Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is the Russian political boat unrockable?

Michael Kuznetsov made the following comment in response to "On not rocking the Russian political boat". I have posted some comments below his.


What I have been struggling to explain to the readers of my website http://www.russian-victories.ru as well as to you, Lawrence, personally during our discussions here, is the idea that we Russians and you Westerners ARE CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT.

I emphasize: not better, not worse, but DIFFERENT.

In other words, we see and comprehend the world through different "lenses".

But first, I have to say that there are three types of the citizens in Russia:
Russians, non-Russians and un-Russians.

Russians are the overwhelming majority of the population. Russians are mainly those of the Russian stock, and those who feel and act as Russians.

Some of the non-Russians (those of the tiny ethnic minorities rife in our country) may, as an exception, also feel and act like Russians for the common good. And then we consider them to be our brothers, despite their non-Russian stock. Example: Marshal Stalin -- a Georgian, Marshal Rokossowski -- a Pole. But we consider them to be true Russians in spirit.

The un-Russians are those who feel and act differently, mainly in a hostile manner toward the Russians and our common good. Most of them are non-Russians, but some of them may be even of "pure" Russian stock.
The "bastards".

Each one of us Russians is NOT an individual human being separated from the others (like you are in the West), but a tiny "cell" of one common colossal Organism of the Russian Nation. We feel this way, believe me!

Let me use a bit lofty language, but I am sincere: Our brotherly cohesion, Christian love and integrity constitute Russia's supreme values and chief assets, as well as our greatest strength for centuries.

While the West has become utterly atheistic, with the individual rights being above all.

Which is why we Russians do not consider ourselves to be Europeans any longer, despite the obvious fact that racially we stem from the same stock as the Germans, Britons, and other Nordic White peoples.

When we hear the words "human rights" we can understand them with a great effort, for we have no such a notion in our mindset. What "human rights" might exist between the members of a family? You see my point?

Leonid Radzikhovsky is an un-Russian (of Jewish stock). Hence he will NEVER be able to understand us.
Not because he is a bad guy, or a good guy.
He is a good Jew and a smart writer, but he will never comprehend what we Russians want.

Leonid Radzikhovsky can be understood only by his congeners, by his tribesmen only.

Do you catch my point?


I believe I catch your point, Michael, but my own background is different from yours. I was an engineer for 39 years. What we call anecdotal evidence is the weakest kind of evidence. If an engineer says he saw something and therefore it always happens, that is not sufficient. Perhaps it is an anomaly. Or perhaps it happens once in every ten times. We won’t know until we get more information, more evidence. So when you say that you personally have experienced something, you are in the realm of the anecdotal. Your experience is limited. It is not worthless, just limited.

Part of what you are doing here is to ask me to accept something because you say it. I can accept your personal experience, but I find it much harder to accept your assessment of all of Russia. To argue “from authority” has its drawbacks. It all depends on who someone is, what he has studied, and what he is arguing. If one is Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and asking us to accept his assessment about the similarities and differences of races and tribes, his authority carries considerable weight. He spent his life studying genetics and the movements of peoples around the world. As it happens, his arguments come athwart yours at several points. He believes there is no “Jewish tribe” in the sense I take you to be expressing the term. Jews are integrated into whatever nation they were raised in. Anything that is distinctly Jewish will be cultural and religious, but it won’t be any more intrinsically Jewish than someone else might be intrinsically Polish. The determining factors will be how the person was raised and what he has come to believe, not his genetic makeup.

One more thing. I believe Human Nature trumps National Interest. If someone has a chance to steal a lot of money without getting caught, perhaps he won’t if he has a moral and religious background, but he may and it won’t depend upon whether he is Jewish, Ukrainian, American or Russian. Human nature governs here. The Bible tells us that we are not going to be subject to unique temptations. There is no temptation that comes upon us that is not common to all mankind.

But since I have moved over to religion, there is something you said that I wonder about. The USSR was ostensibly atheistic for many years. The CIA Factbook has the following about Russian Religion: “Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule.”

About the US, the CIA Factbook has the following: “Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)”

I have read other assessments that are similar; so if you say that Russia is more religious than the US, I would tend not to believe it. If you said it was more religious than the nations of the EU, I might ask for more evidence, but . . . well, why speculate. Here is a reference readily at hand (the CIA Factbook) that relies on polling information:

France: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%

UK: Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)

Austria: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, unspecified 2%, none 12% (2001 census)

Belgium: Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%

Denmark: Evangelical Lutheran 95%, other Christian (includes Protestant and Roman Catholic) 3%, Muslim 2%

Germany: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%

Greece: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%

Hungary: Roman Catholic 51.9%, Calvinist 15.9%, Lutheran 3%, Greek Catholic 2.6%, other Christian 1%, other or unspecified 11.1%, unaffiliated 14.5% (2001 census)

Netherlands: Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)

Portugal: Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)

Poland: Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)

Romania: Eastern Orthodox (including all sub-denominations) 86.8%, Protestant (various denominations including Reformate and Pentecostal) 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, other (mostly Muslim) and unspecified 0.9%, none 0.1% (2002 census)

Spain: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6

FURTHER COMMENT: Again, speaking as an engineer, the CIA Factbook, if the information about the polling is accurate, provides more evidence for Western nations than for Russia being predominately Christian. In order to break the evidence of the above, you would have to find some other evidence and demonstrate or at least argue that the other evidence is superior. Or you would have to produce some other argument, something like the Islamists use, namely, “only my religion is true. Everyone else’s is false.” If the latter is your choice then you will no longer be arguing that Russia is “more Christian” than Western nations but that Russians theology is sounder than that of either Protestantism or Catholicism. If you choose the latter course then you will be leaving politics and entering the realm of theology. Other things you might say might be even harder to prove, for example: “Russian Christians behave more Christ-like than European or American Christians.” If you have in mind those who behave in a licentious manner, perhaps they are in the minorities you see above, minorities you admit that Russia has as well.

AN ASIDE: I spent my last few years of employment working for Boeing on the C-17 program. I was on a board representing Engineering. Engineers would bring proposed changes to our board and we on the board would question the engineer from the standpoint of our specialty. Usually I was the one (being most familiar with engineering) to walk the engineer through the various considerations he had made. If he did not have the proper evidence, or had not thought of all the ramifications of his request, then he would be sent away to repair his shortcomings.

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