Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Same Old Pravda

On a whim, I was reading Pravda to see how much it had changed since Soviet times. I found an article, written by an American leftist, which could have appeared in Pravda during Stalin's day, headlined "Being a Loser in America". Link. The author contends that America is a totally class dominated society where your life is determined by the family you are born into.
It was then I discovered I had not chosen my family wisely. Time and again I was informed that all available positions were being reserved for individuals whose relatives already worked at the firm.

After a few months of frustration, I found myself stocking pet food at a local grocery store for a few cents above minimum wage, a position I could have obtained without incurring the onerous debt of a law school education. So, rudely awakened from my idealistic slumber, I soon learned that the legal system is not the only industry fueled by nepotism and cronyism. [...]

Subsequently I decided to open my own law practice, thus encountering more American realities: First, the legal "system" is more adept at rationalizing injustice than doing justice; Second, the wealthy and powerful are constantly favored by the legal "system" over the poor and weak; Third, in the eyes of the legal "system," the Constitution and Bill of Rights are not the cornerstones of freedom and individual rights, but simply nuisances to be explained away or ignored. [...]

The culture is so dishonest that no profession or institution can be trusted to act with integrity. Although many administrators in the academic world stress the teaching of ethics in the classroom and demand honesty from both students and faculty, they predictably feel no obligation to adhere to such standards themselves when it doesn"t serve their interests. [...]

While some attorneys have actually lost their jobs for refusing to criminally prosecute innocent people, those with no such scruples have become politicians, judges, or highly paid consultants for the government, the media or corporate America. [...]

On a national scale, I"ve watched the future I once dreamed of produce technological progress and sociological regress, as America, under the Bush dictatorship, has plunged once again into the quagmire of racism, injustice, hatred, despair, and war based on lies. [...]

But this hope of future justice provides little solace when I think of those wrongfully imprisoned in American gulags simply because gutless politicians and judges are more concerned about their own careers than doing justice. Nor can I forget those who were martyred. [...]

I cannot say I am surprised that an American wrote that article. It could just as easily appeared on MoveOn.org. I was more surprised at how little Pravda had changed. During its heyday, it had no competition, and its readers had no other sources of news to compare it with. Today, Russians have access to western news reports and millions of them have relatives living in the US, with whom they can communicate. It seems habits die just as hard for Russian ex-communists as for American leftists.


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