nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Quote (Not Medical): The Democratic Party v. Health Care

I normally avoid the impression of political advocacy, or try to, but I couldn't let this coincidence pass, what with the health care reform bill consuming all the political oxygen in the country:  an unpopular bill being pushed by a powerful Majority.

I had just begun reading Robert Conquest's classic, The Great Terror, a history of the Soviet Union under Stalin from 1936-38.  The story begins in 1921 when the Comintern is struggling, the Party jostling with other factions for control.  The Party realizes that it is losing the support of the workers, and begins to isolate itself and rely only on its own members.  The following quotation is from a speech given by Karl Radek, a secretary of the Comintern at that time:

"The Party is the politically conscious vanguard of the working class.  We are now at a point where the workers, at the end of their endurance, refuse any longer to follow a vanguard which leads them to battle and sacrifice...Ought we to yield to the clamors of workingmen who have reached the limit of their patience but who do not understand their true interest as we do?  Their state of mind is at present frankly reactionary.  But the Party has decided that we must not yield, that we must impose our will to victory on our exhausted and dispirited followers."

Robert Conquest remarks that "the Party, cut off from its social justification, now rested on dogma alone...It assumed that popular, or proletarian, support could be dispensed with and that mere integrity of motive would be adequate, would justify everything in the long run."

This aint Russia, and it aint 1921.  But the parallel in political psychology between then and now was striking...but maybe only to me. 

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