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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:A Fitting Coincidence

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Weighing the idea of a column on Earth Day, I learned the following amusing and thought-provoking coincidence:

Image via Wikimedia, public domain.
Unbeknownst to [Earth Day founder Gaylord] Nelson, April 22, 1970, was coincidentally the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin, when translated to the Gregorian calendar (which the Soviets adopted in 1918). Time reported that some suspected the date was not a coincidence, but a clue that the event was "a Communist trick", and quoted a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution as saying, "subversive elements plan to make American children live in an environment that is good for them." J. Edgar Hoover, director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, may have found the Lenin connection intriguing; it was alleged the FBI conducted surveillance at the 1970 demonstrations. The idea that the date was chosen to celebrate Lenin's centenary still persists in some quarters, an idea borne out by the similarity with the subbotnik instituted by Lenin in 1920 as days on which people would have to do community service, which typically consisted in removing rubbish from public property and collecting recyclable material. Subbotniks were also imposed on other countries within the compass of Soviet power, including Eastern Europe, and at the height of its power the Soviet Union established a nationwide subbotnik to be celebrated on Lenin's birthday, April 22, which had been proclaimed a national holiday celebrating communism by Nikita Khrushchev in 1955. [links and notes omitted, bold added]
The pronoucements and proposals of leftists routinely demonstrate massive evasion or ignorance of well-known facts of history of their own civilization: It's no stretch to imagine even more ignorance of the actual history of the nation so many of them idealized at the time.

At the same time, the coincidence should give us pause for the same reason the famous image of the first subbotnik (pictured) should. How valuable and to whom is unpaid manual labor?

Setting aside making a show on his part, Lenin serving as a human cog on a log-moving machine is ironic even under communism: Otherwise, why have government planners at all? Shouldn't he be reviewing a five year plan or something? (This is not to endorse central planning on moral or practical grounds.) Likewise, why spend your time this way, only to take paying work away from groundskeepers, landscapers, and the like? You are a human being with but one life to live. Let the termites recycle, and consider using your mind and your capacity for enjoyment on this day, particularly if you have it off.

That's the most natural and proper thing for a sentient being to do, anyway.

-- CAV

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