How to understand Socialese

There are those who say the language of communism is false.  This is not so.  Its names and slogans are completely, nakedly honest if only you know how to translate them.  And the way you do that is to put them in a mirror and read them backwards.

The ruling party here is called the Read More

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The Sensible Left

Public debate works best when there are two or more compelling sides in the tussle, with each putting forward its strongest arguments and thoughtfully countering the opposition.  In this way we can best examine these cases and decide the most appropriate path.  Often we reach a conclusion that is somewhere in the middle.

The problem with current political and cultural discussion is that Read More

A Big Fat Man With a Big Fat Bomb

Khrushchev_Shoe

Book review of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, by William Taubman

An event in 1962 was probably the most important in world history but it is rarely discussed today. Perhaps this is because the occurrence concluded without nuclear war – had it turned out differently, any surviving children in any remaining schools would most certainly be studying it with rigour.

The strengths and foibles of the American protagonist, John F. Kennedy, are well known, but what of his Soviet counterpart? Most Westerners who have any image of Nikita Khrushchev remember the fat little man who banged his shoe on the table at the UN. In his definitive biography, Taubman guides the reader through the career of this complex individual in such thorough detail that one feels one has vicariously lived the man’s life and, unlike Khrushchev himself, deeply learned from the experience.

It is frightening to think that a man of Khrushchev’s boorishness and impetuousness controlled nuclear weapons. His reaction to Read More