Gravest danger 2

Even while the Cold War was on, and not just in hindsight, the chances of a nuclear war between the West and Soviet Russia never seemed very high. The possibility of it never seemed critical enough to stir up intense or widespread fear. Not even when thousands of peace protestors marched on the streets of Europe’s capitals (at least some of them being perfectly aware of, and cynically indifferent to the fact that their movement was funded by the Soviets in hope of panicking the West into unilateral disarmament) did many people in the West seriously think – or at least show signs of thinking – that mankind was really in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth.

But if Iran becomes a nuclear power – which it will because Obama is letting it – the case will be very different.

Fear of “mutually assured destruction” may have had something to do with the Soviets’ restraint. The ayatollahs who rule Iran will not be restrained by that fear. They love death as we love life. Because death will translate them to a brothel in the sky.

So now the possibility of nuclear war is high. Would it be unreasonable if there were to be intense and widespread fear of it? Or if people in the West at least began to think that we are in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth?

No, not unreasonable. So why aren’t they? Because nuclear armageddon is not yet looming so large as to terrify us.

Before that happens other smaller wars will rage on. America might be singed by them but not devastated.

There’ll be no panic until the Iranians actually deliver their first uranium or plutonium bomb.

Yet there have already been irreversible changes, and the human race is in more danger now from human causes than ever before. Largely because of the ideology-driven policies of the Obama presidency.  

J. E. Dyer writes (in part) at Liberty Unyielding:

The Iranian nuclear program is just one of several problems that are working together to destabilize our world, and throw it into – quite possibly – the gravest danger mankind has ever seen.

Even aside from her nuclear program, revolutionary Iran is backing insurgencies and radical clients around the Middle East (like the Houthi insurgency that just pulled off a coup in Yemen). The problem of radical Islamism is coming to a head with the vicious, bloody state-Islamism of ISIS, but also with tribal and Islamist-factional insurgencies elsewhere (Libya, Nigeria), and the collapse of century-old nation-states. Borders are being rendered meaningless. Huge tracts of territory are being taken over by opportunists, who bring no popular charter from anyone, but only a fanatical willingness to slaughter.

Russia, meanwhile … has already invaded Ukraine, something that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. China is imposing a veto on other nations’ economic and maritime activity in the South China Sea – a Chinese aggression against a core U.S. security principle that the world, until only a few years ago, expected American power to deter. Both Asian giants have bigger plans, which everyone can foresee, and there is no longer an American-led consortium with the preparedness and capability to stop them.

In fact, Russia and China are both modernizing their militaries and developing new strategic weapons as rapidly as they can, while the United States is losing ground with our strategic (as well as conventional) arsenal, and doing nothing about it.

Our fast-declining military advantage is one reason our power no longer carries the import it once did. But the more significant point here is that our legacy of power is now being turned against us. America is still the leader of the status quo pack: the nations that aren’t looking to shift borders, remake the map, create economic dependencies abroad, or establish a caliphate. And that leadership, particularly in the case of the Iranian nuclear program, is being leveraged to hold the status quo nations passive and inert while the radical actors do what they want.

Our president’s negotiating policy with Iran is worse than an obstacle to preventing an Iranian bomb. By fencing the “Iran problem” off and giving it time, Obama is actually aiding Iran in pursuing nuclear weapons. The main thing Iran needs is time, and Obama’s management of the P5+1 process gives her that.

Few if any of our highest-profile voices have found a way to make this plain, and articulate the implications. But the main implication – that in the crunch, Obama’s leadership will have to be actively disregarded, or we’re all sunk – is the one the nations in the most danger have to deal with. That’s their reality.

Israel is one of the nations facing this reality, but by no means the only one. Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt; the nations bordering Libya and Nigeria; the nations of Eastern Europe; the neighbors in China’s sights in the Far East; the nations bordering the combined socialist and cartel-driven tumult in Central America – all face the same reality. Cooperating with Obama’s America under the old conventions can’t be a given for them, because it’s likely to actually do harm.

Just as important, to those who want to deter threats to American security, is that America herself needs to establish that Obama’s leadership is not what we are committed to. We vigorously disagree with giving Iran time to build a bomb. We have no intention of being held hostage to it.

We know there is a point, in general, at which the trend of policy is no longer disputable, but clearly weak and ineffective – even counterproductive, as with the Iranian nuclear program and the security of our own border. And we’ve reached that point.

The American people have to speak, as much as the other nations. That’s what’s going on with Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. …

Having Netanyahu come speak to Congress is the way available to him of giving the American people a voice against the Obama policy on Iran. The same attempt is at work in the Iran-policy bills being pushed in the Senate. … [T]he untethered radicalism of the Obama approach – its violation of America’s own principles of power – is what they’re trying to hold in check.

The president is given primacy in foreign relations by the U.S. Constitution, and it is a very big step to posture against him. It’s not so big a step for a foreign leader to do so. His responsibility is to his people, not to a particular president of the United States, or to that president’s policies. The Obama administration does huff petulantly at the drop of a hat, and make it all personal, but the real point is that Netanyahu, or any other foreign leader, must look out for his country’s interests. [Prime Minister Netanyahu] knows that it’s in Israel’s interest to affirm her people’s iron-forged link with the American people, and to articulate what policies a true reckoning of that link would dictate in this hour. …

Boehner has made a big decision because America faces a problem of unprecedented dimension. The world is not what it was five years ago, and trying to maintain the same priorities would, in sober truth, be fatal.

 

Note; While we fully agree with Commander Dyer’s analysis and warning, we don’t ourselves use the term “Islamism”. The danger we are in comes from Islam, aided by the indulgence of the Obama administration.

It’s a Red, Red world 5

Why did the West fail to claim an ideological or moral victory at the apparent end of the Cold War?

Did the West really even win the Cold War? 

Diana West asks these questions. She goes on:

If we go back in time and listen, we hear no consensus click over signs that an unalloyed US-led triumph over communist ideology had taken place; nor do we find a sense of national thanksgiving for the forces of good – or, at least, for the forces of better – in their triumph over the forces of a non-abstract evil as manifested in Gulag or KGB or famine or purge history. “Mustn’t gloat” was about as joyous as the White House of Bush No. 41 ever got.

The inability to proclaim victory loud and clear derives from the Christian injunction to be humble.

Almost everything that handicaps our civilization comes from its Christian legacy; and everything that drives it forward to discover and innovate, to attain greater prosperity, longer life – whatever  general conditions are needed for such happiness as we may individually be capable of – is the legacy of the Enlightenment, the awakening from the long dark nightmare of “God’s” reign, the rise of reason. It only  happened to the West. Reason and its children Science, Freedom, and the United States of America, made the West great; not, as those  lovers of the darkness, the god-worshipers, like to intone, the “Judeo-Christian” tradition.

All religions are the ideological enemies of the West. But yes, the Red ones,  Communism and its conjoined twin Environmentalism, are the most dangerous at present. They suffuse and weaken our culture and our civilization.

They are the New Christianities.

Diana West is right to diagnose Communism as the transforming blight.

Was the official non-reaction due to that “crisis of confidence” we always hear about — specifically, that “politically correct” failure to believe in the worth of the West? I used to think exactly that and no more. The self-loathing West, failing to see anything of value in itself, was simply unable to take satisfaction, let alone pride, in the demise of its mass-murdering nemesis. “After all,” the PC catechism goes, “Who’s to say the Western system is ‘better’ than any other?”

But there is far more to it. At a certain point, it becomes clear that what we are looking at isn’t a West that fails to appreciate itself anymore, but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore.

Decades of subversion by communist infiltrators and American traitors, collaborators and “useful idiots” have helped make sure of that. So, even if the military enemy went away after the dissolution of the USSR on Christmas Day 1991, our ideological enemy never even had to break step.

Cold Warriors might have prevailed abroad, but America lost the ideological Cold War at home. 

This helps explain why our college campuses are outposts of Marx, our centralizing government is increasingly invasive and dictatorial, and our culture is one of metastasizing decadence …

President Obama’s recent speech in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, reveals the chasm between what we have become and what we are supposed to be. Wearing his “Leader of the Free World” hat, Obama made the case against Russia’s annexation of Crimea by conjuring a Manichaean split between free societies and dictatorships. But does it fit? 

According to the president, there are free societies where “each of us has the right to live as we choose,” and there are dictatorships where the rule is “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs.” Americans confronting government-mandated health insurance would do well to wonder exactly which society they live in.

Obama continued: “In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas.” That contest, he explained, swerving wildly away from historical fact, was won “not by tanks or missiles, but because our ideals stirred the hearts” of Eastern Bloc anti-communists.

Omitted was the fact that these revolts were mainly crushed without US aid. Omitted also was the decisive role that President Reagan’s “tanks and missiles” – and missile defense – played in the military contest.

In this post-World War II era, Obama declared, “America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace.”

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in sum, is an attack on that “architecture,” and, as such, is bad.

On closer examination, however, that same US-EU “architecture” doesn’t support the free-society paradigm so much as what the president calls the “more traditional view of power” – the one that sees “ordinary men and women (as) too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”

This latter view aptly describes the “soft” tyranny of the EU nanny state, whose early lights, after all, were Belgian Socialists and Nazi sympathizers with visions of a unified pan-European welfare state. In Brussels, their political progeny – unelected bureaucrats – increasingly dictate political and social norms across a “United States of Europe”.

In the US, the medical totalitarianism of Obamacare – not to mention Obama’s serial usurpations of power (not enforcing legislation he doesn’t like, making up and enforcing legislation he does like) – makes it all too clear that this president has a dictatorial temperament.

This is unsurprising when you consider that his political baby, his engine of transformative change – state-mandated health care – happens also to have been an early program of the Bolsheviks, and had as one of its earliest US boosters a noted Stalinist named Henry Sigerist. This seems like as good a moment as any to remind readers that the UN and the IMF, those leading institutions of globalist infrastructure, were fostered into post-World War II existence by a pair of notorious American Soviet agents – Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White.

Truly, it’s a Red, Red world.

Indoctrinating the Green religion and its threat of hell on earth 11

There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.

By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.

What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.

They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.

This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:

Under [Arne Duncan’s] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation. 

In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.

For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.

In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”.  In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”.  To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”,  winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.

Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …

Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.

Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?

As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”. 

In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think,  instead of education – teaching how to think.

And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …

Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”,  which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”. 

With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science]  as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.

Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.

For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …

The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.

Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.

Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.

When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:

The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it. 

So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.

Frankly deluded Roosevelt 1

This is from a book review by Mark Tapson:

A recent book … lays out the historical evidence for massive Communist penetration of our government beginning in the New Deal era, increasingly rapidly during World War II, and afterward leading to gaping breaches of national security and the betrayal of free-world interests. 

Contrary to the notion that domestic Communists were simply harmless, misguided idealists, Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein shows that widespread government infiltration by Soviet spies sabotaged our foreign policy and molded the post-WWII world in favor of the Soviet Union. Evans, the author of eight previous books including the controversial revised look at Joseph McCarthy called Blacklisted by History, is a former editor of the Indianapolis News, a Los Angeles Times columnist, and a commentator for the Voice of America. Romerstein is a leading Cold War expert, formerly head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency from 1983 until 1989, who has served on the staff of several congressional committees including the House Intelligence Committee.

The early Cold War spying which resulted in the theft of our atomic secrets, radar, jet propulsion, and other military systems was serious enough, but that wasn’t the major issue. “The spying,” as the authors put it, “was handmaiden to the policy interest,” which was by far the leading problem. As President Franklin Roosevelt’s health and mental ability waned, covert Communist aides exerted pro-Soviet influence on U.S. policy, which was reflected in postwar discussions by the Big Three powers about the new shape of the world.

We would contend that even if his mental powers had not been waning, he would still have tried to please “Uncle Joe” Stalin. FDR actually admired that evil man. 

The policy impact of such deceptive influence on the part of Soviet agents was to turn Western influence and support against the anti-Communist forces and in favor of their Red opponents, as U.S. and other Allied leaders based decisions on false intelligence from pro-Soviet agents.

The effects were calamitous for the cause of freedom, as numerous countries were thus delivered into the hands of Stalin and his minions.

The three leaders – FDR, Churchill, and Stalin – “would ultimately decide what political forces would prevail where and the forms of government to be installed in formerly captive nations, including those in alignment with the victors.” Unfortunately, at that time “seeking Soviet ‘friendship’ and giving Moscow ‘every assistance’ summed up American policy [in meetings] at Teheran and Yalta, and for some while before those meetings.”

At the Yalta meeting at the end of the war, when the future of eastern Europe was decided, Roosevelt allowed the subjugation of hundreds of millions of non-Russians to Communist tyranny. Churchill was against it, seeing Stalin as the incorrigible tyrant he was, but Roosevelt’s decision prevailed.

Three notable examples of countries “pulled into the vortex of Communist power” were Yugoslavia, Poland and China. Other nations in central Europe were absorbed into the Soviet empire as well, as prelude to the Cold War struggle. Similar results occurred in Asia, where millions were slaughtered in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos where Communists came to power. “Red police states would in due course extend from the Baltic to the Pacific, and later to Africa and Latin America… The supposedly progressive twentieth century thus became a saturnalia of tyranny and violence, surpassing in this respect also all previous records of such horrors.”

The most powerful pro-Red influence was actually the President himself. He distanced himself from Churchill’s warier stance about Russian imperialism, and instead made common cause with Stalin. “His main object was to get Stalin to agree with the Rooseveltian vision of a peaceable kingdom to come via the United Nations.” FDR seemed to be “guided very heavily by his advisers and took no step independently,” as one observer noted. Harry Hopkins, FDR’s longtime and most powerful adviser, “held pro-Soviet views of the most fervent nature.” Indeed, the authors claim, “Throughout the war years, Moscow had no better official U.S. friend than Hopkins.”

FDR’s wife too advocated in a pro-Red direction, and Vice President Henry Wallace was “arguably the most prominent pro-Soviet political figure of his time.”

But entities outside the government affected American foreign policy in these years too. The press corps, academics, lobbyists, and think tanks all helped mold a climate of opinion that paved the way for pro-Red policymakers in federal office. Media spokesmen then helped promote pro-Soviet policy “while attacking the views and reputations of people who wanted to move in other directions.” A complicit media helping to advance the Communist agenda while shutting down opposition voices – sound familiar?

The most famous example of infiltration was, of course, the spy Alger Hiss, whose “skill in positioning himself at the vectors of diplomatic information indicates the degree to which Soviet undercover agents were able to penetrate the U.S. government in crucial places, up to the highest policy-making levels.” Hiss rose from obscurity to become the custodian of all memoranda for the President on topics to be considered at the crucial Yalta summit. However, “he wasn’t an isolated instance, but only one such agent out of many.”

The authors’ conclusions are threefold: 1) Communist penetration in the American government in the WWII-era and early Cold War was deep and extensive, involving many hundreds of suspects; 2) the infiltrators wielded important leverage on U.S. foreign policy in that period; and 3) pro-Soviet penetration and the resulting policy damage occurred because Soviet agents preyed on the credulity of officials who were willfully ignorant of Communist methods. “The net effect of these converging factors was a series of free-world retreats” in the face of Marxist conquests across Europe, Indochina, Latin American states, and African nations.

The lessons of this highly readable and concise history are well worth taking to heart today, not merely as an historical study, but as a reflection of the subversive infiltration and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on our current administration.

For Muslim infiltration and influence on the Obama administration see for instance our posts:

Obama gang submits to America’s enemy, June 14, 2012

The State-whisperer, August 16, 2012,

Al-CIA, al-FBI, al-DHS, al-USA, November 4, 2012

Communism, cannibalism, and soul murder 0

Some of us are old enough to remember the horrors perpetrated in the Communist Russian Empire. But those born since the USSR was destroyed (chiefly by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher winning the Cold War) need to learn what happened under Lenin, Stalin, and their successors; and as they are unlikely to be taught about this in their ‘politically correct’  left-leaning history courses, they should have informative books  brought to their attention in the hope that some at least will read them. 

These extracts come from a review of Inside the Stalin Archives by Jonathan Brent, in The New Criterion

The first volume in the series, The Secret World of American Communism, caused shock waves by demonstrating that the American Communist Party was not a group of home-grown idealists, as so many apologists claimed, but, from the start, conducted espionage and took orders directly from Moscow. Despite decades of leftist mockery and vilification, the basic picture provided by Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley of Alger Hiss and many others was correct. The Comintern, too, was from day one directed by Moscow as a tool of Russian foreign policy. And despite the desperate strategy of throwing all blame on Stalin so as to excuse Lenin, The Unknown Lenin, which reproduces a selection from some six thousand Lenin documents never before released, reveals bloodthirstiness that surprised even anti-Communists. During a famine, Lenin ordered his followers not to alleviate but to take advantage of mass starvation:

It is precisely now and only now when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy.

“can (and therefore must)”: Leninist and Soviet ideology held not just that the end justifies any means, but also that it was immoral not to use the utmost cruelty if that would help. And it was bound to help in at least one way—intimidating the population. From the beginning, terror was not just an expedient but a defining feature of Soviet Communism. In Terrorism and Communism, Trotsky was simply voicing a Bolshevik truism when he rejected “the bourgeois theory of the sanctity of human life.” In fact, Soviet ethics utterly rejected human rights, universal justice, or even basic human decency, for all concepts that apply to everyone might lead one to show mercy to a class enemy. In Bolshevism, there is no abstract justice, only “proletarian justice,” as defined by the Party. ..

Stalinism was idealist in another, even more terrifying sense: it aimed at controlling from within the very thoughts we think. In a toast delivered on November 7, 1937, at the height of the Terror, the Great Helmsman swore to destroy every enemy:

            Even if he was an old Bolshevik, we will destroy all his kin, his family. We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts—threatens the unity of the socialist state. To the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!

        Even the worst of the tsars never thought of punishing relatives for a criminal’s acts. But what is truly remarkable about this toast is the promise to murder people and their kin for thoughts. One must live in continual fear of one’s own mind.

Brent begins his book with a memorandum written by Andrei Vishinsky, Stalin’s chief prosecutor, to Nikolai Yezhov, the secret-police chief, about what he had seen in a tour of the Gulag. There were prisoners, Vishinsky explained, who had “deteriorated to the point of losing any resemblance to human beings.” An interrogator during the doctors’ plot wrote that, after one torture session, the elderly Dr. Vasilenko “lost his entire human aspect.” Perhaps the most important lesson to come from the Stalin archives is that any ideology that does not admit the existence of human nature winds up destroying not only countless lives but also the human soul.

How much better is Russia now? The answer is – a lot, but it’s still pretty bloody awful. 

Under Putin, Russia has turned away from a fleeting opportunity to embrace legality. A sort of mafia rules without breaking the law—because there is no real law. And yet, by comparison with the Soviet period, Russia is free and humane. To be sure, any journalist or businessman who displeases the regime is likely to be imprisoned, maimed, or killed. But millions are not arrested at random.

           Solzhenitsyn once asked why the bloodthirsty Macbeth killed only a few people while Lenin and Stalin murdered millions. He answered: Macbeth had no ideology. So far as we can tell, neither does Putin. Today no one tries to remake human nature. For the time being, and however precariously, the human spirit survives.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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