"As Lavrenti Beria stood over Joseph Stalin's deathbed in early March 1953, witnesses observed that he could barely contain his pleasure in watching the leader edge toward his final moments of life."
For weeks, Joseph Stalin had been plagued with dizzy spells and high blood pressure. His personal physician, Professor V. N. Vinogradov had advised that Stalin step down as head of the government for health reasons. That was not what Stalin wanted to hear from the good doctor. Soon the Professor would pay for this temerity and indiscretion with his arrest and alleged involvement in the infamous Doctor's Plot (dyelo vrachey).
The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries — From Anarchism to Zhou Enlai by Martin van Creveld is an essential reference book for those interested in researching the history of revolutions and revolutionaries. The main drawback is the liberal, left-of-center academic bias that one has come to expect in most of these types of books.
Let us now discuss the more arcane, extreme and revolutionary, right-wing philosophy, namely anarchism. You may ask when and where in recent history have anarchist revolutionaries been successful? For the answer, we must travel back in time to Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). It was in Barcelona and surrounding districts that idealist anarchism flourished in the early period of the war as anarchists defended the radical Republican government that the communists also supported against the military insurrection of General Francisco Franco.
The Founding Fathers of this great nation designed a Republican form of government. By this, they meant a government under the rule of law and not the capricious rule of man, under a written constitution whose main function is to clearly demarcate the limits of authority of the federal government.
The "Right" versus "Left" convenient but capricious political arrangement came from the seating position of delegates to the National Assembly during the French Revolution, but it is at times a confusing concept and too often subject to media and academic bias and even misinformation. I have found it easier to have a political spectrum based on degrees of government control.
In a recent letter to the editor published in my local newspaper, the Macon Telegraph (9/16/11), Jack Bernard, a self-described "Republican,” retired health care executive, was "disconcerted by the ideological free market rigidity” that he observed during a debate by the Republican presidential candidates concerning “the health care reform question.”
This summer at least three editorials have appeared in my local, Georgia newspaper, the Macon Telegraph, about how the Electoral College process works and explaining why our Founding Fathers created that system for presidential elections. They were not always accurate. One writer, for example, wrote, "The framers... felt the common, everyday, average, eligible voter was not intelligent, well-versed, well-read and knowledgeable enough to vote for the most qualified and best candidate.”
“¿Cómo estás? Muy bien, gracias. ¿y tú?”
Can you translate? Do these words mean anything to you? If not, it’s time to start learning a little Spanish. I know it’s difficult for people my age to wrap our minds around the demographic shift that is happening even as you read this column. Here are just the facts — and why it’s time to take up a second language.
Stalin’s Last Crime — The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953 by Jonathan Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov is an in-depth study in psychological survival in a nightmarish police state — Stalin’s Russia, circa 1948-1953. The untangling of this Gordian knot of conspiracies and plots is the convincing achievement of the authors of this suspenseful, historical drama.