One of the most amazing documents of the 20th century is the Webbs' essay Is Stalin a Dictator? The answer, of course, is no:

Sometimes it is asserted that, whereas the form may be otherwise, the fact is that, whilst the Communist Party controls the whole administration, the Party itself, and thus indirectly the whole state, is governed by the will of a single person, Josef Stalin.

First let it be noted that, unlike Mussolini, Hitler and other modern dictators, Stalin is not invested by law with any authority over his fellow-citizens, and not even over the members of the Party to which he belongs...

In other words, Stalin is not a dictator because (unlike Hitler) he is not legally a dictator. On paper, he is just what his title says he is: general secretary of the CPSU. A purely clerical position. As the title, of course, implies.

In real life, of course, Stalin was a dictator. Which made his position rather precarious! By the nominal collective, bottom-up, democratic structure of the Communist Party (completely absent, of course, in the Nazi Party), Stalin was a mere clerk. In the actual, unwritten reality, he was a Tsar.

Thus, the capacity of this system to revert from its informal Tsarism, to its formal "democratic centralism," was on every second of every day latent. Formally, officially, Stalinism is an ultra-democratic, left-wing, bottom-up form of government. Actually, unofficially, it is an ultra-despotic, right-wing, top-down form of government. The contradiction is quite great. Here is our chaos: black and white, sharing a single desk. Stalin has the power of the Tsars, but not the security of the Tsars.

No wonder Stalin killed so many old Communists. He had to. At least, once he started. He was riding the tiger.

~ Mencius Moldbug
Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2017-08-01
Datafeed Article 6
This article has been digitally signed by Edgecase Datafeed.
300 words - 57 lines - 2 pages

I've recorded a demo of my dictation system. Click here [paywalled] to download the video of the demo.

My system consists of:
- A 2008 Apple MacBook running Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard
- A heavily customised instance of Dragon Dictate 2.5 for Mac
- Various plugins for Dragon Dictate written in AppleScript
- Call-outs to several Python scripts, which interpet the text produced by Dragon Dictate, and then call out to the operating system in order to execute keystrokes or to send commands to other applications.

Full system details:
- Computer Hardware: Apple MacBook Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz 13" (White, Early 2008)
-- Order: MB403LL/A
-- Model: A1181
-- ID: MacBook4,1
-- Note: I upgraded the memory from 2 GB of RAM to 6 GB.
- Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard
- Dictation software: Dragon Dictate 2.5.1 (12062) for Mac
- Dictation software requirements:
-- Intel-based Macintosh running Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard or 10.7 Lion
-- 2 GB of RAM recommended
-- 3 GB available hard drive space
-- An internet connection is required for registration
-- A USB microphone. The USB microphone should be of high quality, with noise-cancelling abilities. Ideally, it should be on the list of USB microphones certified and supported by Nuance.
- Text Editor: TextWrangler 3.5.3 (2890) of Mon, 10 Jan 2011
- Programming Languages: AppleScript 2.1.2, Python 2.7.13

I'm using the microphone headset that was included with the software package. It has the label "Plantronics" etched on the microphone boom but no model identifier. It is a single-ear headset that looks like (but is not exactly the same as) the Plantronics .Audio 610 headset. It has two 3.5mm analog jacks that plug into a USB adapter. The USB adapter is labeled "Plantronics USB Adapter-02".