Monday, December 29, 2008

The Russians still love Stalin -- Sharansky believes in a myth

Some time ago I confronted the belief that the Chinese couldn’t possibly be contented with their lot. The presupposition for that belief was the Sharansky idea that everyone wanted freedom. To carry that out to its logical conclusion, everyone wants to live like Americans do. Now in the case of the Chinese, a rather staid, traditional, respectful people by and large, the “freedom” of America was seen by them as license. They see us, by and large, as a debauched nation interested in drugs, sex and crime. Pollsters went over there and discovered that, by and large, they were contented with what was going on in China. Yes, there was the Tiananmen Square incident, but weren’t those students influenced by Western ways? And they were merely a tiny percentage of the population. The bulk of the Chinese are happy with what is going on over there.

I hadn’t seen any polls on the opinions of the Russians, but I didn’t gather that they were too unhappy with Putin’s totalitarian desires, and then this morning a reader sent me the results of a six-month-long Russian-poll. 50 million Russians voted on who was the most popular Russian in Russian history. They were given 50 famous Russians to chose from. Stalin came in third and Lenin sixth. In Qatar they though this required 8 years of brainwashing ( )

Reuters quotes a Communist who thinks Russians are tired of their capitalistic experiment and are ready to return to something more authoritarian: )


It may be the conservative thing to believe that everyone in the world wants to be like us, but I don’t believe it. I don’t even believe that we want to be like us. We, like the Russians, are yearning for an . . . perhaps not an “iron fist” but a velvet one. Think of the song that includes the refrain, “oh how I need, someone to watch over me.”

In Christian theology, and we need to remember that the “West” grew out of Christian theology and Christian traditions, the greatest of sins is to desire to be like God. For that sin Satan was cast down from heaven and Nebuchadnezzar was turned into a bovine creature that moved about on all fours. Frank Sinatra singing “I did it my way” is an aberration, or an abomination, depending upon how seriously one considers his point of view. There is plenty of room to be industrious, innovative, and creative. After all, the American Puritans were considered preeminent in those regards and yet they held to a strict belief in the Sovereignty of God. The two are not mutually exclusive despite what Marx said. Christianity is not the opiate of the people, autocracy is. Christianity demands that people be responsible for their own actions. Hitler and Stalin assured their people that they would be responsible for them. It is autocracy that is the opiate. Most people don’t want to be responsible. If something goes wrong they want to blame someone else. All our national troubles, the Russians are now being told by those who oppose the Christian opiate, are caused by external systems and outside agencies. We are not to blame; so trust in your leaders, oh Russians, and they will care for you. They will watch over you.

Some may recall my note describing my misanthropic temptation ( ). If a people, be they Russian or American want to abandon their freedoms and select someone to rule over them, this won’t be anything new in history. God told Samuel to give the people what they wanted. They want a king; so give them one. The king will treat them brutally, but they have rejected me and now want someone to rule over them; so give them what they want. We know that God has been misanthropic from time to time, and I can understand his point of view. Unfortunately for those of us who do understand what’s at stake, we shall be subject to the judgment just as Habakkuk was. A watchtower is not a good place to hide from a whirlwind.

What am I talking about? Are we not free here in the U.S.? Are we not the antithesis of the autocracies that content the Chinese and Russians? Not quite the antithesis. Or if we are, we are terribly messy about it. What are we using our freedoms for. The Chinese have some legitimate complaints. We are no longer Puritans who work from dusk to dawn and spend our evenings in prayer or studying the word of the Lord. We engage in other things during our evenings, and few of us are interested in study, being creative, or self-sacrificing. Oh yes there are some, but is their percentage proportionately any greater than those who protested at Tiananmen Square? Probably not.

Perhaps the Russians are a bit more amenable to totalitarian ruler-ship than we are. After all, they called Ivan IV Vasilyevich, known also as “The Terrible” to come back and rule over them after he had abdicated. If I come back, he warned them, you must give me a free hand to punish whomever I like in whatever way I like. Yes, yes, they told him. Come back and do whatever you like. Just so long as you rule over us. Well, we all know what happened when he came back – or if we don’t, we should:


Anonymous said...

Very well said, Mr Helm!

The Russians do not want to follow the American example. We have been going our own way.

I can only add that the present-day rabid russophobia, that has been so overtly promoted by the mainstream Western mass media, ironically, redounds greatly to the Stalin's cause advantage.

We understand FREEDOM differently than the Westerners.


Michael Kuznetsov

Lawrence Helm said...

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