The Opposite

I thought it was interesting that throughout the time following Stalin’s reign, their were multiple de-Stalinizations and re-Stalinizations. After Stalin the period of de-Stalinization occurred; it was a time when Khrushchev made many reforms to do the opposite of all that Stalin enforced.  Then after Khrushchev,  Brezhnev took over and a period of limited re-Stalinization occurred.  Every time a ruler was kicked, the new ruler did almost the exact opposite. However, after Brezhnev, more re-Stalinization happened to make a stronger dictatorship.

I think that in America we have a lot (not all) of successors who do the opposite of the prior ruler. I think it is in part because the people cannot truly decide what they want or who could give it to them during elections.  But when people run for president they usually feed mainly off of the negative criticism there is for the current president and plan to do the opposite to make the country happy; yet, doing the opposite doesn’t always work. Do you think that rulers like to do the opposite of their past ruler? Why do you think that is? Do you think it is because of popular influence or media?

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9 Responses to The Opposite

  1. Katherine says:

    I agree with you Maggie, and I think that is a very interesting point. I do think that rulers and leaders like to do the opposite of their past ruler in order to try to learn from the others mistakes and be better, but it does not normally work as the ruler wanted. In my opinion, there are always positives and negatives for each ruler, but a leader who can combine past mistakes along with good new ideas is the perfect ruler for a country that needs change. I think that the media and popular influence go hand in hand and play a major part in this change because the media shows view points on certain leaders, and those view points affect how the leaders see themselves, and how the public sees the leaders.

  2. Kelsey says:

    I think you make an interesting point. In this country I think that the reason leaders seem to have such different policies is because our party system is so prominent. Republicans and democrats have very different opinions on most issues. So, when we hear about certain politicians campaigning, especially now that it is election time, the views seem very different. I think that the media plays a very significant role in the way that we perceive politicians and their policies. The media highlights the main controversial issues and each side’s stance. Furthermore, the media also highlights change. It doesn’t really spend a lot of time focusing on what the parties agree upon (if anything) and what policies leaders maintain. I think whether or not leaders do the opposite of their predecessor depends upon whether or not they were of the same opinion, but I do see what you’re saying about leaders using what the people want (the opposite of what they might have) to gain power. It has made me think, thanks for the post!

  3. Aaron Stagoff-Belfort says:

    I agree with Both Kelsey and Katherine in that the Media does play a huge influence in the politicians stances on particular issues. Because there are many people who are so passionate about politics and the politics of the party they support, if one of their candidates has a converse view then the traditional view of their party, that candidate is scorned. The pressure to get elected is paramount for candidates, they will almost never take an unpopular stance on an issue if they are serious about getting elected. Because the media tends to over analyze and debate different issues, politicians really must consider carefully what issues they support because it may effect their campaign supremely. If what someone does in the past is unpopular, a new candidate is almost certainly going to oppose it so they may get elected. In addition, because our parties are so different, if the party that is not in power gets elected for the next term, a policy change will almost certainly occur.

  4. Dr. K says:

    Those are interesting responses. But going back to Maggie’s original post, and the comparison she was drawing, they can’t explain the swings in the USSR, since there was no free media there. I’m wondering if the explanation for swings is different in the US and USSR, or if the same underlying trend is going on.

    Maggie said, “Doing the opposite doesn’t always work,” which raises an interesting question. If you dislike a predecessor’s policy, what is the alternative to “doing the opposite”? If you want to reject his policy, but don’t want to just do “the opposite,” what’s your other option?

  5. Emma says:

    I think that maggie is correct. I think that by the time the people vote on a new leader, they are ready for a change. There are always negative comments on about a leader because not everyone can be happy. I think that you can modify your predecessor’s policy and shape it in a way that is agreeable to more people. You can also create a new plan that allows for the reconstruction of the old policies that were in place so that you are not just doing the opposite of what the person before you did.

  6. Mary Kate says:

    I agree with you, Maggie. I feel that because (especially lately) we, as a country, have not been content with how our government has been ruling (ie. with the recession) that we vote for a leader opposite to the current president. Not everyone does this, of course, but I believe that people in the country think that if the current leader is not working, the new one should be rather different. I don’t think the leader him or herself sets out to do the opposite of their predecessor, but I believe that they use their difference as an angle to get elected. I think the media aids their process as utilizing their differences as a platform for their elections.

  7. Mary Kate says:

    I also agree with you with the idea that doing the opposite doesn’t always work. As you can see, in the past few elections our country has gone back and forth on leaders from different parties because the voters believe that voting in a differently opinionated ruler will solve their problems. But I don’t believe that; I think that it takes a leader prepared to try and solve said countries issues with good, realistic, and smart plan that would actually work to help save said country. There have been a fair amount of rulers like this, but just because they are opposite does not mean they will help said government.

  8. Sheena says:

    I agree with the point that Mary-Kate brought up regarding whether drastically changing the route that a President must follow does not always rectify the previous mistakes. The media has always played a role in broadcasting the change and assuring that many people are informed of this change. Occasionally, doing the opposite of the previous leader can led to success and it can also lead to improving the country as a whole. However, the drastic change can be unfortunatley leave the country in a bitter state. To answer Maggie’s original question, I believe each ruler who creates a drastic change does so in hopes of it to improve the country and make it a more stable place to live.

  9. Katherine says:

    Although I agree that each ruler makes change to improve the country, I think that a lot of the time it is not just for the country’s well being. A lot of the time these drastic changes are made in order to help the new leader gain or hold power. Mao did not focus on helping China, he destroyed the Four Olds, which had been a huge part of society. This made China very unstable because the red army promoted killing people without a good cause. Reversing the past, which is seen by Mao’s changes in China, did not help stabilize the Chinese government or benefit the citizens.

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