Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

15 December 2012

Dostoevsky Was A Prophet



From RJ Moeller's Dostoevsky’s 6 Nightmare Prophecies That Came True in the 20th Century, Part One



 

"However much you tinker with the world, you can't make a good job of it, but by cutting off a hundred million heads and so lightening one's burden, one can jump over the ditch of transforming society more safely..."


 
Few people in the last 200 years understood human nature and mankind’s fallen state quite like Dostoevsky. His uncanny abilities to dissect the pathology of a killer or the spiritual joy of a contented Russian peasant have inspired generations of writers, thinkers and even psychologists for a century and a half.

But more than simply being an insightful novelist on the human condition, Dostoevsky turned out to be a truly prophetic voice in his predictions of the dangerous and deadly places where certain ideologies and philosophies popular at the time would lead his beloved Russia in particular, and the modern Western world in general.

In the course of a number of his books – The Devils (aka The Possessed) and The Brothers Karamazov for example – he foretold of the coming socioeconomic and geopolitical nightmares that awaited 20th century societies who would adopt progressivism, nihilism, and socialism as their guiding principles. His words carry with them a deeper weight since Dostoevsky lived during his youth as a progressive ideologue eventually sentenced first to death and then, after a mock execution meant to “get his attention,” to four years of hard labor in Siberia.

He returned a deeply religious man and after spending a few years in Europe investigating the teachings of leading Western intellectuals, a vehement anti-socialist.

In describing the underlying motivations of the young, radical, rabble-rousing character Peter Verkhovensky in The Devils, Dostoevsky said:

“He’s a kind, well-meaning boy, and awfully sensitive…But let me tell you, the whole trouble stems from immaturity and sentimentality! It’s not the practical aspects of socialism that fascinate him, but its emotional appeal – its idealism –what we may call its mystical, religious aspect – its romanticism…and on top of that, he just parrots other people.”

Only someone who has known the “other side” of the psychological lines, commiserating among those who wish to tear civilizations and their institutions down from within can write with such creative specificity.

But again, Dostoevsky’s strength remains the predictive quality of his novels. He identified the strategies the Left would use in the 20th century and their final destinations. Three of these nightmare prophecies stand out: the war on the family, the replacement of old theistic religions for a new (thoroughly secular) one, and the extermination of millions of citizens on behalf of “the cause.”


1) Generational Sins: The War on the Family

Before our philosophy of life develops, before our religious worldview forms, before our political convictions solidify there exists the family. Dostoevsky’s novels and short stories are packed with familial themes because, apart from his later Christian faith, his experiences as a child and young adult had profound and lasting consequences – just as they do for all of us.

No big secret here.




But where Dostoevsky’s study of the institution of the family and its relation to society and politics goes from “some fairly obvious observations” to “a wealth of discerning insights” comes in just how much importance for almost everything he places at the feet of the family. His respect for this sacred institution only increased with age as he began to comprehend progressives’ militant disdain for the family, for marriage, and for any other type of education save the kind they – the revolutionaries who would one day rule the nation – provided. Consequently, Dostoevsky’s later books, such as The AdolescentBrothers, and Devils, focus on these themes with characters overwhelmed by their family’s past.

In Devils, the character Peter Verkhovensky poses as a beguiling and well-connected socialist dissident. We learn that his father, a former professor named Stepan Trofimovitch, abandoned him as a child to be raised by intellectuals at various academies and universities. Peter’s odd choice of his own home province in the Russian countryside for the site of a cultural coup suddenly makes more sense: he wants to make his dad and those in the community suffer and feel humiliation. He craves payback for a miserable childhood. And what better way than to pose as a “man of the people” who is simply trying to over-throw greedy capitalists and oppressive religious traditions?

The reality: Stepan Trofimovitch did in fact abandon his son. And the seeds of skepticism and rebellion against authority that Stepan’s generation had sown appeared fully-realized in their offspring.

The results were disastrous. Just as they are in any culture where abdication of the primal duty to take care of your own children is tolerated (or worse still, encouraged). Because Stepan Trofimovitch disregarded his family and consequently his son grew up to want to destroy everyone else’s.

But the attack on the family, and the exploitation of the difficult or disillusioned childhoods many young people in 1870s Russia experienced, was not enough. Progressives knew this, and so did Dostoevsky. For even in the worst of circumstances, in the most broken of homes, faith still endured in the hearts of many Russians. Like Alyosha, the saintly youngest brother in Brothers Karamazov, the spiritual convictions of millions in Mother Russia would not die only through the undermining of the family. Something bigger had to be done. Someone bigger had to go.

They needed to murder God.


2) Militant Atheism: The War on God

Socialism, the economic and political theory that advocates for the state to control the means of production and oversee the distribution of resources, was relatively new back in Fyodor’s day and the assumption among small groups of intellectuals from Moscow to Mexico was that it would inevitably become the way all countries ran their governments, societies, and economies. Dostoevsky not only believed the sincerity in their beliefs, but that their convictions would win-out in nations around the globe to cause unprecedented suffering before collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions and weaknesses. 


 


Dostoevsky held that the inherent weakness of the Utopian visions of socialism was a rejection of God and the institution of the family. He saw that for the Left, their politics became their religion. The members of the progressive-Left were demanding standards of Judeo-Christian morality be replaced with new (arbitrary) standards handed down from central councils and planning committees.


Dostoevsky wrote the following description of the youngest Karamazov brother Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov:


“The path he chose was a path going in the opposite direction of many his age, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift achievement.  As soon as he reflected seriously on it, he was convinced and convicted of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul, and at once he instinctively said to himself: ‘I want to live for immortality with Him and I will accept no compromise.’



In the same way, if he had decided that God and immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and socialist. For socialism is not merely the labor question, but it is before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form taken by atheism today. It is the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to Heaven from earth but to set up Heaven on earth.”

Dostoevsky believed that if even religious nations could commit heinous acts, a secular state would be capable of unspeakable atrocities.

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn would later put it: “A great disaster had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Side note: In 1958, a film version of Brothers Karamazov was released and starred Yul Brenner and a young William Shatner. Here’s a clip to whet your whistle:





3) Genocide: The War on Man


From Walter E. Williams’ August 8th column “Liberals, Progressives, and Socialists“:

The unspeakable acts of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis pale in comparison to the horrors committed by the communists in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China. Between 1917 and 1987, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and their successors murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, China’s communists, led by Mao Zedong and his successors, murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese. The most authoritative tally of history’s most murderous regimes is documented on University of Hawaii Professor Rudolph J. Rummel’s website here, and in his book “Death by Government.”

The numbers involved stagger the mind. We must shine a spotlight on a truth our modern education system has failed to teach American students: these were all secular, socialist nations that began under the auspices of such lofty-sounding goals as “a workers’ paradise” and “the peoples’ republic.”

Like lambs to the slaughter, millions went simply because dutiful bureaucrats and foot-soldiers carried out the orders of philosopher-kings who were ready to sacrifice humanity for the sake of their “rational” and “progressive” and “scientific” system of governance.






And yet this nightmare did not begin to play itself out until a few decades into the 20th century. Some fifty years earlier, a Russian novelist by the name of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky conceivied of characters such as the social theorist “Shigalov” in The Devils who announced to the inner circle of socialist revolutionaries he belonged to the logical long-term plan for ruling the people once the Czar was toppled: 


“Dedicating my energies to the study of the social organisation which is in the future to replace the present condition of things, I’ve come to the conviction that all makers of social systems from ancient times up to the present year, 187-, have been dreamers, tellers of fairy-tales, fools who contradicted themselves, who understood nothing of natural science and the strange animal called man…


I suggest as a final solution of the question the division of mankind into two unequal parts. One-tenth enjoys absolute liberty and unbounded power over the other nine-tenths. The others have to give up all individuality and become, so to speak, a herd, and, through boundless submission, will by a series of regenerations attain primeval innocence, something like the Garden of Eden. They’ll have to work, however. The measures I propose for depriving nine-tenths of mankind of their freedom and transforming them into a herd through the education of whole generations are very remarkable, founded on the facts of nature and highly logical.”
 


To this the aforementioned ring-leader Peter Verkhovensky responds:


“However much you tinker with the world, you can’t make a good job of it, but by cutting off a hundred million heads and so lightening one’s burden, one can jump over the ditch of transforming society more safely…It’s a new religion, my good friend, coming to take the place of the old one. That’s why so many fighters come forward, and it’s a big movement…

I ask you which you prefer: the slow way, which consists in the composition of socialistic romances and the academic ordering of the destinies of humanity a thousand years hence, while despotism will swallow the savory morsels which would almost fly into your mouths of themselves if you’d take a little trouble; or do you, whatever it may imply, prefer a quicker way which will at last untie your hands, and will let humanity make its own social organisation in freedom and in action, not on paper? They shout ‘cut off a hundred million heads’; that may be only a metaphor; but why be afraid of it if, with the slow day-dream on paper, despotism in the course of some hundred years will devour not a hundred but five hundred million heads?”
   

What’s one-to-five-hundred million “heads” among friends, right?

Again, keep in mind Dostoevsky penned these words in 1872. Great evils like tyrannical monarchies and human slave-trafficking had existed on planet earth since time began, but this devious mixture of both with a calculated and cavalier attitude toward human life startled those in the 19th century like Dostoevsky who first heard the schemes of the original community organizers (and had the good sense to believe that they’d carry out their plans should they ever gain power). 



It’s very difficult for my generation – the current 18 to 35 demographic – to grasp just how much suffering and death and oppression took place in the 20th century. We do not receive a comprehensive version of history in our public schools and institutions of higher education that might shed critical light on ideologies many in academia support. And to be sure, we can’t count on Hollywood and the entertainment industry to pick up any such slack in the culture.

But this matters. Ideas have consequences. Tens of millions died in the last century because of evil ideas.

And if an epileptic, compulsive-gambling, ex-convict in Russia 150 years ago could so accurately peer into the murky future to warn us, the least we can do is simply turn around to take in the much clearer view from this side of world history.



Blasphemy and Islam



 



Our fundamental rights are under attack.
 


By Andrew C. McCarthy
 

In Cairo on Wednesday, a Coptic Christian blogger named Alber Saber was convicted of blasphemy and “contempt of religion.” There’s a tragic irony: As any of the country’s Christians can tell you, contempt of religion is not merely permitted but encouraged in the new, post-Mubarak Egypt. What is criminal, what has become increasingly perilous, is any criticism of Islam.

Nor is truth a defense. Another Egyptian court recently upheld the blasphemy conviction of Makarem Diab, also a Coptic Christian. Diab had gotten into a discussion with a Muslim acquaintance, Abd al-Hameed, who, in the course of mocking Diab’s faith, insisted that Jesus was a serial fornicator. Diab countered Hameed’s baseless taunt with an assertion most Islamic scholars regard as accurate: namely, that Mohammed had more than four wives. Yet, because the context of Diab’s assertion evinced an intention to cast Islam’s prophet in an unfavorable light, Diab was prosecuted for “insulting the prophet” and “provoking students.” He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

This is now everyday life in Egypt. It is also certain to be the future of Egypt. The overwhelmingly Islamist population, having first elected Islamic supremacists led by the Muslim Brotherhood to top leadership positions, is now poised to adopt a constitution that is founded on sharia, Islam’s totalitarian legal framework, and that expressly enshrines these blasphemy standards. But the problem is not just sharia in Egypt. Sharia is here. 

About three weeks ago, another Egyptian court sentenced seven people to death after convicting them in absentia on blasphemy charges. Most of the seven are in the United States. Most of them are Coptic Christians; one is a Florida-based pastor who is a blistering critic of Islamic scripture. The charges relate to the defendants’ alleged involvement in “Innocence of Muslims,” an obscure amateur video that Islamists have frivolously cited as a pretext for their latest round of international mayhem — and that the Obama administration has fraudulently portrayed as the catalyst of a massacre in Benghazi in which jihadists killed four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.

So how has President Obama responded to the Egyptian government’s human-rights violations, its failure to protect the Copts from persecution (indeed, its willing participation in that persecution), and its provocations against Americans — which now include ordering their killing, through a kangaroo-court process that flouts our due-process standards, over their engagement in activity that is expressly protected by our Constitution?

Well . . . the president has announced that not only will he continue funding Egypt’s Islamist government, but he intends to include in that U.S. aid the provision of 20 F-16 fighter jets. Moreover, Obama is continuing his administration’s collaboration with the 57-government Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the “Istanbul Process.” That is the OIC’s campaign to impose sharia’s repressive blasphemy standards.

The most recent aggression in this blasphemy enterprise — a years-long, carefully plotted OIC campaign to snuff out American free-speech rights under the guise of “defamation of religion” — is U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. It calls on Western governments to outlaw “any advocacy of religious hatred against individuals that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has zealously colluded with the OIC in seeking the implementation of 16/18. Notwithstanding her contortions, it is a gross violation of the First Amendment. Our law permits the criminalization of incitement to violence only when an agitator willfully calls for violence. Our Constitution does not abide what the resolution is designed to achieve: the heckler’s veto and, worse, the suppression of speech predicated on mob intimidation — the legitimation of barbaric lawlessness.

Nor does the Constitution’s guarantee of free expression tolerate the outlawing of speech that prompts discrimination, much less hostility. And contrary to administration hairsplitting, it makes no difference that the resolution would not “criminalize” expression that prompts discrimination or hostility. To quote the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law” suppressing protected speech. It does not say “Congress shall make no criminal law.” No law means no law — no civil law, rule, regulation, guideline, etc.

As the framers understood, virtually everything we actually need a government for can be handled — more responsively and thus more responsibly — at the local and state level. There is one essential reason for having a federal government, and one principal reason for the creation of the office of President of the United States: to protect our citizens in the exercise of their fundamental rights from hostile foreign forces.

Our fundamental rights are now under attack. As far as that is concerned, it is of little moment that the Egyptian government, joined by its Islamist confederates, threatens our lives and our liberties through court orders and resolutions — through lawfare rather than violent jihad. We are every bit as much under siege.

What is of great moment is that the president has joined the hostile forces against us, against Americans whose protection is the sole reason for the federal government’s existence.

If that is to be Washington’s posture, what do we need it for? It is bad enough when Leviathan cannot tell America’s friends from America’s enemies. But what is the point of a federal government that cannot tell America’s enemies from America? Or that can tell perfectly well, but chooses to fight for the wrong side?


— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which was published by Encounter Books.


The Doctor Won’t See You Now


M2RB:  Kiss...live






So if you please get on your knees
There are no bills, there are no fees
Baby, I know what your problem is
The first step of the cure is a kiss
So call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I am your doctor of love (calling Dr. Love), ha
They call me (Dr. Love),
they call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' of (calling Dr. Love)



 


American health care is in a bureaucratic death grip. 


By Mark Steyn 


A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be “under-served” and thus eligible for the fed gravy. At the ribbon-cutting, she was an honored guest, and they were abundant in their praise. Alas, in the fullness of time, the political pendulum swung, her senator departed the scene, and she was obliged to take a job out of state. 

Last summer, she returned to the old neighborhood and thought she’d look for a doctor. The sweet old guy with the tweed jacket in the neatly painted cape on Main Street had taken down his shingle and retired. Most towns in the North Country now have fewer doctors than they did in the 19th century, and the smaller towns have none. The Yellow Pages lists more health insurers than physicians, which would not seem to be an obvious business model. So she wound up going to the health center she’d endowed so lavishly with your tax dollars just a few years earlier.

They gave her the usual form to fill in, full of perceptive inquiries on her medical condition: Do you wear a seat belt? Do you own a gun? How many bisexual men are you now having sex with? These would be interesting questions if one were signing up for eHarmony.com and looking to date gun-owning bisexuals who don’t wear seat belts, but they were not immediately relevant to her medical needs. Nevertheless, she complied with the diktats of the Bureau of Compliance, and had her medical records transferred, and waited . . . and waited. That was August. She has now been informed that she has an appointment with a nurse-practitioner at the end of January. My friend pays $15,000 a year for health insurance. In northern New Hampshire, that and meeting the minimum-entry requirement of bisexual sex partners will get you an appointment with a nurse-practitioner in six months’ time. 

Why is it taking so long? Well, because everything in America now takes long, and longer still. But beyond that malign trend are more specific innovations, such as the “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,” which slipped through all but unnoticed in Subtitle A Part One Section 3001 of the 2009 Obama stimulus bill. Under the Supreme National Coordinator, the United States government is setting up a national database for everybody’s medical records, so that if a Texan hiker falls off Mount Katahdin after walking the Appalachian Trail, Maine’s first responders will be able to know exactly how many bisexual gun-owners she’s slept with, and afford her the necessary care.

This great medical advance is supposed to be fully implemented by 2014, so the federal government is providing incentives for doctors to comply. Under the EHR Incentive Program, if a physician makes “meaningful use” of electronic health records, he’s eligible for “bonuses” from the feds — a mere $44,000 from Medicare, for example, but up to $63,750 from Medicaid. If you have a practice at 27 Elm Street and you’re treating the elderly widow from 22 Elm Street, she’s unlikely to meet the federally mandated bi-guy requirement, but you can still qualify for bonuses by filing her smoking status with Washington. For medical facilities in upscale suburbs, EHR is costly and time-consuming, and, along with a multitude of other Obamacare regulatory burdens, helping drive doctors to opt out entirely: My comrade Michelle Malkin noted the other day that her own general practitioner has now switched over to “concierge care,” under which all third parties (whether private insurers or government) are dumped and a patient contracts with his doctor solely through his checkbook. Some concierge docs will even make house calls: Everything old is new again! (For as long as the new federal commissars permit it.)

But in the broken-down rural hinterlands, EHR and other novelties make it more lucrative for surviving medical centers to prioritize federal paperwork over patient care. For example, there’s a lot of prescription-drug abuse in this country, and so the feds award “meaningful use” bonuses for providing records that will assist them in determining whether a guy with a prescription for painkillers in New Hampshire also has a prescription for painkillers with another doctor over the Connecticut River in Vermont. So in practice every new patient in this part of the world now undergoes a background check before getting anywhere near a doctor. It doesn’t do much for your health, but it does wonders for an ever more sclerotic bureaucracy.

Hence the decay of so many “medical” appointments into robot-voiced box-checking. At the doctor’s a couple of months back, the nurse was out to lunch, and so the receptionist-practitioner rattled through the form. In the waiting room. “Are you sexually active?” she asked. “You first,” I replied. I hope I didn’t cost her the federal bonus.

But don’t worry, it’s totally secure. Carl Smith Jr. was the first physician in Harlan County, Kentucky to introduce EHR. “Because of this technology,” Dr. Smith says, “we can send the patient’s prescription electronically by secure e-mail to pharmacies.” Wow! “Secure e-mail”: What a concept! It’s a good thing the e-mail is secure at American pharmacies because nothing else is. Last Christmas, while guest-hosting at Fox News in New York, I had a spot of ill health and went to pick up a prescription at Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue. The woman ahead of me was having some difficulties. She was a stylish lady d’un certain age, and she caught my wandering eye. After prolonged consultation with the computer, the “pharmacist” informed her (and the rest of us within earshot) that her insurer had approved her Ortho but denied her Valtrex. I was thinking of asking her for cocktails at the Plaza, when I noticed the other women in line tittering. It seems that Ortho is a birth-control pill, and Valtrex is a herpes medication.

So good luck retaining any meaningful doctor-patient confidentiality in a system in which more people — insurers, employers, government commissars, TSA Obergropinf├╝hrers, federal incentive-program auditors — will be able to access your medical records than in any other nation on earth.

No foreigner can even understand the American “health care” debate, which seems to any tourist casually surfing the news channels to involve everything but health care. Since the Second World War, government medical systems have taken hold in almost every developed nation, but only in America does the introduction of governmentalized health care impact small-business hiring practices and religious liberty, and require 16,500 new IRS agents and federal bonuses for contributing to a national database of seat-belt wearers. Thus, Big Government American-style: Byzantine, legalistic, whimsical, coercive, heavy on the paperwork, and lacking the one consolation of statism — the great clarifying simplicity of universal mediocrity.

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Obamacare governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy — or the equivalent of the entire French economy. No one has ever attempted that before, not even the French. In parts of rural America it will quickly achieve a Platonic perfection: There will be untold legions of regulators, administrators, and IRS collection agents, but not a doctor or nurse in sight.




Calling Doctor Love - Kiss


You need my love baby, oh so bad
You're not the only one I've ever had
And if I say I wanna set you free
Don't you know you'll be in misery
They call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' of (calling Dr. Love)
And even though I'm full of sin
In the end you'll let me in
You'll let me through, there's nothin' you can do
You need my lovin', don't you know it's true

So if you please get on your knees
There are no bills, there are no fees
Baby, I know what your problem is
The first step of the cure is a kiss
So call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I am your doctor of love (calling Dr. Love), ha
They call me (Dr. Love),
they call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' of (calling Dr. Love)

Ooh, they call me (Dr. Love)
I am the doctor of love (calling Dr. Love)

Ooh, they Call me (Dr. Love)
I am your doctor of love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure
you're thinking of (calling Dr. Love), yeah
Yeah, they call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' of (calling Dr. Love)
Love, love, love, (Dr. Love)
Love, love, love, love, (calling Dr. Love) love Dr. Love
(Calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' (Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure you're thinkin' of (calling Dr. Love)
(Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)
I've got the cure