Some Monday Links – Of bloody summer stains, busted hopes and laundries

Also lingo. And beards.

Why Cuba is having an economic crisis (Noahpinion)

The Language of Totalitarian Dehumanization (Quillette)

On the Cuba events. Governments and protests, now that’s a strained relationship. Talking about the so-called “Second World” countries, Nikita Khrushchev did not even know what booing is, until he encountered it in his visit to London in 1956.

Few years later, during a massive strike in the Russian city of Novocherkassk, a crowd stormed the central police station. Whether it was a genuine assault, or a naive display of defiance from a people inexperienced in protesting, the government’s fearful puzzlement turned to cold, brutal aggression. Unarmed protesters at the center of the city, mistakenly thinking that those days were over, remained steadfast at the face of warnings to disperse. That is, until security forces opened direct fire against them. The ensuing massacre was covered-up for three decades. Since this was an à la Orwell un-event, no high-ranking officials’ records were stained.

Khrushchev’s aloof ignorance strikes a nerve, contrasted with the people’s heartbreaking one. Both glimpses are captured in the brilliant (though somewhat uneven) Red Plenty, by Francis Spufford.

All things said, Karl Marx Loved Freedom (Jacobin). More beards.

The Greek government, like its French counterpart, is escalating the push for vaccinations. As constitutional scholars argue the limits of state power regarding personal freedom and the public good, historical precedents are brought forth (for the US, c. early 1900s), involving mandatory vaccinations, quarantines and discrimination. The discussion draws from equal protection of the laws jurisprudence and smoothly led me to Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886):

Yick Wo v. Hopkins established fair implementation of statutes (History Net)

The decision set a milestone and has been cited some 150 times.

The backdrop of the case is rich. As it turns out,

An 1880 ordinance of the city of San Francisco required all laundries in wooden buildings to hold a permit issued by the city’s Board of Supervisors. The board had total discretion over who would be issued a permit. Although workers of Chinese descent operated 89 percent of the city’s laundry businesses, not a single Chinese owner was granted a permit.

Oyez

The regulation was one in a series of many that reflected the anti-immigrant (especially anti-Chinese) sentiment, following the influx due to the Gold Rush (1849).

An illustration of the time, echoing the 3-day pogrom vs Chinese immigrants, San Francisco Jul. 1877 – Source

Yick Wo: How A Racist Laundry Law In Early San Francisco Helped Civil Rights (Hoodline)

A particularly badass line, from the unanimous opinion authored by Justice Stanley Matthews, shows that the Court did not hold back:

Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution.

Nightcap

  1. Biden turns up the heat on America’s cold wars Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute
  2. Anarchy, security, and changing material contexts (pdf) Daniel Deudney, Security Studies
  3. Leningrad’s rock scene was pretty damn cool Coilin O’Connor, Radio Free Europe
  4. Nations within states and the future of history (pdf) Anthony Reid, ARI WP

Nightcap

  1. Parties become popular by taking unpopular stands Scott Sumner, EconLog
  2. A European who understands America Antonio Garcia-Martinez, Pull Request
  3. Legal immigration into the United States Jacques Delacroix, NOL
  4. Birthday parties in the Soviet Union (photos) Nikolay Shevchenko, Russia Beyond

Nightcap

  1. ‘No coloureds, no Irish, no dogs’ Angelique Richardson, LRB
  2. The autonomous republic of Nakhchivan David McArdle, BBC
  3. Reading the Booker Prize finalists Paul Griffiths, Commonweal
  4. Joe Biden hates Clarence Thomas Damon Root, Reason

Nightcap

  1. Behind the Iron Curtain: Soviet space art (gallery) Kadish Morris, Guardian
  2. The year I left the Soviet Union Alex Halberstadt, New Yorker
  3. Free speech, libel, and privacy rights Mark Hemmingway, RealClearPolitics
  4. 8 out of 10 Texans already live in cities and metropolitan areas Steven Pedigo, Dallas Morning News

Nightcap

  1. Our cities, our selves Jason Jewell, Modern Age
  2. Waiting for the wave to break Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber
  3. Midcentury life in the Soviet Union Alex Halberstadt, Literary Hub
  4. Britain’s colonial crimes and trade Jamil Anderlini, Financial Times

Nightcap

  1. Humour in the time of Stalin Jonathan Waterlow, Aeon
  2. Liberalism and the death penalty Craig Lerner, Law & Liberty
  3. American Jews and antisemitism Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists
  4. State capacity libertarianism Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

Nightcap

  1. Pride, prejudice, and Pushkin Donald Rayfield, Literary Review
  2. A century ago America saved millions of Russians from starvation Economist
  3. “Nature or nurture?” Yes. Dorsa Amir, Aeon
  4. When America and Russia were friends RealClearHistory

Nightcap

  1. Science was everywhere in the Soviet Union Simon Ings, TLS
  2. A few reflections on Paul Volcker Arnold Kling, askblog
  3. The failure of “the marketplace of ideas” Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  4. NAFTA 2.0 has slightly less free trade Scott Sumner, MoneyIllusion

Nightcap

  1. Soviet champagne, for the working man Jessica Gingrich, Atlas Obscura
  2. Radio and modern state power in Angola Jesse Bucher, Africa is a Country
  3. East and West Germany in 2019 Sumi Somaskanda, New Statesman
  4. The deeply dedicated American state Michael McFaul, New York Review of Books

Nightcap

  1. French financial experts are anything but Diego Zuluaga, Alt-M
  2. The beauty of Soviet anti-religious art Roland Brown, Spectator
  3. Obama, Erdoğan, and the Syrian rebels Seymour Hersh, LRB
  4. Europe, Turkey, and the Kurdish rebels Bill Wirtz, TAC

Nightcap

  1. When the Soviet Union freed the Arctic from capitalist slavery Bathsheba Demuth, New Yorker
  2. The East India Company and corporate excess Maya Jasanoff, Guardian
  3. The relentless rise of the East India Company Jason Burke, Guardian
  4. The legacy of communism in the Russian Empire’s “-stans” Samuel Goff, Calvert Journal

Nightcap

  1. Comedy and humor in the Soviet Union Indra Ekmanis, PRI’s The World
  2. What happened to the children of dictators? Grant Starrett
  3. The most blasphemous idea in contemporary discourse? Ingrid Robeyns, Crooked Timber
  4. Are voting ages still democratic? Bill Rein, NOL

Nightcap

  1. How the Scottish left their mark on China Jessica Hanser, Aeon
  2. Polish military officers in the Katyn Forest Priscilla Jensen, Law & Liberty
  3. In defense of the missionary (style) Marilyn Simon, Quillette
  4. The growing of moss on a dead log Addison Del Mastro, American Conservative

Snatching you up (mendicants and Gulags)

I’ll get to Feyerabend, but first Solzhenitsyn:

However, the root destruction  of religion in the country, which throughout the twenties and thirties was one of the most important goals of the GPU-NKVD, could be realized only by mass arrests of Orthodox believers. Monks and nuns, whose black habits had been a distinctive feature of Old Russian life, were intensively rounded up on every hand, placed under arrest, and sent into exile. They arrested and sentenced active laymen. The circles kept getting bigger, as they raked in ordinary believers as well, old people, and particularly women, who were the most stubborn believers of all and who, for many long years to come, would be called “nuns” in transit prisons and in camps (37).

It’s true that Christians were viciously persecuted by socialists in the USSR, and what makes matters worse is that few historians, and fewer journalists, point this out. Bishops and patriarchs living in mansions were the official targets of socialist purges, mind you, but mendicants, village priests, and old church ladies were the ones who actually got dragged away and put to work for The Cause. Why? Because they actually believed. They already had a moral compass, so there was no need for a strong state. In socialist countries, alternatives ruin plans. So in socialist countries, alternatives get snuffed out.

As I read through the Gulag Archipelago I can’t help but think of the Russia I hear about on NPR and read about online. Russia is the left’s new boogieman, for obvious reasons. But I wonder, with Solzhenitsyn in mind, just how close the Orthodox Church actually is to Putin and his henchmen. I’m sure the top brass are close to Putin, but what about the village priests and the others? Did socialism wipe out the old, more mystical Christianity that was prevalent in the Russian countryside before the Revolution? Are there any mendicants left in post-socialist Russia? All those decades of violent repression, starvation, ethnic cleansing, and forced labor, and the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church hums along as if nothing ever happened. The actual believers, on the other hand, are gone, along with the unique culture they spread throughout the Russian Empire and, via the mediums of literature and art, the world.