Posts Tagged ‘rule of law’

As the twig is (violently) bent . . .

February 27, 2020

As a twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.

In 1917, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik revolutionaries  launched an armed insurrection to overthrow the fledgeling post-Czarist government of Russia; the Bolsheviks imposed a Communist dictatorship.

Lenin’s very forceful leadership extinguished what would have been a more democratic form of government. Up until the moment when the Bolsheviks grabbed control, there was a deliberative congress, composed of several political parties.

Lenin’s strong-man tactics nipped-in-the-bud that nascent Russian representative  congress. From the moment of Lenin and the Bolsheviks’ commandeering of the revolution, the emerging Soviet regime was fatefully routed into a tyrannical authoritarian path—in spite of the supposed “masses,” who would have–or so it was assumed according to Marxist doctrine– established a “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

The dictatorship that became entrenched following Lenin’s bully tactics became an actual “dictatorship” controlled one man–Vladimir Lenin.

The subsequent development of the Soviet State never escaped dictatorial  control by (first) Lenin, then (second) Stalin, until Stalin died in 1953.

I recently watched an excellent documentary series on Amazon:

Red Chapters: Turning Points in the History of Communism.

This 6-part work of historical video includes, in its first two episodes,  a very informative and concise explanation of the fatefully oppressive forces that were set in motion in St. Petersburg (Petrograd), beginning on the night of October 24, 1917.

At that nocturnal turning point, the Bolsheviks were absconding control of an emerging popular revolution. They wrested power from a multi-partied congress and dumped it into the hands of the dictator, Vladimir Lenin.

According to Red Chapters narrator Daniel Evans, on the fateful night of October 24, 1917 . . .

“Lenin’s left-wing delegates doubted the delegates’ resolve to oust (provisional government head Alexander) Kerensky.” . . .

“Paradoxically, Lenin did not want the Congress to vote for Soviet power. A ‘yes’ vote by the ballot box would translate into a coalition government, in which the Bolsheviks would be only one of many parties represented” (in that congress.) Lenin would not be the central figure. He might not even get into the cabinet . . . But if he seized power before the congress met, he could dictate the terms of government and open the way to a Bolshevik dictatorship.”

“Lenin harangued the party members to seize power.”

Red Chapters scholar-contributor Orlando Figes clarifies:

“Everything suggests that what he (Lenin) wanted was a Bolshevik dictatorship from the start, and that’s precisely why it was so important for him to seize power before the congress opened, to provoke the other socialist parties to walking out in protest.”

Red Chapters narrator Daniel Evans continues their account of what happened on that fateful night:

“ (Julius) Martov, the leader of the Menshevik party, proposed the formation of a coalition Soviet government. His proposal was greeted with a great cheer, and passed without a vote.

But this was not the Soviet power Lenin had intended.”

RussiaLenin

Leon Trotsky, Lenin’s #2 revolutionary intimidator, shouted down  Menshevik party leader Julius Martov. As Martov was taking leave of the assembly room, Trotsky commanded:

“Go where you belong, into the dustbin of history.”

Julius Martov headed for the back door. Here’s the video overlay as Martov’s face appears in the Red Chaptersdocumentary:

RussiaMartov

Red Chapters Narrator Daniel Evans explains,

“Walking toward the door, Martov warned the remaining delegates, ‘One day, you will understand the crime in which you are taking part.’

And it was indeed a crime, which would be cruelly perpetrated for several generations upon the entirety of the Russian people.

Ultimately, Lenin’s strong-arm tactics dictated the oppression by which  Kerensky, and later many others, were ousted. By the same means, Trotsky would also later be ostracized.  By 1938 fellow-dissident-leaders Liev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev would likewise be purged out by Stalin’s post-Lenin manipulations.

The Lenin-Stalin hegemony became the dark heart and soul of Soviet oppression in the USSR for many decades to come.

Lenin imposed his dictatorial will by violent rejection of what would have been a nascent representative government. After Lenin’s death, Stalin continued and extended the pattern of tyranny; he wrested control of their dictatorial  party machine and established hundreds of gulag prisons where millions perished.

In the Russian revolution, Bolshevik violence begat a very long legacy of USSR violence and oppression.

Government reaps what government sows.

As the twig is violently bent, so shall the tree distortedly grow.

As societal control is established through tyrannical cruelty and violence, government tyranny expands accordingly–by the extension of force and violence.

The American revolution, on the other hand, brought forth a bi-cameral representative democracy with judicial oversight.

Rule of Law

Liberty begat liberty. Lawful rule begat Rule of Law (not dictatorial tyranny.)

A nation reaps what it sows.

As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.

In Russia’s case, Lenin’s dictatorial tyranny brought forth an abusive system of imprisonment.

We Americans should help the Russians to overcome their past mistakes of Lenin and Stalin.

Glass half-Full

This here’s for the Rule of Law!

June 24, 2012

Whether or not they actually could, the people of the British empire sought to civilize the world. One could say, perhaps, that on a good day those loyal subjects of the realm were sauntering forth to bring to unruly distant lands the rule of law, the benefits of a well-constructed language, and good manners, not to mention cricket.

Or one could say that, on a bad day, those John Bull limeys were exploiting the indigenous peoples, robbing them of their ancient heritages, playing contractual tricks to abscond their homelands, and getting rich in the process.

And one would be correct on both counts. Such is the dual nature of civilized man: he is a scoundrel, even as he strives, or pretends to, follow his so-called better angels.

Ditto for us Americans, their bratty little brothers in this saga of colonializing world history. But hey, it is what it is, and that’s all that it is, so be that as it may, today or someday.

Nevertheless, one beneficial concept that the world has, IMHO, derived from the hegemonizing Brits, is the rule of law. Like the Romans before them, far-flung British representatives of the Crown have, in recent centuries, carried to the four corners of their known world the idea that justice should prevail, and men should be accountable, in a duly-appointed court of law, for their actions.

Therefore anarchy and mayhem are not permitted.

In British literature, a residual benefit of this principle is demonstrated by Robert Louis Stevenson in his classic story, Treasure Island.  I’ll not tell thee the tale, as thou must read it for thyself, or find a video of it somewhere online haha, as if there were such a thing.

Nevertheless, I’ll take thee in thy imagination, as author Stevenson did, down to a little island in some distant sea wherein lies a hidden treasure that was left behind during a dispute between some gentlemen of fortune, some of them honest, some of them not, but which is which, I’ll tell thee what–on second thought–suffice it say, some men were killed, and some got caught.

Years later, as the story is told, having obtained a map that could lead to the buried booty, a band of reputable fortune-seeking men have returned to the island to uncover the misplaced gold, which is a considerable weight of what’s called pieces of eight. And if’n you don’t know what that is, matey, go look it up on your wikipedia slate.

By and by, I’m a-comin’ to my point, lads n’ lassies, about the civilizing effects of the British empire. And this is how it happened:

There was, to state it plainly, a mutiny among the men. I don’t know how else to say it except that certain dirty/rotten scoundrels were led by their wolf-in-sheep’s clothing leader, Long John Silver, into the perfidy of lawless rebellion against the good Captain and the owners of the ship who were with him. And there was among the loyals the good lad, Jim Hawkins, cabin boy, who lived to tell the tale, whose account enables me to write it to thee.

Pirates is what they were, pure and simple–Long John Silver and his mutineers.

During the course of the dispute, an actual battle broke out between the two sides. The Captain and his loyal men had managed to occupy an old stockade. The contemptible buccaneers were planning to overpower them with muskets and swords and the ship’s cannon offshore, which they had occupied.

Immediately upon taking the stockade, the Captain had made it his first order of business to raise the Union Jack–the British flag– on a log-pole above the fort, although it might seem there could be more productive ways he could have spent his energy and precious time at that perilous moment.

Very soon the scumbag pirates began firing cannonballs at the stockade. This turn of events is told near the end of chapter 18 in the book. A ship’s owner speaks to Captain Smollett:

“Captain,” said the squire, “the house is quite invisible from the ship. It must be the flag they are coming at. Would it not be wiser to take it in?”

“Strike my colors!” cried the captain. “No, sir, not I”; and as soon as he had said the words, I think (the ship’s doctor is writing this. -ed.) we all agreed with him. For it was not only a piece of stout, seamanly, good feeling; it was good policy besides and showed our enemies that we despised their cannonade.

The good Captain, in so doing, was proclaiming to the scoundrels, and to the very world: This here ground we have taken is now for God and King! This here’s for law and order! We’ll not tolerate mayhem and rebellion! That’s our stand and we are stickin’ to it.

Now this particularly resolute act of the Captain had good effect, even beyond the mere declaration of it. Young Jim Hawkins, who had been separated from the ship’s loyal men, was out in the island somewhere, among the scrubby shrubs and sandy spits, trying to get to the stockade to rejoin his mates. And he had found, long story short, a wild island man who was not actually wild– though he appeared to be so with the scruffy beard and raggish coverings. This character, name of Ben Gunn,  had been marooned on the island by the former buccaneers, the ones who had left the treasure somewhere in the vicinity.

So, meanwhile, back at the outback part of the island where Hawkins and Gunn are dodging cannonballs and musket shots, old Ben says to young Jim, at the beginning of chapter 19:

As soon as Ben Gunn saw the colors he came to a halt, stopped me by the arm, and sat down.

“Now,” said he, “there’s your friends, sure enough.”

“Far more likely, it’s the mutineers,” I answered.

“That!” he cried. “Why, in a place like this, where nobody puts in but gen’lmen of fortune, Silver would fly the Jolly Roger, you don’t make no doubt of that. No, that’s your friends.”

Which is to say, the ringleader of the mutineers would not be flying the Union Jack. He would not be claiming ground for God and King. He would not be declaring by such actions: This here’s for the rule of law. Come ye to this flag and you shall find order, and justice, not mayhem and rebellion!Ben Gunn knew this, and he assured the cabin-boy that the Union Jack was reliable, and so. . .

It could come about that the ship’s doctor would later write:

“And I ran to the door in time to see Jim Hawkins, safe and sound, come climbing over the stockade.”

Thus had this incident made known, in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the sanctuarial power of Brittania. God save the King, and the Queen, too!

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress