Clipped From The Guardian
PSYCHOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS But, valuable as it is to have thiB, even more important is the account of and judgment upon what may be termed the psychological and material foundations of the regime. The worship of science, the significance of the new incentives to production, the effect of the provisions for health and education and security, the decay of the orthodox relifdons. the meaninir of the dictator. ship, the place of the leader in the new society an these are discussed with a freshness and vigour which it is im possible to overpraise. And the whole picture is drawn in an arresting contrast contrast with the formula of Western civilisation as we know it, which gives point and significance to the whole. It is not, one may urge, too much to say that this part of Mr. and Mrs. Webb's book will raise the discussion of the import of Soviet Russia to a new plane. Certainly no one for a long time to come will be entitled to argue about it who is not fully familiar with the case they have here made. This does not mean that they will win anything like assent to the views they lay down. One may agree with them that Soviet dictatorship cannot be usefully compared with that of Hitler or Mussolini; one may admit, also, that there is a vital sense in which it has added to the freedom of millions of human beings. Nevertheless, Nevertheless, one emerges from their attempt to soften the rigours of proletarian dictatorship with the sense that the power of the party in office, is set in terms of ruthless standards careless of the individual claim to self-realisation. self-realisation. self-realisation. Their own stinging account of the "disease of orthodoxy" is sufficient proof of the cost involved in the system. They are, no doubt, right in their conviction that the victory of Stalin over Trotsky was the victory of common sense over impossibilism ; bnt to show what dictatorship means there ought to have been a much more careful account than we find here of the Tammany Hall methods by which Stalin won. The testimony of Mis. Strong to his wisdom is interesting, and important; but the testimony of Ambassador Joffe, not here referred to, has a significance that Mr. and Mrs. Webb do not weigh. Nor do they deal adequately with the problem of the liquidation of the kulaks. Granted the end, the means no doubt followed, but, also, granted Hitler's premiseSj. it is not difficult difficult to iustifv hta .reatmenf .- .- nf -ft, -ft, Jews. So with the Kirov trial. When all that can be said has - been said the fact -still -still remains that scores of people were shot - without - one jot of evidence being produced to connect them with the assassination which involved their death. Granted that,' many of them were "involved in conspiracies conspiracies against the Soviet Union, one is still left .with the sense that there was more' indignant"-revenge indignant"-revenge indignant"-revenge than careful justice., in what- what- occurred. There are many such points (often important "points) to be made.' ' Mr.-and Mr.-and Mr.-and Mrs. Webb axe often . more ingenious than convincing in meeting their impact. , '