The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

An Analogy Too Far?

Posted on | August 15, 2022 | Comments Off on An Analogy Too Far?

Merrick Garland (left); Lavrentiy Beria (right)

Considering my own notorious propensity for hyperbole, perhaps I’m not the ideal person to quibble here, but has Michael Walsh gone too far in declaring Merrick Garland to be “the second coming of Lavrentiy Beria”?

Grant that Garland’s motives are essentially totalitarian, i.e., that he wishes to criminalize opposition and establish an all-powerful one-party government. Further grant that Garland’s tactics likewise seem borrowed from the Bolsheviks, employing revolutionary terror against the regime’s chosen enemies, seeking to intimidate the masses by “making examples” of high-profile dissenters. As bad as Garland is — and he is plenty bad — it strikes me as rhetorical overkill to compare him to Beria, one of the worst monsters in human history. It is impossible to exaggerate the evil of Beria, and the full count of his victims may never be known:

Lavrenti Beria was a notorious sexual predator who routinely raped women, with an especial appetite for teenage girls, several of whom he reportedly strangled and buried in the garden of his Moscow villa:

“Sometimes he would have his henchmen bring five, six or seven girls to him. He would make them strip, except for their shoes, and then force them into a circle on their hands and knees with their heads together.
“He would walk around in his dressing gown inspecting them. Then he would pull one out by her leg and haul her off to rape her. He called it the flower game.”

Protecting Stalin’s dictatorship, the ruthless Beria was protected in turn. He managed to stay in power for some 15 years, during which time he oversaw the Soviet espionage project that obtained atomic weapon secrets from the United States, as well as supervising imposition of communist rule in Eastern Europe after World War II.
Stalin’s death in 1953, however, inevitably made Beria a target of Stalin’s successor, Nikita Kruschev, who feared the murderous NKVD commissar would seize power. Beria was arrested along with six of his subordinates. They were all sentenced to death by Soviet Supreme Court on Dec. 23, 1953, and the verdict was carried out the same day. It is said Beria, who never showed mercy for his own victims, cried and begged for his life before he was shot to death.

If you wish to learn more, I’ll recommend Beria: Stalin’s First Lieutenant by Amy Knight and Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him by Donald Rayfield for starters. Certainly, I appreciate that Michael Walsh means to warn us how close we are treading toward the edge of the totalitarian precipice, and we ought to heed the warning, but “the second coming of Lavrentiy Beria”? No, we’re not there — not yet — and pray to God we never get there.

(Hat-tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)



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