Meditations on the Death of Wishful Thinking

To be a writer, if you are any good, is to be a blasphemer. Humanity is an entropy engine because each person decides on what view of the world makes them look the best, and so the constant weight pushing down on us is that of the herd, of a group of individuals united only by selfishness, come together into a mob for the purpose of asserting their right to be different and unique, constantly leading away from an understanding of the world around us and any meaning that can be found in it.

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Joseph Stalin, pipe aficionado

joseph_stalin_-_pipe

Lots of good people smoke pipes. Some bad ones — can people even be categorized as “good” and “bad”? — do as well. One of the more interesting cases concerns Joseph Stalin, Communist dictator most famous for his brutal methods. But, as I am prone to remind people, his methods worked and he brought the Soviet Union to its greatest strength out of all of its dictators.

He smoked in a somewhat unusual way:

“I have my first cigarette or pipe, depending on how I feel; sometimes I crumble a Herzegovina flor cigarette into a pipe, sometimes I smoke it straight. The first smoke of the day is important for setting your mood. If a pipe draws hard or leaves bitter juices in the bowl, if a cigarette is harsh and sears your windpipe, it can get you started wrong. To some this might see egotistical absorption in my own minutiae, which it would be if those minutiae did not affect so many other people. After a good smoke, if I am brought a list of Enemies of the People scheduled for execution and I spot a familiar name, I might easily write, in my own hand, that the person in question is to be sent to the camps, whereas if a bad pipe has soured my mood, I’ll sign the list without even looking.” – The Autobiography of Stalin by Richard Lourie

Although I enjoy a good pipe, it has never affected me this way. Then again, you are unlikely to find me signing death lists whether I have the power or not. Even more, the category “Enemies of the People” makes my skin crawl and reminds me how the Democrats and their loony wives treated metalheads back in the 1980s. Here are some of Stalin’s pipes, some rumored to be gifts from fellow strongman Winston Churchill:

joseph_stalin_-_pipe_collection

Another source gives us more insight on the ironic truth — much like how SJWs hide their privileged origins — behind Stalin’s choice of tobacco:

So what was ‘Herzegovina Flor’? The smokes were produced at the Moscow ‘Java’ factory, which was originally established by Samuel Gabai, from Kharkov, in the 19th century. Gabai’s idea was to produce a tobacco like no other, so he found a tobacco plant in Java, grew it in Herzegovina and then shipped it to Moscow. The products initially became favoured by the elite nobility and fledgling bourgeoisie. So Stalin, as the leader of the first worker’s state was in a quandary. If he smoked the cigarettes, he would give the wrong impression. So he opted for the common man’s pipe, but since he couldn’t tear himself away from the flavour of the tobacco, he decided to use it to fill his pipe. Eventually, the elite origins of the tobacco were forgotten and it became indelibly associated with the man himself.

Stalin smoked expensive cigarettes, but hid that fact by smoking them in a pipe, since at the time pipes were the domain of the common man. Pipes required relatively unprocessed shredded tobacco which without government taxation to equalize the price is always cheaper than cigarettes, which contain relatively little tobacco compared to your average pipe pouch. It does not seem appropriate for a Man of the People — or even a People’s Hero SJW — to be smoking expensive cigarettes. The genius of Stalin is that over time, he changed expectations such that his expensive cigarettes became associated with his brutality instead of their formerly elite status.

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