Homegrown Stalinism

February 10, 2003

As an undergrad, I majored in Russian studies and even considered going on to graduate school in that field, but I decided on law school. The politics and culture of the Soviet era are fascinating. I didn't think that studying Stalinism would be particularly relevant to American law and society in 2003, but it may become increasingly relevant.

Recently, a draft of the Justice Department's proposed sequel to the Patriot Act leaked out. The Daily Rotten has the text of the draft. Commentary from: The Center for Public Integrity, Reason, Jonathan Peterson, and Politech subscribers.

So far I've only skimmed through the draft, but if enacted into law, it would represent the US taking a step towards Stalinism. During the Great Terror of the late 1930's, Russians lived in constant fear of waking up to a knock on the door in the middle of the night and getting exiled to the Gulag because of someone's anonymous allegation. A government that will restrict free access to information and limit individual rights due to creeping paranoia could itself become another sort of terror. I never thought that trying to defend Americans against Islamic terrorism would force us to also defend ourselves against homegrown Stalinism in 2003. Posted by Andrew Raff at February 10, 2003 10:20 PM

Trackback URL for this entry: http://www.andrewraff.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/335