Professor or Comrade?

 

In his inimitable style, Senator John Kennedy quickly got to the point on Saule Omarova’s nomination to become Comptroller of the Currency, stating:

“I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”

Despite my great admiration for Senator Kennedy, I think he and other critics partially miss the point here. It was routine for university students to join Komsomol, the Communist Youth League. Studying scientific communism and writing a thesis titled “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital” is not surprising for a Soviet student. And once the Soviet Union collapsed, there was nowhere to send a resignation letter to. These were simply the actions of a young, aspiring student.

(Just a minor point on Omarova’s contention that “everyone” joined Komsomol. That is not true. Christian believers such as Baptists and Pentecostals and other dissidents did NOT join it and other Communist organizations and paid a heavy price.)

What should bother us about Omarova is what she has said and written afterward. Calling for the debanking of oil and gas production and the end of private bank accounts and mocking the industry that she would regulate as an “a******” industry should be disqualifying. Debanking a legal industry such as oil and gas is far beyond the powers allotted to the federal government under the commerce clause. Not to mention the damage it would do the economy. Ending private bank accounts and establishing them at the Federal Reserve would create a totalitarian state that would eclipse the Soviet Union.

If Omarova doesn’t believe these things, why doesn’t she denounce them wholeheartedly? The answer is she can’t because she still believes them – she published them in 2019 and 2020. Joining Komsomol as a university student in the 1980s is merely a relic of a dead empire. But today she believes in the Green New Deal and financial totalitarianism. She shouldn’t be disqualified because she was a young, naive comrade three or four decades ago. She should be disqualified because she is a typical lefty professor today.

Published in Economics
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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Steve Fast:

    Calling for the debanking of oil and gas production and the end of private bank accounts and mocking the industry that she would regulate as an “a******” industry should be disqualifying.

    The end of private bank accounts–it calls to mind a nightmarish dystopia from some sort of sci-fi thriller.

    If it sounds more like 1984 or the movie Brazil, maybe we shouldn’t try it in real life.

    • #1
  2. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    What’s this about “everybody joined Komsomol in the 1980s”?  Was she in the USSR?

    • #2
  3. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    BDB (View Comment):

    What’s this about “everybody joined Komsomol in the 1980s”? Was she in the USSR?

    Yes. She was born there (1966) and went to school there through undergraduate (Moscow State University, 1989). Per Wikipedia, she came to the United States in 1991.

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    What’s this about “everybody joined Komsomol in the 1980s”? Was she in the USSR?

    Yes. She was born there (1966) and went to school there through undergraduate (Moscow State University, 1989). Per Wikipedia, she came to the United States in 1991.

    Thank you.

    I agree with other comments here that others did not join and paid a price.

    And regardless of her literally communist background, she sure wants some good old-fashioned Soviet economic controls here.

    Besides which — in her country there is problem.  And that problem is transport.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    BDB (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    What’s this about “everybody joined Komsomol in the 1980s”? Was she in the USSR?

    Yes. She was born there (1966) and went to school there through undergraduate (Moscow State University, 1989). Per Wikipedia, she came to the United States in 1991.

    Thank you.

    I agree with other comments here that others did not join and paid a price.

    And regardless of her literally communist background, she sure wants some good old-fashioned Soviet economic controls here.

    Besides which — in her country there is problem. And that problem is transport.

    But in America, you solve problems.  In Soviet Russia – and possibly future Soviet America – problems solve YOU!

    • #5
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Steve Fast: She shouldn’t be disqualified because she was a young, naive comrade three or four decades ago. She should be disqualified because she is a typical lefty professor today.

    Embrace the power of “and.” She won the Lenin award for her academic achievements. 1-2-3 strikes, yer out!

    • #6
  7. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    kedavis (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    What’s this about “everybody joined Komsomol in the 1980s”? Was she in the USSR?

    Yes. She was born there (1966) and went to school there through undergraduate (Moscow State University, 1989). Per Wikipedia, she came to the United States in 1991.

    Thank you.

    I agree with other comments here that others did not join and paid a price.

    And regardless of her literally communist background, she sure wants some good old-fashioned Soviet economic controls here.

    Besides which — in her country there is problem. And that problem is transport.

    But in America, you solve problems. In Soviet Russia – and possibly future Soviet America – problems solve YOU!

    All Yakov Smirnov has to do is tweak a few punchlines and his career is revived.

     

    • #7
  8. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Steve Fast: She shouldn’t be disqualified because she was a young, naive comrade three or four decades ago. She should be disqualified because she is a typical lefty professor today.

    Embrace the power of “and.” She won the Lenin award for her academic achievements. 1-2-3 strikes, yer out!

    Winning the Lenin scholarship had nothing to do with her personal beliefs about communism then or now. In the Soviet Union, every office and every classroom had a portrait of Lenin – that didn’t mean that the people in those offices and classrooms had any belief in communism. Every city’s main square had a statue of Lenin, and the main avenue from that square was named Prospekt Lenina. By the 1980s when Omarova was in university, it meant nothing. It was perfunctory. It’s pointless to criticize her for those things because they say nothing about her.

    But her current beliefs about banking and regulation should be disqualifying.

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Steve Fast: She shouldn’t be disqualified because she was a young, naive comrade three or four decades ago. She should be disqualified because she is a typical lefty professor today.

    Embrace the power of “and.” She won the Lenin award for her academic achievements. 1-2-3 strikes, yer out!

    Winning the Lenin scholarship had nothing to do with her personal beliefs about communism then or now. In the Soviet Union, every office and every classroom had a portrait of Lenin – that didn’t mean that the people in those offices and classrooms had any belief in communism. Every city’s main square had a statue of Lenin, and the main avenue from that square was named Prospekt Lenina. By the 1980s when Omarova was in university, it meant nothing. It was perfunctory. It’s pointless to criticize her for those things because they say nothing about her.

    But her current beliefs about banking and regulation should be disqualifying.

    I disagree. Yes, she should be disqualified for being a commie now. But, “she just went along with the commie program” in her youth isn’t something we’d excuse among Nazis and it isn’t something excusable in communists without some major repentance and atonement. It’s obviously pertinent to who she is today.

    • #9
  10. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I disagree. Yes, she should be disqualified for being a commie now. But, “she just went along with the commie program” in her youth isn’t something we’d excuse among Nazis and it isn’t something excusable in communists without some major repentance and atonement. It’s obviously pertinent to who she is today.

    What she did 30-40 years ago probably has little to do with who she is today. I wouldn’t want to be judged by my actions 40 years ago. Thankfully people can and do change.

    • #10
  11. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I’m sorta split on the childhood stuff.  I come down on “let it go, there’s enough without it.”  That said: Propaganda works — that’s why it’s done.  Some bright spirits are unbowed — hers does not seem to be one of them.  Looks like she thrived within the system and is uninterested in repenting her central-planning ways.  The school stuff would be meaningless if she hademerged as a champion of free markets and personal liberty.  Quite the opposite, however, so the schoolgirl thing also doesn’t help illustrate the case against her — precisely because it actually was the sea they swam in.  The evidence of her badness is not that she was a good Komsomolets in her youth, but that in her age now she insists upon teaching it.

    • #11
  12. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I disagree. Yes, she should be disqualified for being a commie now. But, “she just went along with the commie program” in her youth isn’t something we’d excuse among Nazis and it isn’t something excusable in communists without some major repentance and atonement. It’s obviously pertinent to who she is today.

    I’ll give a concrete example. I entered the University of Oklahoma in 1989, and the first black student was admitted in 1948, about four decades earlier. I had nothing to do with OU excluding black students before then and don’t feel that I should be punished or owe reparations for something my alma mater had been doing more than four decades before I studied there.

    In the same way, Omarova had nothing to do with the Stalin’s Terror or the Holodomor (mass famine in Ukraine) in the 1930s (also about 40 years before she was a student). Just because scholarships in the Soviet Union were named for Lenin doesn’t mean she supported any of the atrocities Lenin or his successors were involved in.

    • #12
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    BDB (View Comment):

    I’m sorta split on the childhood stuff. I come down on “let it go, there’s enough without it.” That said: Propaganda works — that’s why it’s done. Some bright spirits are unbowed — hers does not seem to be one of them. Looks like she thrived within the system and is uninterested in repenting her central-planning ways. The school stuff would be meaningless if she hademerged as a champion of free markets and personal liberty. Quite the opposite, however, so the schoolgirl thing also doesn’t help illustrate the case against her — precisely because it actually was the sea they swam in. The evidence of her badness is not that she was a good Komsomolets in her youth, but that in her age now she insists upon teaching it.

    When she was a child she thought as a child.  Now she’s an adult and she thinks the same things.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    I’m sorta split on the childhood stuff. I come down on “let it go, there’s enough without it.” That said: Propaganda works — that’s why it’s done. Some bright spirits are unbowed — hers does not seem to be one of them. Looks like she thrived within the system and is uninterested in repenting her central-planning ways. The school stuff would be meaningless if she hademerged as a champion of free markets and personal liberty. Quite the opposite, however, so the schoolgirl thing also doesn’t help illustrate the case against her — precisely because it actually was the sea they swam in. The evidence of her badness is not that she was a good Komsomolets in her youth, but that in her age now she insists upon teaching it.

    When she was a child she thought as a child. Now she’s an adult and she thinks the same things.

    Sounds like pretty much all Democrats.

    • #14
  15. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    The bigger question is why would “Moderate Joe” Biden nominate her to begin with.  Were these the norms Bill Krystal and David French hoped for when they voted and shilled for Biden? 

    • #15
  16. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    The bigger question is why would “Moderate Joe” Biden nominate her to begin with. Were these the norms Bill Krystal and David French hoped for when they voted and shilled for Biden?

    Yes they were.

    • #16