“It is possible that those of us who fight for the dignity of mankind will lose our fight. It is not possible that we must lose our fight.
That is the white pill.”
— Michael Malice
If one wants to win a fight, it’s best to have empathy for one’s enemy, at least for strategic reasons. That’s what I like best about author Michael Malice. He has empathy not only for those he loves but for those he loathes. Malice knows his enemies well, and he intends to beat them by telling their sordid story like never before.
His latest book, “The White Pill: A Tale of Good and Evil,” showcases the history of some of the 20th century’s greatest enemies to human dignity, particularly those from the Soviet Union. You may think you know the story of Communist Russia, but Malice is betting you haven’t fully conceived of its depravity or that of its many Western apologists.
The book is structured around a 1947 quote given in testimony to the House Un-American Activities by Russian refugee Ayn Rand. In response to a skeptical Congressman, Rand describes Soviet Russia:
“Look, it is very hard to explain. It is almost impossible to convey to a free people what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship. I can tell you a lot of details. I can never completely convince you, because you are free. It is in a way good that you can't even conceive of what it is like. Certainly they have friends and mothers-in-law. They try to live a human life, but you understand it is totally inhuman. Try to imagine what it is like if you are in constant terror from morning until night and at night you are waiting for the doorbell to ring, where you are afraid of anything and everybody, living in a country where human life is nothing, less than nothing, and you know it. You don't know who or when is going to do what to you because you may have friends who spy on you, where there is no law and any rights of any kind.”
Malice seeks to prove that Rand was chillingly correct. He succeeds to incredible effect.
In vivid and horrifying detail, Malice sketches the inhuman face of Soviet evil — stories of starvation, illness, torture, madness, murder, incompetence, betrayal, cruelty, cowardice, scapegoating, and lies — not only vindicating Rand, but also furnishing fresh perspective on an era in American history so often waved away with partisan sneers of “McCarthyism.”
Malice has done yeoman's work providing a voice victims of Communism, as well as an enduring message of hope: the good guys can win.
“The White Pill” is at its best on two fronts: one, in calling out those in the West who were complicit in (or blind to) Communism's crimes against humanity, and two, in spotlighting the intrepid efforts of individual people in the fight for freedom.
Premier among Western villains is New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who used his prestigious position as The Times’ “man in Moscow” to consistently apologize for Stalin’s brutality, while covering up the systematic and intentional forced starvation of 5 million Ukrainians from 1932-1933 in the Holodomor. Duranty coined the sinister turn of phrase, “But – to put it brutally – you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs,” in a 1933 dispatch amidst rumors of mass famine in Ukraine. Duranty won a Pulitzer for his work in Moscow. The Pulitzer board twice declined to rescind the honor.
On the flip side, Malice details intrepid individuals such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II who fought against “the evil empire.” But the stories I love are those of everyday people who escaped from behind the Iron Curtain, including the following:
“In May 1962, a dozen people escaped from the east by way of Der Seniorentunnel, ‘the Senior Citizens Tunnel.’ Led by an 81-year-old man, a group of elderly people spent sixteen days digging a 160-foot-long, 6-foot-tall tunnel from within an East German chicken coop all the way to the other side of the Wall. According to one of the diggers, the tunnel was so tall because the old men wanted ‘to walk to freedom with our wives, comfortably and unbowed.’ Their wives were done crawling.”
Malice, whose parents got him out of the Soviet Union at age two, has never forgotten what he escaped or those left behind. He doesn’t want you to forget either. While he may have empathy for evil (smart!), I suspect that’s only to protect that which he loves: the dignity of mankind. Someone must beat up the bad guys.
“The White Pill” reads as a deeply personal, unbowed undertaking to remedy a world drowning in carefully crafted messages meant to sow despair, inaction, and submission. If you’ve been feeling powerless and despairing about the political world, take the white pill, and remember that “it is not possible that we must lose our fight.”
Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 9 am-12 noon. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email email@example.com.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.
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