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Found 8 results

  1. Hypothetical: A very wealthy individual has built an extension on her home which houses an automated factory for the production of flour. The automated factory includes facilities for accepting wheat, grinding it up, doing all the necessary processing and generating flour. Intelligently the factory is arranged so that gasoline, propane, oil, natural gas, or portable electric power, may be supplied to the factory to make it work, and that oil, water, and cleaning supplies may be easily provided to it to ensure proper operation of flour production and self-maintenance and self-cleaning operations. Ingeniously, the premises housing the factory also includes a foundry and various molds, for accepting raw metals and manufacturing of parts, wire, PCBs, computer chips, etc. which form part of the factory which makes the flour. The wealthy individual decides that this automated factory is to be open for business to anyone in her village who wants to produce flour for a fee. The arrangement is first come first serve and the contract involves in exchange for the use of the factory, payment of money and conditions of use: users must supply their own wheat meeting certain conditions to ensure working order of the factory, users must supply the power (gasoline, propane, oil, etc.) required to operate the factory, and other raw operating material such as oils, water, cleaning agents, according to specifications, so that proper self-automated maintenance and cleaning operations may be performed. Part of the deal includes a small deposit of raw materials for part production by the foundry, in anticipation of the need for part replacement, such as iron for main parts, copper for wires, etc. The amount of materials deposited accumulate slowly at a rate designed to cover any replacements for failures of the parts and components of the factory. The deal also requires the user to promise that if something in the factory has broken down, that he is to use the foundry facilities to fashion replacement parts and repair the factory, and to clean up and otherwise put the foundry back to its ready to use state. Replacement instructions and access to broken parts is arranged ingeniously so that no one ever has full access to how the entire flour factory works and the contract prohibits disassembly otherwise. As it turns out the village is full of mechanics working at a nearby (unrelated) aviation factory. Anyone who would be expected to use the flour making facility would likely know someone capable of or be able himself to operate the foundry and take care of the needed repairs to the flour factory. None of the villagers has the knowledge required to build a flour factory, nor are they interested in obtaining it, primarily because, fortunately for all, the price of using the factory to make flour, and all the conditions included, are such that a great many of the villagers voluntarily decide to use the factory rather than buy flour from someone else (its cheaper) and rather than make their own factory. They decide that all things considered it IS in their interest to make flour there. The factory is so well made and automated that the entrance to the facility (which is very well secured) has a computer system for users to obtain information about availability, make reservations, and read and sign any and all contractual agreements. The electronic system is recognized as solemnizing a deal with the wealthy individual (she has "pre-signed"... if you will)... all that is required is agreement by each user to abide by the terms. After 20 years in operation (the factory having paid for itself in the first 3 years), with the wealthy individual only setting foot at the facility a handful of times, very few episodes of down time, only a few attempted security breaches requiring the police, and only two law suits (instituted by the wealthy individual on the basis of breach of terms), a Marxist-Communist and an Objectivist-Capitalist come out of the facility after having gone on a free tour put on by the owner, who happens to love heated philosophical exchanges. The owner looks to both of them and asks with a grin, "What do you think?" Please start the dialogue either as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, stating what you think. Please choose the view which most closely parallels your own view in THIS CONTEXT, and identify yourself as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, and voice your outrage or approval with fervor.
  2. New Communist Manifesto COMMUNIST MANIFESTO 2014, posted at http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/manifesto.html Fell free to shared this link with others. Ludwik
  3. While talking to my father he reminisced that while growing up with his family, a Latvian pro-soviet emigrant, they had a custom to feed the dog before everyone else stated to eat. The justification was that the dog had no way to feed itself. This is the most ridiculous example of altruism and the morality of sacrifice I could find in my personal knowledge.
  4. As a student, I often find myself arguing with socialists. I have organised many debates with socialists, and am holding conferences in Austrian economics. Doing everything I can with my knowledge, in order to persuade socialists to understand economics, capitalism and rights... I am still young however, so I'm sure there are better methods than I have used to convince people. (i.e. YouTube videos of Friedman, Sowell and Rand) Which tools and methodology (i.e praxeology, natural rights &etc) would you recommend to undertake this task? Thanks for all suggestions, Samuel Marks
  5. TWO KINDS OF MORALITIES, MARXIST VERSUS THEOLOGICAL I am reading interesting comments about communist morality, in a book devoted to Judaism, published in 1975. The authors are two rabbis, D. Prager and J. Telushkin. A Christian theologian would probably make similar observations. Marxists and theologians, they write, "are both motivated by the desire to perfect the world and establish a utopia on earth. ... Both promote all-encompassing worldviews. But they diametrically oppose one another in almost every other way." The authors remind us that communists rejected "all morality derived from nonhuman [i.e. God] and nonclass concepts," as stated in 1920 by Lenin. ... "Marxist morality sanctions any act so long as that act was committed in the interest of [economic and political] class struggle." Nothing that Stalin, and Mao did was immoral, according to such ideology. Theologians, on the other hand, hold "that morality transcends economic, national, and individual interests." God's commandments are objective rather than subjective. Evil human acts are condemned, no matter what economic or political gains are derived from them. That is the essential difference. Greed in human nature, they emphasize, "may have helped create capitalism, but capitalism did not create greed in human nature." Theologians also deplore social injustice. But they reject brutal proletarian revolutions because "the roots of evil and injustice lie not in economics or society but in man himself." This has to do with the concept of freedom. "For Marxism, which conceives of the world in materialist terms, bondage is defined solely as servitude to external sources such as slave owners, capitalist bosses, or other forms of material inequality. Freedom is liberation from such servitude." People, as stated in the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels, must get rid of economic chains binding them. Then they will automatically cease to be evil. Theologians, on the other hand, see two kinds of liberation, from external and from internal bonds. "Once liberation from external servitude takes place, one must then liberate oneself from internal domination, the domination of one's life by passions, needs, irrationality and wants." The conflict between theologians and Marxists "is not economic, it is moral." Proletarian dictatorship was practiced in several countries; the results show that "when Marxist revolutionaries attain power they are at least as crual as their predecessors." Philosophical differences about morality, among different kinds of theologians, are minimal, as far as I know. But attempts to impose morality are not very successful. Why is it so? What can be done to improve the situation, to bring our reality a little closer to "utopia" dreams? Ludwik
  6. “ON THE OFFICIAL ESTABLISHMENT OF UNITED STATES SPACE TERRITORY” What new fact will scientists discover about the universe that is as rich as Benjamin Franklin’s discoveries about the nature of electricity? What will be the next invention as rich as Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press? How will such advancements drastically enhance human life? When will humans finally explore, colonize, and terraform Mars and beyond? When will more Americans value exploration, discovery and invention? Once they do, the value of human existence will increase, and as a result we will enjoy a richer economy. Unfortunately communists are in an ideological war against exploration, discovery, and invention. Their tactic is deceptive and relies on lying about the nature of such acts; that they are not individualistic in effort, and thus, no private property exists as a result; only uncooperative, disruptive claims of private property. Everything, the communists claim, exists for the sake of the collective; even your thoughts, for if your thoughts disrupt society’s hypnotic state you are to be condemned and shunned. So long as an individual is altruistic, nothing he or she thinks and produces can be more valuable than anything anyone else thinks and produces. This means a communist economy is mediocre by nature. Note that even the Chinese government knows that pure communism makes for a disastrous economy and thus mixes their economy with a public and private sector. Among the facts which the Chinese government is yet to discover is that a mixed economy is likewise disastrous, and is still communist in nature, and preserves its control of the economy by hypocritical means. If you think the Chinese economy is booming, that is only in contrast to the declining, communizing, American economy which is psychotically obliterating itself with debt (some of which it owes to China). If the American economy was more capitalistic, and more Americans were pioneers, the mediocrity of the Chinese economy would be much more obvious to the superficial observer. Communists know that communist economies are mediocre. They believe in a mediocre economy; they just won’t use the word “mediocre”. Instead, they say they believe in an economy most suitable for the “average worker”; or in Karl Marx’s words: “the proletariat”. President Obama has so fierce a hatred for the individual, and private property, that he led an attempt to force every American to purchase health insurance. His hope was that by forcing everyone to purchase health insurance, they would think there was no time to waste searching for the best possible insurance policy, and would instead rush to a government sponsored policy, which would then cause the price of private insurance policies to skyrocket and repel consumers. He wants Americans to surrender their self-determination, their individuality, and their private property. Obama is even attempting to force Christian institutions to provide birth control as part of their health insurance policies despite their religious opposition to doing so and their first amendment right to act on that opposition. Ultimately, the president is attempting to force us to produce and consume what he wants us to produce and consume. The fact that he has been somewhat successful in his evil ambitions indicates that pioneering, i.e., discovering and/or inventing, in America has declined drastically. Despite what some people may say, the American economy is, in Herman Cain’s words “on life support”. This life support is made possible by the few unrelenting capitalists who vocally and actively oppose communism. Although this life support gives me confidence, so long as there exists a gang of communists supporting president Obama, we are being enslaved, and our economy will weaken. The best solution to this problem is communicating not only the ethical justification of capitalism; it also requires capitalistic action, specifically, actual pioneering, and articulating the value of pioneering and that which is pioneered. If enough people do this, our culture will thrive. In order to pioneer, one must have a rich, ethical value hierarchy. This requires the possession of rational principles, understanding the relationship between principles and values, and understanding the nature of values. The pioneer rationally evaluates his/her surroundings, and then introspects, based on his/her logical hopes and personal ideals, in search of something rational and new to produce. The pioneer is either a scientist or an inventor. The basic source of pioneering is an individual’s logical hopes. A logical hope is a logical, and passionate wish. Unfortunately logical hopes tend to be condemned by the apathetics. Apathetics not only condemn the logical hopes of pioneers, they condemn their own logical hopes. This is evident by how rare logical hope is. That is because logic itself is so widely condemned and incorrectly defined. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. The distinguishing characteristic of the concept “logic” is “non-contradiction”, i.e., identifying facts. Wikipedia, which exists to completely obliterate human intelligence, (and given its popularity is quite successful in doing so) has a disturbing article on logic. Wikipedia defines logic as “the philosophical study of valid reasoning”. What is valid reasoning? Blank out. Eventually the term “non-contradiction” appears but it is not mentioned as a fact. The law of non-contradiction, says Wikipedia, is ambiguous. There is nothing ambiguous about the fact that existence exists and a=a. So long as people surrender their reason to the evil of Wikipedia, logic and its psychological manifestation, logical hope, will remain rare. Actively feeling intense logical hope is the first indication that one is thriving or is on one’s way to thriving. It is one of the best emotional experiences one can have. Twelve years ago I read a novel entitled The Cage, by Ruth Minsky Sender, which is about Sender’s experience in Auschwitz. In the novel, she often repeated to herself, a very valuable mantra: “if there is life, there is hope”. It is worth noting that she survived Auschwitz. I should like to add to that: if there is logical hope, there is indeed a logical way to get that which is hoped for. When you have a logical hope, you constantly think about and discuss it. This does two things: 1) since you reiterate your logical hope to your subconscious at a higher frequency, you increase the efficiency of your consciousness getting you what you logically hope for. 2) You share your logical hopes with other people, and even if those among you are completely irrational, so long as they are conscious, regardless of whether or not they are receptive to what you suggest to them, their subconscious’s are at least open to your suggestion, i.e., it records your suggestion. If you make the same suggestion persistently enough, people persistently have to reject or accept your suggestion. The postmodern communists understand this and that is why they dominate the media: so they can reiterate the same evil suggestions over, and over, and over again, to an audience ill equipped to reject and refute their suggestions. But if truth, and evidence of truth is communicated more persistently, the postmodern communists will be incapable of countering all of it and will eventually have to either concede and face reality or attempt to evade it so consumingly that their ideological movement will become greatly weakened, if not obsolete. For example, the segregationists of the 1960’s were defeated, and speaking of the 1960’s, today far less people smoke now than they did then. The best illustration of this point is the fact that so many people use technology, i.e., they accept its high value. Why? Because those who promote the use of technology do so more persistently than those who do not. If scientists, i.e., people who believe in reason, are more persistent in arguing in favor of their beliefs than the postmodern communists, it will stimulate the culture and eventually incite a Renaissance. Consider a rational culture of scientists. People would be more productive not only in the sense that they will be busier but in the sense that they will be producing things which they live for, and which are of high value- this as opposed to resentfully producing junk exclusively for the sake of “paying the bills”. This means: a booming economy: everyone producing and consuming out of love for ingenuity. But currently, postmodern communism is the predominant ideology world-wide and continues to gain more traction. As communistic as the country has been throughout the decades, we were actually heading closer towards more capitalism than more communism courtesy of the technological boom that reached its prime and began declining in the early 2000’s. The technological boom was capitalism’s best defense. The technological boom said to all humans, “look what a human can do when a human is free to produce whatever he or she wants and keep his or her profit!”. Even despite the fact that tax rates were higher during the communistic Clinton administration, the 1990’s saw a stunning and beautiful technological boom. That is because the beauty of new technology still trumped the culture’s frustration with unethical high tax rates. Innovation took priority. I am so grateful to have witnessed, as a child, the contrast of life before and after the internet gained popularity and sophistication. The essence of that contrast was representative of the economy in general, which saw a massive leap in human ability, technological advancement and thus a new, rich, stimulating, life enhancing marketplace which included digital cameras, cellphones, websites, laptops, DVDs, video game systems, Viagra, iPods, digital cable with movies on demand, the International Space Station, et cetera. The innovators, however, despite their capitalistic tendencies, clearly had no understanding of complete metaphysical objectivity and thus surrendered their minds to the postmodern communists. I submit to you, lyrics of a song by a top selling music group which indicates the passionate irrationality of top selling producers, and the passionate irrationality of most consumers: “Science has failed our world Science has failed our mother Earth Science fails to recognize the single most potent element of human existence Letting the reigns go to the unfolding Is faith, faith, faith, faith… Spirit-moves-through-all-things” (“Science”; System of a Down; Doran Malakian, Serj Tankian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan) Each person who has bought that song or that belief is indeed part of a system bring down civilization. Science has not failed our world. Science tells you not to eat a poisonous berry and that if you do you will die. Science made possible the technology used by “System of a Down” to produce and sell that unethical song. Science reveals that the single most potent element of human existence is reason. Without reason “System of a Down” would not have words, i.e., names of concepts, to scream out. System of a Down is nothing but a group of psychotics screaming in a psychological mix of extreme anger and deep, thorough confusion; i.e., they are a bunch of men throwing a very disruptive tantrum. (It should not surprise you, by the way, that “System of a Down” is the psychological result of long term Soviet communism. Even though Russia is no longer “officially” a communist country, and Armenia -where the members of “System of a Down” come from- is no longer part of Russia, the psychological ramifications of living under the tyranny of complete communism do not disappear out of thin air.) This hatred of science is extremely dangerous to every aspect of human existence. When a large number of people pay brats to throw tantrums and throw tantrums with them, there is no question that the economy is in a crisis. We need a return to science. Do you notice that science does not make many news headlines today? There is a reason why. Because science is good for the economy and the communists do not want a thriving economy. If the economy is thriving nobody would cling to them for sustenance. Because science is capitalistic by nature, because if the people in the media reported on scientific discoveries, they could only give you the facts and rational commentary, which they do not want to do. Science must return to the news headlines. And by science I do not mean subjective speculations and bogus hypotheses. I mean logically proven facts and following the leads of the timeless pioneers; pioneers such as Aristotle, Johannes Guttenberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Iassac Newton, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, John Locke, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John D. Rockefeller, Anne Sullivan, Maria Montessori Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Ayn Rand, Steve Jobs, Robert Zubrin, et cetera. We must study them, their curiosities, their methods, their efforts, and their ideals. You will note that even despite their ideological disparities, despite sometimes only being selectively rational, they were all, to extreme degrees, scientific. They were cultural leaders, and the amassers of tremendous wealth. A major consequence of the widespread rejection of science is the widespread belief in the lie that we have somehow drained all of our resources, or that we are severely limited in resources. Even if they do not say it, the fact that our economy is so poor is evidence that they believe it. Scientists and inventors know there are more resources in the universe than each of us could evaluate in a lifetime. There is only one basic resource and only one basic tool in existence: the universe, and reason. The universe is the domain of existence. That means anything that exists, exists in the universe. The nature of the universe is slightly comparable to how mystics regarded their mythological “God” in that it is to be worshipped however, worship is not engagement in a passive state of oblivious awe. To the contrary: to worship is to understand and optimize the use of. To worship the universe we must explore it, study it, and use it for the sake of thriving. Our knowledge of the universe is primitive. We do not know its magnitude. Many people speculate but they do so with a microscopic speck of evidence that is far too limiting. Given how ignorant we are about the universe, and how little of it we have had a glance at, it is illogical to assume that there are no useful resources hidden in rare Earth-like oases. It is furthermore, irrational not to at least search for them. Likewise, it is irrational to assume aliens do not exist, and even if they do not, it is irrational not to search for them, and then rationally conclude that Earth is the only planet in the universe which hosts life. If we explore, understand, and optimize the universe for human use, we will continually thrive, which is our ultimate value; our chief purpose. How do we know this? Our basic tool, reason, confirms it. For a brief elaboration on reason, I shall quote John Galt from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged: “Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason; his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind. All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob of color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object, he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells; that the cells consist of molecules, and that the molecules consist of atoms. All through this process, the work of his mind consists of answers to a single question: what is it? His means to establish the truth of his answers is logic and logic rests on the axiom that existence exists. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict one’s self from the realm of reality. “Reality is that which exists. The unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth”. (p. 930) One of the universe’s basic properties is space, and it is within space which all aspects of the universe exist. There are three major types of space: outer space, mind, and media. Outer space is obviously the primary type of space. It is physical space, and consists of matter and energy. It is therefore, the content of human consciousness. Just like lungs need oxygen in order for a human to breathe, the mind needs to perceive physical space in order to think. The mind cannot advance if we do not further explore outer space. Instead, it will atrophy via depreciation. The mind consists of consciousness and subconsciousness. It operates via thought. A thought navigates the mind’s attention and the body’s actions. In order for one’s mind, and moreover, one’s self to thrive it must rationally evaluate outer space. Since no human is omniscient, in order to maximize one’s intelligence, one must trade evaluations via media. Media is published space, and consists of information. (I say information as opposed to knowledge because not everything in the media, in fact, much of the media, is not true. Information is distinct from knowledge or fact because information can be true or false and thus is defined as communicated, published thought.) The internet is the ultimate form of media since it is the most efficient network of mass communication. It is by evaluating contemporary media that we may evaluate our culture. Since most of contemporary media evades science it is extremely impoverished. Unless people rationally reevaluate outer space- the subject of science- their minds, and thus our media will continually atrophy. People must invest- in whatever way rationally suits themselves- more thought, action, and money in outer space. Specifically, the time has come to revive space exploration and begin space colonization and terraforming. To do this, we need a vision for the future. In the words of Robert Zubrin, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (The Case For Mars ;p. xvi) Robert Zubrin’s vision of the future takes us all the way to Mars! A terraformed Mars! He writes, “There are real and vital reasons why we should venture to Mars. It is the key to unlocking the secret life of the universe. It is the challenge to adventure that will inspire millions of young people to enter science and engineering, and whose acceptance will reaffirm the nature of our society as a society of pioneers. It is the door to an open future, a new frontier on a new world, a planet that can be settled, the beginning of humanity’s career as space faring species with no limits to its resources or aspirations as it continues to push outward into the infinite universe beyond.” (p.xvi) While Robert Zubrin sees a path to Mars, he does not, in his book The Case For Mars, identify how the United States government should be involved in the matter. He proposes several ways the government could be involved, however he is not committed to any single proposal. Furthermore, he makes no mention of property rights.... (to read the rest of the essay, visit http://seanoconnorliterature.com/2012/06/04/on-the-official-establishment-of-u-s-space-territory/ )
  7. I am here seeking intelligent discussion. On the spectrum of individualism to collectivism, I lean toward collectivism. On the spectrum of objectivism to relativism, I lean toward relativism. I am a fervent atheist and anti-militarist. I read Atlas Shrugged (AS) in the summer of 2011 and was fascinated. Saddened by the state of public discourse, which has been debased ever since the polar opposites of Goldwater and Reagan taught self-styled conservatives that they can achieve their objectives better through misdirection and bombast than through reason and civility, I am thrilled to find a community like this one. Rather than talking to the converted at Daily Kos, here I can test my assumptions and see other perspectives. At least at first, I probably will not comment on others’ posts, but rather will start a series of threads laying out what seem to me to be the faults or inadequacies of objectivism. I look forward to reasoned responses. By way of background, I was born in Southern California in 1963 to a Catholic mother and agnostic father. I was raised Catholic and participated in Boy Scouts, which largely shaped my father’s moral code. Before I was 10 years old, I began questioning Christianity and theism in general … first on logical grounds and later on moral grounds, disagreeing with teachings on sexuality and other issues. Later, as an adult, I tried evangelical Christianity and studied the Bible more closely. This cemented my atheism as I was appalled by the Bible’s sanction of genocide and other atrocities. My own moral code was nonetheless strongly influenced by the teachings of Jesus, including his skepticism of wealth, his rejection of violence and his emphasis on altruism. Driven by reason and justice rather than mysticism or fear, I was naturally drawn to communist ideals. I went to Berkeley in the early 1980’s, where I studied impractical humanities and protested Reagan’s illegal wars in Central America. Over time, I came to realize that true communism is impossible outside of a small community setting. As Ayn Rand showed clearly with AS’s Twentieth Century Motor Company, it creates harmful incentives and is inherently prone to corruption. As a youth, although I appreciated the idealism in the maxim “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, I realized that it pessimistically assumed there would be no surplus created. My view at the time was that the surplus should, in theory, be distributed in proportion to the extent to which each person achieves his potential. Obviously, this could only be theory since it would require godlike insight to implement and therefore is certain to be applied incompetently or corruptly. I came to understand that capitalism was a powerful engine of prosperity that harnesses human nature (what I believe objectivists call egoism) and realistic incentives. However, I continue to believe that capitalism must be tempered by fairness and redistribution is necessary to reduce the major roles played by luck and happenstance. While there is no perfect and incorruptible system to do this, I believe multiparty democracy is better suited to the task in the long run than any alternative. After a few years doing computer programming, in the early 1990’s, I first went to Columbia University where I got a law degree (JD) and then went to New York University for a masters in taxation (LLM). I practice international corporate tax law at a major accounting firm, having worked for the IRS for several years. Given my radical and progressive roots, my practice paradoxically includes helping companies move intellectual property offshore. I am able to do this with a clear conscience since I do not believe in the corporate tax, which is economically distortive and has an unknown incidence. From a tax policy perspective, I believe in a strongly progressive tax on individual income or consumption. My name, Swerve of Shore, comes from the first line of Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. For professional reasons, I cannot share my real name at this time – perhaps, when I retire.
  8. How did Stalin manage to outmaneuver so many After reading an interesting, and rather unique, book about Stalin, I just posted a very short review of it, at the Amazon’s website. Here it is, for those who might be interested: I agree with those who wrote that Montefiore's voluminous "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar" is not always easy reading. But it is certainly worthwhile for the light it sheds on relations between Stalin and his close subordinates, those whom he liquidated and those who survived him. Stalin's methods of domination--both brutal and ideological--are skillfully described. The same applies to personal relations between communist leaders. The Soviet Union was the first country in which the idea of proletarian dictatorship, formulated by Marx, was implemented. That is why all aspects of Soviet history are worth studying. Be aware that the number of characters is unusually large. Fortunately, Stalin's family tree and the introductory section entitled "List of Characters" should help readers to deal with this problem. Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia) .