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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

 

Friday, May 6 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Where were we?

Taking up where we left off last Friday, I have a new wild theory or what Herb Caen used to call a "sodden thought." I've long questioned how it is that socialism—even Communism—is so popular in relatively "religious" countries like Italy, Greece, and more recently, Spain, considering that "welfarism leads to totalitarianism," as was established here last time. And also as proposed then, totalitarianism is ever competing in the life of the faithful with devotion to their higher God. If Christ is your Lord, there's no room for another lord like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Caesar. So being God-fearing would seem to rule out supporting any political platform that promises temporal security of the welfare sort.

My new "sodden thought" is a possible answer to those nagging questions. And it's related to an earlier train of thought I mentioned in this forum. I said I suspected that those Americans who feared the Russian people would not be able to endure the hardships of an economy far lower and slower than that in the west, were wrong. The Russians are not only accustomed to suffering hardships under 70 years of Bolshevism, Stalin, Khrushchev, and the rest, but they are even philosophically predisposed to put up with a higher level of hardship than to us in the west seems reasonable. It's because of the severe ascesis that Russian Orthodoxy advocated and its faithful practiced for many centuries before the Bolsheviks took over. Getting by without comforts can be an entry to godliness by making those in dire straits call out for salvation. It encourages them to pray more, and praying more, they believe, is the highest calling of the Christian life.

My new insight—or guess, if it's not a genuine insight—is that many of the believing Christians in places like Italy, Greece, Spain (and Ireland), are not all that averse to deprivation, and a tolerable amount of hardship. In fact, I'm betting that enough of them welcome such a lifestyle that they're willing to put up with the socialist and Communist parties in their midst and even in some cases vote for them, partly because they know such utopians are sure to make things tougher. Consumerism as practiced in the United States, they've been given to think, is our downfall, and they don't want to follow us down that path to perdition.

Though "consumerism" and our hyper-individualism can keep us off the straight and narrow path to salvation (and in general we certainly do not pray as much or as unselfishly as we should), I don't believe these human weaknesses are anywhere as perverse as voting for socialistic parties and their policies of stealing from the haves to funnel a fraction of their take to those who have not. But that's not today's topic, and it's irrelevant to the fact that in many other parts of the world, this is how we are regarded. At one point—when I added Ireland to the list of countries willing to suffer more than we would—I almost added Poland, too. But I doubt that the Poles would vote for a socialist or Communist government now; I think that through the teachings of the late Great John Paul II, they now "get it." And I really don't think Ireland would go socialist or Communist; it's closer to the American and British Democrats in political and economic philosophy.

As far back as when Dostoyevsky was writing what was then the world's best literature—a century and a half ago—the Russian Orthodox had this attitude toward America and its Protestant culture. They were wrong then, and now when fully half of the Orthodox in America are converts from that hated Protestantism, and most of them aren't condemning their Protestant roots, maybe there's a glimmer of hope that these attitudes can change. But it will be a long time coming and, speaking in strictly temporal terms, in all that time the "religiousness" of places like Spain, Greece, Italy...Russia...will be giving way to more and more secularism and the socialists will continue gaining.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Perspectives

Marriage changes passion. Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Thought for today

Everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky  

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