Tagged History

Movie Review: “The Death of Stalin”

I suppose it is worth stating anew the observation and fact that few–if any–movies actually tell a historical tale in what can be called a faithful manner. Such is the case with The Death of Stalin, which, while unfaithful to historical facts, shows laudable fidelity to stating and underlining a higher truth: The so-called “leaders” of authoritarian and totalitarian societies are as comical, ridiculous and pathetic as they are monstrous, evil and depraved, and to defeat them, it is imperative that we identify them as the buffoons that they are, and mock them accordingly–even as we gape in horror at…

Defining Deviancy Down

So, at the end of the 1986-1987 Supreme Court term, Associate Justice Lewis Powell decided to retire from the Court. Accordingly, Justice Powell submitted his resignation letter to President Reagan. The president nominated Judge Robert Bork to replace Powell. Bork got voted down 58-42 by the United States Senate, the first Senate rejection of a Supreme Court nominee since Judge Harold Carswell’s nomination by President Nixon went down in flames. Afterwards, President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, the Senate confirmed him, and the rest is history, right?

(Deliberately) Don’t Know Much about History (China Edition)

I am something of a history buff (or at least, I try my best to be), so when someone gets history wrong, I tend to get . . . oh, how to phrase this? . . . annoyed. To be sure, honest mistakes are sometimes made when discussing history, and your humble servant makes those mistakes as well (too often, for your humble servant’s own tastes). But while the occasional error is understandable, when history is deliberately misread for political purposes, then the civilized response to such a misreading is–and ought to be–outrage.

In Memoriam: Robert Conquest

We should not have needed the likes of Robert Conquest to describe and awaken us to the horrors of the Soviet Union. We should not have needed him to tell us that Joseph Stalin was a monster. We should not have needed him to tell us that the monstrousness of Stalin was the direct and consequential result of the monstrousness of Vladimir Lenin. We should not have needed him to tell us that communism inevitably and directly leads to human rights abuses of the worst and most atrocious kind. We should not have needed Robert Conquest to tell us these…

On the Confederate Flag

In the wake of the absolutely horrific shooting in South Carolina that left nine people dead, attention has swiftly turned to the display of the Confederate flag in the state, given that the murderer, Dylann Roof, was pictured wrapped in the flag, and given the (to put matters mildly) problematic history behind the flag. As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock is well aware by now, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina has come out in favor of removing the Confederate flag. I support this move, and think it is long overdue. But no one should pretend that…

Jeb Bush Doesn’t Have an Aura of Inevitability. And that’s Fine.

Nicholas Confessore–who in the past, has written for non-right wing rags like Salon, Washington Monthly, and The American Prospect, and who therefore may not be the most unbiased soul in the world when it comes to writing about Republicans–co-authored this pieceĀ along with Maggie Haberman in which we are breathlessly informed that not all Republicans are backing a Jeb Bush candidacy for the presidency. To which, my reply is as follows: Who bloody well cares?

Alternative Quote of the Day

Behold. A lot of policy problems would cease to exist if people recalled that “poverty is the normal condition of man,” and strove with urgency to combat poverty through innovation, creation and–yes–creative destruction whenever appropriate. But somehow, the lessons that people like Robert Heinlein try to impart keep getting forgotten.

What We’ve Learned about All of the People Who Laughed at Joni Ernst

1. There are a lot of people who talk a good game when it comes to combating poverty, but who do not understand the history of poverty in America, or its pernicious effects upon those whose lives have been touched by poverty. 2. There are a lot of people who can’t even manage to talk a good game, because they are sufficiently graceless and witless to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to mock poor people–or people who once were poor–simply because those people belong to a different political party. For more details, read Megan McArdle.

Please Stop Saying that Americans Don’t Like Political Dynasties. It’s Just Not True.

It isn’t 2016 yet, but I am already sick to death of all of the claims that Americans do not like political dynasties. We have heard a fair amount of that talk in light of Hillary Clinton’s very likely candidacy for the presidency, and now that Jeb Bush appears to be getting ready to run for president as well, we are hearing even more such talk. The problem is that the talk in question is absurd. Americans may pretend to dislike political dynasties, but in fact, efforts to perpetrate such dynasties have been remarkably successful throughout American history. John Adams…