How to Think About Vladimir Putin | Imprimis

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Our globalist leaders may have deprecated sovereignty since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has ceased for an instant to be the primary subject of politics.

Source: How to Think About Vladimir Putin | Imprimis

Christopher Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, notes, “this is not going to be a talk about what to think about Putin, which is something you are all capable of making up your minds on, but rather how to think about him,” and continues,

“Our globalist leaders may have deprecated sovereignty since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has ceased for an instant to be the primary subject of politics.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia — a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.

“By American standards, Putin’s respect for the democratic process has been fitful at best… Yet if we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the pre-eminent statesman of our time.”

In short, Putin is doing what a national leader should do: looking out for the best interests of his country, and his people. Those of us who admire him, admire him for that reason – not because we think we will always agree with him, or are naive enough to think that the interests of Russia will always be congruent with those of the West, or America in particular.

When our interests are opposed, we should act accordingly – though not in a knee-jerk or foolish way. We need to exercise rationality, discernment, and discretion, none of which seem to be strong suits of the contemporary Left.

But we need not, and should not, view him – or the Russian Federation – as an enemy, or an adversary, or even necessarily and always as a rival. There will be many times when our interests are common, or at least complementary. When that is the case, we should also act accordingly. And it is certainly foolish, and dangerous, to ratchet up the tension unnecessarily, or for domestic political reasons.

[My suspicion is that the American Left is simply congenitally incapable of believing that they lost the election – all by themselves, by their own words and actions; that a sufficiently large percentage of the American voters flatly rejected the Democratic candidate, Party, and platform to hand an electoral victory to the current President… so the outcome must have been the result of Russian meddling. It’d be silly if it wasn’t so sad – and so dangerous.]

The Russian Federation may not be the superpower that the old Soviet Union was, but it is certainly a Great Power – a very great power: large, populous, and militarily powerful – and must be respected as such. And its President should be respected as a strong and capable leader who takes his country’s interests seriously, as any good leader should do.

 


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Russia, The Royal Martyrs, and Revolutionary Modernity | Throne, Altar, Liberty

 

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The murder of the Romanovs had been foreshadowed by the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on January 21st and October 16th respectively in 1793, and before that by the beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649.

Source: Throne, Altar, Liberty: Russia, The Royal Martyrs, and Revolutionary Modernity

I have said this myself, more than once and in more than one forum, but I have never said it better – and very likely, not this well:

“The murder of the Romanovs had been foreshadowed by the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on January 21st and October 16th respectively in 1793, and before that by the beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649. There are a number of parallels between these murders. The victims, in each case, included the legitimate Royal Sovereign of the country in which the revolution was being perpetrated. He was also, in each case, the Royal Protector of a Church which claimed descent from the early, undivided, Apostolic Church and which was under attack by the revolutionaries.

“Charles I was the Protector of the Church of England which was under attack by the Puritan Calvinists. Louis XVI was Protector of the Roman Catholic Church in France which was a target of the Revolutionaries who were disciples of the rationalist Rousseau. Nicholas II was Protector of the Russian Orthodox Church against the atheistic, Marxist, Bolsheviks. In England and France, the revolutionaries tried to give a façade of legality to the murders by holding show trials in which the kings were condemned by kangaroo courts. In Russia, the Bolsheviks didn’t bother with this, they simply declared the Tsar to be guilty of crimes against the Russian people and had him shot. In each case the royal murders failed to satisfy the bloodlust of the revolutionaries, but rather merely whetted their appetite for the mass murders that were to come.

“There is a sense in which all three crimes were committed by the same perpetrators. While the term ‘left’ did not develop its political connotations until the French Revolution, when it was applied to the enemies of the Crown, aristocracy, and Church because of where they stood in relation to the speaker in the French assembly, the Puritans were definitely historical antecedents of the French Revolutionaries, just as the Bolsheviks were their ideological descendants. The Puritans, like the Anabaptists of continental Europe, were the ‘left-wing’ of the Reformation, those who thought the Magisterial Reformers had not gone far enough. They were also the first classical liberals, or, as liberals were called at the time, Whigs.

“In their thinking, and especially the secularized version of it offered in the writings of John Locke, the foundation was laid for the much more radical thought of Rousseau, which inspired the French Revolutionaries, and in turn laid the foundation for Marx, the father of Communism. In this lineage can be seen one explanation for the fact that ‘left-wing extremism’ is a far less commonly heard expression than ‘right-wing extremism.’ The latter expression is, of course, never used in good faith. It is employed by the left, to smear those who hold views that the left has decided are to be considered to be outside the pale of acceptable discourse…

“The reason ‘left-wing extremism’ has not caught on is that it is redundant. The essence of the left, its very nature, is the relentless desire for the complete overthrow of all time-honoured institutions, traditions, and order. From royalty, nobility and the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the middle classes and private property and enterprise in the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, to marriage, the family, the nation and even the biological realities of race and sex in the twentieth and twenty-first, the left has moved on from one target to another, seeking only to destroy in its hatred and rage, with its ultimate targets being the Good, the True, and the Beautiful and indeed, God Himself, for, as Dr. Johnson observed centuries ago, the first Whig was the devil.

“The left is extremism, and extremism is the left.”

Sadly but absolutely true. It’s been demonstrated over and over again.

An added bonus of this excellent essay by Gerry T. Neal – who describes himself as a “Protestant Christian, patriotic Canadian, and a reactionary High Tory with a libertarian streak, at the same time a monarchist, indeed a royal absolutist, and a minarchist” – is a detailed discussion of how Senator Joseph McCarthy, castigated as a “witch hunter” for his crusade against communists and their fellow-travelers in 1950s America, was actually far more right than wrong, noting:

“Russia has been much in the news lately as left-wing wackos have been trying to paint US President Donald Trump’s attempts to get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and allow the two countries to peacefully co-exist as some sort of treason. In my childhood, Russia was still in the grips of the murderous, totalitarian, ideological, regime bent on global conquest that had seized power in the fall of 1917. How well I remember that at that time, the same people who are crying ‘the Russians are coming’ today, labelled anyone who warned about the Communist Kremlin’s evil designs a ‘McCarthyite.'”

Or as I have commented elsewhere, including in this blog, how ironic that some of the same people – and certainly the same party – who spent years, even decades, appeasing, accommodating, and apologizing for the Soviet Union are now aghast at the idea that the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin actually has, and is pursuing, its own legitimate national interests. Perhaps not surprisingly, an attempt at global Communist hegemony was much more acceptable to the Left than contemporary Russian nationalism!

 


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Trump Stands His Ground on Putin | Patrick J. Buchanan – Official Website

Trump Stands His Ground on Putin

By cheering Brexit, dissing the EU, suggesting NATO is obsolete, departing Syria, trying to get on with Putin, Trump is threatening the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment with what it fears most — irrelevance.

For if there is no war on, no war imminent, and no war wanted, what does a War Party do?

Source: Trump Stands His Ground on Putin | Patrick J. Buchanan – Official Website

Why, it tries to create one, of course!

(Actually, I am becoming increasingly convinced that there is indeed a war on, an undeclared war for socio-political dominance here in the U.S. – and more broadly, the West – and that the enemy is among us. But I digress…)

In any case, Pat Buchanan makes sense and says worthwhile things far more often than not, and this is an excellent example (using print-friendly version b/c the formatting on the main website leaves something to be desired). As he aptly notes,

“The worst-case scenario would be that the establishment actually believes the nonsense it is spouting. But that is hard to credit. Like the boy who cried ‘Wolf!’ the establishment has cried ‘Fascist!’ too many times to be taken seriously.

“A month ago, the never-Trumpers were comparing the separation of immigrant kids from detained adults, who brought them to the U.S. illegally, to FDR’s concentration camps for Japanese-Americans. [N.B.: they conveniently forget or ignore that this was done under a Democratic President, namely FDR: one of the most popular and famously progressive ones in history.]

“Some commentators equated the separations to what the Nazis did at Auschwitz.

“If the establishment truly believed this nonsense, it would be an unacceptable security risk to let them near the levers of power ever again.”

I cannot disagree!

Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this essay. It’s spot-on.

 


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Unmoored Freedom is No Freedom – A Reflection on the 4th of July | Community in Mission

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To most modern minds, freedom is a very detached concept; it is an abstraction of sorts, a free-floating power unmoored from any limits or defining standards.

“Freedom today is often viewed as personal and self-referential, with little consideration as to how one’s ‘freedom’ might affect that of someone else. A healthy sense of the common good suffers mightily in a world of deeply conflicting personal freedoms.”

Source: Unmoored Freedom is No Freedom – A Reflection on the 4th of July | Community in Mission

Cogent thoughts on freedom, limitation, and the folly of trying to create (or maintain) culture without cultus.

“Obviously, the word cultus is at the heart of the word culture. In Latin, a cultus is something for which we care or about which we are concerned; it is something of worth, something considered valuable. It describes the most central, fundamental values of a group. In later Latin, cultus came to describe the worth or value we attribute to God, who is our truest goal.

“Remove the cultus from culture and you get the breakdown we are seeing today. While pluralism and diversity have value, they must exist within a framework that is shared and agreed upon. Otherwise pluralism and diversity are unmoored and become like ships crashing about in a stormy bay.

“In order for a culture to exist, there must be a shared cultus, a shared focus on what is good, true, beautiful, and sacred. Our modern experiment shows the failure of trying to have a culture without this.”

There are just a few excerpts; the entire article is well worth reading. Here is a bit more, a quote from (Roman Catholic) Bishop Robert Barron:

“The setting aside of God can take place both explicitly (as in the musings of the atheists) or implicitly (as in so much of the secular world where “practical” atheism holds sway). In either case the result is a shutting down of the natural human drive toward the transcendent and, even more dangerously, the elevation of self-determining freedom to a position of unchallenged primacy…

“On the typically modern reading, truth is construed as an enemy to freedom—which explains precisely why we find such a hostility to truth in the contemporary culture. Indeed, anyone who claims to have the truth—especially in regard to moral matters—is automatically accused of arrogance and intolerance.

“Society will be restored to balance and sanity, (Pope) Benedict (XVI) argued, only when the natural link between freedom and truth — especially the Truth which is God — is reestablished. … Behind all our arguments about particular moral and political issues is a fundamental argument about the centrality of God” [Vibrant Paradoxes, pp. 217-218].

Indeed. At root, much of the trouble we are facing today, as a society, can be traced to the Enlightenment project of topping God as the center and pinnacle of our musings, striving, and contemplation, and the Good, the True, and the Beautiful – the pursuit of which lead us to God, as their Source and culmination – as the desirable goals of a human life well-lived – and replacing both Him and them with the deification of unaided human reason (*), and later, emotion and self-gratification.

Lacking that solid anchor and reference point, is it any wonder that we have become “like ships crashing about in a stormy bay”?

 


 

* Human reason is indeed one of the most precious gifts of our benevolent Creator, an extremely valuable human faculty. But because we are finite, limited, mortal human beings, our human reason is also finite, limited, and mortal. It is not intended, nor is it possible, to function alone, unaided by what the Anglican tradition names as Scripture and Tradition.

That is to say, the revelation of God as revealed in Scripture, Nature, and Antiquity: the latter referring to the theological and philosophical insights of those who have come before, especially those which are clearly part of the Great Tradition of Christianity, into which certain of the great Classical philosophers – such as Plato and Aristotle – have been incorporated, because they have foreshadowed it, because their thought illuminates, explicates, or complements parts of it, or all of the above).

To function and flourish properly, human reason also requires the water and fertilizer of not only Divine revelation (as shown through the Scriptures), but prayer – both personal and extemporaneous, and liturgical, through what the Anglican tradition calls “Common Prayer” – and the sacraments. As this essay points out,

“Freedom can only exist in a healthy and productive way when it is in reference to the truth — and truth is rooted in God and what He has revealed in creation, Sacred Scripture, and Tradition. This is the cultus necessary for every culture. True and healthy freedom is the capacity to obey God. Anything that departs from this necessary framework is a deformed freedom, on its way to chaos and slavery.”

To be effective, therefore, and to be whole persons, in a right relationship to God and to one another – to be truly free, in other words, both personally and in the context of our social organization – we need not just reason, but sanctified reason. Even at that, we sometimes (often) fall short! Without it, we are indeed “ships crashing about in a stormy bay,” with little or no hope of reaching a safe harbor.

 


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