- - Monday, November 16, 2015

Here comes another defense of the Hollywood conscience. The Hollywood conscience is different from the conscience of others. Where but in Hollywood would it be fashionable to justify the betrayal of friend and country as conscience abused.

Rationalizations proliferate. Being a Hollywood Communist in the years leading up to World War II (and even after) was simply indulging in a little “progressive” activism. Denying that affiliation before Congress and the public was merely an indiscretion. Suggesting, as in the new movie about Dalton Trumbo, a popular and gifted screenwriter, that his Communist affiliation had only tangential ties to the Soviet Union, is the greatest lie of all.

It’s clear now that the infiltration of Soviet spies during the 1930s and 1940s was an important tactic in the world struggle leading to World War II. Even more important was the penetration of Communist ideology into honest attempts to create a just society. The excesses of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, short-circuiting civil rights, in no way vitiate the immorality of those who took up the cudgels for Communism.

Nor was it any kind of personal betrayal by the few Hollywood notables who risked their reputations and their careers before an onslaught of calumny when they publicly disclosed what and whom they knew as part of the Communist conspiracy. In fact, many, if not most, of the Hollywood “men and women of conscience” refused to acknowledge their Communist identities, and worse, continued to lie about it. More ironic still, they made millions masquerading under other names to avoid the Communist label so they could exploit the capitalism they said they despised.

They insisted, and many Americans swallowed it whole, that their enthusiastic endorsement of the Stalinist cause had nothing to do with the horrors of the Soviet regime and the death of 20 million dissidents. A cursory look at the twists and turns of “the Communist line” disproves the tale that American Communists had little if anything to do with the Kremlin. Communist publications tried to justify the twists and turns even when they became ridiculous. For example, embracing Hitler as an ally of Stalin in 1939, enabling the outbreak of World War II, and after the Hitler-Stalin pact crumbled, abandoning overnight the idea that World War II was “an imperialist struggle” and then pushing for American entry into “the people’s war.”

Dalton Trumbo, safe in his lavish capitalist lifestyle in the Hollywood Hills, could ignore the atrocities of the Soviet Union and its aim to impose its ghastly scheme on the rest of the world. The list of the events Mr. Trumbo and his ilk could overlook is a long one: the murder of hundreds of thousands of peasants in concentration camps from 1918, the man-made famine in Russia in 1921, causing the death of 5 million more, the deaths of another 6 million Ukrainians during the man-made famine of 1932 and 1933, the Great Purge from 1937 which killed almost 690,000 people, the deportations of Poles, Ukrainians, Moldavians, Volga Germans and Crimean Tatars from 1939 to 1945. All were ignored or excused by Communists the world over.

The movie’s phony story of Dalton Trumbo’s suffering for ideals is ultimately a tale of righteous boredom. Only Hollywood’s demented view of itself, the world and world politics explain why such a movie could be made at all.

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