When the Soviet Union existed — 1917 to 1991 — its hapless citizens resorted to dark humor in the face of constant lies.
Open defiance could land them in the Siberian gulag or a KGB torture chamber in a dank basement near the Kremlin. So they learned to joke among themselves about absurd government claims, such as Pravda insisting that the economy was surging and the collective farms overflowing with food.
Here are a couple of typical Soviet jests:
Q: How does every Russian joke start?
A: By looking over your shoulder.
Or this one:
Q: What is 100 yards long and eats potatoes?
A: A Moscow queue waiting to buy meat.
Most anti-communist jokes were not funny, just sardonic. They reflected the ethos of a beaten-down people frightened by their government.
By contrast, America’s most innovative satirical website, the Christian-run Babylon Bee, is often quite funny while drawing blood. Every week, they use doctored photos and short, punchy articles to expose the flood of lies and hypocrisy perpetrated by the government/media complex. Their motto is “fake news you can trust.”
This past week, they addressed the 41-month prison sentence given to the most famous defendant in the Jan. 6 riots, Jacob Chansley, known as the “QAnon Shaman” or “Buffalo Hat Guy.”
The Bee’s headline: “Buffalo Guy Wishing He Had Just Burned Down A Car Dealership In Kenosha Instead.”
Text: “Dude, I dunno what I was thinkin’ man,” said Chansley as his hands and feet were bound for the long march back to his cell. “I wish I had just looted a Nike store, or beaten a Trump supporter within an inch of his life, or burned down an entire city block for social justice. Kamala Harris would have bailed me out, and a Democrat DA would have dropped all the charges! I was so stupid!”
The brief article ends on a high note, however: “Fortunately, Chansley won’t be alone in prison, as he will have tons of anti-CRT [Critical Race Theory] parents of schoolchildren to keep him company.”
Often, the Bee hits many bases. Here are two recent headlines: “Fauci Hopes His Experiments On Puppies Will Distract Everyone From Experiments He Performed On Humanity For Past 18 Months.”
Next, this came: “In New Paw Patrol Episode, Pups To Face Their Greatest Foe Yet: Dr. Fauci.”
It’s a target-rich environment. Here are some of the most egregious lies we’ve been told, in no particular order:
- Attorney General Merrick Garland denied under oath before the U.S. Senate on Oct. 27 that he sicced the FBI on anti-Critical Race Theory parents (deemed “domestic terrorists” by the leftwing National School Boards Association). But an Oct. 20 memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism unit obtained by a whistleblower states that Mr. Garland directed them to do precisely that. Resign in disgrace? You are such a child.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly denies funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, despite documented evidence that he helped orchestrate grants.
- The COVID-19 pandemic was spawned by bat soup. It had nothing to do with the Chinese Communist Party’s military lab in Wuhan that makes coronaviruses more virulent.
- Anyone who opposes President Biden’s mask, lockdown and forced vaccination agenda wants people to die.
- There is no such thing as male or female. All sexual distinctions are social, not biological. On that score, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will make a fine mom.
- The Trump campaign colluded with Russians in 2016, not the Clinton campaign, which did.
- Hunter Biden is just a gosh-darned, wascally wabbit, not a serial sex-and-drug offender and recipient of millions of dollars from Ukrainian and Chinese business deals with other Biden family members. The New York Post muzzled just before the election, had no business bringing this up.
- Voter ID laws and other election integrity measures are racist, aimed at “suppressing the minority vote.” On the other hand, massive mail-in voting, “ballot harvesting,” drop boxes and weeks-long voting are fine ways to ensure honest elections.
- Any assertion that the 2020 election had numerous irregularities and anomalies in key states is “baseless,” “false,” or “debunked.” The Washington Post and Associated Press have an algorithm that inserts these words in every article if reporters forget to do so.
Enough lies. Confronting them is everybody’s business, not just professional communicators or the wags at the Bee.
On Feb. 12, 1974, the day he was arrested and then exiled, the great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn released an essay, “Live Not by Lies.”
In it, he urged his countrymen to reject the communist regime’s falsehoods and to stand together for the truth.
“The more of us set out together, the thicker our ranks, the easier and shorter will this path be for us all!” he wrote. “If we become thousands—they will not cope, they will be unable to touch us. If we will grow to tens of thousands—we will not recognize our country!
“But if we shrink away, then let us cease complaining that someone does not let us draw breath—we do it to ourselves! Let us then cower and hunker down while our comrades, the biologists, bring closer the day when our thoughts can be read and our genes altered.
“Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies!
“And as for him who lacks the courage to defend even his own soul …. Let him say to himself plainly: I am cattle, I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill.”
The great free-market economist Milton Friedman once warned Americans, “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
Sounds like the musical score for the Babylon Bee.
• Robert Knight is a columnist for The Washington Times. His website is roberthknight.com.
Correction: In an earlier version of this column, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s name was listed incorrectly in the first and second references.