by Roger I. Roots
Years ago I read something by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould about his trip to Russia. If memory serves me right, Gould was writing about visiting Russia during the end of the Soviet period. Gould remarked that while in a Russian library, he examined the indexes at the ends of various Russian history textbooks. He was curious about how Russia’s historians dealt with all of the horrors of Soviet history. He wrote that the name of Joseph Stalin—one of the central figures in Soviet history, if not THE MOST CENTRAL FIGURE in Soviet history—had been simply written out of the indexes of Soviet textbooks. This was because the Soviet Union had turned against Stalin and Stalinism in the 1970s and ’80s after the passing of “Uncle Joe.”
As an observer of American criminal justice, I have occasionally reflected on the fact that what matters most in the modern criminal justice system is not the nature of an alleged crime but how loyal a defendant is to the expansive modern state. It doesn’t matter how many crimes you’ve committed; all that matters is whether, at the moment of your arrest, you embraced the state and aligned yourself with prosecutors against all of your former friends and family members. A savvy arrestee can even avoid jail time altogether if he quickly agrees to become an informant or a witness for the state against his friends or family–regardless of his crimes.
And now there is further evidence of the Sovietization of the United States. On February 6, 2015, The “Free Beacon” news site published a story about U.S. Special Forces Captain Matt Golsteyn. Golsteyn had been awarded a “Silver Star” medal for heroism during a gun battle in Afghanistan in 2010. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/afghanistan-war-hero-stripped-of-silver-star/ . But after Pentagon Brass read remarks by Golsteyn published in a 2011 book entitled “The Wrong War,” they evidently initiated efforts to strip Golsteyn of his medal. Golsteyn had criticized U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan. Now we read that Golsteyn has been stripped of his Silver Star medal—without so much being charged with any wrongdoing.