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Putin The Paleo?

Citing a recent speech to the Russian nation by Vladimir Putin, Pat Buchanan identifies the Russian president as having a “paleoconservative moment.” [1] Buchanan:

While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm.

As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.

And though America’s elite may be found at the epicenter of anti-conservatism and anti-traditionalism, the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.

We are two countries now.

Putin says his mother had him secretly baptized as a baby and professes to be a Christian. And what he is talking about here is ambitious, even audacious.

He is seeking to redefine the “Us vs. Them” world conflict of the future as one in which conservatives, traditionalists, and nationalists of all continents and countries stand up against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent west.

I looked up the text of Putin’s speech [2]. Ninety percent of it is State Of The Union blabbity-blah. Here’s the part that excites Buchanan:

change_me

Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognise everyone’s right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning. This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values.

We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation in every nation for thousands of years: the values of traditional families, real human life, including religious life, not just material existence but also spirituality, the values of humanism and global diversity.

Of course, this is a conservative position. But speaking in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.

Putin may be a cold-eyed cynic, but he’s also onto something. I don’t think Buchanan is correct in his column statement that America has been de-Christianized from above. I agree with him to a limited extent, but our all-American individualism and mode of capitalism have done far more to eliminate cultural conservatism and Christianity than elites have. The real question is whether or not Russia — or any nation — can modernize without liberalizing. China has (so far) achieved great wealth and economic dynamism without embracing liberal democracy, thus disproving the view common in the US over the last generation that economic liberalization would require cultural liberalization. So, we’ll see.

Putin is faced with having to rebuild a nation that was absolutely devastated, at the cultural and social level, by Marxism-Leninism. It is hard to overstate what the destruction of civil society and the spiritual and cultural life of Russia did to the nation. My guess is that he sees no hope that rebuilding Russia along Western lines is a solution, given in part the collapse in fertility in the West, and given how grim Russia’s own fertility situation is. If Russia is going to have a future, he must figure, it must be built on organic Russian traditions, which includes Orthodox Christianity. Again, that’s just my guess as to what Putin is up to. With the Pussy Riot case, I wouldn’t suppose that Putin was religiously offended by what those punks did, but rather he believes that Russia’s rebirth depends on its rediscovery of a life-giving Christianity, which depends on rebuilding a sense of social respect for and trust in the Orthodox Church and its teachings. Orthodox Christianity is the only coherent basis for rebuilding the Russian nation from the ruins left by Bolshevism.

To paraphrase Malraux, Russia’s future will be Orthodox, or it won’t be at all. To our Western eyes, it looks like Putin is an authoritarian who hates gay people. That may be true, to a certain extent. But Putin is playing a long game here, a game that is far more serious and consequential for the survival of his country than American culture warriors can see.

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85 Comments To "Putin The Paleo?"

#1 Comment By VikingLS On December 18, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

“Read a few a Julia Ioffe’s articles in Slate about the fate of women in the new Russia, where most have to turn a blind eye to their husband’s cheating if they want to stay married.”

Which was true in the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia as well.

#2 Comment By Liam S On December 18, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

‘To cite a bit of folk poetry, в ее ***** сидит медведь, Vladimir Vladimirovich.’

Bad form. Such words do not belong in public discourse.

#3 Comment By sk On December 18, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

” the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.”

Yes, they have (you can guess when).

” I don’t think Buchanan is correct in his column statement that America has been de-Christianized from above. I agree with him to a limited extent, but our all-American individualism and mode of capitalism have done far more to eliminate cultural conservatism and Christianity than elites have. ”

I disagree. Isn’t the Age of Capitalism considered to be the late 19th Century? Cultural conservatism survived that.

I’m guessing John Derbyshire was on to something: to the perennial question ‘What caused the ’60’s?’, he responded ‘TV.’ Who runs tv?

sk

#4 Comment By VikingLS On December 18, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

“Putin and Erdogan are fundamentally the same: power-hungry authoritarians eager to channel the religious fervor of the populace to consolidate their power and further their own ends. The difference between the two–and the reason I consider this a fine comparison–is that in one case, Orthodoxy has been the “recipient” of state patronage (I put that word in quotes because I don’t consider such entanglements to be good for the church in the long run); in the other case, it has been the victim.”

I have had members of the AKP tel me that they admired Putin and Medvyedev’s system and that Erdogon and Gul were planning on employing it.

That said you really can’t compare the religious fervor of Russian Orthodox Christians and Turkish Muslims. Most Russians only go to Church once or twice a year. What Putin’s channeling, and what the Church is often channeling for that matter, are social ideas that most Russians have regardless of their level of piety if any.

#5 Comment By John On December 18, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Putin definitely is an authoritarian ( if not a tyrant). He never ince showed a willingness to relinquish power – first serving as a president for two years, then having the power shifted to the prime minister ‘s position when he was forced to relinquish the presidency (he served a stint as pm) and then having the power shift back to the presidency when he was able to run again. There were a few reported “accidents” involving reporters too. None recently but I am sure that is because they got the message loud and clear.

Putin cares about only one thing – power and if that means he will cynically reach out to the other natural authoritarians in the picture (the Russian Orthodox Church officials) he will do it.

#6 Comment By Essayist-Lawyer On December 18, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

I hope you aren’t taking China, of all places as a positive role model. Yes, granted, they haven’t embraced liberal democracy. (Not a good thing!) But they aren’t Christian, either. In fact, they are strongly secular. And they are certainly decadent (as is Russia), it is just a different kind of decadence from ours.

#7 Comment By DS On December 18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

And the USSR’s official motto was:
“Workers of the World, Unite!”

Sounds like the same general idea as Putin’s. Align yourself with the global disaffected and destroy your enemies from within.

#8 Comment By Michelle On December 18, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

I’m guessing John Derbyshire was on to something: to the perennial question ‘What caused the ’60′s?’, he responded ‘TV.’ Who runs tv?

Gee sk, let me guess. Is it the Jews? Given they run Hollywood and all. If that’s what you mean, why not just come out and say it?

#9 Comment By Brian On December 18, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

Does it not occur to anyone at the American Conservative that Christianity is just obviously not true in an empirical sense in the same way Islam isn’t true and Hinduism isn’t true and Mormonism isn’t true? Many of us don’t believe because the evidence is lacking and counter-evidence overwhelming, not because we have some obstinate preference that there be no God (or Jesus, or Mohammed, or whatever).

[NFR: Wait, what? Christianity isn’t empirically true? I’ve never imagined that. The things I learn here. — RD]

#10 Comment By Steven Hunter On December 18, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

“…but our all-American individualism and mode of capitalism have done far more to eliminate cultural conservatism and Christianity than elites have.”

While I agree, in principle, that radical individualism and capitalism are antithetical to traditional Christian culture, it wasn’t until the 50’s and 60’s that the project of de-Christianizing American culture got underway. Before then, with some glaring and horrific exceptions relative to race, the United States was a fairly well-established Christian (if Protestant) culture. It’s a simple mistake, therefore, to dismiss the role of political and cultural elites in driving the agendas of secularism, individualism, and egalitarianism that have corroded and coarsened our culture over the past fifty years.

#11 Comment By TomB On December 18, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

Turmarion wrote:

“To be clear: I’m not saying traditional morality leads to totalitarianism … What I am saying is that the more a state makes ringing and forceful declarations on what people’s private lives ought to look like–our nation needs bigger families, we need to crack down on drugs, there’s too much porn, etc.–the more you tend to see draconian things happen.”

Hi Turmarion:

While your clarification was generous I’d still urge you to examine two things:

First, if we take your words literally it’s a mere tautology, isn’t it? E.g. “those states that crack down on drugs tend to be those states that crack down on drugs.”

Secondly, if as is almost certain you didn’t mean to so trip yourself up then presumably what you meant was something on the order of …” it is in those states that have hearkened to a traditionalist appeal where you tend to see draconian things happen,” right?

Once again however I respectfully suggest this is just wrong. And, once again, not just “in general” but to an overwhelming degree, and not even to a *relative* degree in terms of what constitutes “draconian things.”

Of course numbers (of states) matter in terms of judging the validity of what you appear to have meant, but in addition to challenging you on your numbers count let’s take Germany under HItler even. Did we see draconian laws passed then say, trying to *compel* traditionalist things such as church going, marriage, child-producing and etc.? I.e., those laws concerning what peoples’ “private lives ought to look like” that you mentioned?

Not really I don’t think. And less elsewhere in states that have hearkened to traditionalist calls. Instead it seems to me their *main* attempts have been *defensive,* in the belief that … well … tradition if left alone could take care of itself.

Now, there’s no doubt but that in the three Right-wing traditionalist states you noted (and no doubt in some others), they took out aggressively and indeed even in “draconian” fashion against *other* things or people. But not so much in that “private lives” sphere.

On the other hand then let’s look at the innumerably greater number of Left-wing authoritarian/totalitarian regimes: Well my God the draconian things they’ve done, right?

And then … the draconian things they’ve done vis a vis “what people ought to do in their private lives” as well!

Have one too many kids in … Mao’s paradise, and others probably too, and … off with your head! Be found homosexual in Castro’s and … it’s not just some relatively mild mistreatment but in the *deep* hole for you! Be found to be on your knees praying in your own bedroom, or possessing a mere rosary under Stalin and it’s to the Kolyma for you! (And your family.)

And indeed it doesn’t get any more “what’s private” than your family, and look at the incredible and near unique similarity of Left-wing authoritarians and totalitarians who believe in inflicting punishment not only on its disfavored but on their families too. *Officially.* *Openly.* Indeed I’ve read that the North Koreans now will go back three of your generations to punish if they find you doing something they don’t like.

Even just under the tautology it might be said you’re wrong here relatively because of the far more savage “draconianism” seen inflicted by Left authoritarians and totalitarians than by Right-ward ones.

But then even under the alternate understanding of what you wrote I respectfully think you’re just wrong on even more grounds and hope you’d re-examine your premise.

#12 Comment By Robin Abrahams On December 18, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

df says:
“The conundrum is that high-fertility societies, as well as the people who espouse values conducive to such societies, are among the most backwards in the world.

Put bluntly, high-fertility societies are the ones from which people want to emigrate, mostly to the societies with low-fertility.”

I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, and I’m curious that Rod posts so rarely (if ever) about the evils of contraception. It’s fairly obvious that this is the ultimate separation of sex from reproduction, compared with which no-fault divorce, serial monogamy, shacking up, and gay marriage are mere epiphenomena. Yet many pixels on the gays, and nothing on the pill. Why not?

#13 Comment By Joe Tuttle On December 18, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

Before then, with some glaring and horrific exceptions relative to race, the United States was a fairly well-established Christian (if Protestant) culture.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

#14 Comment By Jake On December 18, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

I think a lot of the negativity towards Putin and Buchanan by respondents here is an underlying antipathy toward Christianity and Jesus Christ. It’s amazing. I think these people are haunted by the truth of Christianity all of their lives.

It reminds me of the case of the most prolific genius of science and mathematics of the 20th century,
John von Neumann
. As theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate, Hans Bethe, said of Von Neumann, “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man”. When Von Neumann, a Hungarian Jew, was facing death from cancer at the relatively young age of 53, he was frightened of death and eternity. He requested to talk with a Catholic priest who ended up administering last rites to Von Neumann.

#15 Comment By LEB On December 18, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

Putin is definitely authoritarian and he clearly likes power and to be in charge.He’s no saint and I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side. But I think he is an intelligent man and knows that his country is in dire straits and he would like to see Russia survive the next century.
There are a billion Chinese on the eastern borders, radical Islamist on the southern borders as well as within Russia and to the west is an ever encroaching NATO led by the U.S. that has treated Russia with little respect since the fall of the Soviets. Meanwhile Russian society is in a shambles and its population is crashing. He has first hand experience of the social disaster communism left in its wake and he can look to the West and see the social disaster unfolding for us as we tear down our traditions and institutions.
If the Russians are to survive they need to regain their roots and their history and tradition, their spirituality and their pride, all the things that were stripped from them either by communism or the aftermath. Putin knows that following the path that western Europe and the U.S. have taken over the last 50 years is not the answer for Russia.

#16 Comment By Vince On December 18, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

At least Putin makes the trains run on time, right Neville?

#17 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On December 18, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

Re: Be found homosexual in Castro’s and … it’s not just some relatively mild mistreatment but in the *deep* hole for you!

I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it’s true that gays were mistreated in Castro’s Cuba, for awhile. Not tortured, killed, or anything like that, but they were sent to do compulsory agricultural labour in re-education camps. For three years. Then Castro visited the labour camps, decided they were too severe, and had them shut down.

It’s worth noting that Cuba legalized homosexuality almost 25 years before ‘Lawrence vs. Texas’, which I think they deserve some credit for. And at the risk of channeling M_Young here, Cuba achieved one of the lowest rates of HIV infection in the world, at a time when a lot of gay people in the US had a very high death rate.

I’m not arguing with your general point- left wing regimes have certainly shown themselves capable of being draconian about people’s private lives- but you’re making the mistake of conflating relatively benign Left-wing regimes with the Stalins of the world.

Re: And indeed it doesn’t get any more “what’s private” than your family, and look at the incredible and near unique similarity of Left-wing authoritarians and totalitarians who believe in inflicting punishment not only on its disfavored but on their families too. *Officially.* *Openly.*

*Some* left-wing authoritarians did that, certainly not all, but do you really think that was ‘unique’? The Argentinian regime under which the current Pope spent part of his tenure as a bishop (I suspect that was part of what contributed to his relatively left-wing views today) were notorious for rounding up the family and friends of suspected subversives. Not, of course, to the same extent as the North Koreans or the Chinese, but then few people, left or right, ever approached those extremes.

#18 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On December 18, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

Re: Many of us don’t believe because the evidence is lacking and counter-evidence overwhelming,

What evidence do you have, exactly, that the core truth claims of the Gospels aren’t true?

#19 Comment By sk On December 18, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

“I’m guessing John Derbyshire was on to something: to the perennial question ‘What caused the ’60′s?’, he responded ‘TV.’ Who runs tv?

Gee sk, let me guess. Is it the Jews? Given they run Hollywood and all. If that’s what you mean, why not just come out and say it?”

Because I didn’t mean it. I was referencing Rod’s statement: “I don’t think Buchanan is correct in his column statement that America has been de-Christianized from above.”

In essence, elites, however one defines them (how Rod, and Buchanon, and all of us define them) run tv. Rod doesn’t believe those ‘from above’ dechristianized America: I do believe so. TV is just one means by which it was done.

Don’t be so paranoid.

sk

#20 Comment By Carlo On December 18, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

Brian:

“Many of us don’t believe because the evidence is lacking and counter-evidence overwhelming”

And some of us believe because the evidence is overwhelming. Do you have a problem with that?

I suppose nobody explained to you that in many important matters not everybody has access to the same evidence?

#21 Comment By Jon s On December 18, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

“But speaking in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.”

In what ways does this not contradict Buckley’s perspective that conservatism’s job is to yell “stop!” to progressivism? Seems like there’s some fast and loose definitions going on here.

#22 Comment By TomB On December 19, 2013 @ 3:23 am

In response to a post of mine Hector_St-Clare wrote:

(1)

“I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it’s true that gays were mistreated in Castro’s Cuba, for awhile. Not tortured, killed, or anything like that, but they were sent to do compulsory agricultural labour in re-education camps. For three years. Then Castro visited the labour camps, decided they were too severe, and had them shut down. It’s worth noting that Cuba legalized homosexuality almost 25 years before ‘Lawrence vs. Texas…”

No, it’s not worth mentioning in the big, important scheme of things Hector.

*They put them in forced labor concentration camps.

And prisons.

WIthout charge or trial.

For decades.*

(Read the book “Before Night Falls,” with the gay author’s description of Morro Prison “making your skin crawl” as one reviewer well put it.)

You are misinformed about Castro here I think. (Who essentially told his people exactly how to regard and treat gays by once saying there *was* no homosexuality there.) And I leave it to the Wikipedia page to let people decide for themselves who is right. ( [3])

Damn near all of what you seem to have heard goes back only a few years, Hector, as the old monster or perhaps his brother realized they were hurting their tourism money by continuing the way they were. (But with the American gay community still noting that “same-sex signs of physical affection are rare and frowned upon across the country” and warning potential gay tourists to be aware of same. (Read more: [4])

(2)

“you’re making the mistake of conflating relatively benign Left-wing regimes with the Stalins of the world.”

No I’m not. The specific subject I was discussing with Turmarion was talking specifically about Leftist (and Rightist) “authoritarians and totalitarians.” (With my point being there’s been more of the Leftist sort of same than the Rightist, and with perhaps only the exception of Hitler the Leftist sort has been much much much worse.)

(3)

“*Some* left-wing authoritarians [punished one’s family members for one’s “crimes”] … but do you really think that was ‘unique’?”

No, just “near unique,” like I originally said.

(4)

“The Argentinian regime under which the current Pope spent part of his tenure as a bishop … were [sic] notorious for rounding up the family and friends of suspected subversives. Not, of course, to the same extent as the North Koreans or the Chinese, but …”

Think about what you are admitting just *simply* by conceding the case with the Chinese communists alone, Hector, with their *billions* in population and thus no doubt millions upon millions of victims and victims families being *programmatically*/ automatically punished, by law and/or practice.

And then just compare *that,* for all those *decades* under Mao, with what happened for a relatively short time to a relatively small and quirkish degree in little old Argentina.

And then add in all those millions for all those decades under the North Korean monsters’ thumbs, still going strong. And then all those millions under Stalin’s thumb for all those decades.

I wonder:

If one could count up the number of family-member victims of both Right-and_Left-wing authoritarians or totalitarians significantly punished as a result of some alleged crime of one of their members, whether the number so punished by the Right-wingers would even amount to a mere 1% of those so punished by the Left-wingers.

I thus stand by my “near unique” assertion.

And even more to the larger and more important point I’d say that when it comes to truly berserk, insensate violence administered to great masses of people, with the exception of Hitler damn near all the rest of the practitioners of same have been under Left-wing regimes. With frightening and deeply suggestive commonalities.

#23 Comment By JonF On December 19, 2013 @ 6:06 am

Re: I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, and I’m curious that Rod posts so rarely (if ever) about the evils of contraception.

Our host has mentioned on occasion that he does not believe contraception is evil. This is in keeping with Orthodox Christian moral teaching which does not include a blanket ban on birth control, recognizes that planning for the number and timing of one’s children is an act of prudence, and rather than stating “sex must be open to children” says instead “Marriage must be open to children”.

#24 Comment By JonF On December 19, 2013 @ 6:11 am

Re: It’s a simple mistake, therefore, to dismiss the role of political and cultural elites in driving the agendas of secularism, individualism, and egalitarianism that have corroded and coarsened our culture over the past fifty years.

All of which lets common folk off the hook. But in reality no one held a gun to anyone’s head. Whatever people have done in this society in these matters they have done willingly and by their own choice. Rather than blaming the elite why not put the blame where it it belongs: on the people themselves.
Moreover, at least among white folk, church attendance and cultural conservatism tend to increase as one goes up the income ladder. With some glaring exceptions in the entertainment world and allowing for the element of dissolution one always find at the very top, America’s elite are remarkably well behaved. Church attendance too is found increasingly among the middle and upper middle classes, less so among the working class and the poor.

#25 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On December 19, 2013 @ 10:28 am

Re: No, it’s not worth mentioning in the big, important scheme of things Hector.

Oh, I think it is. A gay man in the 1980s in Cuba was much more likely to make it out of the decade alive than in America.

Re: *They put them in forced labor concentration camps.

No, they put them in *forced agricultural work brigades*. Not prisons. The objective of the camps, unlike in Stalinist Russia or Germany, was not to kill people or work them to death. How many of those folks died in the UMAPs?

Re: For decades.*

For *three years.* Read your own link.

‘A homosexual man who worked in a UMAP camp described the conditions there as follows, “[W]ork is hard because it’s nearly always in the sun. We work 11 hours a day (cutting marble in a quarry) from seven in the morning to seven at night, with one hour’s lunch break.”[32] Fidel Castro visited one of the UMAP camps incognito to experience the treatment for himself. He was followed by 100 boys from the Young Communist League whose identity was also kept secret. In 1968, shortly after these visits, the camps closed.’

As your own link says, various government bodies (including the supreme court, the ministry of culture, etc.) argued for a more liberal policy towards gays through the 1970s and 1980s, homosexuality was decriminalized in 1979, police harassment stopped in the late 1980s, and by the early 1990s the Cuban government had stopped criticizing homosexuality. Sounds not too different from what was happening in the United States at the time.

As for Reinaldo Arenas, what evidence do you have that he’s any mre reliable than all the crybaby Cuban exiles in Miami who are only too happy to make stuff up? Most of those folks belonged to the old exploitative elite, and got what they deserved when the revolution took over: which makes it understandable, maybe, why they resent it, but hardly makes them objective observers. Do you have an actual objective citation that the persecution of gay people in Cuba was much worse than it was in Western countries?

As far as I can tell, government anti-gay policies were ended in the late 1980s-early 1990s for moral reasons, as the world increasingly came to a better understanding of homosexuality, not for anything to do with increasing tourist revenues.

#26 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On December 19, 2013 @ 10:30 am

Re: Our host has mentioned on occasion that he does not believe contraception is evil. This is in keeping with Orthodox Christian moral teaching which does not include a blanket ban on birth control,

I was under the opinion that Orthodox moral teaching allowed for some diversity of opinion about contraception, and that Rod was on the more conservative side.

[NFR: I believe that contraception is permissible within a marriage that is generally open to life. But I’m not willing to go to the mat for that. — RD]

#27 Comment By TomB On December 19, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

Hector_St_Clare wrote:

“Do you have an actual objective citation that the persecution of gay people in Cuba was much worse than it was in Western countries?”

Sure, tons, but just as with my cite to Arenas all you’ll do is say there’s no evidence he didn’t make it all up. The same way Castro’s Sucks tried to say that about Armando Valladares. And the same they say that about all the stories of all the tens of thousands if not millions of those “crybaby Cuban exiles” you don’t like. And the same way Lefty Sucks always try to disparage the stories of the tens of millions who have fled their tender mercies.

Thus, as I said, I’m more than content to leave the readers to the simple cite to the Wikipedia entry on the subject and let them use their own general knowledge of life—including in the criminal justice systems—in the U.S. as opposed to life in Castro’s Cuba to draw their own conclusions about where you’d rather have lived as a homosexual.

Or indeed where as a homosexual you’d rather live *right up until today.*

That Wiki link again:

[3]

#28 Comment By Robin Abrahams On December 19, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

“I believe that contraception is permissible within a marriage that is generally open to life. But I’m not willing to go to the mat for that. — RD”

What about the general encouragement of contraceptive use and the contraceptive mentality in society? All the things you write about: gay marriage and gay rights, lack of chastity, feminism, careerism, casual sex–contraception is the root cause of all these things, no? Why so much attention to the symptoms, then?

#29 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On December 19, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

TomB,

Armando Valladares proved that he was happy to lie about *other* governments and their human rights practices, at the behest of the Reagan administration which he faithfully served, as well as to lie about Cuban history, so I don’t put it past him that he lied about the circumstances of his own imprisonment. (He certainly lied about being unable to walk properly). The Cubans have consistently maintained since he was released that he was a terrorist, imprisoned for terrorism, who lied about how he was treated, so you’re free to give him as much credence as you want, and to believe the rest of the crybaby exiles, but I’ll decline. I am generally pro-Cuban, though with qualifications, so I suppose I fit into your ‘Castro’s Suck’ category.

That Wikipedia page seems reasonably well balanced, and not particularly contradictory of anything I said. You should read it more carefully, because it pretty clearly shows the limited extent of anti-gay crackdowns in the 1960s, and the substantial liberalization that happened since then (at the same time that the United States and other Western countries were liberalizing themselves).

#30 Comment By TomB On December 19, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

@ Hector:

I hereby apologize for the clear suggestion that you are one of Castro’s Sucks. That was greatly wrong of me and I apologize unreservedly.

I also concede that a careful reading of the Wikipedia page can indeed come off as having a more moderate take on the issue than me. While I continue to believe that a reasonable employment of background knowledge of Castro’s Cuba leads one to believe that having been gay there up until some years ago was very bad indeed, upon re-reading the Wiki page I do concede your point about same at least.

Once again, my apology.

#31 Comment By JonF On December 19, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

Re: I was under the opinion that Orthodox moral teaching allowed for some diversity of opinion about contraception

Exactly, Hector. Hence, no blanket ban. Orthodox Christian married couples are advised to pray on the matter and seek counsel from a spiritual elder. Which is really what one ought to do when confronted with any serious decision.

#32 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 19, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

Putin is faced with having to rebuild a nation that was absolutely devastated, at the cultural and social level, by Marxism-Leninism. It is hard to overstate what the destruction of civil society and the spiritual and cultural life of Russia did to the nation.

Huh? Putin? The man who said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a great tragedy? You may believe that Marxism-Leninism devastated the cultural and social life of Russia, but Putin could hardly sustain such a critique. He supports the church because he can’t see any better way to socialize the youth, without the Komsomols. (Communist Youth League, for those too young to remember — and in its time, far more ubiquitous than the Boy and Girl Scouts in their heyday).

Personally, I believe that the darker side of traditional Russian culture devastated Marxism-Leninism. Putin seems to be the antithesis of the Kronstadt mutineers. They called for “communism without commissars.” Putin is trying to build a state of “commissars without communism.”

But be that as it may, homosexuality is an issue of non-class origin. A socialist revolution in a nation generally negative toward homosexuality is unlikely to support gay liberation. A socialist revolution in a country that accepts gays is not going to be seriously harmed by that in any effort at socialist economic construction.

#33 Comment By Wolfgang W On December 20, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

John Derbyshire wasn’t on to anything: What caused the 60s? The 50s.

#34 Comment By Bob Wilcox On December 21, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

Robin wrote:

“All the things you write about: gay marriage and gay rights, lack of chastity, feminism, careerism, casual sex–contraception is the root cause of all these things, no?”

No, it isn’t. Pretty much all of these things (except gay marriage) already existed in some form back in the roaring 20s, back before the Pill had been invented. The birth rate in the 20s and 30s was scarcely any higher than it was today, either. The 20s weren’t all that different from the 60s, despite there being no Pill. And covert lesbianism (Boston marriages, anyone?) was quite common in particular.

And what, exactly, does contraception have to do with gay marriage? Nothing. There was quite a strong (if not yet mainstream) lobby for gay marriage and gay rights even back in the 1800s. Heck, France even decriminalized sodomy in 1791. Bentham supported doing the same in England, and the Netherlands actually did so in 1811 (back when it was still staunchly Calvinist)!

#35 Comment By Frank On January 19, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

I’ve seen this story before. Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church will begin with an anti-gay Pogrom and move on to Jews when gays are no longer visible enough to be a target. Those who can leave will.

This already happened 80 years ago. Such a persecution sent the scientific elite of Europe to the United States. They founded research institutions, like the Courant Institute at NYU, and developed technology to defeat their persecutors. Make no mistake. War may not be fought over gays, but it will be fought over the next group Putin persecutes and war, whether a cold war or a violent war, will destroy Russia.