Lenin’s ‘rules’ fakePublished Apr 10, 2013 at 8:51 am (Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 8:51 am)
“Communist ‘Rules’ For Revolt Viewed As Durable Fraud” is how the headline of the New York Times article (July 10, 1970, p. 1, 30) describes the list that Anita Potocar of Bethel Park (The Almanac, April 3, 2013) attributes to Vladimir Lenin. According to the New York Times, the “rules for revolution” are usually attributed to a communist cell in Dusseldorf, Germany, whose list was captured by allied military intelligence in 1919. But whatever the claimed source, neither the U.S. National Archives, the Library of Congress, the FBI, the CIA, Senate subcommittees nor university libraries can authenticate such a list or locate any of Lenin’s writings or speeches in which he mentions such a list.
Jan Harold Brunvand in his “Encyclopedia of Urban Legends” states the list has been “repeatedly debunked by leading conservative spokespersons and in many publications.” Paul F. Boller Jr. and John George, in their book, “They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions,” describe the “Rules” as “an obvious fake,” branded as a forgery by conservatives William F. Buckley Jr., M. Stanton Evans and James J. Kirkpatrick. According to Boller and George, even the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described the list as “spurious.” Brunvand, in his book “The Mexican Pet: More ‘New’ Urban Legends and Some Old Favorites,” reports descriptions of the “Rules” such as “a total fraud,” “an obvious fabrication,” “an implausible concoction of American fears and phobias.”
Sadly, the birthers, the climate change deniers, the evolution deniers, the death panel scaremongers, Tea Partiers and other right-wing nuts find easy prey among those unable or unwilling to defend themselves against such fakery.
If you want a real quote, try this one from Thomas Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” (Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816. Library of Congress, “The Thomas Jefferson Papers.”)
Glenn A. Carlson