There was no inevitability in an eventual Bolshevik takeover. With more unity and visionary, determined leadership, the Duma might have weathered the storm. But Kerensky pledged to Russia’s allies that Russia would remain in the war to “defend the Revolution” and honourably fulfill its treaty obligations. In June the much-shaken army was ordered to launch an offensive. It lasted three days, then collapsed as hundreds of thousands of troops simply refused to fight any more, sometimes just shooting their officers and walking away.
Tag Archives: History of the West
The Uses of History, 23 – Russia the Long-Suffering, 5 – 1914-1917
…. all the shortcomings and failures to reform the administration and the infrastructure of the Empire, along with the rampant nepotism and self-absorption of the aristocracy in its management of affairs at the highest level, came home to roost. Massive territorial losses, dreadful casualties, abominable failures of supply that left the armies woefully short of everything essential, accumulated to sap morale in the army and navy, and leave the civilian population in desperate straits. Even then, the Tsar was virtually deaf to appeals to take drastic action and enable capable men to take charge of every aspect of the national war effort.
The biggest injury to that “Great Leap Forward” towards an open, egalitarian, universalist society (to borrow Mao’s phrase and put it to much better use) was actually the shattering of Christendom. This came via the triple hammer blows of (1) the Black Death and the tremendous socio-economic upheaval it produced [now there was the pandemic of pandemics!], (2) the Reformation followed by the Wars of Religion, and (3) the Enlightenment, which, despite all its protestations to be the Age of the coming of the great light of emancipation from superstition, opened the doors wide to the tsunami called the French Revolution.
The Ghosts of Christmas, 1 (with Apologies to Charles Dickens)
The post-Christian cultural revolution in the West I have been describing in its Canadian context is the same which has swept Europe, the United States, and Western outliers such as Australia and New Zealand. Many of the European states have a barely breathing remembrance of Christendom, despite the appearance of oddities such as political parties calling themselves “Christian Democrats”. Churches are largely museums and cultural artefacts, even those still kept open for religious functions among the remnant of Christians. Such ceremonies are seen as living lessons in sociology and anthropology by their State benefactors.
Faith and Hope, Assurance and Conviction, 8 – Hope and Assurance, 1
Despite the self-flagellating oddity of the West’s admission of guilt, it is paradoxically out of the much-maligned West that all these much needed calls for reform and equalization of injustices and rights have come.
Inconvenient Conscience, 3: Whatever happened to our conscience?
Ideology blinds its fanatical promoters and advocates at least as much as any theology. What we have now seen all too terribly in modern history is that it ultimately kills many more people, much more beauty, creativity, and even creation than any set of Inquisitors, Puritans, or whatever other set of religious zealots ever did.
The Third Way, 34: The Allure of Rome, Part 13 – Back to the Future
The legend and mystique of Rome is still much with us, both “late and soon”. As the West sleepwalks its way into abandoning and losing its heritage, the ghosts of the Caesars and the Eagles haunt us still.
The Third Way, Part 2: Progressive Redemption, an Analysis
Progressive ‘redemption’ and ‘salvation’ suggests the best possible future as a least-painful, most comfortable, safest possible sort of existence for the greatest possible number, perhaps with a little adventure thrown in from time to time to add a little ‘danger’ and ‘risk’ (which seems to be a necessary stimulus for progress to continue). The goal seems to be survival for the species for the longest possible time-span.
Is this enough for our species to
thrive? Or is it really a chimera which
would, in the long run, stultify and smother who and what we really are?
The Third Way: Part 1
It seems that appealing to high philosophical principles and the light of Reason and Science alone simply does not inspire much hope or commitment among the ordinary unwashed masses who just don’t know any better.