Sunday, June 15, 2014

Merit badges of the world, Unite!

Another summer merit badge.

A travelling companion and I in Red Square
in 1986, under the watchful eye of Comrade V.I. Lenin

Younger Daughter requested that we resume our study of communism for the summer.  Failed economic/political systems – what fun! 

Communist History Merit Badge
1. Describe the difference (theoretically) between these systems: socialism, communism, capitalism, libertarianism, and a mixed economic system.

2.  Read a biography of Stalin, either in a book or online. Explain how Stalin came to power.

3. Pick 5 of the following events in Soviet history.  Define or describe what happened and the consequences of the event. Include dates.
a. Collectivization of agriculture under Stalin
b. Non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany
c. The Battle of Stalingrad
d. Khrushchev’s Thaw
e. Cuban Missile Crisis
f. Leonid Brezhnev and gerontocracy
g. Soviet intervention in Afghanistan
h. Samizdat
i. Gorbachev’s Glasnost and perestroika
j. Dissolution of the USSR

4.  List the benefits and disadvantages of the Soviet economic system.

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(that's supposed to be a hammer and sickle)

If you had to add one requirement, what would you add? 

It was very hard for me to reduce this topic to even this size.  When I showed this to YD, she said, “Can I do more than just this?”  Of course, that was before summer vacation actually started.

For instance, I did not include even one question about this guy,
when clearly he was venerated by many, at least in public.
Last night Older Daughter asked YD why she is so keen to study the history of communism.  YD said, “Because it seems like such a wonderful concept, gone horribly wrong, and I like that.”  Which part do you like?  “All of it – the beginning concept, and the part where it goes horribly wrong.”  To me, it just seems tragically sad.   But then, so is a lot of other history.

Inspirational posters in Armenia SSR
In red:  "We will fulfill XXVII Party Congress Decisions"
In blue:  "Towards a new quality of labor and life"

Inspirational setting for inspirational posters


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I love the IDEA of it, too. What makes it not work? Perhaps human inclination toward greed or inflexibility? That's the bigger question I'd want to explore--what caused it to fail so epically in country after country? Why can we not collaboratively work towards a greater good?
Your daughter's mind is great stuff. I imagine the apple didn't fall far from the tree;)

Angie said...

Great stuff, CHM! Your family is so unique!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm duly impressed! You obviously know how to nurture her desire to learn.
And like GG, I wonder why such a grand idea simply cannot sustain itself. I'll wait for the answer at the end of summer. :)

Patience_Crabstick said...

She will certainly learn a lot, earning this badge. I agree with her that communism is a good concept gone horribly wrong. I guess if I had to add something to this project it would be something a little lighter, like the great sports rivalries that sprung up during the cold war. The US/USSR hockey game in the 1980 Olympics, and the fact that the US did not participate in theor all the athletes who defected here or the boycott of the 1980 summer olympics.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Ugh, very bad editing in my comment. I apologize.

The Crislers said...

Holy crap. I feel like I need to work toward earning this badge. I am in awe of YD and her mother right now.