April 26, 2007

Deaths In Communism

I have been at a few funerals where "At last" was used to start the eulogy. But it was immediately followed by a picturesque image of the deceased kneeling at the foot of the Lord & receiving the comfort some of us long for in the afterlife while an organ played a thoughtful & somber hymn quietly in the background. For example, "At last, at long last, Brother So-&-so is Home; at last away from the troubles & tribulations of this world; at last to be bothered by hunger & war & sadness & heartache no more, 'cause he is in the hands of the Almighty at long, long last..."

When "At last..." is followed by "so & so dies" it's not going to be a heart warming tale of the eternal bliss the deceased is partaking of as part of his just reward while being deeply & sincerely missed by those he left behind.

Such is the case with Matt Taibbi's write up on Yeltsin's death entitled The Low Post: Death of a Drunk (h/t Geek With A .45).

A taste:

"If Boris Yeltsin ever had a soul, it was not observable in his early biography. He sold out as soon as he could and was his whole life a human appendage of a rotting, corrupt state, a crook who would emerge even from the hottest bath still stinking of booze, concrete and sausage.

It's worth noting that Yeltsin's future political adversary, Mikhail Gorbachev, grew up in almost identical conditions of mud, misery and starvation in the Stavropol region. But while Gorbachev's childhood turned him into a pathologically self-hating wannabe, a scheming, two-faced party intellectual who privately lusted after French villas and foreign-tailored suits and would eventually be undone by his habit of parading in public with a wife who wore jewels and furs, Yeltsin never left the mud and never tried to. He remained a mean, thieving country drunk his whole life."

That's just on page 1 (of 4!) where Taibbi gives a very un-pc review of Yeltsin's shortcomings. While seeming brutal in their directness it is none the less accurate as far as I can tell. Wikipedia's page on Yeltsin seems to bolster Taibbi's indictment of the deceased, though not nearly as colorfully or in as much detail.

Read Taibbi's piece though as it should provide a contrast to more flattering reflections on the life & crimes of Yeltsin you'll probably see in the MSM.

& speaking of communist inspired wrong doing, Claudia Rosett has a review of a book called "Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform". It's hard to be precise when dealing with a closed society such as North Korea's, but according to Rosett the authors of the book make a compelling case for their theories of exactly what's been occurring in North Korea since the early 90's. & what's been going on isn't very pretty.

If you've ever read Animal Farm (or seen one of the film version) then nothing in the two recommended reads will be a shock. I've railed against Marxism & its variants for a while. This is because while Marxian thought has many shortcomings (pragmatically unworkable w/ human nature, economically unsound, & the song just aren't dance-able) the most striking one is that it concentrates too much power in the collective. This causes 2 things: a weakening of the Rights of the individual & the inevitability of a select few taking as much power as they can for their own advantage. Reading about North Korea or Yelstin clinging to the habits he learned from Communism have done nothing except reinforce my view. Capitalism isn't perfect & free markets are not always "fair", but their problems seem much more livable than the burdens of any of the alternatives I've seen to date.

One old communist (allegedly reformed) is deceased & another is continuing his contributions to the deaths of his people. Russia is not in good hands I fear but more urgent is the plight of North Korea; not just because of the human suffering brought about by the excesses made possible by the application of Marx's theories, but because it could lead to conflict with the u.S. While I'd possibly be in favor (& possibly join up with) a volunteer force to liberate North Korea I think there's a very realistic possibility that North Korea may act aggressively (towards South Korea most likely) in an effort to somehow save her situation. I am no prophet or son of a prophet (though I did do a gig once with Billy Scott & the Georgia Prophets) but if the situation in North Korea gets worse I can see (as some folks cautioned many years ago) an attempt at "reunification" being proclaimed as the tanks roll across the 38th parallel with nukes (real or imagined) backing up the North Korean demands that the u.S. not interfere.

Hopefully I'm wrong but the North Korean situation will bear some watching.

Posted by Publicola at April 26, 2007 06:09 AM | TrackBack