Ideas that add up #79

“That was why, I think, you got such ferocious attention and hairsplitting over the text of what Lenin wrote. The attempt to dissociate the later development of the Soviet Union from Lenin’s ideas. Now, if you think of it in almost biological, or evolutionary terms, there is a thing in biology called the Founder Effect, where the accidental effect of the genetic composition of the particular animal that happens to end up on a particular island, has a profound effect on the subsequent population”

Science fiction writer Ken McLeod in Lenin in Letchworth, BBC Radio 4, 20th March, 2013

The ruthlessness of the future that the Bolsheviks were generating, was to a large extent down to Lenin’s thinking and personality. He was “the person who accidentally possessed the conceptual DNA that became the Soviet Union.”

This Founder Effect analogy satisfactorily answers the stock history exam question about the Nazi rise to power in Germany, ie would it have happened without Hitler? Answers this too: would hundreds of millions of people in China had their lives blighted by CCP tyranny in the hellish decades after WWII had it not been for the baleful existence of Mao, the “Great Helmsman”?

By the same token, all of us who observed (in my case through the news) the birth of post-apartheid South Africa feel sure that it was the happy “accident” of Nelson Mandela’s leadership that averted the otherwise inevitable bloodbath.

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