Archbishop Duranty

When, writing in Bloomberg News, George Walden begins his review of a new book on the colossal Mao-manufactured famine that was among the most hideous atrocities of the twentieth century, he does so in a curiously forgiving way:

When Julie Nixon Eisenhower met Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1976, she wore a Mao badge — and thought it fun. More recently, the Archbishop of Canterbury [Rowan Williams] lamented the loss of a China that, under the chairman, had “guaranteed everyone’s welfare.”

After “Mao’s Great Famine,” Frank Dikotter’s chronicle of how that regime killed at least 45 million people in what he calls the greatest man-made famine the world has seen, no one will have any excuses for modish Maoism.

That’s too kind. No-one had had much of an excuse before, either. The horrors of Maoism have been well-known for decades, and the famine the Chairman created has been well chronicled (a good starting point is Jasper Becker’s brilliantly furious Hungry Ghosts from 1996).

One shouldn’t perhaps make too much of Julie Eisenhower’s fashion faux pas (Mao, after all, was, like the badge that bore his face, in some sense a Nixon family trophy), but the case of Rowan Williams is something else altogether different. All too often this over-promoted, and somewhat malevolent, parson is treated as a good-hearted holy fool. He is anything but. Williams, who has described himself, with sly self-deprecation, as a ‘bearded lefty’ is in reality an unpleasantly hard line ideologue. He would have known perfectly well about the hecatombs of Chinese communism (if you look at Williams’ words in their original context you can see that he is specifically referring to the time before the Cultural Revolution, in other words to a time that included the great famine), but this revolting prelate either didn’t care – or he felt that it was an inconvenient truth that could not be allowed to muddy the image of the egalitarian ‘social justice’ he is always so busy promoting.

Or both.

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5 Responses to Archbishop Duranty

  1. Panglos says:

    You have to break eggs to make Foo Yung
    (and how wholly unholy)

  2. icr says:

    We all know that only mass murders committed by purported right-wingers are long remembered or taken seriously at all. This has been going on for about four generations. Even at the height of the Cold War the Holodomor and the Gulag were hardly discussed at all outside the pages of the old-and far better-National Review.

  3. Black Death says:

    Maybe he’ll have a kind word for Pol Pot next time

  4. Jack says:

    Another book on manufactured famines has just been published. Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia since Live Aid by Peter Gill.

    This tells the story of how leftist manufactured a famine in Ethopia, and how the west made things worse by providing food.

    While people are saying that religion causes violence, nothing religious persons have done compare to the slaughter caused the athiests Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and their followers in the 20th century.


  5. Andrew Stuttaford says:

    Jack, Hitler was almost certainly not an atheist. I posted a bit on this topic a while back here:

    On the wider topic you raise, we could debate for a long time whether 19th and 20th century communism was a religion (I would argue that it was), but we also have to look at the question of technology. At least part of the reason that the totalitarians of the last century were able to arrange for the deaths of so many more people than the zealots of previous eras was the simple fact that they now had the technical means to do so.

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