A “Great Listener and Collaborator”: Stalinist Professor Under Fire For Praising The Soviet Leader

Asatar Bair, an assistant professor of economics at Riverside City College, is under fire this week for his praise of one of the most blood-soaked, tyrannical figures in history: Joseph Stalin.  Bair is a self-described Marxist but most communists draw a line well clear of Stalin who was responsible for killing millions. As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I strongly support Bair’s right to espouse his Stalinist views even though I find them utterly absurd and offensive.

In tweets, Bair expressed his support for Stalin as “a very successful revolutionary, a great contributor to Marxist theory” and “one of the great leaders of the 20th [Century].”  He added Stalin was also a “great listener and collaborator during discussions.”

He may also have been a great dancer . . . in between sending millions to their deaths, murdering opponents, and destroying any semblance of freedom. Yet, Bair also heaped praise in tweets for the Chinese Communist Party.

His Stalinist support is due to what he sees as tremendous improvements of health care for citizens.

Yet, Bair ignores the millions who were killed. The Stalin health care plan was a bit more lethal for them. Certainly Leon Trotsky found Stalin’s ice-axe remedies less than optimal. He also ignores that there were improvements throughout the industrial world after World War II and that such changes could have occurred without Stalin. Indeed, Stalin is blamed for a series of moronic plans that devastated the Soviet agriculture and economy due to his one-man rule.

Putting aside the millions who were killed or sent to Siberia, consider just the Soviet famine of 1932-33 which killed many millions, including an estimate of 7.5 million in the Ukrainian population alone. Stalin ordered the eradication of the wealthy peasant or “Kulak” class. It wiped out agricultural production. The life expectancies of the millions who died was hardly a victory for the working class or a model of public health policy.  He has been accused of mass murder and genocide.

Stalin was also responsible for leaving his country vulnerable to the German invasion after he conspired with Hitler as an ally against other countries. Stalin’s purges included wiping out the officer corp, leaving the Soviet Army without sufficient leadership and experience. When Hitler betrayed him, the Soviet Army effectively collapsed in disarray. Tens of millions were killed by the end of the war.

Stalin relished murder on a grand scale. He famously stated “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” His health care plan was summed up in his declaration that “death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.”

Nevertheless, Riverside college district’s Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac told Fox News that while Bair’s “statements and ideas may be unpopular or even controversial, his right to express himself is constitutionally protected.” That is absolutely correct.

My only concern, again, is the consistency of universities in protecting controversial speakers on the left as opposed to those on the right. I have defended faculty who have made similarly disturbing comments denouncing policecalling for Republicans to suffer,  strangling police officerscelebrating the death of conservativescalling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters and other outrageous statements. These comments were not protested as creating an “unsafe environment” and were largely ignored by universities. However, professors and students are routinely investigated, suspended, and sanctioned for countervailing views.

As we have previously discussed (with an Oregon professor and a Rutgers professor), there remains an uncertain line in what language is protected for teachers in their private lives. The efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. Sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself).  Such campaigns have targeted teachers and students who contest the evidence of systemic racism in the use of lethal force by police or offer other opposing views in current debates over the pandemic, reparations, electoral fraud, or other issues.

A conservative North Carolina professor  faced calls for termination over controversial tweets and was pushed to retire. Dr. Mike Adams, a professor of sociology and criminology, had long been a lightning rod of controversy. In 2014, we discussed his prevailing in a lawsuit that alleged discrimination due to his conservative views.  He was then targeted again after an inflammatory tweet calling North Carolina a “slave state.”  That led to his being pressured to resign with a settlement. He then committed suicide. We are approaching the one year anniversary of his death.

Riverside College should be praised for its support of free speech for Bair. He is part of a diversity of opinion that should be cherished on college campuses. While Stalin was a tyrant to killed those with opposing views, we value such freedoms. The question is whether such tolerance would be shown those on the other end of the political spectrum.

54 thoughts on “A “Great Listener and Collaborator”: Stalinist Professor Under Fire For Praising The Soviet Leader”

  1. Professor Turley complains that Liberals do not tolerate conservative voices. Well, here is a story which may interest him of a conservative censoring a dissenting point of view:

    “Texas history museum pulls out of event on book re-examining Alamo ‘myth’”


    Let’s see if Turley ignores this case.

    Mind you, I am not opposed to *non-governmental* entities refusing to platform views with which they find intolerable. Unlike Turley, I believe that private parties are free to discriminate against views which they find offensive by refusing to listen to them. Trumpists refuse to watch the mainstream media, and Liberals ignore Fox News, Newsmax, OAN and Infowars. This is as it should be.

    I force myself to watch Fox News daily. I don’t witness Fox broadcasting liberal voices except for a token liberal panelist who is outnumbered by 4 conservative panelists. Lately, even the liberal voice of Turley has been missing. You would think he would be called upon to provide his legal analysis of the Trump Organization indictment. I suspect his input is not welcome because he will NOT endorse the “witch-hunt” narrative pushed by the talk show hosts. Accordingly, he is censored.

  2. There are frequent commenters on this forum that never cease to amaze. Let’s get into more detail. Imagine watching your wife son or daughter slowly starving to death. There ribs protruding beneath their skin. The aching of their joints. There eyesight becoming more and more blurry. Their sense of smell erased. To weak to take a sip of water. If you outlast your wife and your children you get to watch them slowly die. You pray to God that there death will come quickly. Instead of voicing abhorrences at these occurrences of history they present their daily criticism of Professor Turley and Fox News. They could take the time to say that the academic praising Stalin should be presented as an heartless demented fool. They could say that he has a right to free speech but that it is important to expose his thinking. However, it is more important for them to get their little Turley and Fox dig in for the day than to write concerning the seriousness of the topic.

    1. Think,

      You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here that fits your description. Are you talking to me?

      Turley does not need you to defend him. He has a mouth. I don’t flatter myself that he knows I even exist. We have no reason to believe that he takes any notice of anything that happens on his blog.

      If I read where Turley explains why his criticism of the press is aimed EXCLUSIVELY at his company’s cable competitors, CNN and MSNBC, as well as accounts for the fact that he refuses to blame Fox News for the same abuses, I will gladly relent. But he cannot do so because his one-sidedness is indefensible, and he well knows it, which explains why he will not PUBLICLY address such criticism nor allow himself to be questioned by the mainstream press.

      Admittedly, Turley is under NO obligation whatsoever to me or anyone else to rebut this criticism, but until he does, he will remain subject to an accusation of hypocrisy.

        1. Turley should do it for your sake so you would not have to keep defending his hypocrisy.

          1. Why would I have to defend Turley? His legal scholarship is evident to all. Your mindset was being questioned. That’s all.

            For him to stoop, pick you up, and throw you into a garbage heap wouldn’t be much of a problem. But, a man with such a developed mind immediately recognizes that you are a bottom feeder and when one picks something out of the mud one gets their hands dirty.

  3. -Independent Bob,
    I disagree.
    They have the right to free speech. It can be vile, disgusting, and an even offensive to you. (note: nowhere is it written you are entitled to be offended)
    But they have that right (as long as it does not incite violence).
    But you also have the right to not listen.
    Even better, to speak to the contrary to their speech. And that is why so many of those are against the 1stA. Someone might ignore them, or have the intestinal fortitude to speak against them.
    That is why they fear the 1stA.

  4. “The goal of socialism is communism.”

    – Vladimir Lenin

    They are all communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) requiring elimination with extreme prejudice.

    The “dictatorship of the proletariat” is anti-American and unconstitutional.

    The U.S. Constitution provides maximal freedom to individuals while it severely limits and restricts government.

    The American thesis is Freedom and Self-Reliance.

  5. Bair is a complete Idiot!

    An avowed Marxist teaching Students….and making public statements such as these?

    Yes there is freedom of speech in this Country…..for the Left, Communists, Marxists, Progressives, and as in Bair’s case just patently stupid people.

    He is free to make these asinine comments but should do so as a private person and not as an educator of children or young people..

    Were he to do this with Adults he would be be called an Activist, or Agitator.

    There is such a thing as busing a privilege….and he certainly qualifies for that.

    As he is free to utter such distasteful commentary the rest of us are quite free to tell him what we think of his very uninformed views…..he is either ignorant or just plain stupid!

    More and more I think we might embrace old Joe’s use of Gulags and NKVD Black Vans…..although that just is not the American way…..it was the Soviet Communist way.

    Bair can safely talk his trash because of that.

    Something that is surely lost on him.

  6. They say “you can’t teach stupid” yet somehow “stupid can teach”.

  7. There was a regular commentator here, who posted under the name “Aridog”, who used to talk about having a Communist professor in college. He was openly Communist, yet he did not require his students to share his beliefs. He would give good grades to students who disagreed with him, as long as they built a strong case in their essays.

    He did not leave his personal politics at the door, but he did not discriminate against students who disagreed with him. Students had a fair chance at a good grade if they worked hard.

    When was the last time you heard of a Leftist professor or a Left leaning university in general not harassing, discriminating against, or otherwise showing bias against conservative students? What kind of treatment do those who don’t support the BLM organization, for example, receive at universities?

    This is the problem. Public sentiment so often reflects bigotry against students and coworkers who disagree.

    I wish institutions of higher learning, and the country as a whole, valued each individual’s right to come to their own opinion, and that people did not discriminate against viewpoints. I wish people could be friends or have a nice family dinner with a mixed company of Lefties and Righties. Such community of different people has long passed away, if it ever really existed. The Left tries to ruin anyone they disagree with. They view conservatives as quite literally evil incarnate, and therefore they can do no wrong to them. They are lost in hatred.

    1. Karen says: “They view conservatives as quite literally evil incarnate, and therefore they can do no wrong to them. They are lost in hatred.”

      The feeling is mutual. Trumpists despise those of us who will not accept Trump’s lies and attempt to hold him accountable for his misconduct. Fox News’ host Mark Levin is publishing a book called, “American Marxism,” in order to demonize the Left. He and his listeners are lost in hatred as well. Michael Savage, another radio host, wrote a book entitled, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.” He believes that Liberals are evil incarnate.

      So, please, spare us your one-sided view of matters. Like Turley, you conveniently ignore or overlook obvious examples of the hate emanating from the Right.

  8. Why not make a children’s book Who Was Adolph Hitler, to teach children how he loved dogs and art?

    There is a whole series of children’s books who inserted glowing accounts of mass murderers like Che Guevara (“a doctor who paid the ultimate price for his cause…champion of the poor and a force for change”), and Fidel Castro (had “influence over the entire world.”

    This is what propaganda looks like. When you expose children to this repeatedly, ramping up the rhetoric when they reach universities, then you turn out a generation of brainwashed good little social justice warriors who never learned the truth or how to think. Promote the far Left and censor dissenters and conservatives.


  9. OT: But not quite OT as it involves what happens when teachers unions become political and preach rhetoric to our children. The public schools may not be safe places for our children and grandchildren.

    How Radical Are the Teachers’ Unions?

    America’s teachers’ unions are the country’s single most malign influence. They do more to promote leftist extremism, and do it more effectively, than anyone else. The teachers’ unions dominate the schools of education, from which most teachers come, and they control school board elections in most districts. In effect, they run the public schools, which is the main reason why the public schools are so bad.

    How radical are they? The National Education Association boasts that it is not just the largest teachers’ union, but the biggest labor union in the U.S. One of the NEA’s top priorities is promoting the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the public schools.

    The NEA is currently holding its annual meeting. This is Item 39 of New Business:

    The NEA will, with guidance on implementation from the NEA president and chairs of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Caucuses: …

    The proposal carries with it a $343,580 appropriation to promote CRT and undermine America. Will it pass? I assume so. In any event, it certainly reflects the attitudes of the NEA and the large majority of its members. …

    Full article at: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/07/how-radical-are-the-teachers-unions-2.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+powerlineblog%2Flivefeed+%28Power+Line%29

  10. I fully agree with Dr. Turley’s belief that Americans should be free to say anything they wish, but that also applies to admirers of Adolph Hitler and for academics such as Richard Spencer, Charles Murray, etc. and for members of organizations such as the KKK, BLM, etc. and etc. As for universities and colleges firing professors over their private beliefs, that should be their right. Professors should be in tune with the school’s philosophies.

    1. The problem with free speach is that you have to listen to someone else’s BS.

  11. I have nothing left to say other than I will never support the DNC again, though they may cease being even that and go full-on fascist in the future, and it may not matter. Changing the indoctrinated’s minds would pretty much be akin to convincing Patty Hearst or Squeeky Fromm or even a lunatic like Stalin they were wrong; I honestly don’t know how we rebound this time.

    People had better get busy building alternatives to these farcical institutions before we get to the point where any opposition at all to ‘The Party’ is viewed as dissent and punished by disappearing.

  12. Bair: “I defend Stalin because of the results achieved by Soviet socialism for the masses of ordinary working people, including a massive increase in life expectancy (one of history’s most rapid in fact) . . .”

    That might be true — if you ignore the some 7 million who died prematurely, i.e., were murdered by Stalin.

    Bair: “I defend Stalin [because he] improved health.”

    Since when are forced malnutrition and starvation “improved health?”

    1. Almost done with Secular Cycles. It has revolutionized my understanding of history.

  13. Why do body counts only matter when the killer is a commie, and not when he/she is an ordinary Democrat or Republican? The illegal wars of LBJ, Nixon, Bush and Obama killed millions of innocent people. As for Trotsky, before you see him as a victim, keep in mind that his ideological heirs have been the ones calling for blood in the Middle East for decades — the neoconservatives never met a war they didn’t love and are responsible for plenty of slaughter. And no, this isn’t about defending Stalin; it’s about getting off that high horse and looking into a mirror that isn’t clouded by Western exceptionalism.

    1. The difference is in defending or condoning cold blooded murder of millions of your own people….in the name of the Communist Party that we take issue with….and so should you!

      Are you intentionally trying to be one of those “Useful Idiots” that we read the Soviets talking about?

  14. Stalin’s “tremendous improvements of health care for citizens.”

    That, too, is another big lie.

    As here, so too in the SU: Tyrants control and destroy science. To promote the pseudo-science of Marxism, Stalin installed as science czar a pseudo-scientist, Lysenko. His anti-genetics ideology devastated Soviet agriculture and the very foundation of medicine — biology. Estimates are that Lysenko set Soviet biology back some 50 years. Scientists in any field who disagreed with his pseudo-science were fired, imprisoned, executed.

    Here is physicist Andrei Sakharov on those “tremendous improvements”:

    Lysenko “is responsible for the shameful backwardness of Soviet biology and of genetics in particular, for the dissemination of pseudo-scientific views, for adventurism, for the degradation of learning, and for the defamation, firing, arrest, even death, of many genuine scientists.”

  15. Most of the Stalinists gave up on Stalin. The bloodshed didn’t help their image. Today, we have the Stalinists without Stalin’s bloodshed and Maoists without the bloodshed of Mao. Bair, is just a bit more honest. Many of our posters are not.

  16. As long as he does not try to indoctrinate students, I agree with Turley. Our country is distinguished by allowing all to express views, no matter how infuriating, without recrimination, a fact that most critics of America are reluctant to acknowledge.

  17. I have emailed the chancellor to express my support for his defense of speech.

  18. Absolutely Mr. Blair’s right.

    But think about why these people are coming out of the woodwork just now.

    The Lefties think that they are in the ascendancy and that these statements will be accepted.

    Equal number of idiots who think that Hitler was a great man, but nobody (except the Justice department, Biden, and the MSM) thinks that right wing extremism is coming back.

    We should welcome when idiots self identify.

    1. “We should welcome when idiots self identify.”

      True that. You beat me to the punch(line) 🙂

  19. As a free speech advocate, should not our esteemed Professor Turley analyze the free speech implications of Non-disclosure agreements demanded by the company for which he works:

    “Fox News Agrees to $1 Million Fine for Violating Human Rights Law”


    The recent newsworthy article notes:

    “Labor lawyer Nancy Erika Smith, who represented former Fox News anchorGretchen Carlson in the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit that cost Ailes his job (and won Carlson a $20 million settlement from Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox), called the right-leaning cable channel’s settlement agreement, especially its admission of guilt, “monumental.”

    “Until now, “I’m not aware of any government agency requiring an employer to stop silencing victims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and that’s what NDAs and arbitration do—they silence victims,” Smith told The Daily Beast. “So bravo! Finally! The government is seeing that silencing victims protects harassers.”

    This article came out a few days ago now, and lo and behold, it was not reported by Fox News. That is not unexpected of course, but Turley? How can he in good conscience ignore the silencing of victims of sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation? It is incomprehensible that he does not applaud this settlement and denounce such “Little Brother” infringements of free speech unless, of course, he has himself signed a Non-Disclosure/Disparagement Agreement with Fox News.

    1. Jeff, great post. Next time bring it up when that’s the topic of discussion.

      1. Thanks, Bob. Free Speech is the very essence of this blog, and examples of its infringement is relevant any time the matter comes up for discussion. Note all the examples reference in Turley’s article. I simply added another one worthy of commentary but surprisingly overlooked (or unable contractually to be mentioned) by Turley.

        1. Thanks for tying jeffsilbermancom but, there are people here that what to read or hear only what they want to read or hear.

          1. Lack of coffee, ‘there are people here that want to read or hear what they want to read or hear”

    2. The left, like Jeff here, has an inability to be critical of leftist monsters like Stalin, Mao and Castro. If Professor Turley was here defending a right wing nut job caught defending Pinochet, Somosa or Franco small minded leftists, like Jeff, would be all over him. But if Turley points out the absurdity of defending Stalin little Jeffs of the left go all non-seqiutur and go after…FOX NEWS.

      Jeff, guys like you loved the Soviets, see the NY Times et al, for 70 years, with some still even defending Hiss, but once they ended communism and turned into a non-communist dictatorship you all suddenly hate them???? Us fair minded conservatives still distrust and despise Putin and Russia, but we distrusted and truly despised the Soviets as they put 100s of millions into repression, killed millions and threatened our very way of life. But since the Soviets hated the US and the left hates the US, the left loved the Soviets.

      PS. Imagine if a guy like Trump went to a baseball game with a Franco or a Pinochet and how the press, academia and Hollywood would treat it vis a vis Obama having cracker jacks and a hot dog between innings with Castro.

      1. Hullbobby, get out of my head!! Ok, Ok. You got me! I confess that I am a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of Northern California.

        Where did you get your superpower to read minds??

        1. Go ahead and ask them, they will tell you what you think. So yeah, they do read minds. Spoiler alert, they know the question is coming.

    3. Stalin’s little refrigerator magnets are already trying to change the subject. What a surprise!

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