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4 Things I Learned From Bill Whittle’s History Of Soviet Russia

Bill Whittle's show on Daily Wire
Image CreditDaily Wire Plus / screenshot

Bill Whittle’s newest season of ‘What We Saw’ on Daily Wire Plus dips its toe in the oceans of blood Russia’s Communist revolution released.


The true crime genre is not big enough for what Communists and socialists did in Russia in the 20th century. It demands a new genre — perhaps call it true horror.

Bill Whittle’s newest season of “What We Saw” on Daily Wire Plus dips its toe in the oceans of blood Russia’s Communist revolution released. It’s grisly and difficult to take in. Whittle attempts to quantify the myriad forms of mass killings by comparing their death tolls to the erasure of several U.S. cities, yet still the numbers are numbing.

What’s not numbing is the question he includes in the season’s trailer comparing the Nazi Holocaust with the Soviet mass murder of an estimated 20 million: “Why are we encouraged to never forget one, and then intentionally taught to forget the other?”

As Whittle points out in episode one, all educated people know immediately what images like these depict:

But how about here?

Daily Wire Plus / Screenshot

That’s the Kommunarka “shooting range,” where during Russia’s Great Terror an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 people were dumped after being murdered by the state. It’s a mass grave that today sits near a busy highway. Before being used as a mass dumping ground for victims of Communism, it was the recreational country estate for a Russian chief of secret police.

“Many of the people who called for the execution of people that they knew to be innocent were later executed themselves, and dumped here,” Whittle notes.

While it’s difficult to probe such manifestations of supernatural evil, doing so should be required of every human being. That’s because we need to look at evils like these and attempt to understand how they happen and what they say about human nature and history. Such knowledge is a fortification against it happening again — creating, for example, common knowledge that evil and corrupt governments often baselessly accuse their opponents of terrorism.

Here are four other things one can learn from studying Soviet history, as horrifying as that exercise can be.

1. Misery Is Normal in Human History

It’s shocking but true that the Soviet empire lasted a long time even as it engaged in mass murder and slavery. Its collapse in the 1980s and 1990s was a shock to most observers. That means this evil empire lasted something like 70 years — in fact, in some sense persists today, as Russia is not a free or happy country now, either.

This is normal in human history. It’s hard to believe that when you’re an American and all you’ve ever known is clean and hot water coming out of the tap at a turn. But it’s also important to keep in mind. For one thing, it produces appropriate gratitude. For another, it should discipline hasty desires to “tear it all down,” and cultivate contempt for people who use the same lying words and policies as Communists.

2. People Are Not Innately Good

A heck of a lot of people somehow believe that humans are innately good. That any instance of evil is attributable to having been bullied or victimized in some way, or perhaps potty trained badly by one’s parents. Everything that goes wrong isn’t due to the moral choices of an individual or group of people but to their circumstances. They are poor, so they steal and murder. Excuses, excuses.

Soviet Russia is a tire iron to the back of that idea’s head. There can be no excuses for what the Communists did. No amount of bad potty training or poverty can excuse the mass murder of 20 million people and the enslavement of countless tens of millions more in gulag concentration camps. Nothing can excuse the compliance and assistance of tens of millions of other Russians with such a system.

Add to this that mass murder is not an isolated incident in human history. The pharaohs, Iroquois, many African tribes, Communist China, Nazi Germany, the ancient Babylonians, the Aztecs, and many other civilizations also engaged in mass murder and chattel slavery. This is a recurring feature of human nature. That’s a clear historical warning to all of us that yes, it could happen again, it could happen here, and we must never, ever make excuses for evil.

3. Socialists, Nazis, and Communists All Make the Same Hell on Earth

It’s popular today to believe that socialism is nice. That’s because most Americans haven’t learned any historical facts, including that both Nazis and Bolsheviks were socialists and believed their evil deeds would bring about a socialist paradise.

The truth is, socialists, Nazis, and Communists engage in furious infighting, but they’re all ultimately on the same side. They fight with each other, not because they disagree about collectivism, but because they all want to be on top of the dogpile of bodies their sister collectivist ideologies cause. Communists are Nazis are socialists are communists.

Socialist true believers will seek their collectivist ends “by any means necessary,” including government-sponsored terror, killing fields, and concentration camps. Anyone who proclaims himself a socialist in the face of historical facts about the hell on Earth socialism has always produced is a fool and fellow traveler, if not a covert supporter of mass terror.

4. We’d Better Keep America From Full Socialism

Let’s be honest: The United States is already partly socialist. We’re a pension plan with an army, as Andy Biggs noted, and every few years some other collectivist program that ratchets up the socialism is increased or enhanced, like Obamacare.

In 2023, three-quarters of non-interest federal spending was transfer payments. Federal spending consumes a quarter of everything Americans spend or produce in a year. It reaches much more than that because of the federal government’s amazing regulatory power to commandeer every industry, to the point that President Barack Obama bragged about dictatorially running the nation with, not Congress, but “a pen and a phone.”

The administrative state is turning the United States into yet another collectivist enterprise. When the money printing no longer can paper that over, what then? Looks like that incompetent and collectivist administrative state is teeing up a scapegoat: “domestic extremists” who cling to their “guns and Bibles.”

New episodes in Whittle’s series drop Wednesdays on Daily Wire Plus.

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