From the VG Bookshelf: The White Pill
From the VG Bookshelf: The White Pill
The White Pill: A Tale of Good and Evil by Michael Malice is one of those books that is hard to pin down. Part of the reason is the author himself. Malice, whose real name is Michael Krechmer, is a Ukranian-American author and podcaster. He is also a self-described anarchist with leanings toward Objectivism and libertarianism. In 2016, he wrote a piece advocating for the peaceful dissolution of the United States through secession of the states. Only a week ago, he reinforced this idea by promoting Texit (Texas seceding from the Union). It was against this background that I approached The White Pill, wondering just what in the world I was getting myself into.
Considering how much airtime Malice has given over the years to all things Ayn Rand, I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover the first chapter of the book centering around her. He focused much of the chapter to Rand’s 1947 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. This was a unique situation not only for Rand but for the committee itself because Rand was the only witness called to testify who actually grew up in the Soviet Union. Her viewpoint could offer an understanding of the Soviet brand of Communism and its goals that none of the other witnesses could give.
But this was Washington D.C. and politicians were involved and we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Before getting to Rand’s testimony, Malice gives his readers an insight into her life growing up in the Soviet Union. He focuses on her time in the university. By spring 1924, university campuses saw a purge of sorts going on as students were expelled–or worse. According to Malice this wasn’t because of political or religious reasons but because of economic class:
It was done under the slogan of ‘We will not educate our class enemies,’ Rand later wrote. ‘Thousands of young people were expelled from schools all over the country and were denied an education, in payment for the ‘sins’ of their ancestors.” (pg. 4)
This is where Malice really begins to pull the reader in. After all, is this all that much different from what we are seeing on our own college campuses now? Admittedly, students aren’t overtly being expelled over their economic status. Instead, they are being silenced–and in some cases expelled–for not saying the right things or for being accused of wrong doing without being given even a passing attempt at due process. And it is all for the “good of the whole”.
I will be the first to admit Rand was not perfect. Like any “ism”, Objectivism can be taken to the extreme. However, when it comes to the Soviet brand of Communism and its ultimate goals, she spoke volumes and our politicians and intelligentsia would have done well to listen.
When asked by Congressman McDowell about the “dismal picture” she painted of life in the U.S.S.R. and why it differed from what he’d been told by others, Rand had this to say:
It is impossible to convey to a free people what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship. I can tell you a lot of details. I can never completely convince you, because you are free. . . Try to imagine what it is like if you are in constant terror from morning until night and at night you are waiting for the doorbell to ring, where you are afraid of anything and everybody, living in a country where human life is nothing, less than nothing, and you know it. You don’t know who or when is going to do what to you because you may have friends who spy on you, where there is no law and any rights of any kind.” (pg. 14)
This is a truth our current crop of politicians and intelligentsia still fail to understand. Add in the “creators” from Hollywood, etc., and instead of getting reality, we get a fantasized world where the Collective is good and the individual is bad.
This is just the first chapter, or essay, of the book. The others follow much the same format. Malice takes historical figures, some famous and other infamous, and ties them to various Communist or anarchist groups and then back to the United States. It is an interesting, if sometimes confusing, trek through the last 150 years. Little of what he writes is new. That said, the way he keeps the reader engaged is.
And that can become a problem because the brain can forget it needs to think critically about what Malice writes instead of just being entertained, especially since so much of what he has to say will resonate with Conservatives and Libertarians.
One thing Malice does is fall into the same trap–or planned agenda–of those he condemns. He should take closer heed to a quote from Rand he includes on page 8 going forward.
The purpose of Communists in Hollywood is not the production of political movies openly advocating Communism. Their purpose is to corrupt our moral premises by corrupting non-political movies–by introducing small, casual bits of propaganda into innocent stories–and to make people absorb the basic principles of Collectivism by indirection and implication.”
This quote should resonate with each of us. How often have you or someone you know lamented about how we’re seeing this happen in movies and TV shows today? How many shows have disclaimers about subject matter that is bad for whatever reason (and I’m not talking about violence or sex or cursing). No, these disclaimers are because the movie showed what was in the source material or that was accepted during the time the show was made. But instead of initiating a discussion about how things have changed and why, the entire work is condemned and a new “message” is added. (Can anyone say Star Wars or the MCU and how they are being retconned?)
All that said, if Malice is going to condemn Communists or Socialists or whoever for using this form of action, then he must take responsibility for doing so himself. Of course, if you listen to his podcasts, subtle he often is not.
As you can guess, I could write much more about the book–and I might come back later with another post because his thoughts on the Second Amendment, Presser v. Illinois, and the “politics of violence” are worthy of a post of its own.
Do I recommend the book? I do, but with a caveat. Take your time with it. Don’t get so carried away with the prose that you don’t give yourself time to think about what he says. Question it. Look at what he says and what is going on around us. If you do, you will see he makes a lot of good points but, as with Rand, he isn’t perfect and there are some holes in his conclusions.
Feature Photo Credit: Victory Girls artwork of book cover by VG Darleen Click