I like color pictures, and not just because I’m simple-minded. Color pictures show you . . . well, they show you the color. They convey a more-or-less faithful visual impression of the reality that other people, in other parts of the world, and at other times, confronted in their day-to-day lives. I just wish there were some technology by which we could have captured the smells of scenes depicted in pictures. Bureaucratic antiseptic, institutional scrubbed, masses of unwashed human body . . . for me at least smell has some of the most evocative powers. In evolutionary terms, we humans probably, like most animals, evolved a sense of smell very early on. Smell can’t be hidden behind a tree, or in tall grass. You can be as quiet as you please but you can’t hide the stink. Born by air’s movement scents can be detected by the sensitive much farther away. For a hunter as well as for prey smell is important.
I could be, of course, full of it.
But back to my point, the other reason I like color pictures is that color shows things that simply don’t show up well in black-and-white. Specifically, dirt shows as dirt, not just some miscellaneous shadow that might be of any particular origin. A dark area in a picture showing X will look pretty much a shade of gray that tells you very little about the specific X you’re looking at. There’s a picture — I think it’s in Anne Applebaum’s history of the Gulag — showing the inside of a Cheka execution cellar. It shows just bare floor, bare walls, and some ceiling. On one wall and the adjoining floor, there’s an enormous dark smear that runs from the floor all the way up the wall, and well across the ceiling. Most of the smear is solid black/dark gray in the photo, but there are loops, spatters, and so forth around the edges. It shows, of course, human blood. A color picture would have shown all the different tints within that enormous blood stain. We might have seen something of how recently the cellar had been put to use.
And what, if you dare think of it, might that room have smelled like?
In any event, the linked pictures from the latter days of the Soviet Union are instructional. Remember, while looking through them, that the world depicted in them had, and had for decades had enjoyed —
(i) free, universal, single-payer healthcare;
(ii) effectively no privately-held for-profit corporations;
(iii) no government-established religion, or even so much as prayer in schools;
(iv) universally free education at all levels;
(vi) comprehensive government regulation of pretty much everything, every last little facet of social or economic interaction between humans;
(vii) no corporate CEOs making $20 million per year;
(viii) fully-nationalized natural resources and exploitation of same;
(ix) fully-nationalized transportation networks;
(x) fully-nationalized means of production of every tangible object of any significance;
(xi) no private banking or other financial services industries, all such being provided exclusively by government-owned providers; and,
(xii) last but far from least, a cohort of cheerleaders, admirers, and would-be imitators all over the Western world, including a fellow born to an American marxist female who hated her country as only the wealthy white can, and a sub-Saharan African marxist father, who just wanted to bed every woman he could and drink himself into oblivion (which he later did).
Russia has always been desperately poor. But Russia hadn’t always looked like that, in color. For a view of the world Dear Leader’s heroes destroyed, the Library of Congress has a collection of rare color pictures taken between 1900 and 1915, all across Imperial Russia. Some of them are obviously staged (like the peasant girls, got up in their finest, cleanest clothes), but even in them the background is not staged. Take a hard look at the buildings in the villages and on the farms, at the interiors of the factories, at the roads, rivers, and horses. Those are not dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ best. No one has scrubbed the sides of the buildings for the photographer’s benefit. In the country which invented them, these are not Potemkin villages and factories.
Now go back and look at what 70 years of the proletarian dictatorship accomplished.
This is what Dear Leader and his friends have in mind for us. We’re promised heaven on earth if we’ll just run our country like the Soviets did theirs. From the pictures at the Daily Mail, it seems the Soviets didn’t get the memo that when you run your country that way, what you’re supposed to end up with is heaven on earth, not 18 year-old whores plying their trade on the most prominent thoroughfares in your nation’s capital city.