As an undergrad, I majored in Russian studies and even considered going on to graduate school in that field, but I decided on law school. The politics and culture of the Soviet era are fascinating. I didn’t think that studying Stalinism would be particularly relevant to American law and society in 2003, but it may become increasingly relevant.
Recently, a draft of the Justice Department’s proposed sequel to the Patriot Act leaked out. The Daily Rotten has the text of the draft. Commentary from: The Center for Public Integrity, Reason, Jonathan Peterson, and Politech subscribers.
So far I’ve only skimmed through the draft, but if enacted into law, it would represent the US taking a step towards Stalinism. During the Great Terror of the late 1930’s, Russians lived in constant fear of waking up to a knock on the door in the middle of the night and getting exiled to the Gulag because of someone’s anonymous allegation. A government that will restrict free access to information and limit individual rights due to creeping paranoia could itself become another sort of terror. I never thought that trying to defend Americans against Islamic terrorism would force us to also defend ourselves against homegrown Stalinism in 2003.