• The Tyranny Of The One-Party State

    March 22, 2024
    Stalin: Volume I by Stephen Kotkin.

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    The nation could use a few Orwells or, failing that, half a dozen H. L. Menkens or Mark Twains among its political commentary community, now sadly tilting far to the left – only partly due to its loathing of former President Donald Trump. The Democrat Party’s tilt to the left began long before the advent of Trump.

    The new model Democrat Party hopes to reelect President Joe Biden in the upcoming 2024 elections and remove Trump as a possible future dogcatcher nominee in U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New York District, impoverishing the billionaire in the process.

    Ocasio-Cortez is being challenged by Veteran Wall Street investor Marty Dolan, a Republican running on a safe-streets and subways platform. The issue has become popular in the nation’s large cities, most suffering from an influx of international illegal migrants -- i.e., border jumpers -- lax prosecutors and criminal gangs who hope to enrich themselves by robbing retail outlets and selling their stolen goods on the black market for discounted prices.

    Among once liberal – now neo-progressive -- blue states such as Connecticut, the race to the bottom has been underway for decades.

    Why are the authors of the Winters of Our Discontent still in office? Why have they not been routed by a justifiably aggrieved electorate armed with the voting franchise, the AR15 of state and national politics?

    Part of the left’s success is owing to their capture of the language and the ability of a one-party state to exclude rival political parties from debates in the public square. The hallowed “truth” is diminished in both cases, first by a corruption of the language, quickly followed by a corruption of the efficacy of government. Unchallenged governments that have captured both the language and the franchise need never apologize for the ruination of states. They simply march over the ruble, smilingly forward, never looking back, to a bright, imaginary and fanciful future.

    Such was the march of history in the totalitarian era people in the West thought they had overcome in the post-World War II, Cold War years.

    Ah, but in politics all triumphs are temporary, political philosophers tell us. Such is the hope of true small “d” democracies and small “r” republics where the velvet covered iron fist of the left does not rule by force and imposture.

    Propagandists use and abuse words, as George Orwell continually warns us in his works, as sacred tokens. Such are the uses of the words “republic” and “democratic” in states that, in practice, fall a little short of totalitarian autocracies.

    The recent death of Alexei Navalny in Vladimir Putin’s Russia – formerly called, under Joseph Stalin’s regime, “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” – provides an instance of the abuse of language. Every word in the title just mentioned is a lie, including the words “the” and “of”. Some people in the West who prize independent courts regard Navalny’s unjust imprisonment as a form of judicial murder.

    Putin’s last word on Navalny, his most formidable political opponent in Russia, is also a brazen lie. In a recent Associated Press (AP) report, Putin said, in a voice loud enough for the whole world to hear, that he had been engaged in talks with the Biden administration to exchange Navalny for a Russian prisoner held in the United States when Navalny unaccountably died in a Russian Artic Circle prison camp.

    In a previous AP report, we were told, “Navalny, however, was always a special target. He was arrested in early 2021 after recovering from an attempted assassination by poison that has been tied to the FSB [Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation]. First sent back to prison for violating an old probationary term, he was then given a further nine years for fraud and contempt of court. He is also facing terrorism charges that could [and did] add decades more to his prison sentence.”

    The FSB, one of the successor organizations of the Soviet Committee of State Security, was known under Stalin as the dreaded KGB. The KGB went belly-up in Russia following an attempted coup in 1991 in which some KGB units played a major part. But a festering lily, by any other name, would stink as much. The poet John Keats puts it this way: “For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

    Deeds, not words, are the proofs of our intentions.

    In the former Soviet Union and Putin’s Russia – some things never change – the judiciary serves as an arm of executive thuggery. In the United States, on the other hand, the judiciary including courts of original jurisdiction and all appellate courts – have in the past jealously guarded their constitutional prerogatives by steadfastly refusing to settle political problems through judicial means.

    This noble constitutional wall of separation between judicial and legislative functions has in our day been breached, and the breach corrupts the legislative judicial and executive branches of government. It cannot be otherwise.

    In totalitarian systems of government – radically socialist, communist or fascist – autocrats will always be able to center all the functions of government in themselves. "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime,” Soviet secret police chief Lavrenty Beria promised Stalin.

    Following Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953, Beria had hoped to succeed Stalin as Russia’s undisputed dictator. In July of 1953, Beria was defeated by an anti-Beria coalition led by Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Nikita Khrushchev. It did not take the coalition long to find and punish Beria’s numerous crimes. He was, accordingly, accused of being an “imperialist agent” and of conducting “criminal anti-party and anti-state activities.” Convicted at his trial in December of 1953, Beria was immediately executed.

    Stalin deeded to his successors a totalitarian state in full flower. When Putin first poisoned and then executed Navalny and others – let us not forget the others – he was stepping into large Stalinist shoes. But these are the bitter fruits of the one-party state throughout history. The one-party state is always anti-republican, which is to say it is anti-democratic, and any resistance to it is a republican and democratic resistance.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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