Monday, November 02, 2009

Czars? Cars? Banks?

Y'know why they call 'em Czars? 'Cos Narodny komissar -- "Narkom" or "People's Commissar" is too hard to say. (As in SovNarKom) .

I encountered the term looking up the 1937 Soviet census, in which the central government tried to cook the books in advance and when that didn't work, sent the guys who ran it off to gulags and started over -- and kept at that approach until they got the numbers they wanted. Does the first part sound familiar?

Looking into the pre-Great Patriotic War USSR, you can hardly miss the New Economic Policy, started under Lenin in an effort to jump-start an economy stalled by WW I and failed collectivization. Under NEP, small private business flourished, while banks and large manufacturing -- like, say, cars -- were controlled by the State. Where have I heard that kind of talk recently? (Not to worry, Uncle Joe Stalin crushed it flat and went on to starve the Ukraine, which is a trick exactly like creating famine in Kansas).

Checks. Balances. So good to have 'em. Knock wood.


perlhaqr said...

Or the San Joaquin Valley. I wonder if Flyover Country will be foolish enough to listen to the Commisars when they come to starve them out. Of course, that would require the use of the Red Army, and fortunately, ours is still pretty Red, White, and Blue. Maybe that's why Obama wants his army of "community organizers" and "volunteers" alongside.

Hunh. That might even sort of work. Keep the Army, Marines, and National Guard all off in foreign countries, then form a secondary parallel unit.

*turns down the paranoia a notch, takes off the aluminium beanie*

Of course, he's probably not actually quite that evil...

Drang said...

One of my fellow Overseers at The Salt Mines somehow got appointed IC of "Employee Communications"; pulled out of the stope, got an office with the director, worked bourgeois hours... I started referring to her as the Zampolits, then the Politruk, then gave up and started calling her The Commissar, which everyone got.

That director has been purged, so now she's back working with us peasants.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Pulp Engine

This made me think of you, Rx.

Anonymous said...

I figure we ought to just go back to the original spelling and call them tsars. Far more obvious to my mind.