Thursday, January 02, 2020

Biblical Textual criticism

In my spare moments over the Christmas season, I have been doing something that is quite appropriate to the time.  I have been reading a lot of textual criticism of the Bible, particularly the OT.

 Textual criticism arises because we do not have any of the original books of the Bible.  They have all been lost over the centuries and only copies remain.  And the copies do not all agree with one another.  So what to do?  Deciding what to do has generated the vast body of textual criticism

I should add the the various disagreements between the copies do not not affect the overall message.  The differences are mainly of detail.  But in a book as important as the Bible, even minor details are of interest.

As a general rule, the oldest MSS (copies) should be closest to the original.  Copying errors do creep in so they should accumulate over time.  So we are fortunate that some MSS that we have are quite old, dating to around 200BC.  I have taken a passing interest in textual criticism for many years so I knew that.  What I did not know was that the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible (Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus) were in GREEK.  How come?

The Greek versions of the OT arose because there was a substantial number of Jews in Biblical times who did NOT live in Israel.  They lived in Alexandria in Egypt.  Alexandria was a great commercial centre so there were Jews in business even then.  And many were born in Egypt so spoke only the language of Alexandria at the time:  Commercial Greek.  They had "forgotten" Hebrew.  But they were still religious so wanted to hear the words of their scriptures. 

So they had their scriptures translated into a language they could understand:  Greek.  The Greek version of the OT that they produced is generally referred to as the Septuagint, abbreviated as LXX.  And it is that version that gives us the oldest form of the Bible texts.  The oldest Hebrew texts of the OT are many centuries later. When Jesus and the apostles quoted the OT, it was the LXX that they quoted

It is said that all translations are interpretations and that was certainly true of the LXX.  The first translation was rather unskilful in some ways so subsequent copyists tried to "tidy it up" as they copied.  Result:  There are no two copies of the LXX that are identical.  Additionally, some ancient copies of the LXX contain passages that are not in all of them and not in the Hebrew text (e.g.  Ezekiel 28:11-19)

So a great scholarly endeavour has arisen which aims to capture the "Old Greek", the Septuagint as it was originally written -- in the view that the Old Greek would be closest to the Hebrew text that the scribes were originally translating.

And a serious question is what do we do when the Hebrew text and the Greek text diverge.  Since the LXX is much more ancient than any surviving copy of the Hebrew OT, it is reasonable to say that the LXX is closest to the original and it is the LXX readings that should appear in our English versions of the Bible.  That has mostly not occurred. 

And the reason why is the Masoretes.  The Masoretes were Jews of around 1000AD who produced a text of the Hebrew Bible that they proclaimed as correct.  They claimed that as Jewish scribes copied and recopied the OT over the centuries, they had exercized extreme care not to change anything.  That was sufficiently impressive for Christian Protestants to adopt the Masoretic text as the basis of their translations into English.  The OT in the King James Bible is a translation of the Masoretic text

It was however something of an assertion and could be disbelieved.  Then an amazing thing happened.  The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and dated to just before the time of Christ.  So at last we had some ancient Hebrew texts.  The texts were far from a complete copy of the OT but there were some fairly substantial bits of it.  And one scroll was of the Book of Isaiah.  So how close was the DSIA (Dead Sea scroll of Isaiah) to the Masoretic text?  It was virtually identical!  Those careful Jewish scribes had indeed copied the text of their Bible unaltered for over a thousand years!

It is clear however that there were variant versions of the Hebrew text available in ancient times -- as some of the Dead Sea scrolls were NOT identical to the Masoretic text.  The text we now know as Masoretic was probably in the mainstream but it was not the only Hebrew text in ancient times.  But we can't go back beyond the Dead Sea scrolls so we still have no real way of knowing whether a variant reading is right or wrong. 

Which is where the LXX comes in.  Some LXX copies are much more ancient than the Dead Sea scrolls and appear to be translated from much earlier Hebrew texts.  Even though it is a translation, the LXX may get us closer to the original Hebrew text.

And that is what textual criticism is all about.  Via big debates stretching over the last 200 years, scholars have come to tentative agreement over what is the original text of the OT.  There is still of course no perfect agreement but the various "recensions" produced by different scholars are in something like 99.0% agreement.  So we can be certain that modern scholarly translations into English are firmly founded in what was originally written.  What is amazing at the end of the day is how accurately the Bible has been transmitted to us over the centuries.

Blacks are killing Jews and the Left are ignoring it

The attack on a Rabbi in Monsey north of New York City on Saturday evening has left the Jewish community shaken. It follows at least eight other attacks in New York since the shooting attack on a kosher supermarket in early December. There have been near daily attacks in New York City this year, a kind of slow-moving pogrom against Jews, particularly targeting ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The murder of three people at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City was mostly ignored in the United States. No rallies or marches against the antisemitism that led to it. No major political upheavals or even much recognition. The usual anger over gun violence after mass shootings was nowhere to be found. The victims and the perpetrators are inconvenient. America as a whole can’t mourn Orthodox Jews and it can’t confront perpetrators when the perpetrators come from a minority community. This is inconvenient antisemitism and it is a kind of antisemitism privilege.

Despite widespread anti-racism programs in the US, there are still those in America for whom being antisemitic is a birthright and not something to be ashamed of. The number of people raised with violent antisemitic beliefs is growing.
The Jersey City murders are the culmination of years of incitement against Jews. But the perpetrators in that case were themselves minorities from the African American community. The perpetrators have been identified as coming from an extremist religious group called Black Hebrew Israelites, making them a minority of a minority. The perpetrators are seen as a “militant” fringe within that minority.

The authorities are now looking at the case as domestic terrorism fueled by antisemitism. However major media have endeavored to dismiss the murders as unimportant and unique. The New York Times described the Black Hebrew Israelites as being “known for their inflammatory sidewalk ministers who employ provocation as a form of gospel.” It’s a bit more than that. In fact, the group and the milieu around it tend to view religion through a racial lens, such that Jews are described as “white” and “fake” and the “real Jews” are portrayed as black, along with all the prophets and religious figures. The ADL pointed out that this group views itself as the real “chosen people” and that it sees people of color as the real descendants of the 12 tribes. The group was in the media earlier in the year in Washington DC when they shouted insults at Catholic high school students.

Mainstream society wants to view this as “provocation,” because if they viewed it as a burgeoning racist violent movement targeting Jews then they would have to confront it and ask tough questions of why it is tolerated in a community. Expert J.J. McNab told the Associated Press that in fact this group takes pride in “confronting Jewish people everywhere and explaining that they are evil.”

In American society there is generally only place for one kind of racism. There are far-right white supremacists and everyone else. This Manichean worldview of antisemitism and racism means we are only comfortable with one type of perpetrator. An angry white man. Those are the racists. Dylann Roof, the racist who murdered black people in a church in 2015 is the most normal kind of America racist. The El Paso shooter or the Tree of Life Synagogue attacker are also the kind of killers that fit into an easy narrative. But when the perpetrators stray from that we have a problem dealing with it. In New York City, according to a post by journalist Laura Adkins, data shows that of 69 anti-Jewish crimes in 2018, forty of the perpetrators were labelled “white” and 25 were labelled “black,” the others were categorized as Hispanic or Asian.

To keep the focus on the white supremacists, headlines need to explain to us that “right wing terrorists” have killed more than Jihadists, as said earlier this year. Other types of terrorism are watered down a bit. During the Obama administration Islamist-inspired terror was even rebranded as “violent extremism” so as not to mention the religion of the perpetrators. For some reason even though Islamist terror is also a far-right ideology, it is portrayed as something else. For instance, when Jews were targeted at a kosher supermarket in France they were called “random folk in a deli.” They weren’t random, they were targeted, like the Jews in Jersey City, but they needed to be random or we’d have to ask about the antisemitism that permeates Islamist terror.

In the wake of all the attacks in New York against Jews, culminating in the shooting attack at the kosher market, it became difficult to ignore the rising tide. But there is discomfort in looking at the depth of the perpetrators. The comfort society has with expecting perpetrators to be “far-right” and “white” even led Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to blame “white supremacy” for the Jersey City attack. Her tweet was deleted. When it wasn’t white supremacy and there was no one to condemn, it didn’t fit the narrative and was less important.

The suspects in Jersey City were called  “drifters,” anything to make them seem unique, as if their views came from the moon. But the hatred of Jews and almost daily attacks in New York City and surrounding areas doesn’t come from thin air. It is motivated by a very clear ideology that has been appeased and tolerated in the name of tolerance of hatred. Almost every day in Brooklyn Jews are attacked. When this happened in the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire it was called a pogrom. If someone said that every day in Kiev Jews were being beaten and attacked on subways and in the streets, we would correctly identify it as a pogrom-like series of attacks. But not in New York.

In one spate of November incidents a brick was thrown at a school for Jewish girls, three men were punched, and Jews had eggs thrown at them. Jews are also more likely to be victims of hate crimes in the area than any other group. Through September 1 there were 152 antisemitic hate crimes. It’s basically one a day and they are becoming more violent and now deadly.

Hatred of Jews spans the white supremacist far right and the black supremacist far right and milieus in between. The difference is that society condemns and confronts comments by the white supremacists. Even with white supremacists, after the Poway and Pittsburgh attacks, we did not delve deeply into the wider community of hate online. “We got our man,” in finding the perpetrator, and that was enough. When dealing with the wider world of antisemitism in the US, that crosses racial lines, it is more difficult to confront. In the US, since it is difficult to accept that minorities might also be racist, the elephant in the room of black antisemitism is not mentioned. Too often, African American officials make openly antisemitic statements without fear of reaction. A school board member attacked “brutes of the Jewish community” after the Jersey City attack.

In Washington DC an African American member of the city council claimed the Rothschilds control the weather. Instead of fully condemning him, he was invited to the Holocaust Museum and to experience Jewish holidays with the community. Why is the answer to antisemitism often the invitation to a nice embrace at a Jewish holiday? Does the KKK get invited to a black church as a reward for their racism? How about condemning first, apologies and introspection, and then a reward for reform would be an invitation. Unlike with white supremacy, other forms of antisemitism, such as black supremacist antisemitism, is seen as not the fault of the individual, but rather some ignorant ideas that a nice Passover dinner can correct. We need to do “outreach,” is the message.

The attack on Jews as “fake” and “white” is rising. In November in London a black man took out a Bible and began harassing a Jewish Orthodox family until a Muslim woman intervened. The perpetrator was detained for a hate crime. In Miami a man also threatened Jews with a knife, calling them “fake.” In 2018 an Orthodox Jewish man was attacked in Crown Heights, called a “fake Jew.”

This is inconvenient because it appears that there is a deep antisemitic milieu not dissimilar to the way white supremacist antisemitism spreads online and among communities, fueling hatred of Jews among other American minority groups, specifically some black Americans. This antisemitism has been around for decades, gaining strength in the 1990s as Jews began to be blamed for the slave trade.

This trend in black antisemitism isn’t entirely unknown. It is discussed here and there, usually with excuses. For instance The Forward ran an article claiming that while “White antisemites are motivated by a hatred of Jews and a desire  for power, black anti-Semites are motivated by anger over gentrification, police brutality and slavery.” The article claimed that Jews “like all white people, part of the racist system that keeps black people under the foot of society.” This is the way a Jewish newspaper explained hatred of Jews. It defined Jews as “white” and gave credence to the idea that antisemitism is motivated by “police brutality and slavery.”

This is a window into a very real worldview that openly says Jews are behind police brutality and slavery and gentrification.  In New York the police have stepped up their presence after attacks, but even that has been condemned as sending too many police to a neighborhood of “people of color.” Now Jews will be blamed for the police presence too instead of someone struggling against the violent antisemitism and inter-racial marches of solidarity against it.

How did we get here? The motivation behind the Jersey City attack is clear from social media posts one of the perpetrators made, according to a research by the ADL. This included claims that Jews are “Khazars,” and that “Brooklyn is full of Nazis-Ashkenazis,” and that the “police are in their [the Jews] hand now.” The worldview matches with the larger milieu in which Jews are portrayed as not merely “white Jews” but in fact as controlling the slave trade and police violence. In this new antisemitism Jews are reframed as both being “fake,” as in not really Jews from the Middle East, and also being “white” and running white supremacism. This replaces German Nazis with Jewish Nazis; it replaces white supremacists with a hidden hand of Jews controlling both the American far-right and also the police. Instead of pushing back against this there are attempts to excuse it or just remain quiet about it and hope this antisemitism goes away.

Despite the way this this antisemitism has combined traditional antisemitism with a twist, turning Jews into “whites” as opposed to hating them for being wandering Middle Easterners, there is very little recognition that it is dangerous.  This is despite hundreds of violent attacks over the years, primarily targeting Orthodox Jews. Now, this has resulted in murder. But many voices want to downplay it and explain it away. For instance, The New Yorker asked whether an “influx of Hasidic residents in the Greenville [Jersey City] neighborhood spur two assailants to embark on a shooting spree that left six people dead.” Jews, simply for moving somewhere, may cause a shooting spree, in this explanation. Jews are the only US minority group who, when they move somewhere, are accused of being an “influx.” Others have argued that we can’t even label the recent attacks “right wing” or “left wing” because it’s totally different to “white nationalists whose beliefs are based on antisemitism.”

A review of the discussion about the New York City attacks reveals an America that has trouble adjusting to and describing antisemitism when it comes from unexpected perpetrators. This is partly because the general view of racism in the US is that racism is not just about racism but about power. That is why in the US people look for racism in “white privilege” and the way racist views can be perpetuated even through code words and social settings and institutions. Confronted with the idea that minority groups are also racist, such as Hispanics using the n-word, there is a struggle to come to grips with how to define and confront. With the Jewish community there has been an agenda to argue over its relative “whiteness” and insofar as Jews are then removed from the intersectional agenda of minority groups fighting white privilege, Jews become either a separate category or part of the oppressive majority. This is odd but it is part of a wider agenda to assert that Zionism is racism and Jews are somehow linked to far-right groups through Israel and Israel is a modern apartheid colonialist structure. These ideas didn’t inform the Jersey City killings, but they are part of the milieu that informs those who might excuse the attacks.

Another element at play is the fact people are being inured to antisemitism. There was so much violent antisemitism in 2019 that people are less shocked. Also, those most prone to be shocked, other members of the Jewish community, sometimes see haredi Jews through a vaguely discriminatory lens, which others them. There is little solidarity with Orthodox Jews as a minority group, whereas if they were another group, there would be a larger outpouring of sympathy.

The result is a multi-layered cake of excuses and fear at confronting a wider range of perpetrators of antisemitism in New York. If violent antisemitism that sees Jews controlling the police and being responsible for slavery and white supremacy, is growing in the African American community in America then confronting it requires asking a minority community that is also a victim to be self-critical. In the US there tends to be pass for minority groups who are homophobic or racist. Society can only confront one kind of racism. This is largely because those driving the agenda of confronting racism either have blinders on regarding all forms of racism and antisemitism or are unaware of it because they don’t conduct surveys and polls regarding the prevalence of antisemitism in places like Brooklyn. When the perpetrators and victims do not fit a convenient model, it is easier to just excuse the attacks or see them as random.

Unfortunately, in the US these attacks are not random, and there is rising violent antisemitism coming from a broad spectrum of communities, including white supremacists and from African Americans. Confronting it requires the same broad spectrum to step up the struggle.


Schools too afraid to help white boys and the Lakes deemed not ethnic enough

Equality of opportunity is a core principle of our democratic society. Yet all too often the achievement of this noble goal is undermined by institutional virtue signalling, self- righteous guilt-tripping and ideological posturing.

As a result, instead of meeting genuine needs, many policy-makers — be they politicians, civil servants, media bosses or education chiefs — indulge in the worst kind of stereotyping, where all ethnic minorities are treated as perennial victims in need of support and white people are regarded as potential oppressors who deserve to be either hectored or neglected.

Two very different examples of this kind of behaviour emerged this week — both telling about our neurosis over race, and the damage it does.

The first is the incendiary row over the decision by two leading public schools — Dulwich and Winchester — to reject large philanthropic donations, worth more than £1 million, to fund scholarships for talented white boys from poor backgrounds.

The donations were offered by distinguished academic Sir Bryan Thwaites, former long-serving principal of Westfield College, part of the University of London, who is rightly concerned about Britain's 'severe problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools'.

The second was when Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, stated that the region should be made more accessible to the disabled and ethnic minorities. This follows a decision by his park authority to run a four-mile tarmac path through woodland at Keswick to improve access.

In each case, the people behind these decisions will have thought of themselves as progressive. But their approach is far from enlightened.

To take the schools story, which appeared in Standpoint magazine, I came to know Sir Bryan well in the Seventies when I was president of the student union at the University of London. I can testify that he is a man of integrity and compassion, motivated by a real determination to raise standards for all. He is also correct in his analysis about the need to help deprived white boys. All recent studies show that they do worse at school than almost all other ethnic groups and are significantly less likely to go to university.

Their social exclusion can perhaps be seen at its most graphic in high achieving fee-paying schools — in London, fewer than 45 per cent of pupils at such places are white. That's partly because Chinese and Russian and African billionaires can afford the fees; but it is also because poor immigrant parents are prepared to work double and triple shifts to give their kids the education they themselves could never have dreamed of enjoying.

Sir Bryan's wish to promote social mobility through a number of scholarships is wholly justified. Nor is there anything unorthodox about wanting to provide financial backing to pupils from certain ethnic groups which face disadvantages in the system. After all, the rap star Stormzy has established a number of scholarships exclusively for black students at Cambridge University. Other charities have done the same.

Sir Bryan's proposal was certainly not illegal under current equality legislation. As one of the authors of the 2010 Equality Act in my then role as head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, I can state categorically that in circumstances where a racial group suffering disadvantage is white, then there is no bar on doing for them exactly what we would do for black and ethnic minority groups.

Contrary to what some 'progressives' seem to believe, the Equality Act is not the judicial preserve of people of colour. It is not a kind of 'be nice to blacks' charter but a measure that aims to bring fairness for all.

Yet that reality is being ignored by organisations such as Dulwich and Winchester. The two schools were too terrified of accusations of bigotry to accept Sir Bryan's generosity.

In their anxious minds, the very use of the term 'white' probably conjured up images of the far-Right and aggressive English nationalism. Bristling with indignation, Dulwich boasted that its 'community is profoundly diverse'. In the same tone, Winchester proclaimed that 'the school does not see how discrimination on grounds of a boy's colour could ever be compatible with its values'.

One state school has proved less squeamish and has happily accepted Sir Bryan's offer of funding. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the school's head teacher is black.

But the loudly vaunted scruples of the liberal elitists illustrate a worrying set of double standards. Despite their fixation with ethnic-minority victimhood, they show little understanding of the lives of the British working class.

The term 'white privilege' is so casually bandied about among Left-wing intellectuals. Yet most low-paid workers are white. And they find it hard to make sense of the idea that their skin colour imbues them with any kind of privilege.

But neurosis about race means that guilt and condescension can be found everywhere in our public life — as the Lake District story shows.

'We are deficient in terms of black and minority ethnic communities,' declared Richard Leafe, a view that chimes with a recent report which described the Lake District as 'an exclusive, mainly white, mainly middle-class club'.

Yet, once again, the anxious rhetoric feeds into the theme of ethnic-minority victimhood, with the implication that, like children, we people of colour have to be guided by the benevolent hand of the state.

I myself adore the Lake District and have tried to pass that on to others. When I was head of the Commission for Racial Equality I organised summer camps to Cumbria to give kids the chance to mix with others of different backgrounds and to see an England they would never discover otherwise. Many said it changed their lives.

I will never forget the time I was in a tea shop in Kendal 20 years ago and another customer — an elderly lady — said to me, in a friendly tone, 'We haven't seen many coloured people like you up here since the Americans during the war.'

When I told this story to a black activist friend, he upbraided me for not reprimanding her over her outdated language. But I knew there was no hostility about her, only warmth — in the true, welcoming spirit of the Lake District. And the answer is to encourage people of whatever race to go there and experience that. People respond to that warmth, not tarmac.

The deep anxiety in our political and media classes isn't reflected among most British people, who — generally speaking — want to get on with their neighbours, whatever their race.

Yet this squeamishness about race can have disastrous consequences, as terrible crimes are overlooked — such as the long-running refusal by the authorities to face up to the reality of Asian predatory sex gangs on the streets of towns such as Rotherham and Telford.

The same shameful silence can be found in the dishonesty and self-delusion about the soaring incidence of knife crime. Ethnicity plays a critical role here, for the overwhelming majority of both perpetrators and victims are young black men.

In the corner of North London where I grew up, the rate for murder and violence last year was ten times the average for England, while just 16 per cent of the local population is white British.

Yet the race aspect is constantly, almost feverishly down-played by liberals, who would rather grumble about poverty, or lack of youth clubs. But none of this mayhem is taking place in the left-behind seaside towns of Kent or the devastated industrial wastelands of South Wales or the North-East.

The hand-wringing over these assassinations does nothing to tackle the terrifying surge in violence. We need hard-headed realism about our racial differences — and the people who most want to see that realism are people of colour.


World reacts to new Margaret Court controversy

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court’s discussion of transgender issues in a recent sermon has made global headlines and drawn a mixed reaction.

Margaret Court’s latest public controversy made headlines everywhere from India to Turkey to South Africa — and has divided commentators.

In a sermon at her Perth church last Sunday, the tennis legend again ventured where Tennis Australia would prefer her to avoid by tackling the transgender issue.

Just weeks before the Australian Open will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her grand slam, the 77-year-old discussed her concern for transgender youth and the future of women’s sport.

“Children are making the decision at seven or eight years of age to change their sex … no, just read the first two chapters of Genesis, that’s all I say. Male and female,” Court said.

“It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm at that age, and they start to question ‘what am I?’.

“And you know with that LGBT, they’ll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women’s sports, they’re going to have so many problems.”

The 24-time grand slam winner’s comments did receive some support. American author Eric Metaxas tweeted a link to’s coverage with the comment: “She is probably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, and she’s used her platform heroically. Thank you, Margaret Court.”

Australian political activist Lyle Shelton said Court’s views were “not controversial but mainstream”.

“Millions share her concern for women’s sport. Parents are worried about radical gender fluid indoctrination of their children. Yet the left viciously attacks Margaret for speaking the truth,” he tweeted.

“The battle for truth and freedom of speech should not be borne by this courageous woman alone. Where are our political, religious and other civil society leaders? Have we surrendered to rainbow lies about biology and the human condition? Is courage dead in Australia?”

But others were furious. Australian radio personality Gus Worland was particularly animated in his condemnation of Court’s views, calling for Tennis Australia to end its association with her, including removing her name from Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.

“Tennis Australia want us to say there’s the person and there’s the actual player but you can’t (separate them),” Worland told Today. “The simple fact is she’s awful — and what she’s saying is awful. It’s spreading hatred.

“So at the end of the day I’d put a line through her completely. I’d take her name off the arena down there in Melbourne and say ‘you’re done and dusted’ …

“When she comes out with that sort of vile, that sort of hatred, that’s where you put a line through someone …

“The timing is terrible. She knows exactly what she’s doing. We’re about to have the Australian Open. We’re all going to get focused on the tennis down there in Melbourne — and we know her opponent. She’s just restating it again … and she’s (thumbing her nose) at all the tennis authorities and all the lovers and supporters of the game.”

Sydney Morning Herald senior writer Jessica Irvine agreed. “Hopefully in the next decade we’ll have left these views behind,” Irving told Today. “It’s just so disappointing.

“Australians want to celebrate our sporting heroes and she’s amazing. But can we separate the views she has that I believe are unacceptable to the Australian people and celebrate her sporting wins? I don’t think you can separate the two.”

In the same sermon, Court highlighted the difficulty of openly discussing her religious views. “People think because you don’t agree with them, you hate them. No, I don’t. I don’t hate anybody,” Court said.

Tennis Australia openly condemned Court’s views in November, and made it clear in an open letter they are not welcome in the sport.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here