The Social Metaphysics of Communism: MiG Pilot

MiG_PilotThe book, MiG Pilot, is the true story of a Soviet pilot who defected to the United States in 1976. As a MiG-25 pilot, Lieutenant Viktor Belenko was among the most elite officers of the Soviet military. Like all Soviet military men of the period, he was thoroughly indoctrinated in Communist ideals and fed misinformation about the West his whole life. Yet through many years of observation and logical thinking, he came to see that there was something deeply wrong with the USSR. The rampant drunkenness, dishonesty and economic stagnation he witnessed eventually drove him to fly his MiG-25 to Japan, seeking asylum in the United States–the very heart of the “Dark Forces” he had been taught to fear.

The following incident is from Lt. Belenko’s time as a MiG-25 pilot stationed at Chuguyevka in Southern Siberia. Belenko’s thoughts at the time are represented in {green braces.} Again, I stress that this book is nonfiction; as in, this actually happened:

Conditions at Chuguyevka were not atypical of those throughout the Far East. Reports of desertions, suicides, disease, and rampant alcoholism were said to be flooding into Moscow from bases all over. In late June, Shevsov convened the officers in an Absolutely Secret meeting to convey grave news. At an Army base only thirty-five miles to the southwest, two soldiers had killed two other soldiers and an officer, confiscated machine guns and provisions, and struck out through the forest toward the coast, intending to steal a boat and sail to Japan. They dodged and fought pursuing patrols several days until they were killed, and on their bodies were found diaries containing vile slanders of the Soviet Army and the grossest misrepresentations of the life of a soldier. These diaries atop all the reports of trouble had causes such concern in Moscow that the Minister of Defense himself was coming to the Far East and to Chuguyevka.

The career of every officer would depend on his impressions, and to make a good impression, it would be necessary to build a paved road from the base to the helicopter pad where the Minister would land, about four miles away. The entire regiment would begin work on the road tomorrow.

It never was clear just where in the chain of command the order originated; certainly Shevsov had no authority to initiate such a costly undertaking. In any case, the Dark Forces, the SR-71s, the Chinese, the desirability of maintaining flying proficiency–all were forgotten now. Pilots, engineers, technicians, mechanics, cooks, everybody turned to road building–digging a base, laying gravel, pouring concrete, and covering it with macadam.

{It’s unbelievable. For this we could have built everything, barracks, mess hall, everything. We could have built a palace!}

But the crowning order was yet to come. Within a radius of about a mile, the land around the base had been cleared of trees to facilitate takeoffs and landings. The Minister, it was said, was a devotee of nature and its verdancy. He would want to see green trees as he rode to the base. Therefore, trees would have to be transplanted to line the mile or so of road.

{You can’t transplant trees here in the middle of the summer! Everybody knows that!}

But transplanted they were, hundreds of them, pines, spruces, poplars, dug up from the forest, hauled by truck and placed every fifteen yards along the road. By the first week in July they were dead, shriveling and yellowing.

Dig them up and replace them. So they did, with the same results.

Do it again. He may be here anytime now.

So again saplings and some fairly tall trees were imported by the hundreds from the forests. Again they all died. Finally acknowledging that nature would not change its ways for them, someone had had an idea. Leave them there, and just before he arrives, we’ll spray them all with green paint. We’ll drive fast, and he won’t know the difference.

It was all to no avail. In early August they were advised that illness had forced cancellation of the Minister’s inspection. He wasn’t coming after all. It was time to fly again.

This series of events could have been ripped from the pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. (Yet one might suspect that even Ayn Rand would have considered this too ludicrously pointless to include in a fictional dystopia.) What is of fundamental importance to the military hierarchy is not facts, truth, reality, but the impressions, opinions, consciousness of “important” men. It is not actual military fitness that is the goal, but keeping up appearances.

It is no accident that this was how things worked in the Communist USSR. A statist system presupposes, reinforces, and demands this way of looking at the world. If those who govern the country have the power to make or break you, then you had better accede to their wishes, cater to their whims, indulge their flights of fancy, or you could end up in a very bad place. Facts? Reality? Actual production? Actual progress? You can’t afford to care about those when someone with coercive power over you wants something, however absurd you may think his desires are.

Statism counts on and breeds social metaphysics: The replacement of metaphysical reality with the consciousnesses of others as one’s fundamental concern. The consequences of this, in terms of the material progress of a society, should be obvious. But if it’s not, just observe any dictatorship, or the economic destruction being wreaked by the progressive expansion of state power in the US today.

For anyone who wants a refresher on one of the most notorious dictatorships in history, or just an incredible, true story of a moral man escaping a rotten society, I recommend reading MiG Pilot. It’s available for purchase at Amazon.

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Related Posts:

Free Market Revolution by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins

How to Show That Taxation is Robbery

QuickPoint 2: Altruism Supports Coercion…

Atlas Shrugged, Altruism and Egoism

The Nature of the Morality of Rational Egoism: Short Notes

One thought on “The Social Metaphysics of Communism: MiG Pilot

  1. I agree that MIG Pilot is worth reading. It’s important to remember what a bad idea communism is, and this book demonstrated that very well, along with describing some fascinating history.
    -Ben

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