Sunday, 25 December 2011

Some misconceptions about motivations


I regard the Eastern Roman Empire as a kind of ideal society - in the sense that it seems to have been the most devout Christian society and with the fullest, deepest, highest kind of Christianity.

Byzantium seems to 'prove' or at least confirm that divine monarchy is the proper form of government, Empire the proper form of organization, that Christianity ought to permeate the whole life (and not be encapsulated away from the state), and that Christianity can reach its highest deveopment when led by the ascetic monsatic ideal; when productive of Saints and Elders.


Would it be true to say that I want to impose such an Empire on England, Britain, the West? To install a monarch, a Tsar, and re-organise life to emulate Constantinople?

And do I revere Byzantium because I personally crave to live somewhere of that sort?


Well, no and no.

The Byzantine ideal serves to show what can be done, how humans can be very different from now - how a society can be devoted to Christian ideals and richly civilised, yet tough enough to survive for centuries against strong and hostile forces.

Perhaps most impressively (for me, living here and now) a society which never lost faith in itself, never became self-loathing and suicidal; and which courageously chose to die rather than submit.


But Byzantium emerged from the Roman Empire when it became Christian; it became a fusion of Hebrew, Greek and Roman cultures with the Revelation; but it was not designed.

Spiritually, Eastern Orthodoxy was a completion of paganism, not a replacement.


But I am a product of modernity, hence cowardly and shallow and a lover of comfort and distraction. I would find it extremely hard to live under an Orthodox monarchy - in fact I would probably get sick and die in a few weeks.

So my motivations about such potential futures are - of course - abstract and fantasy-like.

If human society ought to be Christian rather than anti-Christian, devoted to salvation rather than peace and prosperity, a divine monarchy rather than a democracy, other-worldly instead of this worldly: honouring of Love rather than kindness, Courage rather than career, Authority rather than anarchy - and so on, then we would need something very different from what we have. 


But I don't really think much about it - legitimate Christian reactionary politics is not about imposing a blueprint; it is about pursuing spiritual goals, making choices, and seeing what emerges from these choices.

Even if successful (which is highly improbable), even before corruption took its toll; likely as not we would not get what we bargained for; because what would be Good for us would, no doubt, be considerably different from what we consciously wanted.

Byzantium happened because the people deserved it, by their holiness; we do not deserve it, we could not create or sustain it - and it will not happen.

If Westerners, en masse, were to repent and reform, then - maybe - in a hundred years or more we might get somewhere near Byzantium...