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Russia Redux

June 1, 2009

"Obama's anti-capitalist, Big Government, command-and-control
economic vision . . . is dangerous. . . . Obama is a neo-Marxist."
— Larry Elder

"What is going down is a leftist power grab that is anathema to the
American peoples' principles and philosophy. . . . We are not 'headed
down the road to socialism.' We are there."
— Patrick J. Buchanan

First Barack Obama's candidacy and now his presidency have been buttressed by a malleable media and by supporters promoting illegitimate, agenda-driven "science," both of which have their antecedents in the rise to and consolidation of power of Josef Stalin in Russia nearly a century ago. The parallels between Stalin's and Obama's regimes, to say nothing of the potential disastrous similarities in outcomes, are striking.

During the late 1920s and early '30s, the New York Times' Walter S. Duranty would misrepresent Stalin and Soviet Communism to the world in much the same way the Times and other sympathetic media outlets misrepresented who Barack Obama was during the 2008 presidential campaign and continue to do now that he has assumed office. While, unlike the Washington Post's Eli Zaslow, Duranty was apparently not directly acquainted with Russian dictator Josef Stalin's "glistening pectorals," the Times' man in Moscow nonetheless managed to describe the Russian dictator's messianic qualities quite as capably as Zaslow and the other sycophants who pass for journalists today have done Obama's.

Duranty characterized Stalin as one of history's great leaders, those whom God chooses "to lead mankind" and "with whom he [God] speaks directly." Stalin was for Duranty a "remote, reticent lord" and "the incarnate Superman of Nietzsche." In characterizing Stalin's rule, Duranty asserted that "Stalinism re-established the semi-divine, supreme autocracy of the imperial idea and . . . placed itself on the Kremlin throne as a ruler whose lightest word is all in all and whose frown spells death." (New York Times, June 13, 1931)

It's difficult to ignore the similarities between Duranty's gushing about Stalin and that of the contemporary media's about Obama, not to mention that Obama's "frown," having been recently directed at Chrysler and GM, may ultimately spell "death" for those once robustly capitalist companies, said frown having already successfully reduced their executives to little more than toadies nodding amiable assent to being taken over by the U.S. Government.

In 1928, Stalin's first Five-Year Plan was put into effect, and in the years following, Duranty's writings about Soviet Russia praised and promoted this "physical expression of all that is meant by 'Stalinism,'" the mood of his pieces often exhibiting a tingliness worthy of MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Perhaps prefiguring the Obama administration's vagueness regarding the particulars of its policies, Duranty insisted that "detailed figures [about Stalin's initial Five-Year Plan] are confusing and do not matter much as compared with the 'tempo.'" Duranty's piece explains that it was agreed by the Bolshevik leadership that an end must be put to the "accumulation of capital" and the ability to "compete unfairly with state industry," two things that had been the backbone of the successful New Economic Program (NEP) implemented earlier by Stalin's predecessor, Vladimir Lenin. (NYT, June 15, 1931) Obama's penchant for engineering scenarios in which many private American companies and banks will not be able to "compete fairly" with their U.S. Government-owned counterparts smells very much like what Stalin was reaching for early in his tenure.

Stalin, as Obama is in the process of doing today, enlisted questionable science in the service of his political agenda, and it's not out of the question that the results of Obama's efforts on this front will bring about the contemporary equivalent in America of the human tragedy the Soviet dictator's policies wrought for the Russian people. From the late 1920s through the 1940s, as Stalin carried out his murderous consolidation of power in the Soviet Union, Trofim Denisovich (T. D.) Lysenko emerged as the leading proponent of a scientific position that would become the basis of Stalin's disastrous collectivization of agricultural production in the Soviet Union.

Lysenko's muddy and unsupported theory of plant development — which, among other things, held incorrectly that environment, and not genetics, was the critical factor in determining the length of time it would take a specific type of plant to reach maturity — was applied widely in the Soviet Union during the first Five Year Plan in an attempt to improve the productivity of then recently collectivized Ukrainian farms. The resulting disaster saw millions of kulaks (as the group of peasants singled out in Stalin's brutal agricultural collectivization strategy was called) murdered, imprisoned, or dead of starvation. An additional five million Soviet citizens perished of starvation because of the precipitous plunge in agricultural production that resulted from the combination of Stalin's application of Lysenko's theories and his liquidation of the kulaks, who were the best and most productive farmers in the Soviet Union. Stalin publicly stated that his aim was "the elimination of the kulaks," and Lysenko was a willing accomplice, lending the use of his illegitimate theories to Stalin's murderous cause.

Al Gore is the 21st-century energy-industry equivalent of T. D. Lysenko. Like Lysenko, Gore bases his recommendation for drastic changes in the way we conduct business on pseudo-science that has absolutely no foundation in legitimate and dispassionate scientific inquiry. We can hope — there's that pesky "hope and change" again — that the results of Obama's Gore-friendly energy policies will not be a dire loss of American lives similar to that resulting from Stalin's agricultural policies. But it can be argued that the economic hardships for Americans created by energy-policy laws based on illegitimate science and now in the process of being enacted — like the "stimulus" bill likely to be passed without so much as having been read by our federal legislators — will rival the existential hardships of Stalin's and Lysenko's victims. The bottom line is that, like the policies implemented on the basis of Lysenko's theories, the Obama administration's cap-and-trade legislation is designed to correct a condition — the newly renamed "climate catastrophe" — that simply does not exist.

With a suppression of debate worthy of that of the first Russian Communist dictator, Barack Obama's administration is rapidly moving toward a consolidation of power that will put our President in league with the likes of Hugo Chavez and at least one Arab sheik, contemporaries with whom Obama has smilingly consorted and to whom he's bowed down. It's time for us to take the lessons of history seriously, and to recognize that we're in the clutches of an administration whose bending of the law and science to its own ends parallels those of one of the most murderous tyrants this planet has ever known, a despot in whose footsteps Barack Obama seems to be hellbent on following.

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