For decades in the 20th century, the Stalinist USSR was considered a roaring success by many western academics and economists.
The brutal state-imposed collectivisation of farms, forced mass industrialisation and an orchestrated Ukrainian famine that killed millions was considered an economic miracle by the leftist intelligentsia.
Soviet growth — fuelled by coal, oil and gas — seemed unstoppable. And then it stopped.
The command economy ceased to do what it was told to.
With many more millions already dead or enslaved in the gulags and countless thousands killed by political purges, even the artifice of competence collapsed in the 1970s and the Soviet Union itself collapsed two decades later.
This is the greatest and most tragic example of the extreme left’s Quixotic belief that it can bend the world to its will. That ideology can somehow conquer reality.
A more minor and mild but no less telling example has this week been provided by the Australian state of Victoria, where once again it appears the presiding government believes natural laws do not apply.
I speak of course of the abrupt cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, which has stunned half the world, all the Home Counties and a good chunk of the Labor Party — not to mention a certain sports-crazed nation called Australia.
So swift, unexpected and absolute was Premier Dan Andrews’ announcement that front page headlines speculated that he may have actually killed off the Commonwealth Games altogether.
But even if they do stagger on in 2026 or beyond, there are far more important issues at play.
There is an old joke about socialists or academics — or indeed the many who successfully combine both roles — that when presented with a successful outcome they will say: “That’s all very well in practice but how does it work in theory?”
Once again, reality is the enemy. The world is a foreign country.
We saw this during Covid when the Victorian government imposed the most extreme lockdowns in the country and the lengthiest in the world because of an ideological obsession with stamping out the virus at all human cost, while at the same time implementing a hotel quarantine regime so unimaginably piss-weak and slapstick that it emerged no one was actually in charge of it at all.
It was at the same time both ridiculous and cruel – banning couples from seeing each other and Sam Newman from playing golf and shutting down children’s playgrounds for good measure.
Today it all seems insane, but it should never be forgotten that it was declared insane by many at the time as well, and all of those concerns were shot down by Twitter’s Red Army.
And even now, as then, the official narrative is that Andrews was a Covid hero who defeated the disease through iron will — a narrative that has literally zero correlation with reality.
Indeed, this is proven by the fact that as the false idol of Covid Zero became increasingly exposed, Andrews reversed his outlook, abandoned the elimination strategy, sidelined his CHO and teamed up with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to dramatically ease restrictions – all the while maintaining a facade of steely consistency that has as much substance as the glittering skyscrapers of Pyongyang.
Unfortunately Andrews has reverted to his old tricks in attempting to justify his decision to knock off the Commonwealth Games — even directly alluding to his Covid strongman persona by saying he had made many tough decisions and this was not one of them.
But Andrews’ audience in this debacle is not just Victoria, it is the world. And that world —
at least the pink bits — is now starting to ask some serious questions, chief among them being: WTF?
How do you bid for, or at least ask for, a major international sporting event and then just say “Yeah, nah”?
How do you get a costing of two-and-a-bit billion that then blows out to six or seven billion in at best a year and at worst eight weeks?
How do you have a binding deal with all the Commonwealth countries and all your own regional centres that you can just piss up the wall with a press call?
The numbers just don’t add up and the narrative just doesn’t make sense. Something is deeply, deeply wrong with all of this.
Yet Andrews, like the Men in Black, clearly believed he could erase all knowledge and witnesses with a stroke of a magic epipen.
And this writ large is the difference between the left and the right of the Labor Party.
Pragmatism and commonsense — dare I say even compassion — would have dictated that the Victorian government found a compromise or alternative solution before they threw out the baby, bathwater and all.
And yet, having successfully gaslighted a whole state for years and been rewarded for it at the ballot box, Andrews and his team clearly figured they could once more simply declare that black was white and the population would swallow it wholesale.
Incredibly, many Victorians still seem to be swallowing it, but like Luke Skywalker’s Jedi mind tricks, such shameless propaganda only works on the gullible.
Sooner or later, as even the mighty Soviet Union discovered, the wall collapses and the truth is exposed for all to see.