant piece of history in the 20th C.
Here's a nice quote Alexander extracts from Muggeridge, after he has not only seen through all of Stalinis, but found that he cannot convince anyone of what he has seen.
All this likewise indubitably belonged to history, and would have to be historically assessed; like the Murder of the Innocents, or the Black Death, or the Battle of Paschendaele. But there was something else; a monumental death-wish, an immense destructive force loosed in the world which was going to sweep over everything and everyone, laying them flat, burning, killing, obliterating, until nothing was left. Those German agronomes in their green uniform suits with feathers in their hats – they had their part to play. So had the paunchy Brown-Shirts, and the matronly blonde maidens painting swastikas on the windows of Jewish shops. So had the credulous armies of the just, listening open-mouthed to Intourist patter, or seeking reassurance from a boozy sandalled Wicksteed. Wise old Shaw, high-minded old Barbusse, the venerable Webbs, Gide the pure in heart and Picasso the impure, down to poor little teachers, crazed clergymen and millionaires, drivelling dons and very special correspondents like Duranty, all resolved, come what might, to believe anything, however preposterous, to overlook anything, however villainous, to approve anything, however obscurantist and brutally authoritarian, in order to be able to preserve intact the confident expectation that one of the most thorough-going, ruthless, and bloody tyrannies ever to exist on Earth could be relied on to champion human freedom, the brotherhood of man, and all the other good liberal causes to which they had dedicated their lives. All resolved, in other words, to abolish themselves and their world, the rest of us with it. Nor have I from that time ever had the faintest expectation that, in earthly terms, anything could be salvaged; that any earthly battle could be won or earthly solution found. It has all just been sleep-walking to the end of the night.