Nomenklatura 101

James Pinkerton has a very smart post over at Huffington in which he suggests that the nation’s next president, no matter who it is, appoint Arnold Schwarzeneggar to be "energy and environmental czar" in the new administration.

I like the idea, but quibble with the word "czar." In light of Vladimir Putin’s claiming the role for himself in reality with his invasion of Georgia, Americans should refrain from using the word as a metaphor. Despite a series of gauzy books and docudramas about the last Czar and his ill-fated family, the fact is that all czars were tyrants, some relatively benign, others positively vicious, and none of them possessed the kind of bureaucratic fluency that we would want in an official of the government of the United States. It is time to reinvest the word with the reality and apply it to the ugliness of the regime that sits in the Kremlin today.


Michael Sean Winters

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pa., speaks during a meeting in late January at the headquarters of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
“I think we need complete transparency if we’re going to get the trust of the people back,” said Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.
Mélanie Thierry as Marguerite Duras in “Memoir of War.” © Music Box Films
The film tells the story of a woman who worked for the German-controlled Vichy government but secretly joined the Resistance movement.
A. W. Richard Sipe (photo: Facebook)
Sipe's research into celibacy and priestly sexual behavior helped guide the work of church leaders and others responding to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
Catholic News ServiceAugust 17, 2018
Did Pope Francis depart from Scripture and tradition in declaring the death penalty "inadmissible"? Or was his declaration rooted deeply in both?
Tobias WinrightAugust 17, 2018