Saturday, 1 January 2011

The example of Russia?

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I am no expert on Russia, and (apart from their Orthodox Church) I do not envy the Russian 'lifestyle'; nonetheless it seems clear that - by some indices that I consider to be a reasonable marker of the vitality of a civilization - Russia has probably turned a corner and reversed their decades-long civilizational decline.

All this can be summarized by the single statement that Russia is the only powerful European- (or semi-European-) based civilization which is not in the grip of political correctness.

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(I here use the term 'the West' so as not to include Russia - Russia has historically been semi-Western, with trends towards and away from the West. At present, the dominant Russian trend seems anti-Western.)

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Here are the main relevant indices I see (P.S. this is not a quant blog - so if you want to know the data then find it for yourself, as I did, by a few minutes of Googling):

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1. Most strikingly Russia are (I think) the only major power to pass the 'Piracy Test' - 

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2010/08/piracy-test-for-moral-inversion.html

Of course, passing the piracy test of itself does not necessarily mean that a nation's survival system is intact - since toughness to pirates could be due to something like cruelty or an out-of-control military.

Nonetheless, a nation that is so morally-inverted as to fail the piracy test (and all Western nations are failing) is surely doomed - since the necessity to suppress piracy really is basic stuff.

And if anyone (whether person or nation) cannot understand this immediately and without confusion or ambiguity, then they are (I am sorry to say) objectively a moral cesspool.

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2. The Russian birthrate has stopped declining and is now rising. I am not sure, but I think that this is happening among native Russians, and among the social leaders. A few more years will make things clearer.

Any nation with a seriously sub-replacement and declining fertility among its elites is doomed.

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3. Of course, the Russian economy is growing - and this growth seems to be real (as contrasted with the last decade and a half of pseudo-economic growth in most countries - a merely on-paper growth which is actually based on increased borrowing and concealed inflation).

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4. And the cause of all this? - a strong and officially sanctioned Orthodox Christian revival among the Russian elites.

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Of course Russia has horrendous problems. The levels and effects of binge-type alcohol abuse seem to be beyond anything found elsewhere except ex-hunter gatherer groups; yet this is probably self-curing, in the sense that the death rate from alcohol is so high that those who are genetically vulnerable are - in effect - selecting themselves out (first from social power and then from successful  reproduction).

(As presumably happened much earlier in more southern Northern Hemisphere societies which encountered untrammeled access to alcohol much earlier, and which evolved genetic resistance.)

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It may well be that this is not enough, and Russia will go down with the West. 

But on present trends I would say that Russia is the only powerful nation which has a reasonable chance of surviving, and even thriving, over the next century.

Russia has a chance of surviving because - in a nutshell, culturally, uniquely perhaps - Russia wants to survive and its policies (which follow this disposition to survive) are overall aimed at Russian survival.

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(I would be much more confident of this if divine kingship is re-established in Russia and true Tsars return - it is even possible the the first might of these might turn-out to be Putin. And I say 'might' because the chance and choice of divine kingship are decisions that are ultimately made by divine providence and not by human calculation.)

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But Russia is not an 'example' to the West in terms of specific economic, military and social policies; rather in its powerful and devout Orthodox Christian revival.

An Orthodox Christian revival is something it seems very unlikely that the West would either want or be able to follow; not least because true Orthodoxy (carried mostly the Catacomb church, and not by the Communist-puppet official church) was purged and refined by decades of by far the most savage persecution that any Christian church suffered in the entire 2000 year history of Christendom.

(This crushing and sustained Communist persecution of Christians is not a matter of my opinion or anybody else's opinion, but just a fact - a fact which is hardly known, even today. If you feel inclined to doubt it, the most probable reason is only be that you do not know enough about it.)

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In other words, the real cause of Russian social revival is not attributable to secular factors but instead (to put the matter briefly) the almost innumerable Christian Saints and Martyrs of the Communist era.

As I have said before, 'civilization' is not a primary thing, not a 'first thing', not a goal of policy; rather civilization is an unplanned by-product.

No amount of seeking to maintain or restore Western civilization is possible without (to put it bluntly) being led by Saints and Martyrs (and not by politicians or analysts).

The fact that anything like this seems fantastically implausible in the West is merely a measure of the depth of corruption in the West and the likely future course of events.

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Of course the West's situation is not hope-less, hope is mandatory and nobody can predict providence with certainty.

But, while we must continue to hope and act on that basis, the prospects for the West - as understood by human reason - are extremely pessimistic.

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5 comments:

donna said...

Do you think that western culture's decline would have been affected had Russia sided with Germany during WWII?

bgc said...

I think the proper answer is that sometimes choices make a huge and obvious difference, sometimes a huge but hidden difference - other times apparently they don't - despite our presuming that they will.

I think the decline of the West has deep causes which will almost-certainly continue unless individuals break-free from the trend (and who these individuals would need to be, and the nature of their choices, cannot be known in advance) - but decline to the death may continue even then. More than enough has already been done to ensure that.

donna said...

I'm no expert on Russia either, but it would appear, as you have stated previously, that both fascism and communism are the very models for political correctness so they needed to go away, but the movement from freedom and democracy to chaos is concerning unless and until we move cyclically back to a true religious compass for each individual conducting his life within a social contract as was so well explained by John Locke.

donna said...

Your comment regarding the beginnings of a change in Russia's previously declining birthrate, reminds me to ask you what your thoughts are on the role of the growing world population on the unhappiness of modern man. I remember that you have commented that modern man's exercising the solution of remaining childless is one that you can't philosophically support.

bgc said...

I suppose the Mormon attitude to family size seems to be the best for a society which uses birth control technology: Mormons are (theologically and practically) pro-marriage, and pro-family, and tend to have as many children as they can afford to raise decently without depending on assistance from outside the family.