The Corner

Re: Bernard Levin

Derb – I can’t claim to have followed his career closely. But in 1993 The National Interest — in their spectacular issue dedicated to the fall of Communism — reprinted an essay by Levin written, I believe in 1977 or 1979 (unfortunately this reprint of the NI article doesn’t say). The headline was “The One Who Got it Right.” Here’s how Levin predicted the End would come a full decade ahead of time:

That is how it will be done. There will be no gunfire in the streets, no barricades, no general strikes, no hanging of oppressors from lamp-posts, no sacking and burning of government offices, no seizure of radio-stations or mass defections among the military. But one day soon, some new faces will appear in the Politburo,–I am sure they have already appeared in municipal and even regional administrative authorities–and gradually, very gradually, other, similarly new, faces will join them. Until one day they will look at each other and realize that there is no longer any need for concealment of the truth in their hearts. And the match will be lit.

There is nothing romantic or fantastic about this prognosis; it is the most sober extrapolation from known facts and tested evidence. That, or something like it, will happen. When it will happen it is neither possible nor useful to guess; but I am sure it will be within the lifetime of people much older than I. And when it does happen–let us suppose, for neatness’ sake, on July 14, 1989–you must, in all civility, allow me to be the first to repeat Charles James Fox’s words on their two hundredth anniversary: How much the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world! And how much the best!

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