Is It Worth It?

After Stalin’s death, many people kept sighing, “Things were better with Stalin. This crime / corruption / bureaucratic delays / bribery, etc couldn’t have happened when he was in power.”

And they were absolutely right. Those things wouldn’t have happened with Stalin. So was it worth it? The overwhelming majority of people weren’t touched by the purges, and most of the purges were the Soviet equivalent of draining the swamp anyway.

And let’s say nobody died. Would it be worth it then? Lives would be saved because of low crime rates. Would it be worth depriving people of some intangible liberties most aren’t capable of enjoying anyway?

I’ve been talking to somebody who says, “Cuba is so much better off than your favorite El Salvador. Yes, it’s a totalitarian regime but there are no gangs, no crime. How is it worse?”

You can’t sustain extreme physical repression for long anyway, so the long-lived authoritarian regimes survive because they offer clear benefits in return for banning certain liberties. If the alternative is chaos that comes from people exercising their free will in asinine ways that hurt them, is authoritarianism a good thing?

7 thoughts on “Is It Worth It?”

  1. As usual, my first thought was about the fate of Jews in such systems. Had Stalin lived a little longer…

    Leaving that aside and imagining such a system in Israel, I am very unoriginal here, but Benjamin Franklin’s words say all: ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ Passionate Lenin-type ideologues are followed by dictators like Stalin, and when the later die in their turn, jackal-like followers of the dead tiger create kleptocracies. It cannot be otherwise since a dictator cannot let worthy potential inheritors to gain power during his life.

    The seeds of corruption have been sown in Stalin’s time.

    It is also true about the de-evolution of the masses in such systems : from the first idealists to the grey mass under somebody like Stalin and, finally, when all high ideals and self-respect die, only desire to steal / consume remains.

    Only democracies give long-term freedom from “crime / corruption / bureaucratic delays / bribery, etc “, so working towards a true democracy despite the difficulties is a great investment.


  2. That seems perceptive. And it seems to me that in US people want more authoritarianism — fewer rights and more police control. A Spanish friend says there is more freedom here than in Spain because we’re tolerant of conservative views.


    1. Russia can only attack if the oil prices go back to over $110 per barrel. They are currently half that.

      President Elizabeth Warren – fracking ban – oil prices soar – Russia razes the Northeast of Ukraine like it razed the Southeast.


  3. “If the alternative is chaos that comes from people exercising their free will in asinine ways that hurt them, is authoritarianism a good thing?”


    Why is that the choice, though?

    Liked by 1 person

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