Tag: Stalin

Discussion Question: Did We Need to Ally with Stalin?


There’s a line you get all the time in debates: “After all, we allied with Stalin to beat Hitler.” I don’t like it much as an argument because the implication is that anyone who isn’t worse than Stalin is fair game, and there are very few people who can’t clear that bar. But never mind that, what about it as a historical question; should we have allied with Stalin?

Take the same history right up until June 22, 1941. The Wehrmacht rolls Panzers into the Soviet Union. Roosevelt cables Churchill, “The important thing is to beat Hitler, but do we really need to supply the communists?” Churchill cables back, “If Hitler invaded hell, I wouldn’t invite the devil to tea.”

Quote of the Day: When You Chop Wood, Chips Fly


“There will be some innocent victims in this fight against Fascist agents. We are launching a major attack on the Enemy; let there be no resentment if we bump someone with an elbow. Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away. When you chop wood, chips fly.” — Nikolai Yezhov

Today is the 127th anniversary of the birth of Nikolai Yezhov. He was, for a time, the head of the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB and whatever the secret police in Russia is called this week) and Stalin’s right-hand man, the go-to guy for getting rid of political enemies. Until one day he wasn’t, and instead, he was just another chip of wood.

Quote of the Day: The Stalin of our Times


“That feels about like what we are living through right now. Progressive politics is the Joseph Stalin of our times, and everyone is so terrified of attracting its anger that they just kind of go along with the crowd and keep clapping, because it is easier to clap until your hands are red raw than be the one that sits down first.”  — Will Jordan, aka the Critical Drinker

I’m sure many of you have heard the story about how no man wanted to be the first person to stop clapping after Stalin’s speech, because of the sheer terror of appearing disloyal to a paranoid conspiracy theorist butcher of a tyrant.  That is the culture of paranoia in action – it is not enough just to be loyal, but to be absolutely beyond suspicion as a diehard loyalist.

The Movie “Mr. Jones” Shows the Results of Communism


An orange is the only color in the scene. On a train bound for the hinterlands of the Ukraine, Gareth Jones sits among starving peasants. Stirrings of hunger prompt Mr. Jones to reach in his satchel for an orange. Every eye in the train car focuses on that piece of fruit. Mr. Jones, at this point in his journey, is unaware of the starvation being imposed on Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin. One orange, images a story Mr. Jones must tell. One courageous man. One cadre of self-serving Western journalists, covering the truth by silencing their pens. One megalomaniac dictator. One nation on the brink of starvation. One movie that will smash vapid idealistic visions of communism. If you want to know why history matters in the present, please watch Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones displays exactly what happens when dictators subjugate a people and the journalists who are supposed to cover the story, silence their pens. Over one hundred million people died in the 20th century at the hands of despots. Many of these tyrants began their beliefs and practices based on atheism. To understand the 20th century, one must begin with naturalism, materialism, and yes, atheism. YouTube abounds with testimonies about the horrors. There are stories of some who hid others from discovery by jackbooted thugs, and some were spared bloodshed by Providence. Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

On Finishing The Gulag Archipelago


Earlier today I finished the final volume of The Gulag Archipelago. Whereas Mark Twain defines a work of great literature as “Something that everyone wants to have read but no one wants to read,” I still think I’d like to re-read this one. There’s very little I can do for the multitudes processed through the Soviet prison camps, but I can bear witness. To that and to the camps that are still maintained in North Korea, Cuba, and other dictatorships around the world.

Even if there weren’t such camps in existence today I’m far too pessimistic to believe “never again.” If anything, I hope to be the one in the camp rather than the one running it. To that end, here are some lessons I learned from the book to help survive the Gulag.


Seventy-six years ago, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, America went to war. Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover senior fellow and author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, discusses lessons learned from that conflict’s successes and failures and how they apply today.

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Stalin, Heart Surgeons, and Ben Carson


DSC05950So as you can imagine, my family has been having a lot of conversations lately about cardiology and cardiac surgery. My father was already quite well-informed about the subject, because his own father suffered from cardiac disease (confirming the well-established wisdom that such things run in the family, and making me think it might be wise one of these days to have my own ticker checked out: What keeps me from doing it is not wanting to know, which I know isn’t the most courageous way to approach these matters. I’ll get around to it. I think I’m okay for now.)

Anyway, we’ve been talking about the personalities of people who go into cardiac surgery as a speciality. There are lots of stereotypes, of course: I liked this blog, written by a woman who in no way would I consult for any medical problem, given that she’s “a physician who is intuitive and a Reiki Master/Teacher discusses healing from ‘the front lines’ of the mind-body connection in the hospital setting.” But her description of the temperaments of cardiovascular surgeons seemed interesting to me:

Cardiovascular surgeons are the last of the “old boys school” for the most part. There are notable exceptions, which I will discuss later. They are emotional, angry titans who split sternums and work on some really sick people. Some contain it better than others. … I have seen patients die from pride of the surgeon and the anesthesiologist and the rest of the team. … Pride is an element in the heart room. Ego reigns. Dominance, aggression, control, continuity. There is no compassion. Not for anyone…