We haven’t posted in a long while. We make no apologies. We’ve been busy.
Something has occurred to us recently that warrants a post or two. A theme we have visited before. Maybe a timely theme as well.
What, really, was the great 20th century quarrel between communism and “capitalism”?
Take a look at the description of the Supreme Soviet here. Does it look any different, really, that the mechanism of federal and state governments in the US? You have, basically, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The form is basically the same, only the names change.
So if there was a big difference to have a quarrel over, it certainly wasn’t the form, upon which both sides agreed.
Substance, then. But what, specifically, are we talking about there?
It probably has something to do with central “planning”, along the lines of “policy” which are decided upon by a small cabal that everyone knows and no one knows.
That’s a paradox. Wherein many a truth reside, according to our favorite thinker.
Freedom loving people begin to chafe at the “top-down” aspect of rules and regulations, of which there was an abundance in the old Soviet Union and of which there is now (and has been for some time) an abundance in the US. These top-down rules and regulations are overseen by an “administrative state”. No one would dispute that the old Soviet Union was in large part an administrative state.
No rational person would dispute that the 21st century United States is an administrative state, either. But we don’t want to admit that we are, because that winds up admitting that our narrative about the cold war – that we won it and vanquished communism – is, like so many things Soviet and 21st century US, an inversion of the truth.
The Soviet Union peacefully conquered us, in other words. The Berlin Wall came down not because of the German longing for freedom, but because it was no longer needed.
Khrushchev said it a long time ago.*
Take a look at this tweet from local radio personality Bob Lonsberry. It’s about a new political body in Rochester known as the Police Accountability Board. Lonsberry makes a good point.
But he doesn’t know how good a point it is. He just reflexively sides with cops as a group.
What makes it a good observation is that this is one of the signs of a Soviet-style administrative state. There’s always some “board” or “council” or other.
We have always thought police accountability would be better addressed by letting lawyers do their thing and letting juries fix responsibility where they see fit. But this is not conducive to top-down policy making, because jury verdicts can vary widely and can be wrong, leaving policy-makers frustrated that their policies are not being uniformly administered.
In the America of the past, people in general did not care about the policy makers’ preoccupation with uniformity. Indeed, America was, at one time, characterized by its hostility to anything smacking of uniformity. Uniformity was regarded as a characteristic of repressive, and dare we say communist regimes.
See the point we are getting at?
Again, it all stems from a collapse of the legal profession and the judiciary which have, for decades now, been thoroughly dominated by an ideology that would certainly have been called un-American in a storied past, not to say communist.
The courts are no longer courts as they were once understood. They are part of an administrative apparatus implementing “policies” dictated from on high. They do not address problems that arise organically from people going about their daily lives and encountering some conflict or other, adjudicating them one by one and generating principles and case law (that used to be called “common law”) that develop organically themselves. No, they make their decisions based on “policy”. The legal conflicts of individuals are a trifle, and so intermediate appellate courts have quietly, but quite firmly become “certiorari courts” that pay serious attention to only a tiny number of the appeals that come before them. And how do they determine which cases fit into that tiny number?
This kind of “policy” implementation is completely incompatible with what is now termed “populism”, which to the extent feasible has become at least a controversial word and more like a term of derision and scorn. Especially since the Trump presidency.
But here is a sobering – and of course, for that reason largely unacknowledged – truth: populism was basically the governing ideology (if it can even be called that) of the United States of America. “Policy” is communist ideology, the central committee as the basic organ of governing the proletariat.
If you want to know why people in the US and elsewhere are protesting vaccine and lock-down mandates while at the same time others are protesting police violence, and why in response to the latter we have “conviction integrity units” and “police accountability boards” while our courts continue to toss case after case against police with “immunity” doctrines and whatnot, well, we’ve just explained it to you.
It wasn’t the Soviet Union that fell in 1991. It was the vestiges of western civilization of which the morally exhausted United States of America was at that time, unfortunately, the standard bearer.
And yes, Khrushchev was right, as it turns out.