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I dont subscribe to the idea that individual men and ideas are the engines of history.....
By:  Robert_Wyatt (Gamers; 8816)
Posted on: 07-16-2020 12:01.
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I use "pathogenic" in the sense that simply being exposed to ideas is enough to send someone down the beaten path of ideology. "Great Men" and "Manifestos" are created from mass political movements from the ground up, they're not dictated from the top down.

The Protestant Reformation didn't happen because a man, Martin Luther, nailed a thesis to a church. It happened because millions of people were fed up with the corrupt Catholic Church. Anything written in Martin Luther's theses was in the minds of everyone else who was also rejecting the church's authority. People didn't read a political theory and agree with it and then follow some dictum after exposure to it, Martin Luther came to represent the mass political movement recognizing its own existence and exercising its political power.

Stalinism didn't happen because Stalin was buddies with Lenin and because Lenin read Marx and so they decided to go and "do a Communism". Centuries of depraved absolutism from the Tsar, codified unenlightenment, crushing poverty, WW1 and the abandonment of and eventual betrayal by the modernized Western monarchies and liberal governments pressed Eastern Europe into forging their own path forward to modernization by any means necessary. Stalin was the manifestation of that political current.

Similarly, WW1 and the absolute rape of Germany's coffers by the West, the complete and utter societal collapse of the liberal government and the mass radicalization of German society could have only ended in one of two ways: Fascism or Stalinism. A book, be it The Protocols or Mein Kampf, is ancillary.

Every society within these power vacuums needs a scapegoat. If there were no Jews in Germany it would have been someone else, and it was someone else as Germany liquidated Jews along with Liberal Germans, Socialists, Slavs, homosexuals, and anyone deemed unnecessary. Similarly, in the USSR it was the nebulous "bourgeoisie" which ended up being any and everyone they saw fit. In Cambodia it was the Vietnamese before it was the city dwelling Cambodians before it was Muslim Cambodians before it was Cambodians who wore glasses....

All of these examples have a significant thing in common: the destruction of old ways of thinking, old ways of organizing society in the attempt to modernize.

Good Marx quote that fits the bill: "Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one."