Transport yourself to late-feudal Russian Empire, say circa 1850 and imagine that you have the pleasure of knowing two serf brothers, Van’ka and Pet’ka. Of course their real names are Ivan and Pyotr, but they would only be called by these names twice in their lives and only by the parish priest; once at baptism and once when they return their immortal souls to the Creator. Van’ka and Pet’ka were born into abject poverty in a small log cabin, which in the winter they shared not only with their parents and five siblings, but also with the family sow and in the spring her litter of piglets. Van’ka was the serious sort; he was quick to volunteer to do little favors for the Count and his family members, never asking for anything in return. But somehow without asking, a ten kopek coin would always be given to him; “na chai”, (for tea) the barin (nobleman) said. Van’ka took the money looking at his feet and bowed low. When he came home, he put the coin in an earthenware jar at the top of the clay hearth.
Pet’ka had a rebellious streak and hard work was not his style. When the foreman came calling, he was nowhere to be found. But he would station himself on the path that Ekaterina and her sister Natalia, the young baryshni (noblewomen) took every summer morning to pick wild flowers, and waylay them with a “bouquet” of whatever grew by the side of the road. He would offer it to them looking sideways with a dangerous gleam in his eye, knowing that they wouldn’t dare rebuff him, and once the gift was accepted his other hand was ready, palm up “na vodku, baryshya, pomiluy sudarynia” (for a glass of vodka, miss, have mercy, missus), his words would squeeze out from pursed lips. Once Nataliya, the eldest, assiduously avoiding eye contact gave him the money, off his was, as advertised, getting drunk at the village inn. Once every season, the girls would complain to papa, and Pet’ka would be led by the foreman and his assistant to the whipping pole to have his shirt stripped off and receive fifty lashes, but in a week, when the blood and puss gave way to scabs, he would be back with his bouquet of weeds, this time getting an extra coin to assuage the young mistresses’ guilt.
When the time came for the Count to fulfill his draft quota for the czar’s army service, naturally it wasn’t Van’ka that was chosen; he was far too valuable to the running of the estate. No, it was Pet’ka that was recommended by the foreman for the twenty-five year service, a recommendation that was gladly accepted at the manor house.
In his twenty-five years of service, Pet’ka bayoneted and shot the Turks in the Balkans and the British in Crimea and was good enough at dispensing violence on behalf of His Imperial Majesty, that his frequent boozing and thieving only got him whipped within an inch of his life, but never all the way to it. Coming back to his village honorable discharge in hand, Pet’ka knew of course that the serfs had been freed, but he wasn’t ready for the beautiful country home that his brother Van’ka had built for himself. “Is it all that tea money?” he asked when they finished hugging and kissing three times. Van’ka laughed, “well, yes, and some old fashioned hard work. We are doing alright, I guess. But you must have your military pension and the old cabin is yours now. You’ll do just fine”. Well, that military pension was just enough to get married and father three young boys before it put enough vodka in Pet’ka to put him in an early grave.
When the fateful year of 1917 came around, mother Russia was at war, and after three brutal years she was poised for victory. Van’ka’s grandkids were doing just fine; some were running the nice little farm in the old village, another got a scholarship to an engineering college and was now a foreman at the Tula weapons works in the Urals. But little did they know, busy as they were with winning their daily bread and making their motherland victorious and prosperous, that a genius propagandist whose brother was hanged a few years back for trying to blow up the last Czar had just proclaimed that “a rich man and a thief are two sides of the same coin” and that according to this guy’s definition, they were in fact, rich.
When an angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks and scythes assembled in front of the old manor house on a snowy morning in early 1919, Pet’ka’s grandkids were out in the front row. “Death to the bloodsuckers”, they cried and it very well may have been one of them that threw the first stone, shattering a window through which lit torches soon followed. And in 1933, when the collectivization brigade showed up in the village with their brown leather jackets and Nagant revolvers, it was Pet’ka’s great grandkids that showed them the hatch to the secret cellar where Van’ka’s progeny had managed to hide some seeds for the sowing season. And when the long bayoneted Moisin-Nagant rifles were aimed at almost point-blank range at the large family, Van’ka’s grandson, an old man now, leveling a cold gaze from under bushy white eyebrows, the young kids bowling, clinging to their mother’s skirts, when the order came to fire and red blood splattered the freshly fallen snow, Pet’ka’s grandson did not avert his gaze; it was his turn now.
After all, as president Obama would remark eight decades later: “if you own a business, you did not build that business”. The politruks (political propaganda officers) did their jobs well. “How do you think they got all that stuff?” they would ask. “By drinking our blood!” Pet’ka’s descendants would answer. Two decades later, these words were reverberating in places as diverse as Kenya and Kansas and found a fertile ground in the hearts and minds of Barack Obama Sr. and Stanley Ann Dunham. Never knowing or understanding the values of humility, sobriety, and hard work, of faith and of community, they could not imagine that the “ownership class”, as Marx called it used these very values, across many generations, to acquire their possessions. No, it must have been through exploitation and theft, “bloodsucking” from the “working” classes that they had enriched themselves.
Image by Fibonacci Blue
In Russia, the Van’ka’s of this world, the hardworking, sober, entrepreneurial classes were so utterly defeated, so thoroughly annihilated by the enraged mobs of Pet’ka’s guided always by the subtle hand of master propagandists for whom Lenin was the shining guiding light, that the entire idea of success that does not come at the expense of others is now completely discredited. Most Russians simply do not believe that one can climb up without pushing others down, let alone while pulling others up with them. More than anything else, this attitude, is so thoroughly ingrained by unnatural selection via slaughter and by multi-generational government propaganda, that it is now Russia’s worst enemy bar none. Having no illusions as to Russia’s recent history, those Russians that do manage to achieve financial success do not reinvest their money in Russia for fear it will be taken away from them by some arbitrary decree from above. No, these people live with one and a half feet outside of Russia, keeping their money, their real estate, and often their wives and children abroad. Van’ka’s have learned their lesson; they would not be caught unprepared again. Russia is Pet’ka land now, a land of people with palms outstretched, casting angry side glances at their benefactor, their enemy, their new barin, the Government.
And what about those of us lucky enough to reside in the West? Do we enjoy a system that incentivizes and promotes hardworking folk who do well by doing good for themselves and their country? Alas, far from it. The idea that personal outcomes are divorced from personal choices has taken root in the West only to a slightly less atrocious degree. And why not? After all it was in the West that people like Marx and Engels laid the intellectual foundation for this dangerous fallacy. There is no Western country today that does not penalize hard work and good personal choices by taxing the fruits of these twin pillars of success far in excess of what is needed to maintain public safety and provide for the common defense. The tax overflows are used to grow vast government bureaucracies whose job it is to divide the remaining proceeds among those who are lazy and prefer a life of drug and alcohol induced haze to a life of sober responsibility. Needless to say, maintaining and growing the number of Pet’ka’s is in the self-interest of these bureaucracies and so, supported by politicians who like Bernie Sanders have enriched themselves by keeping their constituents’ palms greased, they keep growing and expanding with every passing election cycle, regardless of who comes to “power”.
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Lenin has always scoffed at the French revolution because it was a product of the bourgeoisie, who, being in his opinion despicably yellow and soft, did not finish the job of annihilating the French nobility, allowing it to come back to power only a few years later. No, he would not be repeating this kind of mistake in Russia; he would first cleanse the revolutionary movement form its bourgeois elements (the Mensheviks, the Social Revolutionaries) and then eliminate in their entirety the nobility, the professional classes, and the bourgeoisie itself. In this endeavor Lenin and his hellish progeny Stalin were entirely successful and they inflicted on Russia a mortal gut wound from which, like Pushkin after being shot in the gut when dueling with the French officer d’Anthes, it is now slowly dying in great agony.
The West, especially America, have proven only somewhat more resistant to the communist virus. But let us not kid ourselves, we are barely keeping it in check, let alone winning the battle against it. Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” was supposed to deliver the final blow to the free market system in our country. Hillary’s all but certain election was only the insurance policy in case Obama’s eight years did not do the job. America’s efforts at rejecting the communist virus in the 1950’s are now widely discredited and reviled. America’s educational system, vertically and laterally, is all but communist. America’s propaganda organs, the main stream media and Hollywood, have succumbed back in the 1930’s and since then are waging a war of attrition on America’s productive and sober citizenry. It is only the blessings of its geography, its pioneer spirit, and above all its Constitution, that have thus far provided America with a measure of immunity. Unfortunately, with that immunity comes a certain naiveté, a laissez-faire “what can possibly happen if we try this” attitude that got many American patriots to twice vote for their sworn enemy, Barack Obama.
Image by Carl Glover
The communist virus, like many virulent viruses, does not rest until its host is dead. The only way to deal with it is to vanquish it entirely and completely; not allow it any place to hide, be it in teachers’ union halls in Chicago or infinity pools in Brentwood. Perhaps this truth is a hard pill to swallow and acting on it is harder yet, but if there is one group of people who can do it, it’s us, the American People.