Unfortunately, tensions between Russia and the West have risen again in the wake of the horrible attack on the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. On both sides, war rhetoric has been stepped up dramatically. As the contrast between the Russian and Western political goals and world-views seems to be growing ever larger, it is becoming clear that the problems go deeper than day-to-day events, politics, and diplomacy (the things we hear about in the news), but on the contrary follow from the two sides' fundamental misunderstanding of each other. This is a good opportunity to take a closer look at the nature of the Russian nation, the mentality of its people, and its ultimate goals. Fostering understanding between the two cultures is probably the only remaining solution that can defuse the current tension and avoid more dramatic developments, as it seems clear that mere diplomacy is no longer working.
“Higher Values” exploited to Justify Convenient Inaction.
While growing-up in the happy realm of the Soviet Union’s “outer empire”, one was harangued that “western decadence” guarantees “final victory”. That trait was attributed to capitalism, which was condemned to death by its “internal contradictions” confirmed by Marxist “science”. We kids regarded the claim as one of “their” lies. A proof of living a lie was a good marching song. It alleged, “There is no richer and more beautiful land than this one / All people feel that they are free”.
Survival despite the regime, was followed by a wished-for life in the “depraved West”. It took decades of a second life in America to reach an admission. “They” were wrong in everything, yet, in one matter they had a partial truth that held some water.
Yes, there is decadence in our realm. Even if the National Socialists and the Communists have pretended that, even if their teaching crashed when logic - and not loaded guns - was the yardstick, we have a problem with decadence.
In writing not so long ago about my appropriation of the “smart classroom” (that obtrusion of entertainment-technology into the solemnity of the academic space) so as to introduce students in a “Modern Drama” course to the mid-Nineteenth Century operatic theater of Richard Wagner, I concluded with the following thought concerning today’s collegians: “Their education, even in college, once they get there, leaves them bereft of high-cultural experience. That is a pity because taste tends to become fixed in late adolescence.” I remarked that contemporary freshmen, coming from a culturally jejune public-school curriculum, hover as though on a verge, intellectually speaking. “They will never respond to esthetic greatness unless they have an opportunity to experience it”; and yet, “those opportunities shrink away to fewer and fewer every year.”
In writing about the struggles that students experienced, first in understanding and then in articulating their responses, to two challenging novels by H. G. Wells, I ended with this meditation: “Like any healthy person, the specimen college student welcomes the chance to see things from a higher perspective, but the system as it stands is designed precisely to deprive students of any higher perspective. What passes for education is a mental diet of infant pabulum and an entrenched infantilism is one of its noticeable results.”
Submission to get a deal undermines what it wishes to preserve.
If you follow big time politics, such as in “who invades whom and why,” then you noticed that the victims of state crimes are dropped if the aggressor shows brawn. The greater the international criminal’s might, the more dogged his use of power, the greater the inventiveness to find reasons to stay beyond the sidelines. The upshot is an inaction that encourages aggression as it is made “safe” for the perpetrator.
Your own “Ministry of People’s Enlightenment” will assure you that nothing needs to be done as nothing can be done -without angering the aggressor. His provoked ill temper could enhance his defensive instinct to attack. Having said that, those that act in your name, will assure you that, anyhow, you are not affected.
Those that are immune to this sedation will continue to observe events. These “hard-lines” will remember “history’s” analogous errors, the mistakes that, we were assured by our professors, would never be repeated. They failed to add “until convenience” makes the repetition of the ignored past profitable in the next election.
Too little, too late. Perhaps that is the only certain thing we can say about the recent elections for the European Parliament. Certainly, Eurosceptical and anti-immigration parties have won an unprecedented number of seats in the European parliament, but to make a real difference, these victories should have come at least ten years earlier. Later generations will undoubtedly consider this episode somewhat farcical: only when Europe began to break down, the timid electorates could muster the courage to at least vote for some of the “right-wing” parties. However, the problem with these right-wing victories is not only, as commonly reported by analysts, that they will find it extremely difficult to form a coalition with all their internal divisions. The first difficulty, which only a few observers have seemed to notice, is that many of the so-called “right wing” parties are not right-wing at all. As we shall see, the reason for this is the simple fact that the Europeans, except the French, still have not sufficiently overcome their timidity to be able to discern the stark options that Europe faces today, and prefer to vote for “respectable” right-wing parties, which, however, by their very nature will degenerate into establishment parties if ever they get into government. Another cloud on the horizon, equally unnoticed, is the threat that the more outspoken right-wing parties in certain countries can further degenerate into fascism, and thus ultimately bring about the destruction of European civilization which they wanted to prevent in the first place. I will analyze these two phenomena here: such analysis can provide us with crucial insight into the future of Europe, and not simply in the immediate future of the European parliament, with which most journalists occupy themselves.
About self-administered verbal anesthesia.
Every age and all cultures tend to accept certain statements as self-evident and, therefore, as true. The term, “crutch” comes to mind. One possibility is that the allegation is correct. Even for agnostics, the Ten Commandments might fit the category. Frequently, however, we find a force that, through its control of the media and pulpit, can keep dubious claims alive. Thereby the pretension serves as a “law” even if, to those in the know, it is merely a useful fallacy. Insisting on a geocentric universe after Kepler or the Divine Right of Kings in the 18th century, illustrate the case. Lastly, the wrong “truth” can be an “agitprop” forgery. As such it is a hag pulling the cart of an inventive beneficiary. That case is the subject of this piece.
Manipulated truth is costly. Its embedded distortion can prevent timely actions. The so affected will suffer misfortune caused by the “Ersatz” truth which cannot replace reality. In that case, the truth that is falsehood has results that, translated into deeds, will be devastating. Even worse, it defines the credulous victim as naive.
A patent-worthy recipe is shared with you for free.
You will be shown here how to take what you covet without having a title to it. Thereafter, proceeding according to the script and useing the decisive buzzwords provided here will complete the trick. If you follow instructions, after an outcry, those purring potential victims that you did not pluck will celebrate you. Accompanied by their grateful toasts to your restraint, you enter the hall of fame dedicated to the “struggle for peace”. (Int.nat.pat.pend. Franchises for sale.)
Indeed, even for first time do-it-yourselfers, the approach is easier to apply than it seems to the barefooted.
Begin the operation by finding two or more suitable territorial targets. One of these should be one that, as a starter, you really desire to gobble up.
When the “glorious past” attracts in the bleak present.
A madness, thought to be banished into the sealed coffin of bygone times, is reemerging. The returning Dracula threatens with the destruction of the procedural order that preventively canalizes conflicts among advanced nations. Some of the discord has roots in the communist past’s refurbished Brezhnev Doctrine of limited sovereignty. The remainder is contributed by the resurrected components of vintage czarist imperialism. In international relations, the aggressive empire building assumed to be mummified for good, is again reemerging. The Russian successor state of the Soviets pursues the tradition of conquest bequeathed by the Romanovs.
Archeological investigation of the Eastern-Mediterranean Bronze-Age civilizations began in the late Nineteenth Century with Heinrich Schliemann’s work at Troy and Mycenae and with Sir Arthur Evans’ investigations on the island of Crete, principally at Knossos. Language owes the label “Bronze Age” to the Greek poet Hesiod (Eighth Century BC) whose prototypical georgic poem Works and Days includes a discussion of the Five Ages of Man. As Eric Voegelin long ago pointed out, Hesiod’s five ages are actually three, in parallel with his three generations of gods. In Hesiod’s telling a primitive period comprising the Golden and Silver Ages gave way to socially complex and robust period comprising the Bronze and Heroic Ages; and the latter period, finding its conclusion in destructive internecine strife, gave way to Hesiod’s own degenerate period, what he calls the Iron Age. Would that he had been born in some other, less wretched age, Hesiod laments; but well he postponed his birth – for the Bronze Age ended in a paroxysm of urban destruction, famine, piracy, and disruptive migrations of peoples that might be both unprecedented and unparalleled. Since the 1960s, scholarship has referred to this epoch as “The Catastrophe.”
Putin under pressure, while some concessions confirm that their originator is a fool.
A common gene connects the dominant systems of the past; they were mostly dictatorships. Rarely could a major power be rated, by the standards of its time, as free. Applying that criterion, Athens comes to mind. The Netherlands and Britain are on the short list. It ends with the United States.
Another link, where personal freedom and state power are connected, is a bit of natural isolation, when its security bolstered by sea or, later, air power. That leads to a complementary component. It is access to a technology –a mighty navy- to multiply the quantitative weight of population and of territory. Know-how and capital to develop it did more than to bolster might. The multiplier reflected economic power attained through good governance, applied knowledge, and a climate to encourage innovation. Good government implied freedom and the emphasis on the autonomous individual that was enabled to act in his own behalf. To sum up: freedom “to” and freedom “from” were components of national might. Accordingly, the power of the country and the liberty of individuals were related.