Sunday, April 07, 2013
Russia is a gangster state.
In the 1920s and 30s, lots of countries descended into gangsterism. Enormous forces, seen and unseen, pushed and pulled at people like taffy. Like horses in a burning barn, they thrashed around looking for an alternative to the rude discomforts all around them. The world is descending into gangsterism again.
Of course there's never a shortage of Savonarolas abroad in the land. Rasputins. Caudillos and ministers and seers and strongmen. When people are suitably tenderized with the hammer of bipartisan rage followed by ennui, the gangsters take over, and add "Democratic" to the country's name, usually, while extracting democracy like a molar with a rusty pliers. One tug, once, and it's gone.
So Mockba sends shady people trained in the arts of war without governors to administer polonium enemas to anyone that gets in the way of looting the treasury, and the country settles down into a low boil of avoiding the wrong people with the right connections, and getting on with your life. And to someone like me that remembers the ultimate gangster state that preceded it, it's wonderful to see.
Watching the pandemonium depicted on Mockba's ubiquitous dashcams, and the wild melees in the street over rights of way, it's easy to forget that none of that was necessary before, because the average person had nothing but fear or smugness in their interactions before. If you were a nobody, you'd have to immediately gauge if your tormenter was important in a pecking order hidden behind an unsmiling Berian mask. If you had a place in the ruling class, you'd only have to determine if your fender bender was caused by someone with a single-digit party card. You could treat anyone else any way you wanted. And there were no fender benders to fight over anyway, because no one had a car. You'd simply have to apologize to any driver that ran you over in a crosswalk because you knew they were important enough to have a vehicle.
So now the average person can fight with his fists in the street over slights with another average person, and a kind of rumble of vibrancy is demonstrated. It's not a fair fight top to bottom, of course, but the crooks that run the place are more discerning gangsters than before, and don't trifle themselves with the affairs of little people so much. And the little people make everything go, if you will but let them. That's why the lights are on, and the cars buzz here and there, and the boats full of people that don't look like beaten dogs when the newspaper boy makes his delivery go to and fro.
Looks like life.