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Which Are the Real “Illiberal Democracies”?
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Did you know that democracy is dying in Eastern Europe? That is the accepted consensus among the foreign policy establishment, from the New York Times and Washington Post to the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute and John McCain.

Well, it’s not exactly democracy that is dying. Even these critics admit that the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) and Fidesz in Hungary have been democratically elected in free and fair elections and remain popular to this day. Rather, these states are said to be transforming into “illiberal democracies,” or countries where the majority rules but the government lacks traditional aspects of liberal democracy such as checks and balances and respect for civil rights.

Considering that this is now conventional wisdom among the foreign policy establishment, we may want to look for examples of Poland and Hungary actually arresting political opponents or putting them on trial, traditional hallmarks of dictatorship. I have not been able to find a single case, and interestingly that is more than one can say about many of the so-called liberal democracies in Western Europe.

For example, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the leader of a political party that may finish first in elections next year, was recently convicted not of inciting violence, but “inciting discrimination” by telling a crowd he wanted fewer Moroccans. National Front leader Marine Le Pen recently faced similar charges in France for saying that immigrants were occupying her country, a comment that wouldn’t raise eyebrows if made by an American conservative.

None of these are outlier cases. Across Western Europe, states regularly bring criminal and civil cases against individuals for criticizing immigration, multiculturalism, feminists, or sexual liberalism. Yet one never hears a word about democracy being under threat in any of these countries.

So what exactly are the crimes against democracy committed by Fidesz and PiS? As these parties are said to be clamping down on press freedom, it is worthwhile to investigate such claims in depth. Dalibor Rohac, a scholar at AEI, says that the Polish government committed a crime against democracy when it decided to subject public broadcasters to political control.

Like other European countries, Poland has a rich landscape of public-service broadcasters, including nine television channels and five national radio channels, which account for large segments of the respective media markets. We might or we might not like the idea of public broadcasting, but to the extent to which it does exist, there is a case for insulating it from political pressures, instead of turning it into an arm of government. The new media law will do the opposite, making Polish public broadcasting look less like NPR or BBC and more like government media in countries to the east of Poland.

This argument is somewhat bizarre. Imagine a conservative saying, “I don’t agree with having a Department of Education, but if we do, at least let it be an unelected bureaucrat rather than someone appointed by the president. For the sake of protecting democracy, of course.” I think most people would suspect, rightly, that the person making such an argument just likes the idea of an independent Department of Education but doesn’t want to say so.

Furthermore, the idea that an independent public broadcaster will provide an equal check on all governments is striking in its naivety. As a group, journalists are about as unrepresentative of the public as a profession can be. For example, 96% of their donations in the US presidential race went to Hilary Clinton last year. We don’t have statistics on Eastern Europe, but one suspects that the governments of Hungary and Poland are taking action in the first place because they live under similar circumstances. A government directly controlling parts of the media can create conflicts and distortions in coverage, but so can a public broadcaster that is run by an unaccountable and unrepresentative elite.

One suspects that if a government was funding a profession that was almost universally right-leaning, we wouldn’t be hearing about its independence being essential for democracy

Since 2011, the press freedom rating of Hungary has been downgraded from “free” to “mostly free” by Freedom House. The report complains about things that seem par for the course in other established democracies, like campaign finance laws affecting advertising or parties suing public figures over comments they don’t like.

Law and Justice has also been criticized for trying to take control of the highest constitutional in Poland by installing justices that are favorable to its agenda and taking away certain powers from the body. It is interesting, however, that the foreign policy establishment practically never says that courts themselves are a threat to democracy, regardless of how much power they claim for themselves. If one was truly worried about checks and balances, then sometimes you might believe that elected officials overreach, while at other times you would criticize judges for doing the same. Yet it is only right wing elected officials that are ever taken to task for engaging in what other contexts is seen as the unremarkable jostling over power.

With regards to public broadcasting, the worst that can be said about Poland and Hungary is that the governments are trying to make their respective media institutions align closer to the politics of the state. If this is “soft totalitarianism,” then what should we call what has been going on in the so-called liberal democracies? What one does not find in the criticisms of Hungary and Poland is one example of a politician being arrested or put on trial for his political beliefs.

The Western democracies do not only use hate speech laws to after politicians, but regular citizens too.

To take one example out of many, in the UK Liam Stacey was sentenced to 56 days in jail for making racist remarks about a soccer player while drunk on Twitter.

In Germany, a couple that founded a Facebook group critical of migration was given a nine month suspended sentence, with the judge promising that the defendants would go directly to jail if they dare discuss the issue again.

Perhaps no country has gone as far as Sweden in enforcing state-mandated political correctness. In action that was affirmed to be lawful by the European Court of Human Rights, the government prosecuted four individuals for passing out leaflets critical of homosexuality. Åke Green, a Pentecostal pastor, was convicted for preaching against homosexuality in a sermon before the decision was overturned by the Swedish Supreme Court. In 2014, a street artist was sent to jail for six months for creating “racist” posters meant to be a protest against restrictions on speech.

While Poland and Hungary are criticized for taking control of public broadcasting, Germany and Sweden are telling private media and social media platforms that they must take action against speech offensive to the state. In 2015, Chancellor Merkel was caught on hot mic telling Mark Zuckerberg that he needed to do more to censor Facebook posts critical of her immigration policy. Later that year Germany set up a task force that included representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter. They agreed to try to delete all illegal postings within 24 hours. Having decided that the tech giants have fallen short of that goal, the Merkel government is now considering fining them for not doing enough to combat “hate speech.”

Last year, the former head of the German public broadcaster revealed that journalists regularly take their orders straight from the government, and this is partly why they covered up the Cologne sex attacks last New Year’s Eve. In 2014, Sweden passed a law that may in all practicality shut down all criticisms of immigration and multiculturalism on the internet.

Western European democracies have fully decided that certain issues cannot be discussed, and they go after all dissenters with the full power of the state. In case you are wondering, Germany and Sweden are still considered completely “free” according to Freedom House.

When the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot was arrested and sentenced to prison in 2011 for protesting inside a cathedral, they became known as free speech heroes. Protests were held outside the Moscow embassy in Washington, the usual suspect celebrity airheads like Madonna weighed in, and members of the band even starred on House of Cards where they stood up to a character clearly based on Putin. The Russian government convicted the band on the grounds that their actions were offensive to religious believers, a justification that is similar to that used by Western governments when they go after “racists” or “homophobes.” In this case, however, because the tribe that the state was protecting was white Christians, Western elites suddenly became free speech absolutists.

The story of Pussy Riot explains what the foreign policy establishment means when it talks about “illiberal democracy.” Clearly, liberal democracy does not mean fair elections, rule of law, individual liberty, or decentralized power. Rather, a country is only a democracy if it accepts mass immigration and promotes the tenets of multiculturalism and the sexual revolution. The true sin of Hungary and Poland is not that they are no longer “democracies,” as the phrase has been traditionally understood, but rather that they offend 21st century liberals who put hostility towards western identity above all else.

It is probably too much to ask liberals to consistently defend free speech abroad, when they rarely do so at home. More focus should be put on convincing American conservatives that a resurgent Eastern European fascism is not their enemy. Rather, it is the same groups and institutions that have succeeded in ending free speech in Western Europe and college campuses that would like to take their model to countries where people are still allowed to debate the issues affecting their futures. Hopefully, the Trump administration will stay clear of those that claim that democracy is under threat in Eastern Europe, and appoint individuals that understand who the true enemies of Western values are.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democracy, European Right 
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  1. “Rather, a country is only a democracy if it accepts mass immigration and promotes the tenants of multiculturalism and the sexual revolution.”

    Agreed, but I think you meant “tenets.” Unless you mean these delusional people are squatters, which is one way of looking at it.

    • Replies: @longfisher
  2. annamaria says:

    A story of a Ukrainian Bank and the US-taxpayers money:
    “The main question after the nationalization of Privat-Bank: Will USA pay back what Kolomoisky has stolen?”
    “Kolomoisky is not only a high-profile player in the financial sector, but also a prominent figure in the European Jewish movement… Kolomoisky is currently involved in several court cases in the US; the plaintiff is another Jewish entrepreneur who is successfully seizing Kolomoisky’s properties in the United States….”

    Kolomoisky used to finance a neo-Nazi battalion involved in the Odessa Massacre.

    • Replies: @fnn
  3. According to my observations, ‘liberal democracy’ is a rule by the global oligarchical elite (carried out by technocratic managers). And ‘illiberal democracy’ is a rule by the people (aka ‘democracy’).

    I have no illusions about ‘democracy’: it’s a deeply imperfect political system. Nevertheless, imo it’s much preferable to the ‘liberal democracy’, which is, these days (with the financialization of the world economy), essentially amounts to a rule by the banksters. And this is the main political conflict of our times.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  4. polistra says:

    In modern times “independent” agencies are treasonous agencies. They serve a higher power than the mere national government. Currently the higher power is Soros.

    The word shows up nicely in Trump’s attempt to rein in the climate criminals at Dept of Energy. Sorosian media described the department as “independent”, which means the executive of THIS country has no control over the department and no ability to see what the dept is doing. Only Soros can give orders and examine the results of the orders.

    This is prima facie crazy, since all departments within the EXECUTIVE BRANCH are legally under the control of the chief EXECUTIVE. All work done within those agencies is in the public domain, and must be available to the public.

  5. fnn says:

    Those are kosher “nazis” -so State Dept/Soros says they’re fine.

  6. fnn says:

    Signs that CIA and Mormon hierarchy are enemies of the West:

    If Vladimir Putin is creating an international white nationalist movement, there will need to be an international movement that opposes it.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) December 20, 2016

    Austria’s far right party signs a cooperation pact with Putin’s party and meets with Trump's team in New York.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) December 20, 2016

    • Replies: @MarkinPNW
  7. TheJester says:

    Liberal democracy in Europe has roots in being a post-WWII counterpoise to communism … or the Sovietization of the state. To buy off the working class, academics, and politicians to check the growing communist movements in Western Europe, socialism was intended to provide the social benefits of communism albeit without the crassness of an open dictatorship of the proletariat. But this difference has proved more a matter of tone than substance.

    There was always latent authoritarianism in European socialism. There was the public face that included political parties and voting, and there was the hidden face that included Operation Gladio, security forces, and the secret scheming to imposed what later became the EU on an unsuspecting population. As part of the package, as in the Soviet model the population would be denationalized and reeducated regarding the “new socialist man”. The point: Authoritarianism and a commitment to universalism and globalism were always features (not bugs) of the liberal democratic movements in Western Europe.

    The progressive melding of the western socialist and eastern communist models was finally expressed and exposed as the EU metastasized into a Soviet-style superstate that openly imposed the model of the “new socialist man” on European countries — countries that were increasingly ruled (as in the Soviet Union) by armies of unelected “apparatchiks”. This exposure not surprisingly included a government-controlled press and a new class of political commissars responsible for suppressing anti-socialist political, social, and economic views. By definition, those who oppose universalism and globalism are anti-socialist and enemies of the state. Indeed, by taking action to make political opposition officially illegal, the Western European political elite have just taken off the masks they’ve worn since the end of WWII.

    The liberal Obama administration in the United States was a brazen attempt to impose the liberal Western European model of socialism on the masses. The same features (not bugs) were there: universalism, globalism, the government-controlled press, the security forces, and the hidden agenda to forcibly denationalize and reeducate the population regarding politically correct social and economic views. The political commissars were not as successful as in Europe due to the First Amendment, even as the pendulum swung in the direction of accepting the reality of “hate crimes” caused by “hate speech” — both of which, according to the plan, were on their way to being declared criminal acts.

    Then, something miraculous happened! In a political revolution, the American voters successfully revolted against the brazen attempt to impose European-style socialism and its unelected “apparatchiks” on the population. In Europe, there is hope, led by the Eastern Europeans who have so recently escaped the Soviet boot. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  8. JackOH says:

    Perhaps our foreign policy establishment could train its eye on the United States. My personal feeling is the United States is, at best, modestly representative, modestly democratic, and, modestly liberal. My Congressman, e. g., is a decent guy, but his main job seems to be channeling rhetoric dictated by the Democratic central committee, and passing out subsidies to favored local institutions and businesses. Among our local leadership caste, there’s a wealthy Mr. Big who’s publicly known for buying politicians. A former local mayor publicly said he thought he was in a banana republic after he’d been approached by a priest offering a Mafia bribe.
    I know to a certainty the FBI has local elections and local candidates on its radar screen, at least one major institution also, and a local prosecutor’s office.

    Everyone is entitled to his own judgment and characterization about politics, I suppose. I’ve thought of the U. S. as Fascism Lite, governed by a Council of 25,000, the lobbies. There’s a bit of wiggle room for local activism, but not much. As for “common good” and “general welfare”—those ideas don’t really click, or, at most, they’re achieved by accident rather than intention. Merry Christmas to all.

  9. “Since 2011, the press freedom rating of Hungary has been downgraded from “free” to “mostly free” by Freedom House.”
    The gall of outfits like this notorious color revolution vehicle, making pronouncements and making airs, and expecting to be paid attention and respect to!

  10. @Mao Cheng Ji

    “‘liberal democracy’, which is, these days … essentially amounts to a rule by the banksters”

    Yes, as correctly foreseen by the Prophet George Orwell (pbuh), words have come to mean their exact opposites. Thus today, when one hears of “civil rights” or “human rights”, one can be confident that a real civil right or human right is about to be taken away.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  11. Randal says:

    Across Western Europe, states regularly bring criminal and civil cases against individuals for criticizing immigration, multiculturalism, feminists, or sexual liberalism.

    There is one glaring omission from this list, and indeed from the article as a whole – the suppression of anti-Semitic and “antisemitic” opinion. Yet in my personal experience, this is one of the most heavily censored areas of discourse in almost all media outlets, and is now increasingly being pushed in the courts as well, though as the numerous people imprisoned for “Holocaust denial” know, this has been a well established practice across Europe for years.

    And that aspect of the subject is highly topical, with a singer Alison Chabloz having been in court twice in the past week facing a private prosecution by a jewish identity lobby group (think wannabe ADL) for uploading a song to the internet:

    #JeSuisChabloz – British Jews falter over a song

    An extended (and inevitably rather boring) argument with one of the jewish individuals pushing the exploitation of these “hate speech” laws is underway here:

    Five reasons why 2016 was the best year in ages

    And here’s an interview with Chabloz earlier in the year, after she was barred from the supposedly “edgy” and often intentionally “offensive”(to Evil conservative/rightist/Christian/white people – legitimate targets, of course) art show the Edinburgh Fringe.

    Alison Chabloz interviewed by Paul Fromm at The London Forum

    One way to judge what dissident opinions are most heavily censored and suppressed in a society would seem to be to see what opinions are most over-represented in the few relatively uncensored places dedicated to free speech. In that regard, the complaints here at Unz of an over-representation of antisemitic views in the comment community can, I think, be counted as supportive evidence.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  12. JackOH says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Agree 100%. I’ll offer a trivial example. When dropping off clothes and small appliances at the local Goodwill, I mentioned to the attendant: “They’re all serviceable”. I meant “serviceable” in the dictionary sense of products that could be put into service, or, in other words, not broken. She understood “serviceable” to mean “broken, and requiring repair (service)”.

    I think the English critic Empson also has much to say about the distortion of language in his Seven Types of Ambiguity. (Hope I got that reference right.)

    By the time we get to the language of public affairs, I’m not sure we have anything amounting to a common language. “Empowerment”, for example, seems to mean something like “dependence on government intervention”, or, in other words, “disempowerment”. Thanks, and best wishes.

  13. @Fran Macadam

    Thankfully, the world is blessed with an abundance of nitpickers.


    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @MarkinPNW
  14. “The new media law will do the opposite, making Polish public broadcasting look less like NPR or BBC and more like government media in countries to the east of Poland.”

    Yep, our state-sponsored and controlled media are working for the causes of good, theirs for evil. BTW, tell a Brit that the BBC is a state-sponsored propaganda outlet, and the stand back and enjoy the mad, sputtering melt-down … I do this for fun from time to time.

    • Replies: @Randal
  15. Randal says:
    @The Alarmist

    BTW, tell a Brit that the BBC is a state-sponsored propaganda outlet, and the stand back and enjoy the mad, sputtering melt-down

    Not this Brit. You’re preaching the Gospel there as far as I’m concerned, pal.

  16. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Seeing how Greece, U.K. and USA are faring, democracy, whether liberal or illiberal, seems overrated. Let us hope that the benign dictatorship of our Dear Leader, the new God Emperor, within broadly defined “constitutional limits” helps us get back to greatness.

    Merry Christmas (and definitely no “Happy Holidays”) to all!

  17. Miro23 says:

    Daniel Mahoney in his book, “Solzhenitsyn – The Ascent from Ideology” gives S’s view with regard to Democracy in Russia, but it’s applicable anywhere:

    “Over the past decade, Solzhenitsyn has made his practical political position clear enough: he remains an inveterate anticommunist; he favors strong grassroots democracy; he is for a market economy and real land reform but is adamantly opposed to a kleptocracy that lives off the nation, using its political connections to perpetuate its social dominance and impoverish a people already victimized by communism. Like George Orwell, Solzhenitsyn envisions a decent society where the ordinary man is protected from the sophisticated abstractions of the Left (“socialist utopia”) and the Right (“the market” as an end in itself unrestrained by law and morality).

    No need to go to Russia to find a kleptocracy living off the nation. In the US the “Socialist Utopians” and “The Market” have already combined to form their very own 0,1% kleptocratic elite. In Orwellian terms, the Socialist Utopians are the nation’s “Thought Police” charged with protecting the elite.

  18. utu says:

    “a decent society where the ordinary man is protected from the sophisticated abstractions of the Left (“socialist utopia”) and the Right (“the market” as an end in itself unrestrained by law and morality).”

    Unfortunately the Left and the Right work in tandem. The Left no longer offers opposition to the Right in the field of economy and the Right does not offer opposition to the Left in the area of social engineering. When Democrats ostensively became fiscally conservative (Bill Clinton) they gave up on the issue of economic justice and replace them with the issue of social justice related to race and gender. When Trotskyists became (neo) conservatives and joined Republican party they weakened the social conservatism of Republicans. Both Democrats and Republicans are for the open borders. Soros and Koch brothers agree on the issue 100%. This makes a perfect sense because they work in tandem.

  19. Daniel Mahoney in his book, “Solzhenitsyn – The Ascent from Ideology” gives S’s view with regard to Democracy in Russia, but it’s applicable anywhere

    BS on both counts (imho): Solzhenitsyn was a monarchist, and a champion of Russian exceptionalism.

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @anon
  20. libertreee says: • Website

    Mr Cooper- You missed the arrest in Poland on the eve of Operation Annaconda of the anti Nato Opposition Party leader -M. Piskorsky.

  21. @longfisher

    And one could nitpick back by pointing out that squatters, by definition, are not tenants.

    ” a person or group that rents and occupies land, a house, an office, or the like, from another for a period of time; lessee.”

  22. woodNfish says:

    Democratic principles are under attack everywhere in the West. We have plenty of it right here in the US most notably on college campuses. Canada has a phony human rights court dedicated to criminalizing free speech. The NYT, WaPO, John McCain and other fascist scum like them are the enemies of democracy and freedom. They have no credibility.

  23. Miro23 says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Read Mahoney’s book with the references to the original texts. Solzhenitsyn was very much in favour of a deep participative local democracy of the Swiss cantonal type. He repeats this many times.

    Don’t pay too much attention to the lying MSM narrative regarding Solzhenitsyn.

    His unforgiveable crime was to make public some facts about the Gulag (e.g. that the barbaric White Sea – Baltic Canal project (Belomor) prototype, was entirely set up and run by Jews, and that the subsequent Gulag Archipelago of death camps had the same Jewish management with their mostly Jewish camp commanders organizing the death in appalling conditions of around 12 million European Christians). He listed their names and positions.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  24. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    On a practical level, monarchy is often more democratic than parliamentary-ministerialism.

  25. @Miro23

    His lament on the passivity of the victims holds, I’m afraid, lessons for us today.

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    • Agree: Miro23
  26. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    Don’t guess Wolf will be reporting this?

    Carl Paladino, Trump Ally, Wishes Obama Dead of Mad Cow Disease in ’17

    Carl Paladino, a western New York builder, one-time Republican candidate for governor of New York and political ally of President-elect Donald J. Trump, came under fire on Friday for racially offensive comments about President Obama and the first lady, who Mr. Paladino said should be “let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.”

    Mr. Paladino’s comments were published in Artvoice, a weekly Buffalo newspaper. They came in response to an open-ended feature in which local figures were asked about their hopes for 2017.

    “Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford,” said Mr. Paladino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, making an apparent reference to the Hereford cattle breed. He said he hoped the disease killed the president.

    Asked what he most wanted to see “go away” in the new year, Mr. Paladino — who has a reputation in New York political and business circles for speaking in an unfiltered manner reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s — answered, “Michelle Obama.”

    “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” he said.

    Just for asking Israel to stop stealing Palestinian land? The ones who will pay the most will be the Palestinians, who will be subject to increased attacks from mad-dog settlers, what they call a ‘price-tag’ cost. Maybe Malaysia will lose some more jetliners?

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  27. @Miro23

    deep participative local democracy of the Swiss cantonal type

    No, I think you and your author misunderstand his views. Village democracy, yes, but village democracy within a monarchy, that was his ideal. Nothing’s wrong with that, it’s just it’s not what the westerners understand as ‘democracy’, not even close.

    the subsequent Gulag Archipelago of death camps

    There were no death camps in the USSR. “GULAG” was just a state penitentiary system, just like in any other state. The conditions, judging by American TV shows and movies, were probably better than in many US prisons. Besides, the incarceration rate in the US is very similar to the average GULAG period. As for “Jewish management” and “European Christians”, that’s also nonsense. The managers certainly were of many different ethnic groups, all communists, and therefore all atheists. And the prisoners, I’m sure, were from both European and Asian parts of the USSR, and of several different religions.

    Framing the Soviet communist system as some sort of ethnic struggle is beyond ridiculous, it’s completely insane.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
    , @Ace
  28. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    There were no death camps in the USSR. “GULAG” was just a state penitentiary system, just like in any other state. The Gulag’s Veiled Mortality by Golfo Alexopoulos

    Not according to this account by Golfo Alexopoulos, a W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow for 2007–2008 at the Hoover Institution, an account consistent with Nobelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s account, which was based on personal experience:

    In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn called Stalin’s gulag a system of “destructive-labor camps.” The writer who brought the gulag to light insisted that “the camps were destructive and this must not be forgotten.” Why then, following the declassification of the gulag archives, did the official mortality rates appear so low? Two scholars offered the same explanation. In her Pulitzer-Prize-winning work, Gulag: A History, Anne Applebaum wrote that “both archives and memoirs indicate that it was common practice in many camps to release prisoners who were on the point of dying, thereby lowering camp death statistics.” Expert historian of the gulag Oleg Khlevniuk stated that “early release for disabled and chronically ill prisoners offered an easy opportunity to tweak the figures. … Since they did not die in the camps, they did not affect gulag statistics.” Not only were Applebaum and Khlevniuk correct, but the release of terminally ill prisoners constituted an extraordinarily vast and routine gulag practice that deliberately concealed the camp’s destructive nature.


    So if you do not wish to concede the point, what is your source of information proving Solzhenitsyn a liar and confirming the benign conditions the prevailed throughout the gulag?

    • Replies: @MarkinPNW
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  29. @fnn

    The national party in Germany became “NAZI” after the alliance with the ZIonists, thus ” NAZIs”.
    In reality ‘”Those who call themselves Jews, but are not….” are the culprits. NOTE: they call themselves Jews, but are not. That explains it. They do have the mark of “Cain” as “McCain”, son of Cain, and his actions betray him, as thus. Words and names do have a meaning, and is right in front of the those with ‘eyes to see’.

  30. @fnn

    The Khazars have always since their conquest by the Ruskies back in the 800s AD been the controlling authorities in those parts of Eastern Europe. And they don’t forget and forgive, as the Ruskies paid the price during the Talmudists’ rule over them for 70 plus yrs. I noticed in pictures from Russia, the Government’s buildings still with the Commies’ emblems on them, the sickle and hammer still embalmed on their buildings; I question why.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  31. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Well, Western Europe is essentially vassal-states of the US. So are Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea in Asia.

    So, their policies will only reflect the US globalist agenda.

    Now, what is wrong with the US?

    US is not ruled by all Americans. There is no balance among various ethnic/racial groups. What prevails is a uni-polar or uni-ethno national power.

    Now, consider the whole world long ago.

    Prior to WWII, the world was multi-polar, with several great power: British Empire, French Empire, resurgent National Socialist Germany, Imperial Japan, and the US.

    But WWII led to fall of empires, and the world became a bi-polar world of US vs USSR.
    And then the Cold War ended with the breakup of the USSR and decline of Russian power.
    The world became uni-polar with US as the only super-power.
    Now, with the rise of China and alliance of Russia-Iran, some are talking of the rise of new multi-polar world. But for now, the world is still uni-polar with US as the lone superpower.

    But the problem goes deeper. If US power was representative of all Americans, things wouldn’t be so bad. After all, the US came into being via the arrivals, settlements, and immigration of peoples from all over: England, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Poland, China, African nations, Arab nations, Iran, India, Pakistan, Mexico, etc, etc.
    So, if American Power represented all these various groups from all over the world, the uni-polar power of the US would be more balanced and restrained as US power would reflect the interests of various competing ethnic groups.

    Or, even if various groups in America were not equally represented in American Power, the dominant power would still make more sense if it represented the majority of Americans — white gentiles — or if it was restrained & balanced by some degree of ethnic/cultural competition.
    Long ago, power in the US was essentially uni-polar with Anglo-Americans or Wasps being dominant. And then, with the rise of certain key groups, the power became multi-polar: Wasps, Jews, Catholic ethnics, big city Irish, blacks, and etc.
    But then, over time, the only truly dominant group became the Jews who are only 2% of the population. So, US power got weird and wonky. Jews sensed this strange state of affairs and pushed homomania to normalize elite minority privilege & dominance.
    Now, when a nation that is 98% non-Jewish becomes slavish to the uni-polar power of Jews, something is wrong. But it is far far worse when the 2% that has uni-polar power over the US wields the might of American military, finance, and soft power to dominate the entire world. Jews are 2% of US population but less than 0.2% of the World Population.
    With Jews as uni-polar rulers of the US that rules the entire world, it means the 0.2% of the world is dominating and dictating affairs all around the world. Is that crazy or what?

    Rise of uni-polar minority power in the US was dangerous. If the US weren’t powerful nation, it wouldn’t matter. Suppose Jews are a small minority in Peru and totally dominate that country. Well, big deal! Peru is not a world a power, and its power would hardly affect the whole world. It’s like overseas Chinese minority dominates the economy of Philippines, but it doesn’t matter since Philippines is a minor nation. Chinese economic might in Philippines is a local affair.
    In contrast, the US is a uni-polar super-power that dominates the world. So, the group that controls the US will control the world. And when a group that is only 2% controls America, it means US power is being used to serve very narrow tribal interests. And given Jews are less than 0.2% of world population, it means most of the world is controlled by 0.2% of the population. That is crazy.

    Because US dominates the world and since there is no other power in the near future that can counter US power, what we need, at the very least, is multi-polarity WITHIN the US. That way, if power inside the US is divided among various groups, US policy toward the world won’t be so narrowly tribal, so ethno-neurotic or ethneurotic, so paranoid, and so nutsoid.

    In the past, the power of religion served as effective counter to Jewish power since most Americans weren’t Jewish. Jews used to fear & respect Protestant and Catholic power as social, demographic, moral, and cultural forces.
    And Wasps used to have confidence in their history and identity. And various ethnic groups, such as Italians and Irish, had their own sense of ethnic interests and community. But as white gentiles all turned into ‘white bread’ consumers, they came to share in Wasp ‘guilt’ and ‘privilege’ and came to be morally discredited and forced to hang their heads in shame. As for blacks, even though their power was on the rise since the Civil Rights Movement, their cultural-social implosion meant ruined neighborhoods and social pathology. And black leaders are all retards. There is the power of Rap, but it’s mostly entertainment and lacking in institutional power. As for browns, their numbers has risen, but most Meso-Americans are lacking in agency and talent. They fail to make it the elites. As for Asians, they do well in school , and some do reach higher ranks in society, but they lack individuality and the spark to gain real power. So, Jewish power, aided by homo proxy power, is the ONLY power in the US. And that means the Great Might of the US is used to serve narrow Jewish-Zionist interests. And that is dangerous.

    Is the rise of Trump a kind of return of multi-polarity in US politics? Is it a return of white identity and power? It is a scaling back of neo-con Zionist domination of foreign policy? We’ll have to see.

    Anyway, if the world power cannot be multi-polar with several Great Powers, we need the US power to be multi-polar with several ethnic/cultural powers. Without them, the world will be about Jews dominating the US that dominates the globe. Too much power. Dangerous.

    • Replies: @Parbes
    , @Ace
  32. MarkinPNW says:

    Yes, there are a lot of us Alt-Write (formerly Grammar Nazis) to keep the rest of you straight!~

  33. MarkinPNW says:

    Some of us LDS (Mormons) who are more aware find that people like McMuffin and Mitt fit the description and warning of two revered late LDS leaders, J Rueben Clark and Ezra Taft Bensen who warned that the most dangerous “wolves in sheeps clothing” are those that “wear the habiliments of the priesthood”; those LDS readers who’ve received the Temple rite of the endowment will know what I am talking about, in addition to Mitt having previously “served” as lay pastor as Bishop and Stake President.

    Also, the aforementioned Clark and Bensen both served in high positions of the Federal Government as part of the MIC, and once retiring from “public service” spent much time and energy denouncing the corruption of the Feds just like retired Major General Smedley Butler did. So far everything I have lately heard from Mitt and McMuffin indicates that, unlike Clark, Bensen, and Butler, those two are still unrepentant supporters of the MIC and deep state.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  34. MarkinPNW says:

    I remember reading Karl Heinz Schnibbe’s memoirs (he was a teenage member of the anti-Nazi German resistance) how after being sent to a German concentration camp for his anti Nazi activities, he was released in the confusion of the Red Army’s advance, then drafted into the German army for last minute defense against the Red onslaught, captured by the Soviets, sent to the Gulag as a POW for several years, finally being released only when he was so sick from starvation and abuse that he was not expected to live more than a few weeks, and how it was very careful treatment by his family doctor and nurturing by his mother that allowed him to very slowly and carefully make a full recovery.

    A link to the latest edition of his autobiography;

  35. JL says:

    The Pussy Riot members were convicted of what would be the equivalent of a disorderly conduct statute. The law on offending religious believers was passed post facto as a reaction to the whole affair. Obviously, said law could not be applied retroactively.

    Pussy Riot seems like such an innocuous event considering everything that came after.

  36. @CanSpeccy

    So if you do not wish to concede the point, what is your source of information proving Solzhenitsyn a liar and confirming the benign conditions the prevailed throughout the gulag?

    What point? You didn’t make any point. You just stated that rabid anti-communists insist that the Soviet penal system of the 1930s and 40s was a terrible thing. I agree that rabid anti-communists say that – that’s their whole philosophy, without it they would have nothing to say at all.

    I never said that “benign conditions the prevailed throughout the gulag“. I said that the Soviet penal system in the 1930s, 40s, and part of the 50s (aka GULAG) wasn’t much worse (if at all) than the American penal system TODAY, even as we speak. There’s a new documentary now, by the way, from Netflix. Maybe you should watch it and ask Anne Applebaum and other scumbags you mentioned of their opinion of the American Gulag. Don’t forget to mention Gitmo, and torture camps all over the world, including Poland, Applebaum’s other homeland.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  37. @in the middle

    Have you swallowed Koestler’s “Thirteenth Tribe” rubbish? Or some third hand version of it more likely. Just ask one simple question: how did the Jews of Eastern Europe – Ashkenazim – come to speak a German dialect as their tribal or group language?

  38. Parbes says:

    Very perceptive and intelligent… well done!

  39. annamaria says:

    “And here’s an interview with Chabloz earlier in the year, after she was barred from the supposedly “edgy” and often intentionally “offensive”(to Evil conservative/rightist/Christian/white people – legitimate targets, of course) art show the Edinburgh Fringe.”
    But it has been OK to support and extoll the insulting performances of “Pussy riot” group, because the insults have been hurled against Russian Orthodox Church and Russian cultural sensitivities in general.

  40. annamaria says:

    Below is a lengthy and interesting comment by a reader on the TruthDig article. Any informed opinion on the comment?
    by Nalliah Thayabharan


    “…Another myth that all Americans live with is the charade known as the “Federal Reserve.” It comes as a shock to many to discover that it is not an agency of the United States Government.
    The name “Federal Reserve Bank” was designed to deceive, and it still does. It is not federal, nor is it owned by the government. It is privately owned. It pays its own postage like any other corporation. Its employees are not in civil service. Its physical property is held under private deeds, and is subject to local taxation. Government property, as you know, is not.
    It is an engine that has created private wealth that is unimaginable, even to the most financially sophisticated. It has enabled an imperial elite to manipulate our economy for its own agenda and enlisted the government itself as its enforcer. It controls the times, dictates business, affects homes and practically everything.
    It takes powerful force to maintain an empire, and this one is no different. The concerns of the leadership of the “Federal Reserve” and its secretive international benefactors appear to go well beyond currency and interest rates.
    Andrew Jackson was the first President from west of the Appalachians. He was unique for the times in being elected by the voters, without the direct support of a recognized political organization. He vetoed the renewal of the charter for the Bank of the United States on July 10, 1832.
    In 1835, President Andrew Jackson declared his disdain for the international bankers:
    “You are a den of vipers. I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God I will rout you out. If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.”
    There followed an (unsuccessful) assassination attempt on President Jackson’s life. Jackson had told his vice president, Martin Van Buren, “The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me….”
    Was this the beginning of a pattern of intrigue that would plague the White House itself over the coming decades? Was his (and Lincoln’s) death related by an invisible thread to the international bankers?
    President James Abram Garfield, our 20th President, had previously been Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and was an expert on fiscal matters. President Garfield openly declared that whoever controls the supply of currency would control the business and activities of all the people. After only four months in office, President Garfield was shot at a railroad station on July 2, 1881.
    President John F. Kennedy planned to exterminate the Federal Reserve System. In 1963 he signed Executive Orders EO-11 and EO-110, returning to the government the responsibility to print money, taking that privilege away from the Federal Reserve System.
    Shortly thereafter, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The professional, triangulated fire that executed the President of the United States is not the most shocking issue. The high- level coordination that organized the widespread coverup is manifest evidence of the incredible power of a “hidden government” behind the scenes.
    In the 70′s and 80′s, U.S. congressman Lawrence McDonald from Georgia, spearheaded efforts to expose the hidden holdings and intentions of the international money interests. His efforts ended on August 31, 1983, when he was killed when Korean Airlines 007 was “accidentally” shot down in Soviet airspace. A strange coincidence, it would seem. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Steven Symms of Idaho, and Representative Carroll J. Hubbard, Jr. of Kentucky were aboard sister flight KAL 015, which flew 15 minutes behind KAL 007; they were headed, along with McDonald on KAL 007, to Seoul, South Korea, in order to attend the ceremonies for the thirtieth anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty. The Soviets contended former U.S. president Richard Nixon was to have been seated next to Larry McDonald on KAL 007 but that the CIA warned him not to go, according to the New York Post and TASS.
    Senator Henry John Heinz III and former Senator John Goodwin Tower had served on powerful Senate banking and finance committees and were outspoken critics of the Federal Reserve and the Eastern Establishment.
    On April 4, 1991, 52-year-old Henry John Heinz III, Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, crashed in a Piper PA60 Aerostar when it collided with a Bell 412 helicopter near Philadelphia. Burning wreckage fell on the grounds of an elementary school in nearby Lower Merion Township; two of the dead were children playing outside at noon recess.
    On the next day, April 5, 1991, former was also killed when twin-engine turbo-prop Atlantic Southeast Airlines plane flying from Atlanta went down in a thickly wooded area within view of motorists on Interstate 95. The coincidences seem to mount.
    A commuter plane – Flight Atlantic Southeast 2311- twin-engine turbo-prop Atlantic Southeast Airlines plane flying from Atlanta carrying 23 people, including former 65-year old Republican Senator John Tower of Texas, crashed and burned in a thickly wooded area within view of motorists on Interstate 95 – a mile and a half short of the airport killing everyone on board.
    Attempts to just audit the Federal Reserve continue to meet with failure. It is virtually impossible to muster support for any issue that has the benefit of a media blackout. The bizarre but tragic reality that the American people suffer from a managed and controlled media is a subject for another discussion.
    For many years, numerous authors have attempted to sound the alarm that there exists a hidden “shadow government” that actually rules America. Most of us have dismissed these “conspiracy theory” views as extremist and unrealistic. The ignorance in America is overwhelming. Indeed, the contrast in general awareness of world affairs between the average American and the average European is striking. The concentration of power in America is frightening.”

  41. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Maybe you should watch it and ask Anne Applebaum and other scumbags

    You consider Alexander Solzhenitsyn a “scumbag”? Do I have that right?

    Also, perhaps you would reassure us about conditions in your namesake’s Chinese gulag the Laogai, where it is said that 40 to 50 million people have been subjected to forced labor, often with fatal results (a death toll of over 15 million has been claimed).

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  42. @CanSpeccy

    You consider Alexander Solzhenitsyn a “scumbag”? Do I have that right?

    What, is he your deity, or something? As far as I’m concerned, he was just a crackpot and mediocre writer, over-promoted in the west for his anti-communist views.

    Chinese gulag

    China’s got its own penal system, what of it? And your link doesn’t support your fantastic ‘claims’. Why not claim trillions?

    Incidentally, the US (with the highest incarceration rate in world) subjects its prisoners to forced labor just the same – and that’s TODAY. Slave labor in prisons is right in the US constitution; check the 13th amendment:

    Outraged yet? No? What’s the matter?

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @CanSpeccy
    , @utu
  43. @Greg Bacon

    I don’t know about you, but I found both “wishes” to be immensely hilarious.

  44. annamaria says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    “… he was just a crackpot and mediocre writer…”
    Do you consider a documentary book “Two Hundred Years Together” by Solzhenitsyn a mediocre writing because it is filled with factual information depicting the life of Jews first in the tsarist Russia and then in the Soviet Union? He was a man of principles and a courageous soul.

  45. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    And your link doesn’t support your fantastic ‘claims’. Why not claim trillions?

    If you refer to the claim of 15 million deaths in the Chinese gulag, then insofar as I can be said to have made any claim at all, it is you who are wrong. To quote directly from the source I provided:

    Professor R.J. Rummel puts the number of forced labor “democides” at 15,720,000, excluding “all those collectivized, ill-fed and clothed peasants who would be worked to death in the fields.”[16] Harry Wu puts the death toll at 15 million

    Whether the claim is fantastic, I cannot say. I wasn’t there, thank God. But as for Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s claims about the Soviet Gulag, he was there — for eight years.

    Solzhenitsyn was, you now say, “a crackpot and mediocre writer” but, you seem to withdraw the claim that he was a “scumbag.” Have I got that straight now?

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  46. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Solzhenitsyn was an excellent writer in tradition of Tolstoy, Turgenev and Bulgakov. In particular I like his novels The First Circle and Cancer Ward. But also great is his cycle he worked on till his death on events leading to Bolshevik revolution: Lenin in Zürich, August 1914, November 1916, March 1917 and April 1917.

    You, Mao Cheng Ji compromise yourself by voicing your uneducated opinions on Solzhenitsyn.

    Are you still a communists and Maoist? Do you believe in a flat earth by any chance?

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  47. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    Solzhenitsyn’s first novel, or novella, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is very powerful.

    To quote a review at

    The entirety of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s short novel “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” takes place on a winter day in 1951 in a Siberian labor camp. The title character, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, has been a prisoner there for the past eight years and has two more to go, provided his sentence isn’t extended even longer for no reason at all. As a Soviet soldier in World War II, he was imprisoned after being accused of spying for the German…

    The novel is based on Solzhenitsyn’s own experience as a labor camp prisoner under Stalin’s reign, and therefore it has a sincere, natural, brutal quality that not even someone like Orwell could imitate…

    If he has not already done so, Mao Cheng Ji might do well to read it. It would, perhaps, cause him to revise his opinion of Solzhenitsyn literary standing.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    , @Ace
  48. Rex says: • Website

    We should always try to remember that the US is a Republic, not a Democracy. The US has never been a Democracy, it’s always been a Republic. Although Hillary Clinton, kept wrongfully calling the US a Democracy, we need to stop and educate every misinformed person that the US is a REPUBLIC, not a Democracy.

  49. Clyde says:

    I am not a Mormon but I can see this church is so full of squishy liberals. Forty years ago it was very conservative and so were its members. This church used to not allow blacks to join. When they got rid of this policy the church went squish in other ways. Slowly. At least Utah voted for Trump, though without enthusiasm.

  50. @CanSpeccy

    No, I don’t think Solzhenitsyn was a scumbag: he sounds quite sincere. Like an obsessed crackpot on a crusade.

    Applebaum, on the other hand, certainly is a scumbag. And despite superficial similarities, she is, in fact, the opposite of Solzhenitsyn; he was an extreme Russophile, while she is an extreme Russophobe.

  51. @CanSpeccy

    Solzhenitsyn’s first novel, or novella, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is very powerful.

    I wouldn’t call it exactly “powerful”, but yeah, here I agree with you: Ivan Denisovich is a decent writing. I liked it. He had a good start, and could, I suppose, become a good writer. But, as I said already, he chose to become a crusader and a tool of western anti-communism. That brought fame and money, but killed his literary potentials. Oh well…

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  52. Ace says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    You write complete garbage.

  53. Ace says:

    After all, the US came into being via the arrivals, settlements, and immigration of peoples from all over England.

    Spare me your nation of immigrants fantasies.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  54. Ace says:

    Solzhenitsyn was the most translated author in the world in 1970 but to Mao he was a talentless hack.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  55. Anonymous [AKA "Kriviq"] says:

    The absurdity of these talks about liberal and illiberal democracies reminds me of the medieval dispute over the number of devils that could dance on a pinhead. “Liberal democracy” is an oxymoron: liberalism is an ideology and ideologies are messianic, that is to say, they do not recognize opposing points of view. Therefore, ideologies are inherently nondemocratic. By saying “liberal democracy”, one actually says “nondemocratic democracy” 🙂

  56. @Ace

    Solzhenitsyn was the most translated author in the world in 1970 but to Mao he was a talentless hack.

    Hmm. De gustibus non est disputandum, obviously, but it seems to me it would be extremely silly to deny a very strong component, in his success, of western establishment disseminating and promoting anti-Soviet propaganda. If you really don’t see it, probably there isn’t much I can do for you here…

  57. Clyde says:

    Don’t diss the Priss. He will be here long after you have moved on to browner pastures.

  58. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    he chose to become a crusader and a tool of western anti-communism.

    Maybe he was, you know, just not for Communism.

    Sure, he was promoted by Western anti-Communists, just as Stalin showed hospitality to Western Communists like Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Beatrice and Sidney Webb, but they were not Communist “tools”, they were sincere Commies who approved the anti-Christianity and brutality of Stalinist Russia.

    Likewise, many Western atheists, including Wells, Maynard Keynes, Shaw and Unity Mitford (sister of the Duke of Devonshire and a sister in-law of the Kennedy’s) admired Hitler and the Nazis, not because they were Nazi “tools” but because they were enthusiasts for totalitarianism, gas chambers and the elimination of useless eaters.

  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “illiberal democracies,” or countries where the majority rules but the government lacks traditional aspects of liberal democracy such as checks and balances and respect for civil rights.

    It doesn’t seem (yet) that this is the case in Poland and Hungary. Checks and balances? Aren’t the parliaments still making laws? Despite the recent events in Poland, there still IS a freedom of assembly there and an open, uncensored press. This is characteristic of the whole region. There is rule of law. People can join parties. There are several active parties, not just one. These are still pretty free societies. In many ways, more free than the US and Western Europe.

  60. Brilliant article. A lot of argumental ammo. The problem is that arguments like this one are difficult to convey when you are, say, talking to your colleagues over lunch. It is the law of the soundbite that matters on such occasions.

  61. Bartleby says:

    Hayek had something to say about all this:

    “The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they… have always held… The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen. And the most effective way to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning.

    Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of meaning of the words by which the ideals of the new regimes are expressed….

    If one has not one’s self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion it causes, and the barriers to any rational discussion which it creates… And the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people. Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.”
    — Friedrich Hayek, “The Road to Serfdom”

  62. @CanSpeccy, @Ace,

    Mao Cheng Ji is partly right and partly wrong here. I say this as someone who’s basically a communist myself but (obviously) neither a Maoist nor a Stalinist.

    Solzhenitsyn was obviously a talented writer and a courageous moral witness, and his *qualitative* descriptions of the Gulag was probably correct. He was obviously wrong though about the *quantitative* extent about Stalinist terror and gulag deaths, and also about the extent to which the Gulag and mass death was essential to Soviet communism. History after 1956 proved him wrong on the second count, and the opening of Soviet archivers after 1991 proved him wrong on the first. Even the worst anti-communist hacks these days like Timothy Snyder quote much smaller death tolls for Stalin than Solzhenitsyn did (i.e. closer to 10 million than 60 million), and the Gulag was dismantled (as well as mass terror ending) after Khrushchev’s secret speech. I don’t think Rummell’s wildly inflated death counts for communist regimes are really taken seriously either.

    It’s also worth pointing out that “being there” does make you an expert on the *qualitative* experience of being a Gulag prisoner, but it does not necessarily make you an expert on the quantitative issues or on the deeper issues about how central the Gulag was to communism. As we all know, anecdotal data (sorry, “lived experience”) is often not worth very much as a guide to social trends, and can in fact be deeply misleading.

    It’s also worth noting that there are many Gulag prisoners who came out of it worshipping Stalin (same thing happened in China), and that most Russians think today quite highly of both communism and Stalin (rightly in the first case in my opinion, wrongly in the second).

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
  63. Btw, Mao Cheng Ji, welcome back!

  64. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As we all know, anecdotal data (sorry, “lived experience”) is often not worth very much as a guide to social trends, and can in fact be deeply misleading.

    Are you trying to say that what those people experienced didn’t happen? Aren’t you just so glad it didn’t happen to you or your relatives? But you know what, it could’ve. It’s by pure luck that it didn’t.

    • Replies: @Hector_St_Clare
  65. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Well, one good thing about this Trump election is that all the Western liberals and “experts” of all sort who for years have been lecturing Eastern Europeans on what is real “democracy” and what it means to not be corrupt and that Western Europeans and Americans have some sort of an almost genetic predisposition to be more “free”, just and democratic, can now see for themselves that these same Westerners can support en masse and elect a “strongman” who is both authoritarian and nepotistic (not to mention hates multiculturalism and an “open society”). Hopefully all the Soros foundation fags, liberals and other “expats” will finally shut up and go sit in the corner in shame. Their compatriots are only humans (e.g., “backward bigots”), too, as it turns out.

  66. @Hector_St_Clare

    ” Most Russians think today quite highly of both communism and Stalin”

    Bullshit, this is a downright lie. Most Russians today abhor communism and Stalin or they would never support VP to the extent that they do, as he is the epitome of anti-communism, and anti-stalinism.

    Of course each new generation of commies, including yourself, maintain that the Russians and Chinese were the “Wrong” ones and we are the “Right” ones and we will get it right this time.

    The communist theory embodies, represents manifest insanity, and anyone who advocates it, simply has no clue as to what they are dealing with.

    Authenticjazzman, “Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

    • Replies: @Hector_St_Clare
  67. JackOH says:

    Liberal? Illiberal? Sometimes I wonder if those questions mean anything. You’re a shopkeeper in Edwardian England or Wilhelmine Germany. Are you politically better off or worse off than your great-grandson working as a Dollar Store manager in Los Angeles in today’s America? Do relative liberality or illiberality of governance make all that much difference? I don’t have any great answers to those questions.

  68. @Authenticjazzman

    You clearly haven’t paid attention to public opinion surveys out of Russia, have you? (Or for that matter, have talked to a lot of former Soviet denizens). About 50-60% of Russians currently prefer “central planning and distribution” to “market capitalist economy”.

    As for Stalin:

    You are right that, in spite of a majority preferring communism (in theory) to what they have now (and even more so, to liberalism), most people still vote for Putin. There was a survey a while ago that found that *conditional on supporting communism* most people planned to vote for Putin. I don’t know why that is, except to say, people aren’t always rational: not in Russia and not in America. Maybe they don’t see the return of communism as realistic at this juncture, and they prefer Putin to the liberals of Just Russia and PARNAS.

  69. @Anonymous

    I mean exactly what I said. I have no reason to doubt Solzhenitsyn’s eyewitness testimony of his experience. The post-Soviet opening of the archives shows that he was wrong about the *quantitative extent* of the gulag, and post-Stalinist history shows he was wrong about its longevity. He isn’t really to be faulted for this, since they are things that are independent of his eyewitness experience which he couldn’t possibly have known.

  70. ” Or for that matter , have talked to a lot of former Soviet Denizens”

    Wrong again as I have over the course of several decades worked in musical settings with various Russian musicians, one of them having been the winner of one of the most prestigious music awards in Russia.

    And “Public opinion surveys” also in Russia, are without exception leftist propaganda devices.

    Listen you can’t bullshit me, so lets just agree to disagree, as I know how biased and stubborn commies are, amen.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist

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