When will you lose faith in the new administration?

One of my recent posts was ostensibly on Obama’s cabinet choices, but was in reality an excuse to quote from Bernstein’s Candide and use the word contra in a sentence.  This post is a thinly-veiled excuse to quote from the interesting but little-known 1955 novel, Cards of Identity. Here, one of the narrators is discussing his time in a monastery, where the monks are all former Communists:

The outside world is full of ex-Party members … and they spend their lives fighting an exhausting battle of suspicion and hatred centring upon the question: ‘At what date did you break with the Party?’  Each heretic believes that he alone broke precisely at the moment when the eau-de-vie of Communism changed to the ditch-water of absolutism; those who broke before him he regards as renegades, those who broke after, as charlatans. … The brother in the cell on my left is a so-called ‘Thirty-niner’: he went out of the party with the Stalin-Hitler pact.  The brother on my right was ‘out in the ’45’, as we put it; and there are some who made their breaks even later, as well as a few who actually broke with Lenin in the battle with the Mensheviks.  Frankly, I think that to make a break before an autocracy has even been established is as silly as getting a divorce before one has been married, but I shall not press the point.


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