Whittaker Chambers was a controversial man. Many people hated him. Others loved him. He was shamed. He was praised. Well-known in his time, he is now forgotten by history.
It all boiled down to two things: what he had been, and what he became.
As Whittaker Chambers became a man, he quickly grew disgruntled — it was the 1920s, and our nation was in decay. The mood was one of pessimism, hopelessness, and disappointment. The horrors — or, correctly understood, the cycles — of history had caught up with America.
Whittaker Chambers was looking for solutions, and he found one — or so he thought. One word: communism. The creation of a perfect Utopia, the abolition of human nature, the transcendence of society.
Whittaker Chambers believed in the communist ideology, and believing as he did, soon joined the American branch of the Russian communist party.
For around a decade, he was engaged in underground work, trying to demolish the USA and support the communist cause. He witnessed the placement of communists as high-ranking government officials, and survived the purge of the communist party.
He survived in body, but as he saw the brutality, something in him snapped. Whittaker Chambers said that when a man becomes a communist, he becomes irreconcilable, until he hears the screams and breaks. Well, during the purge, Whittaker Chambers heard the screams.
In the prologue to his autobiography, Witness, Whittaker Chambers wrote: “A Communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites: God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom or Communism.” Well, when Whittaker Chambers heard the screams, he was forced to choose between those irreconcilable opposites. And choose he did.
Whittaker Chambers quickly and carefully began planning his next move: desertion. If he failed, he would be killed — in such a manner to make it appear natural, for the communist party contained people who were masters at the art of killing — but if he succeeded, he would still be alive.
With a car, a borrowed gun, and his family, he made the break and went into hiding for the next couple of years. During that time, he bought a large gun of his own for protection (Second amendment, anyone? Still valuable after the eighteenth century…).
After living in hiding for some time, he emerged and got a job. During WW2, he tried contacting government officials with information about the communists, but they weren’t interested—Germany was a bigger threat than Russia, our ally. After a while he ended up working for a prominent newspaper. He made more efforts to share his information and ended up being subpoenaed to Congress.
He had been called to Witness.
It is because of his valiant witness that he was hated and loved, reviled and praised.
Through his heart-rending, painful, and inspiring journey, Whittaker Chambers became both a hero and a villain.
There is much to learn from him and his story.
Why people become communists.
The fatal flaws of communism.
The value of freedom.
The dangers of doing nothing.
The price of silence.
We can’t let America become fascist, socialist, communist, or anything else other than free. People go to communism seeking answers. But communism offers no answers; only more questions.
Communism isn’t just a method of government and economics, it is also a religion.
Those who fight against it must have their own religion: God.
Communism is complicated, but the cure is simple. Not easy, but simple.
Believe in God. Honor the Constitution and our history. Stand up. Speak out. Refuse to be silent. Study. Learn as much as you can. Pay attention to what is happening, to what is really happening. And don’t be afraid to take action.
But at the root of it all, including the root of the solution: God.
To get a unique and enlightening view of communism, Whittaker Chambers, and the fight for freedom, read his inspiring autobiography, Witness, available here.