Louis Fischer, born in 1896 in Philadelphia, was a journalist who became a supporter and believer in the Soviet Union and world communism. He lived in Moscow for many years. In an essay in The God That Failed Fischer describes how in the middle 1930’s the Soviets ordered all writers to “treat the present as though it did not exist and the future as if it had already arrived.” That became known as Socialist Realism. Russian workers who lived in poverty and shared a single room with other families were depicted as well fed, smiling and happy. That was the communist depiction of the future, a future that never arrived.
Socialist Realism was promotion of fantasy for political reasons. The present did not live up to the enthusiastic promises and predictions that accompanied the founding of the communist state. Rather than admit error, the supporters constructed a mental fantasy world. The promises would still come true, but they would be delayed for understandable reasons. In the meantime they pretended the promises had already come true. (more…)