‘Quiet Men’ and Bamboo Cages

 On March 8, 1983, in his morally crystalline “evil empire” speech, President Ronald Reagan issued a clarion call for the end of the inhuman ideology of communism and its most inhumane practitioner, the Soviet Union:

Let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

Citing C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, Reagan focused the free world not only upon the end result of communism’s evil, but upon its originating locus:

The greatest evil is not done now . . . in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ . . . It is . . . not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result, but it is conceived and ordered; moved, seconded, carried and minuted in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

And, as with the vile ideology itself that masquerades as a blueprint to erect a terrestrial Eden, those “quiet men” in “well-lighted offices” who impose communism’s totalitarian darkness upon their fellow human beings must never be superficially measured or “wished away”: 

Because these ‘quiet men’ do not ‘raise their voices,’ because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making ‘their final territorial demand,’ some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses.

Prior to Reagan, many in the public and private sector either sought a détente between the two superpowers; or they espoused the moral equivalence sophistry, whereby many, including George F. Kennan, assumed—over time and absent an apocalyptic conflict—the two systems would meld.

But such “nuanced” analysis lacked a fundamental dimension: morality. Consequently, as Reagan and the vast majority of the American people understood, there could be no melding of the systems, for it would both make us complicit in the crimes of communism; and diminish everything we cherish as a free people:

If history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

Reflecting upon this speech after his presidency ended and before the Soviet Union landed in the dustbin of history, Reagan—who once bluntly explained his strategy toward the USSR as “we win, they lose”—explained his linking of geostrategic and moral reasons in his “evil empire” speech:

For too long our leaders were unable to describe the Soviet Union as it actually was. The keepers of our foreign-policy knowledge—in other words, most liberal foreign-affairs scholars, the State Department, and various columnists—found it illiberal and provocative to be so honest. I’ve always believed, however, that it’s important to define differences, because there are choices and decisions to be made in life and history.

In that existential 20th- century struggle for the free world’s survival, America and the free world triumphed and transcended the Soviet Union’s evil empire, emancipating scores of millions from the totalitarian yolk of communism.

Today, as America and the free world confront the strategic enemy and rival model of governance that is genocidal Communist China, there are distinct differences in our approach to this new menace.

First, the good news. As in Reagan’s time, the vast majority of the American people understand the danger posed by genocidal Communist China’s rulers.

The bad news? There are now two sets of “quiet men” cosseted in “well-lighted offices” advancing the aims of the barbaric communist regime: Chinese communists and American capitalists.

Consider the recent comments by Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, who, Bloomberg reports, lauded Xi Jinping’s diktat of “common prosperity.” Groveling to remain in the genocidal regime’s good graces, Dalio argued Xi’s “common prosperity” would be just peachy in the United States where, due to an alleged decline in its “comparative advantages,” it presents a riskier market for investors than in Communist China. “Common prosperity is a good thing,” Dalio said. “It’s another way of saying ‘prosperity for most people.’” 

No, it is just another euphemism for communism, one more weaponized slogan in the regime’s assault on the free world and the democratic ideal. And in the lamentably long line of those who would trade our liberty and security for their prosperity, as Rebeccah Heinrichs curtly and aptly notes Dalio isn’t exceptional. Dalio is just “Another one.”

Not that those in the American political elite are slacking off in the communist China sellout sweepstakes. One need only glance at the money our elected officials’ family members, such as Hunter Biden, have made off the regime. Little wonder the communist Chinese brag about owning our country’s political class.

From the Bolshevik Revolution until the Soviet Union’s implosion, given its ideological construct the communist regime believed it would be most successful in its attempting to subvert the United States by proselytizing the American working class and infiltrating its labor unions. Yet, as was the case in England as well, the Soviet regime’s greatest recruiting successes came from the upper classes. Even then, with a few notable exceptions of Soviet assets like Armand Hammer, a wide-spread infiltration of America’s corporate world never occurred.

Not so, today. Learning from the demise of their Soviet comrades, the genocidal Communist Chinese regime has taken to heart the words (mistakenly) attributed to Lenin: “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will use to hang them.” In sum, Beijing has weaponized the West’s greed to advance communism. Thus, the threat is all the more potent because its success relies upon temptation rather than coercion. Not that people like Dalio or Hammer before him needed much tempting.

Ultimately, with the co-option of American public and private elitists, the genocidal Communist Chinese regime is steering the free world to where Lenin had vainly hoped the Soviet Union would put us:

They [capitalists] will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.

And ours.

Confronting our prospective civilizational catastrophe, what spurs the purblind greed of our “betters”? Millenia before inspiring the moral foundation of and being quoted in Reagan’s “evil empire” speech, the answer is revealed in the sagacious ancient pages as the first and ultimate temptation and cardinal sin of humanity: “Ye shall be as gods.”

No—they, too, shall be slaves of a genocidal Communist Chinese regime. Good luck hiding your nationalized golden calves beneath the floorboards of your bamboo cages.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images

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