“The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are genuine.” – attributed to Abraham Lincoln, 1761.
Many very well meaning people, through a partial breakdown of critical thinking, find themselves peddling along themes quotes and ideas that they haven’t fully verified.
So what of this quote: “Destroy the Family, You Destroy the Country.” – attributed to V.I. Lenin
Did Lenin say it? Well, probably not. In fact, it’s exceedingly unlikely that he ever said anything in this wording, and a comprehensive search for the origins sustains this.
Ya know.. George Orwell wrote a very excellent essay, on Political Language and English; read it.
For the sake of argument, if there really does exist a Rothschild financed, crypto-Illuminati, Satanic Luciferian Conspiracy, against all that is good and holy, I’d wager that it’s most effective weapon would be peddling arrant tripe like the quote above; in the hope that the naive would jump on it, and pass it around the whole planet like a bad case of the Clap, only to be soundly refuted by anyone with a good copy of a quote dictionary, and a 7th grader’s Google Search skills.
The quote is popping up on Tea Party websites like hotcakes, having previously floated around in right wing John Birch influenced conspiracy literature for years. And yet no where did it ever dawn on any of the people quoting it to really try to determine the source of the quote, no they just peddle it around and around, like a cheap bar slut.
I call this lazy.
Now I’d admit, a close, nuanced reading of both Trotsky and Lenin will eventually yield up sentiments that echo some general themes compressed in the quote above. The quote evokes a Revolutionary necessity, of destroying the forms of what many Marxists saw as the bourgeois family. So the general sentiment the quote evokes – given that classical Marxism is explicitly international, aiming at World Revolution, and the eventual eradication of national and country boundaries and social forms like the nuclear family – does exist in Marxist literature.
But no where can I find any indication whatsoever that Lenin actually said what that quote attributes to him. This makes the quotation itself a lie, a political lie in essence.
In Trotsky’s case he did at times explicate a desire to see the bourgeois form of the Family eradicated. And even if not explicitly stated, anyone who has hung out in social radical or even progressive circles long enough will notice a certain unease with the form of the modern Western patriarchal and nuclear family, and a friendliness to alternative forms of the family, in a few extreme cases the classical promiscuous marriage in common as a social norm and the children raised centrally, not many folks seem to believe in this but you will come across one, now and then. It’s an old trope, going back to Plato’s republic, and not only Marxian Socialists but also Fabian Socialists have at times expressed a desire for this. As to people in such circles, in whom a vague desire to eradicate the nuclear family may be found, often it’s emotionally linked to past trauma within such family structures – so the trauma predisposes the acceptance of the theme of the necessity for radical social re engineering, in the first place.
Many Marxists in Lenin’s and Trotsky’s era did write about and advocated a strong centralization of child rearing – socializing child-rearing in common – as well as socialized common marriage in the form of free love, essentially a ‘marriage in common’ in which each woman is effectively, theoretically, married to each man if and when she desires, or he desires, sex. In essence socialized promiscuity. Which is rather close to the mating situation in many Western and Northern European societies, in which couplings are typically short lived, from a few months or a year or two, and then people move on, in some cases a few weeks or days. Funny that the pick-up artist secret society meme aims at a very similar social reality as formerly doctrinaire hard-corps Marxist free love advocates and feminists, from the 19th century. That’s just one of history’s major ironies, and I find it kind of funny actually.
So one aspect of the theme the quote expresses can be found overlapping circles from early advocates of Free Love, certain socialist circles, Theosophists, Occultists, Communists, Radical Utopians, and all manners of people once considered to be quite peculiar and queer. Since many Western societies, in fact, reflects aspects of these seemingly utopian sentiments, both in greater social commitments to collective child rearing to a greater social acceptance of, essentially, marriage in common as well as non-traditional familial forms outside of the nuclear family, this reveals that history is full of irony. That many of the social activists who organized and agitated for changes in the social matrix reflecting these radical ideals were Marxists, this is one thing.
But it does not imply that V.I. Lenin actually said what that quote attributes to him.
In trying to track down this purported quote, no where have I found that: “Destroy the family, you destroy the country” or some of the variants on this, actually truly spoken or written by Lenin. In fact the quote’s sole provenance seems to be in Right Wing conspiratorial literature, originating in the late-mid 20th century, and exploding after 2005 or so on-line
The obvious lesson to draw from this is that when Abraham Lincoln said “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are genuine.” he wasn’t just whistling Dixie..