The central premise for the Red Slaves series is that Communists figured out how to trap the magical beasts of their countries to use that power for their own ends. The inciting incident that is never described is when Ivan and his brothers awaken, as if after a long sleep, missing true knowledge of themselves–or the fact that the fall of the Soviet Union had broken the KGB’s power over them.
I fell easily into the point of view that the KGB were the ultimate bad guys (I remember stories from the 70s that ended with “these guys don’t mess around; they break knee-caps for fun”), but the original Communism is described in the New Testament in the fifth book, Acts:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day the continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts, 2:43-47)
The real irony, to me, is that Americans, who, by and large, come from Christian backgrounds, not only do such a poor job living the ideal set forth by the apostles of their religion, but have managed to vilify the system of government that actually matched most closely what their savior had preached.
That’s not to say the Marxist-Leninist system worked, either. History shows that humans don’t manage well when the systems under which they operate don’t allow for free expression or personal advancement based on individual ideas.
All of which leaves me in the position of quoting John Godfrey Saxe, then: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” (This quote is often mis-attributed to Otto Von Bismarck.)