Something about our finding and killing bin Laden in his home after all these years got me to thinking about Leon Trotsky.
Yeah, I know — not the same thing at all. We’re not the USSR, and President Obama isn’t Stalin. And people knew Trotsky was in Mexico, and he wasn’t killed by Spetznaz commandos (and I think it would kind of anachronistic if he had been).
But still, it made me think of him. The mind sometimes makes strange leaps.
Trotsky wasn’t far from my mind because a while back, I started reading a recent biography about his Mexico years. I had been attracted to it by a review in the WSJ, and asked for it and got it for my birthday or something last year. I had been really curious about the story of a top icon of the Russian Revolution living south of our border, and largely supported by American Trotskyists.
But after the first few chapters, and reading all about the soap opera with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and ALL the propaganda from Moscow and from Trotsky himself over the show trials and so forth, I got bogged down.
And the thing that wore me down the most, that frankly bored me to tears, was all the long-distance ideological arm-wrestling. You know how I have little patience with ideologues. There were all these titanic arguments going back and forth between the Trotskyites and the Stalinists about who was the REAL commie, each side working so hard to delegitimize the other (with the stakes being life or death for Trotsky), essentially accusing each other of being RINOs — Reds In Name Only.
And I just couldn’t care about any of them. I mean, talk about pointless. Trotsky was as ruthless as they come, while Stalin was one of the great monsters of the century. And it was pathetic that leftists in this country would actually take up the cudgels to defend or make excuses for either of them. The arguments over doctrine — stupid, irrelevant points of doctrine argued heatedly among people who, ironically given what they believed in, were on the wrong side of history — were particularly tedious.
At some point, I need to get back to the book and see how the guy with the ice ax got in and did the deed. But I haven’t been able to make myself do so yet…