Pakiban II.

Americans idealize a government based on a division of powers, in which different branches of government can check—or authorize—the claims to power of other branches.  In contrast, Pakistan is a country dominated by un-elected, but highly regarded elites.  The military and the courts occupy pride of place, while elected legislatures and governments receive little respect.  This reflects a deep distrust of the idea of elections as a source of authority.

Pakistan also is an unusually corrupt country.[1]  In 2015, the “Panama Papers” hit the internet.  Essentially, these were secret records of a Panamanian law firm that had facilitated the creation and management of secret “off-shore” bank accounts for people around the world who had a lot of money whose origins they didn’t want to have to explain.[2]

One chief culprit was a Pakistani politicians named Nawaz Sharif.[3]  Pakistan has experienced only one peaceful, election-based, transfer of power at the executive level.[4]  Sharif has been prime minister of Pakistan three times so far.  He opposed the powerful role of the military in domestic politics.  He favored working out a deal with India.  The first two times, the army gave him the heave.  In July 2017, Pakistan’s Supreme Court evicted Sharif from office yet again.  The evidence is that Sharif is a crook.  Still, voters have put Sharif in power when his kleptomaniacal tendencies were well-known.[5]  The bum’s-rush he gets every time suggests that powerful institutions within Pakistan claim the right to issue voters their acceptable leaders.[6]

Sharif’s dismissal opened a can of worms.  First, the fact that other politicians were incriminated by the “Panama Papers” leak, but were not prosecuted suggests that the courts singled out Sharif.  On what grounds?  At whose behest?  Second, the Transparency International corruption ratings (see fn. 1.) suggest that almost everyone in Pakistan’s public life is as crooked as dog’s hind leg.  Is compliance with the desires of the powerful the condition for survival—and continuing chances for graft—in Pakistan’s politics?  Terms like “hidden hands” and “string-pullers” are common in the language of troubled states.  In Pakistan, these terms often refer to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (I.S.I.) or the great landlords who hold the fate of millions of peasants in their hands.

Western observers object that the Sharif case makes it appear that “justice is often a means to a political end.”  That is, if you play by “their” rules, you’ll be “rich as Nazis!”—as Mr. Burns put it on “The Simpsons.”  If not, you end up in a bug-infested cell wearing red burlap as your gallows apparel for the morrow.  Tens, hundreds, of millions of ordinary Pakistanis go “Well, duh.”   Then, there’s “Traffik.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW8qcbGRZ4U

[1] Transparency International rated Pakistan 113 out of 176 countries on its corruption index.  Wait, there are 63 countries even more corrupt than Pakistan!

[2] For a useful introduction, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Papers

[3] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Papers_case

[4] Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, “Pakistan, Ousting Leader, Dashes Fair Democracy Hopes,” NYT, 29 July 2019.

[5] Imagine Donald Trump being re-elected president in spite of his many vulgarities and incessant rule-bending.  It would not be that American voters didn’t know what they were getting.  Should such an election be allowed to stand? Should, instead, the courts or the legislature, or—Heaven forfend—the military be allowed to over-ride the will of the People as mediated through the Electoral College?

[6] Benito Mussolini once claimed that Italian fascism was an improved form of democracy because it was a qualitative, not merely, quantitative, democracy.  That is, some people’s opinions counted for more than did those of other people.

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CrISIS 10.

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003.  Almost immediately multiple insurgencies sprang up.  Then Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQIM) appeared .to make things still worse by fomenting a brutal civil war between the Shi’ite majority and the Sunni minority.  Eventually, Iraqis and Americans came to their senses.  Together, they destroyed AQIM and killed its leader Zarkawi.  The few survivors of AQIM slunk away to neighboring Syria.  Here they found safety as it was a foreign country plunged into a civil war in which neither the Americans nor the Iraqis wanted to engage themselves.  The Syrian civil war radicalized some of its participants.  Some of these joined with the remnants of AQIM, which re-branded itself as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  Eastern Syria is thinly populated in comparison with the western parts of the one-time country.  Government forces were stretched thin as well.  ISIS established its rule over the area.  From this base it invaded Iraq in 2014.  An Iraqi army rotted by corruption and sectarianism in the years after the Americans had withdrawn collapsed.  ISIS proclaimed a “caliphate.”

It was not to be, not for very long anyway.  ISIS fielded highly-motivated irregular soldiers without heavy weapons.  They could win where they were out against weak and distracted armies like those of Syria or Iraq.  They could never prevail against well-armed conventional forces like those of Turkey or Iran (or Israel if they made too much progress in that direction).  Iran sent military advisers and “volunteers” to help direct the Shi’ite militias, and called in Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.  The Americans re-entered the fray with Special Forces.  More importantly, they mobilized the Kurds against ISIS.

Now ISIS has been effectively destroyed in both Iraq and Syria.  However, if ISIS is defeated, “ISISism” is not.[1]  During its brief run of successes, ISIS won the loyalty of other radical Islamist groups in places as far apart as West Africa, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.  The dame factors that attracted Islamist volunteers from all over to Syria and Iraq still seem to draw new volunteers to the new hot spots.  Then there is the potential for “lone wolf” attacks.

In May 2018, several families (with children in tow) attacked churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, while a young Chechen ran amok with a knife in Paris.  The ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan has been launching attacks on civilians, rather than concentrating on military or government targets.  Four American soldiers were killed in a fire-fight with Islamists in Niger.

Is an organizational or institutional approach to this problem really helpful?  Before there was ISIS, there was Al Qaeda.  Before there was Al Qaeda there were the “Arab Afghans” who went to fight the Soviets.  There are subtle variations in radical Islamist ideology and there are ambitious, unhinged men eager to claim the mantle of leadership.

What seems to matter most is not the particular group or leader.  Rather, it is vital to understand and address the basic conditions that turn a relatively small number of people into serious problems.  For the sake of discussion, consider whether one source for the adherents of radical Islamism are the awful failed governments and societies across much of the developing world.  For the sake of further discussion, consider whether it is in just such places that the radicals have the best hope of operating.  Eventually, both questions lead to Pakistan—and its nukes.

[1] Yaroslav Trofimov, “Faraway ISIS Branches Grow as Group Fades in Syria, Iraq,” WSJ, 18 May 2018.

My Weekly Reader 21 May 2018.

It can be difficult even for diplomats and foreign policy scholars to know a foreign country.  The Soviet Union long constituted a black box to outsiders.  Censorship, propaganda, and tight police surveillance of foreigners and their Soviet contacts kept Westerners from the fuller understanding that can be achieved of an open society.  If that was true of a great power in a long period of international confrontation, it can also be true of minor states on the outer periphery of world affairs.

Take the case of Libya.  The resources needed to foster an understanding of any foreign society are—in economic terms—“scarce.”  To understand Libya, it would take learning Arabic.  There aren’t a lot of people with the ability and commitment to do this.  It would take living in the country for an extended period to develop a sense of the society.  There aren’t many people with a reason to do so: oil industry people, diplomats, journalists, and the occasional academic.  One could try to develop human contacts in such a way as to not get them killed by the regime.  That last is a matter of personality and training.

Would it even be worth the trouble?  The United States had—and has—little reason to invest scarce resources in what amount to backwaters.[1]  Libya is a geographically large country made up mostly of desert.  Only six million people live there, many of them semi-nomadic tribesmen.  It has abundant oil and natural gas reserves, but so do many other places in the Arab region.  Saudi Arabia and Egypt rank much higher than does Libya.  Then, there’s the whole Israel versus the Palestinians engouement.  Since 2003, Iraq has occupied a central place for many specialists.  All of these soaked up the attention and scarce human resources of the American foreign policy establishment.  Americans largely depended upon the expertise of other countries with a reason to care more deeply about Libya.  Chiefly this means France, whose former colonies and current pawns surround Libya, and Italy, once the colonial ruler and now just a boat-ride away from a place teeming with people who don’t want to stay there.

Occasionally, however, Libya intruded upon American attention.  From 1969 onward, Libya had been ruled by a savage dictator, Muammar Qaddafi.  In the 1980s, his malevolence got the better of his self-control.  He had meddled in a civil war in Chad; he had sponsored murderous international terrorism in the West; and he had tried to acquire nuclear weapons.  All of these initiatives had gotten Libya a series of bloody noses, with the promise of worse to come.  At this point, Qaddafi’s self-control got the better of his—international—malevolence.  He went back to persecuting his own people and left other people alone.  Libya fell off the radar screen.

Then, came the “Arab Spring”[2] of 2011.  In January 2011, anti-government protests began in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.  In February 2011 they broke out in the eastern Libyan port-city of Benghazi.  Quaddafi vowed to drown the rebels in their own blood.[3]  “Humanitarian intervention” soon followed.  The governments of Britain and France outraged by the prospect of a massacre of “people everywhere [who] just want to be free,” wanted military intervention to protect Benghazi.  They didn’t want to send troops and they didn’t have the airborne command and control systems, or targeting drones, or air refueling capacity to make air-strikes work too well.  So they dragged on the United States to do its bit.[4]  Next thing you know, not only have the government forces headed for Benghazi been bombed to smithereens, but the Quaddafi government has been bombed out of existence.

This “success” had untoward consequences.[5]  Western experts believed that Libya had a good chance at a peaceful transition to a democratish state.  However, one now-experienced observer of Middle Eastern affairs has remarked that “the terrible men who ruled the countries of the Arab world had destroyed almost everything that might hold their societies together without them.”[6]  That proved about right—in Iraq, in Egypt, in Syria, and in Libya.  Libya came apart like a leper in a hot-tub.[7]  Islamists fought secularists, the long-suppressed regions fought each other, and gangs of criminals seized what they could.  After this failure of yet another Rodney King moment, the French, the British, and the Americans quickly threw up their hands in disgust.  One American official later characterized the change in attitude as “the hell with it.”  “Humanitarian intervention” soon ended.[8]

Other foreign powers did not.  They intervened to pursue their own interests.[9]  The criminals in coastal towns went into the migrant-export business, deluging Italy with desperately poor people who had used the Trans-African highway system[10] to reach Libya.  The flood of unwanted immigrants contributed to, but isn’t the only cause of, the rise of “populist” parties in Europe.

Could any of this have been foreseen?  Probably not, given the relative ignorance of Libyan conditions.  Still, there doesn’t seem to have been any worst-case analysis on the part of proponents of humanitarian intervention, nor any reflection on how far their own countries would be willing to go if conditions went South in a hurry.  But this is an old story.  “In his experience, premonitions of disaster were almost invariably proved false, and the road to Calvary entered on with the very lightest of hearts.”[11]

[1] The same went for Afghanistan and almost anywhere in Africa.

[2] The term alarmed many historians.  It made them think of the “Springtime of the Peoples” in the Revolutions of 1848-1849 in Europe.  These revolutions carried all before them for a time.  Then the revolutionaries, coalitions of people united only by what they were against—the current regime—fell out over what they were for.  The old guard regained control.  Firing squads, cavalry arriving in villages with coils of rope around every saddle horn, dungeons, and clipper ships packed with emigrants to America followed.  However, History is a college major in steep decline.  It offers only entertainment and the vicarious experience subjected to rational analysis that might lead one to not do something spectacularly stupid later in life.  Apparently there is no market for it.  “Viddy well little brother.”

[3] OK, that’s a cliché.

[4] Reportedly, the American military and intelligence chiefs were opposed to this intervention.  They had more wars—in Afghanistan and Iraq—than they could conveniently handle.

[5] See: “The Shores of Tripoli” and “The Hacked Election.”

[6] Dexter Filkins, New York Times Book Review, 20 May 2018, p. 24.

[7] Same as did Syria.

[8] Apparently governmental humanitarianism has a much shorter half-life than does NGO humanitarianism.

[9] Two things here.  First, Qatar supported the Islamists, Egypt and Russia supported the not-so-Islamists.  Same as in Syria.  Second, one aspect of America’s post-Cold War “triumphalism” has been the belief that other countries don’t have a right to their own foreign policy.  It should come as no surprise—although apparently it does in Washington—that other countries disagree.

[10] It’s not the American interstate system.  Still, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-African_Highway_network

[11] Pat Barker, Regeneration.  I forget the page number.

Man of Steel II.

As with Adolf Hitler (and everyone else), the question is whether Joseph Stalin’s mature self already existed in his younger self, waiting to emerge when the time was right, or did some conjuncture of experiences turn him down a particular path?[1]  His most recent biographer, Stephen Kotkin of Princeton University, seems to find for the former.[2]

Between the death of Lenin in 1924 and 1929, Stalin had mastered the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  More than Lenin or any other Bolshevik, Stalin revolutionized Russia.  The fundamental problem facing Bolshevism lay in the vast peasant population.  In a country theoretically committed to the “dictatorship of the proletariat, there existed virtually no proletariat.  For their part, the peasants were deeply committed to their own private property and traditional, inefficient methods.  They were uninterested in industrial labor or city life.  Yet they controlled the food supply (and thus the survival of city people).  Moreover, agriculture had long provided Russia’s main export and source of foreign exchange.  The solution to Bolshevism’s problem lay in “collectivizing” millions of small farms into gigantic state farms (kolkhoz), tractoring the land to free up millions of peasants to become industrial workers, cream-off a surplus of agricultural goods for sale abroad, purchase Western machinery, and build a huge industrial base.  All this had to be done at high speed in a series of bureaucratic Five Year Plans.

The human costs of this transformation stagger the mind.  Peasants resisted both collectivization and the huge food “surplus” defined by Moscow planners by burning their crops and slaughtering their animals.  Stalin’s minions—often young idealists—both fomented strife within villages and slaughtered opponents.  Millions died in famines[3] that many believe to have been deliberately engineered and others believe to have been unintended in origin, but then responded to with cruel indifference.

While this agonizing social and economic revolution drove ahead, Stalin launched a purge of the people on the “commanding heights” of the Soviet Union.  He first slaughtered his fellow “Old Bolsheviks,” who now filled government and party offices, and the men with guns (the armed forces and the security services) who might actually evict him from power.  Then this limited purge spread outward into every aspect of Soviet society.  Ethnic minorities were hammered, but so were all sorts of ethnic Russians. Perhaps 800,000 died and millions were imprisoned in the Gulag.

Deeply suspicious of opponents within the Soviet Union, Stalin also distrusted the capitalist states.  He saw the Anglo-French policy of appeasement as turning German aggression eastward against the Soviet Union.  In August 1939, the Soviets and the Nazis struck a deal to partition Poland and the Baltic countries.  This alliance might well be regarded as adroit “realpolitik.”  Remarkably though, Stalin came to believe that he could trust Hitler.  Birds of a feather?  As a result, he ignored both the effects of German victories in Western Europe in 1940 and abundant evidence that the Germans intended to attack his country in Summer 1941.  He was, apparently, psychologically shattered by the revelation of his own self-deception.

[1] “And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg, Which, hatch’d, would as his kind grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell.”—Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 1.

[2] Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 (New York: Penguin, 2018).

[3] Most famously, 3.5 million in Ukraine, but also another 1.5 million in the North Caucasus and Kazakhstan.

Annals of the Great Recession XV.

The TARP and the stimulus bill were intended to recover from the financial crisis of 2008-2009.  What about preventing a re-run in the future?  The Dodd-Frank Act required banks to hold larger capital reserves and to submit to “stress tests” to evaluate how well they could deal with a future financial crisis on the scale of 2008.   Curiously, the law also limited the trade in “credit default swaps.”  Admittedly, the wholesale trade in these insurance policies against a collapse of the bubble seems to have been what sunk the AIG insurance group.  On the other hand, they were an investment by people who saw the bubble for what it was rather than blindly believing what they were told.

One effect of the new legislation appears to be that it has encouraged the consolidation of the banking system.  It has been argued that the costs of complying with the new regulations are more than smaller banks can bear, so they have sold out to already big banks that are better able to shoulder the burden.

It is said that generals are always preparing to fight the last war.  Banks and investors are on guard against sub-prime mortgages.  However, “bubbles” can develop in any asset.[1]  So, some kind of new crisis is always possible.  Can the government and the financial system respond effectively to a new crisis?  The answers are not encouraging.

First, a flight from Keynesian demand-management policies followed quickly on the financial crisis.  President Bush encountered considerable difficulty in getting Republicans to accept the TARP.  President Obama opted for a stimulus bill that Paul Krugman warned was half as big as it needed to be, spread over two years instead of front-loaded into one year, and contained a bunch of tax cuts that would be used to reduce debt instead of engaging in new spending.  Both Republicans and Democrats have proved critical of deficit spending plans.

Second, in the absence of a Keynesian policy on the part of the Congress and President, the Federal Reserve Bank launched a long program of “quantitative easing.”  It bought huge amounts of both MBSs and U.S. treasury debt as a way of pumping money into a slow-recovering economy.  It has only recently begun to unwind this position and to raise interest rates.  That means that it would be difficult to counter a new recession by cutting interest rates.

There may also be a deep hostility to government intervention on the part of many voters.  The policies that saved the American—and world—economy from a new Depression looked very much like a privatization of gains and a socialization of losses.[2]  Thus, in 2007, the top 10 percent of income-earners held 71 percent of the nation’s wealth; now the top 10 percent hold 77 percent.  That is about an 8 percent increase.  The Fed’s quantitative easing pushed up asset prices when ownership of stocks and bonds is concentrated in the upper income groups.

In 2007, the bottom 90 percent of earners held 29 percent of the nation’s wealth; today the bottom 90 percent hold 23 percent.  That is an average 20 percent drop in assets for the vast majority of Americans.  Even so, it is worse for some than for others.  Back in 2007, the median lower-income family had about $18,000 in assets.  Today they have about $11,000 in assets.  Doubtless that fall largely represents the loss of the houses they bought without being able to pay for them.  Would Congress tolerate a new TARP or a new stimulus bill?

Maybe.  The combination of the recent tax revisions and the huge spending bill that enjoyed bipartisan support seem likely to massively expand the deficit.  Maybe stimulus is back in style if you put in enough treats for everyone.  Locking up a bunch of bankers might have to be one of those treats.

[1] See: Alexandre Dumas, The Black Tulip (1850).

[2] President Obama may have contributed to this with his denunciation of the rich as “the people who tanked the economy.”  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett tanked the economy?

Annals of the Great Recession XIV.

To review, the presidents from 1981 to 2017 were Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-1009), and Barack Obama (2007-2017).  The chair-people of the Federal Reserve Bank were Alan Greenspan (1987-2006), Ben Bernanke (2006-2014), and Janet Yellin (2014-2018).  So, those are the people upon whose watch various things happened.[1]

Between 1997 and 2006 the government eased regulations on lending and encouraged home-ownership among new groups.[2]  Mortgage originators—banks or mortgage companies—did what they were allowed and even encouraged to do: they issued mortgages (loans) to “sub-prime” borrowers.[3]  These amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars of risky loans.  Rather than hold these dangerous loans on their own books, the loan originators re-packaged the mortgages as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), then sold these packages to investors.[4]  With many previously-excluded buyers seeking a limited stock of housing, housing prices rose by a national average of 124 percent.  The value of the CDOs and MBSs also rose.  Prices for both exceeded their real value.[5]

Then, in 2007 and 2008, it became apparent why sub-prime borrowers had previously had trouble getting loans.  The number of defaults started to rise sharply.  The MBSs and CDOs dropped toward their real value.  Financial institutions that had purchased these “instruments” suddenly found immense sums wiped off the asset side of their ledgers without their liabilities (what they owed other people) being reduced.  Bankruptcy loomed for the banks unless they could get rid of these dogs in a hurry and replace them with more valuable assets.  First Bear, Sterns, and then Lehman Brothers failed.  Seeking to stop the bleeding, banks pulled in the reins on all lending, including for productive investment.  The whole economy rapidly slowed during 2008.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 50 percent.  This reduced the values of many assets held by the upper and middle-classes, causing them to cut spending in order to reduce their own debts.  With consumption spending and investment both falling, the unemployment rate jumped to 10 percent by late 2009.

Acting quickly, the George W. Bush administration pushed through a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that bought $700 billion worth of bad debt from the banks.  The Obama administration launched a mini-Keynes stimulus program of $757 billion.  The Federal Reserve Bank cut interest rates to near zero and held them there for a long time.

[1] “The long shadow of the financial crisis,” The Week, 13 April 2018, p. 11.

[2] In part, this seems to have had a worthy purpose.  Houses are a key middle-class asset, but “red-lining” by banks had long restricted access to home purchases by African-Americans and other groups.  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining

[3] Sub-prime borrowers are ones with poor credit-worthiness.  For an explanation of how credit-worthiness is determined, see: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/ficoscore.asp  Very often, these are referred to in public discourse as “sub-prime loans,” as if the problem existed only with “predatory” lenders.  This seems to me to resemble referring to illegal immigrants as “un-documented immigrants,” as if the only problem is a bureaucratic foul-up with issuing them some documents.

[4] Apparently, it was possible for the purchasers to discern that the CDOs and MBSs were very risky—and possibly worthless—investments.  Most people did not do so.  A few did.  See: Gregory Zuckerman, The Greatest Trade Ever (2009) and Michael Lewis, The Big Short (2010).  The bets against the housing buble were called credit default swaps.

[5] This is called a “bubble.”

“Degaev steals the ball!”

“Talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words.”  It is an old belief[1] and one that discomfits intellectuals.

From the later 18th through the later 19th Century, European societies faced immense turmoil unleashed by rapid population growth, industrialization, urbanization, and the ideas of popular sovereignty and civil rights.  Terrified by repeated revolutions that might one day finally succeed, conservatives shanghaied[2] the cause of nationalism from the left in a desperate effort to retain control of key aspects of their power by adapting to modern times in other regards.[3]  Subsequently, the nation-states had expanded government responsibilities and powers in a host of new areas.  They also expanded the instruments of social control: soldiers, policemen, civil “servants,” charity officials, and school teachers.  This combined with the power of rising business and industry and an often smug and heartless attitude toward the working classes on the part of the middle classes.

For some critics of the new order, slow progress within the established order appeared a delusion.  Johann Most (1846-1906) figures as one of the most influential alt-left thinkers.  “The existing system will be quickest and most radically overthrown by the annihilation of its exponents.  Therefore, massacres of the enemies of the people must be set in motion,” wrote Most.  This doctrine came to be called the “Propaganda of the Deed.”

Between 1878 and 1932, propagandists of the deed attempted to kill the emperor of Germany, two kings of Italy, the tsar of Russia (twice), the king of Belgium, the king of Spain, the president of France, the Italian dictator Mussolini, an American senator, the attorney-general of the United States, John D. Rockefeller, the chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company, the judge in the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and the mayor of Seattle, Washington.  They actually did kill several tsarist officers of the secret police, Tsar Alexander II of Russia (after two failed attempts), the empress of Austria, the king of Italy, the king of Portugal, the king of Greece, the president of France, three prime ministers of Spain, the president of the United States, the prime minister of Russia, the chief of police of Buenos Aires, about sixty ordinary people killed in a wave of anarchist bombings in the United States between 1916 and 1920, and twenty Catalan Rossini enthusiasts.[4]

Most of the attacks took place in Russia or in Mediterranean Europe.  In these places, neither political liberty nor economic progress had advanced even as Western Europe and the United States had surged ahead.  Most of the attackers were people already unhinged who were driven over the edge by poverty and government brutality.  However, the chief effect of the attacks came in the expansion and intensification of government powers to combat dissidence.

It is worth asking whether this half-century-long wave of terrorism offers lessons for understanding and dealing with contemporary “jihadist” terrorism.  Both waves pose(d) a serious threat to lives, but neither pose(d) a threat to the existence of societies founded on “Western” values.  Of course, the earlier wave targeted societies with the means and the will to respond.

[1] “Let them show their love by the works they do for each other, according as the Apostle says: ‘let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.'”—St. Francis of Assisi.  Also, the Tsarina Catherine the Great instructed the “philosophe” Denis Diderot that “you write in paper while I must write on flesh.”

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGIQgjPklLw

[3] There is a useful analogy in Japan’s Meiji Restoration.

[4] For some serious books on this lurid subject, see Richard Pipes, The Degaev Affair (2005); John Merriman, The Dynamite Club (2009) and Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits (2017); and Beverly Gage, The Day Wall Street Exploded (2010).