Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome: by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide by Richard L. Rubenstein
Second Opinion by Theodore Dalrymple
Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline by Theodore Dalrymple
In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas by Theodore Dalrymple
Defending The West: by Ibn Warraq
Nations, Language and Citizenship: by Norman Berdichevsky
Romancing Opiates by Theodore Dalrymple
Which Koran? by Ibn Warraq
Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple
What The Koran Really Says by Ibn Warraq
Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple
The Origins of the Koran by Ibn Warraq
Why I Am Not Muslim by Ibn Warraq
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History by Norman Berdichevsky
Leaving Islam Edited by Ibn Warraq
The Danish-German Border Dispute, 1815-2001: Aspects of Cultural and Demographic Politics by Norman Berdichevsky
What's Love Got to Do with It?: Emotions and Relationships in Pop Songs by Thomas J. Scheff
The Bee and the Lamb
by Takuan Seiyo (November 2011)
The bee in its host
On a freezing day in late November 1913, an indigent with a sorrow-etched face and no topcoat was ejected in a wilderness area from a train headed from Estonia to Warsaw. He had no ticket, for he could not afford one. An eighth child of a dirt-poor Estonian peasant, the outcast was on his way to claim the throne of Poland to which he was convinced he was the rightful heir.
Juhan Liiv, for that was the madman’s name, walked back home through the Baltic swamps and woodlands in the sub-zero frost of the harsh northern winter. It took several days (1) and must have been a major ordeal, for he had a weak and sickly constitution. As a great lover of Estonia’s soil and soul, to ease the misery perhaps he was humming a little poem he’d written in 1905 about a bee heading back home: “It Flies Toward the Beehive” (Ta lendab mesipuu poole).
By the time Liiv reached shelter at his brother’s rural house, he was ready to die. Which he did, destitute, lonely and mentally ill, on December 1, 1913.
Hardly anyone knew or cared; since childhood, Liiv’s sensitivity and fragile mental state evoked little more than teasing from his peers. He had had one love, but penury, fragile health and mental imbalance, of which he was aware, forced him to shy away from the woman in order to love her penumbra from afar, in letters and poems.
Born in 1864 in a hut and only two generations removed from serfdom, Juhan Liiv had worked for a while as a provincial journalist, but continuous ill health forced him to retire to a life of solitary brooding and poverty from the time he was 28. He wrote some short stories, of which one was published in his lifetime. By 1894, his schizophrenia led to an internment in an asylum in Tartu. Released uncured, he spent the rest of his life leading a semi-vagrant existence in his remote native area.
His mind could no longer handle the long form, so he wrote short poems. The poems were simple but rhythmic, full of imagery and metaphor from nature. Many were autobiographical, reflecting sadly on his fate, on loss, loneliness and disappointment in love. Others were an expression of love for his country, with titles like “I Saw Estonia Yesterday” and “Who Does Not Remember the Past (is Living Without the Future).”
Liiv’s simplicity and realist imagery were discordant with the prevailing taste. The few who knew of his solitary labor in the woods didn’t care for it. Appreciation started a decade later, when a collection of his poems was published in 1909. But by then, he had already lived his life and was, at least in his head, on his way to assume the throne of Poland on the days when he wasn’t Czar Alexander.
Today, Juhan Liiv lies under a grand obelisk, and his humble birthplace in Alatskivi is a museum. He is considered Estonia’s greatest poet of all time. The young read his lines to their loves, and the hurting find in him a balm for their pains. (2)
The trajectory of Juhan Liiv’s life among the Estonians is not unique. Every people kills its Christs, stones its Cassandras and buries its Mozarts and Vivaldis in pauper graves. Apart from greed, envy and stupidity, frivolity and sheep-like conventionality are a hallmark of the human species. They weighed down the lives of hundreds of the greatest everywhere, including Van Gogh and Gauguin, Shubert, Edgar Allan Poe and James Joyce, whose last words were "Does nobody understand?"
The second lesson of Juhan Liiv’s life is that this is a vale of sorrow by definition, and it’s only the dignity, integrity, gratitude and care with which one traverses one’s particular one-way lane that makes a difference. One cannot grasp anything about this world without serious contemplation of death, loss and decay, and the force that keeps all the nuons and gluons spinning, about which we know little. Yet the West’s culture has divorced itself from such considerations.
For the Left, questions about life’s essential mystery and tragedy are met by fraudulent answers. It’s all about the inequality. One day, Progressive rulers will figure out at last that beauty and charm are distributed far less equally and are a greater blessing than race, gender and money. Woe is that day, for government goons may equalize those with “unearned advantages” by sprinkling them with hydrochloric acid in the name of social justice.
For the Middle-Right, the answer to the vale of sorrows dilemma is to create a system where the most people can dance the macarena on the hood of a zero-down Bimmer with the iPod stuck in the back of the thong just below a large tattoo of Jay-Z. That way rooting pork lies.
For most Conservatives, the answer lies in whatever religious rite they learned when nine years old, with a safe harbor for nonthought in worship of Jesus-the-God not leavened with serious study and contemplation of Jesus-the-man and His times. It entails a formalistic adherence to a syncretic 4th century dogma grounded in unexamined autosuggestion, often entailing surrender masquerading as love and embittered at its dwindling popularity. It does not seem to work well in the 21st century anymore.
Somehow, the West has driven itself to Nowhere Land: part Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, part a lodge of Quakers United for Frantz Fanon. Retracing the route where wrong turns were made is essential, for without it it’s impossible to find the path to the straight and narrow.
The straight and narrow connoted here is far more than a theme for a Sunday sermon. The bumper-sticker idea that “S*** happens” expressed more eruditely in Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is inseparable from the awareness that ours is a brief interlude on a tiny marble rotating in infinity by forces we don’t understand, by a design we are silly enough to consider fully revealed to holders of PhDs or priest parchments.
Had the tragic and unpredictable side of life and fate not been so fanatically shunned and suppressed in the West, “best-scenario” fractional bank lending based on fictional collateral could not have taken root. A shaky mountain of smelly derivatives touted AAA by unclean rating services could not have risen. Lying governments would not have been allowed their default mode of eternally rosy monetary expansions of colorful pieces of paper. Progressive elites would not be permitted to experiment with flooding the First World with the Third one while singing Kumbaya and painting a glowing future for all. Americans would not live on credit cards and carry two mortgages.
But we are far from done with Juhan Liiv. The third lesson of his life is that with all the misery and neglect that befell him, he never blamed others for his travails. He was modest about his talent, critical about his output and mercilessly honest about his condition, referring to himself often as “lunatic.” What a contrast to our times: a chronicle of the triumphant losers screaming at the altar of victimhood while the erstwhile winners – the normal, smarter, more creative, harder working and more dynamic -- march in self-flagellants’ processions murmuring apologies for the imputed sins of their ancestors.
The ultimate lessons are in Juhan Liiv’s legacy as expressed by the Estonian people. His poems have been set to music and are sung by the many choirs that seem to be one of Estonia’s natural resources. The lines about a bee flying home that Liiv may have hummed while stumbling semi-frozen through the bogs and backwoods are now sung by choirs of 25,000 in Estonia’s celebrated song festivals. Here is my favorite rendition:
These are the words (3):
Ta lendab mesipuu poole It flies toward the beehive
Ta lendab lillest lillesse, It flies from blossom to blossom, ja lendab mesipuu poole; and flies toward the beehive; ja tõuseb kõuepilv ülesse - And a thundercloud rises to the sky,
ta lendab mesipuu poole. it flies toward the beehive.
Ja langevad teele tuhanded; And thousands fall on the road;
veel koju jõuavad tuhanded Thousands more reach home ja viivad vaeva ja hoole and remove the worry and care, ja lendavad mesipuu poole! and fly toward the beehive.
Nii hing, oh hing, sa raskel a'al Soul, oh soul, at difficult times – kuis õhkad sa isamaa poole; how you long for the fatherland. kas kodu sa, kas võõral maal - If at home, if on foreign soil – kuis ihkad sa isamaa poole! how you long for the fatherland!
Ja puhugu vastu sull' surmatuul And if death’s wind blow against you, ja lennaku vastu sull' surmakuul: and if death’s bullet fly against you, sa unustad surma ja hoole You forget death and care, ning tõttad isamaa poole! and hurry toward the fatherland.
This is a deeply affecting song for one who can perceive the difference between lucky Anglosphere countries, blessed by their natural barriers from raptor nations yet throwing away their identity, and victims of geography like tiny Estonia that have been crushed for one thousand years between the Rus and the Teuton and never ceased fighting to maintain their identity.
Only in a nation that has suffered cruel oppression but remained ethnically monolithic will you find such huge, young crowds singing the word isamaa – fatherland, my country – with a sincerity that the hip-hopping Hollander or Amerikka–cursing Bostoner would find incomprehensible. Besides isamaa, the whole song, ostensibly about a bee and a beehive, is about love of country, of home.
Consider another Estonian song that excites the feelings, Isamaa ilu hoieldes (“Loving the Beauty of the Fatherland”). This one moves the emotions not through its lyricism and soaring harmonies, but its raw strength and unusual chord progressions -- and the thousands singing in unison, as though moved by one spirit.
Isamaa ilu hoieldes was created in the 1980s by two remarkable talents: the poet Jüri Leesment and the composer Alo Mattiisen. Their resistance songs fuelled the ’87–‘91 Singing Revolution that spread from Estonia to Latvia and Lithuania, and succeeded in shaking off the yoke of a vastly stronger Soviet oppressor. This is the credo it expresses:
If you believe in yourself, in the wisdom of the old and the strength of the young; if you believe in the solidarity of your people, and in the soil and birch groves and swallows of home – then you get a better life.
If you believe in dreams and lies, if you bow to the ruling masters and to money interests, if you are swayed by the words of your rulers and your opponents, or weaken due to the scolds of the blind and the bites of the base and greedy – then you get nothing (4).
It’s quite the goose-bump experience to hear 25,000 people singing this refrain:
Isamaa ilu hoieldes. Loving the beauty of the fatherland Vaenlase vastu võideldes: Fighting against the enemy, pane tähele, pane tähele, Pay attention, pay attention, pane tähele, pane tähele, Pay attention, pay attention.
Pay attention. Can a crowd of 150,000 unblessed by Wonderful Diversity and animated by 25,000 singing in unison of their ancestral land and spirit have a strength in sameness quite unlike the dar al-harb of 2010 Rotterdam and Birmingham or the Zimbabwe-in-training at America’s “most diverse” cities, such as Oakland, CA (5) or Camden, NJ?
“Diversity" is actually a good thing. You may rest assured that the milk-bread-and-salted fish Estonian would like to have a Thai restaurant or two in his town. In February, fatherland is not much on his mind, but Bali or Rio is.
Diversity, however, is like hot Tabasco sauce. You add a few drops to your mashed potatoes, you have improved them. But keep pouring it in, and at 10% Tabasco your starchy purée becomes hard to digest. At 35% -- which is the United States now -- you will need an ambulance and a stomach pump. A California-style mash that’s 58% Tabasco will kill you.
The Strength-in-Diversity meme is based on the dispando ad absurdum principle -- expansion onto the absurd. Because a little diversity is good for you, a 58% majority of sub-90 IQ colonizers from 180 Third World countries is good for you too. William “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” Clinton has had peak experiences of a different kind when speaking of the day in 2042 (est.) when Whites will no longer be a majority in America. But on that day, America’s final epitaph will have been engraved and its course inexorably set toward a Bosnia folded into Ciudad Juarez with additional entertainment provided by Jamaat al Fuqra.
The lamb in heavenly pastures
Now when the West wallows in self-loathing, in boosting and celebrating the manifestly inferior, when churches are semi-deserted except for Hallelujah farms at the edge of strip malls, when a café au lait pre-programmed Socialist International voice digitizer is still “The One” to the plurality (41%) of Americans, one has to ask why.
There are the Crooks and the Loons, the permanent black and brown wards of the state, Jewish “repair of the world” with unintended consequences, Scandinavian socialism and White-guilt psychosis. But there is one more common and oft-forgotten source.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire: Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land.
Jerusalem is the essence of England. King George V said that he preferred it to the official National Anthem, “God Save the King.” It’s the anthem of England’s cricket and Rugby Union teams, and of Team England at the Commonwealth Games. It is sung every year by patriotic audiences of thousands in public venues and concert halls. It has been sung in every English school and college, though with the voluntary dhimmitude of that green and pleasant land now, mentions of Jerusalem are probably discouraged, along with St George's Cross, cross buns, piggy banks and remembrance of the Nazi Holocaust.
Indeed Jerusalem is beautiful. Set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916, though written by the Jacobin sympathizer William Blake (in 1804) it could belong proudly in any church hymnal. But as a National Anthem? With a vow not to cease fighting “till we have built Jerusalem in England”?
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for a utopia of universal love and peace. Dark satanic mills are England’s industry in the early peak years of the Industrial Revolution. The various vows and declarations have little to do with love of England, and much to do with a Progressive social justice agenda leavened with Blake’s Swedenborgian nonsense.
That there were many social injustices in the 1800s is one thing. But that this be an anthem symbolizing England unto 2011 – that’s a different matter.
Jerusalem is a proto-socialist, crypto-multiculti (6) humanist paean. It was adopted early on as a hymn of the British Socialists, the British Suffragettes, the British Labour Party and all other parties besides. When Labour set out in 1945 to dismantle Great Britain for good with cradle-to-grave welfare, tax-funded universal National Health Service and promises of full employment, they called the plan “building a New Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem has a strong association also with Britain’s most disastrous event ever, World War 1. In this too, the song served a utopian purpose. Parry composed the Jerusalem score to help brace the fighting spirit and symbolize what England was fighting for: “the best interests of humanity”.
Thus did glorious Old England jump into an elective, three-year nightmare that broke its back forever. With lions led by donkeys, 60,000 dead in the first day of fighting, 1 million dead in total and 1.6 million wounded. Singing Jerusalem and marching into machine gun fire under mustard gas clouds for the good of humanity.
No wonder that the British have made such a mess of it. They now stand in line for dwindling council housing and other government goodies behind the culturally enriching immigrants from the 7th century, wear Kevlar vests to school, and suffer an Archbishop of Canterbury who supports sharia and a Crown Prince who proclaims 'My duty is to save the world'.
The same pathology is stamped on America’s decline. It’s all about the Holy Lamb of God, “City upon a Hill” (John Winthrop 1630, John Kennedy 1961, Ronald Reagan 1984, 1989), “Thousand points of light” (G.H.W Bush, multiple citations) and “A kinder, gentler nation” (G.H.W. Bush, 1988). It’s not about such humble tasks as maintaining a balanced budget, keeping the value of the dollar, containing the size of the Looter Class, discouraging the dysfunctions of dysfunctional minorities, protecting the free citizen from statist oligarchs, protecting the free market from greedster malefactors, maintaining territorial sovereignty, and preserving the social capital, culture and identity of the nation.
There is no nation, actually. Korea defends Korea’s border and America defends Korea’s border (and Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s too), but it does not defend its own. The Shia in Iraq want to get rid of the Sunnis, and Americans do the shooting. Mexico conceives solutions for its unemployable peons that America implements on its own soil. China builds up its military and America provides the dollars and the technology. Europe rescues European banks, and America does too.
This is not simply “America,” but its Whites. Whites who vote for Black and Hispanic politicians while Blacks vote for Black politicians and Hispanics for the Hispanic ones. Anglos who listen meekly to the recording, “Para español, oprima el numero dos” while calling a bank, utility or government office. White Christians who cultivate Islam, agonize permanently over past injustices, and hand over the keys to the house to all claimants, provided they be non-White and claim victimhood status.
The United States could have become a healthy, rational country after the Civil War if it weren’t for its Progressives. It even had an unofficial national anthem reflecting the same kind of deep connection to the land as Estonia’s songs do. America, written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1832, is a paean to a beautiful land of ancestors, expressing the deepest emotional connection that one may have to one’s country. Moreover, it is sung to the music of “God save the King” and affirms therefore that culturally, the United States is Great Britain’s daughter (7). Its second stanza goes like this:
“My native country, thee, land of the noble free, thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills; my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.”
America must have been deemed obsolete from the time the Progressives took the cultural reins in the 1880s and set out to make of America, Jerusalem. The Progressive creed tunneling under the United States to this day was presaged by the bizarre 19th century duo of the Christian Socialist Bellamy cousins, Edward and Francis. Edward wrote a best-seller in 1888 envisioning America of the year 2000 as a socialist utopia. Francis, a Baptist minister, was known for his sermon “Jesus the Socialist,” for his flag fetishism and the proto-Nazi Bellamy salute that went with it.
No wonder that with the Bellamys setting the tone, and three Progressive presidents (Roosevelt, Wilson, Roosevelt) soon thereafter, America was supplanted. In 1916, America’s most fateful Progressive, Woodrow Wilson, authorized “The Star Spangled Banner” as the new unofficial anthem (8).
Gone is the simplicity and love of ancestral soil. In a “proposition nation” whose politicians bray as though on cue “We are a nation of immigrants” and act as foreign agents and own nest featherers even while serving their sworn national duties, a long poem that one can neither remember nor sing properly is more appropriate. Particularly as it’s about the defense of a once-proud city, Baltimore – now a decrepit, dangerous sore plagued by Afro-American criminality at the bottom, gang warfare in the middle, kleptocracy at the top, and dementia queen Nancy Pelosi as the city’s most famous daughter.
The current U.S. anthem concludes with the lines: “And this be our motto: In God is our trust; And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave; O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” So true until 1960, now its sounds like naive braggadocio.
God helps only those who help themselves, as Americans once did. Now, 44% of Americans live off the government.
“In God We Trust” could be printed not on one but on both sides of the American dollar, and it still wouldn’t change the Reality that there is little God can do for them who devalued their currency by 95% since 1913 and frittered such devalued dollars on cockamamie social engineering projects, mortgage loan guarantees for the guaranteed deadbeats, building modern China including its military, and bringing democracy and tolerance to the lands of the 7th century. All while exulting in their own goodness and specialness while being cut 35% (and growing) with Third World “diversity.”
Pay attention. Between the humble bee of Juhan Liiv, animated by the pulse of her earthly colony, and the Anglo-Saxon Christian lamb exalting in heavenly pastures (9), the bee is apt to be the long-term survivor. A headline last year read, “Obama Wins Unlikely Allies [Evangelical Christian leaders] in Immigration.” Another one announced that United Church of Christ, United Methodists and various evangelical groups would be participating in the “One Nation Working Together” rally of the extreme Left in Washington, D.C. on 2 October 2010 -- along with such worthy comrades as Communist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, Planned Parenthood, and Code Pink.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit Western Christianity itself.
Goody Gullible Gulliver
Looking at the evolution of Christianity in the New World, one sees a blessed and lucky polity with a wholesome and constructive creed that morphed over 100 years ago into the conceit of building “Jerusalem,” with the government as the builder. Leaving aside the pre-WW2 Progressive presidents, since Lyndon Johnson for nearly half a century now the U.S. government has engaged in little more than building what G.H.W. Bush would call in 1988 “a kinder, gentler nation” and his son George W. would boost to a quest for a kinder, gentler world, with dire consequences (10).
For all those years, the U.S. government’s main project was equalizing the unequal and stamping out discrimination where Reality itself (i.e. God) discriminates. It seeded perceived historical victims in positions of power while its world competitors did so with their best and brightest. It opened its borders to the world for the good of the immigrants and to its own detriment. It streamed Islam into a Christian country and grew it there for the sake of “Judeo-Christian values.” It sucked in every manner of barbarian refugee and “refugee” from all over the globe, as long as he had a sob story. It redistributed wealth from the workers to the idlers and, via its trashing of the dollar, from the savers to the spendthrift borrowers. It exported its industry and jobs overseas, and imported the praise and cheap junk of Third World beneficiaries. It fought wars for democracy and freedom elsewhere, and refused to attend to the wars on its borders and in its own minorities-dominated cities. Great Britain immersed itself in the same pathology, though only via the left and center-Christian chutes, without the “greed is good” steroid of America’s unhinged banksters and next-quarter-profit’s maximizers.
For all those years, China was executing a brilliant rise via a clever industrial export and currency manipulation policy. China has cornered the global market in industrial production and, increasingly, in scarce natural resources, not to speak of its military dominance of the Far East -- all made possible by U.S.-supplied dollars and technology. America in the meantime has cornered the market on financial air trading, predatory lawsuits, global compassion, and gross reverse-racist self-mutilation for the sake of progressive bondage, painful discipline, and purported approval by Liberation Lamb Jesus.
To save alien Arabs from Sadam Hussein and Pashtuns from the Taliban, America, with main assist from Great Britain, emptied its empty coffers and sent its 19-year-olds to be ripped by IEDs on dusty Muzland lanes. But it was China that got the oil contracts and Iran that gained a new satrapy in Iraq. It’s sharia law and hatred of the infidel that the U.S.-sponsored Afghani government stands for. It’s Al-Qaeda and Muslims Brotherhood that the U.S. empowered by helping Libyan rebels against Qaddafi.
Right along, playing to America’s passion for compassion, Mexico has been implementing a brilliant cultural and territorial reconquista via demographic dumping of tens of millions of its undesirables. Islam was executing a clever expansionist strategy by placing a large fifth column of immigrants in the all-too-willing Anglosphere, and then using Constitutional protections to expand Islam and its influence via symbolic presence (mosques, Ramadan at the White House etc.), Wahhabi bribery of universities and MSM, and intimidation via terrorism and recruitment of violent black criminals to Islam through prison imams on government salary.
Great Britain, to up the ante in the Inter-Anglo Compassion tournament, imports its worst jihadi enemies and gives them council housing and welfare for man, four wives and 16 future-jihad children per family, all out of tender concern for what their Muslim enemies would do to them in their home countries. That those enemies are the sane ones, and it’s Blighty that needs its head examined, apparently is not a popular notion in the ruling precincts of London.
80% of America’s population and 71% of Great Britain’s define themselves as Christian. These Christians, and the politicians they elect, have proved eminently hobbled in their comprehension of Reality’s mechanisms (11). In a geopolitical contest where the one superpower is guided by “What would Jesus do,” its primary enemy is guided by “What would Muhammad do” (Answer: conquest, killing, subjugation), and its main competitor and ascending superpower is guided by the “Thirty Six Stratagems” -- e.g. #10: “Hide a knife behind a smile” -- the superpower shall not remain so for long.
Perhaps another look at Estonia is warranted, it being a representative of a class of Eastern European countries humbled and hardened by a long succession of calamities, hence cleansed of the curses of pollyanism, naïveté, hubris, pretensions of exceptionalism, Lamb and Lion aspirations and tortured self-doubts.
From Brothers of the Sword to brothers of the song
Estonia’s history is impossible for a foreign non-specialist to grasp adequately. It’s a 1,000-year chronicle of conquest and subjugation of a small people by a succession of all the bullies in the neighborhood. There were some 40 invasions by the Russians in their various stages, crusades of Western European knights, monks and opportunists, and additional occupations by Denmark, Sweden, various German entities, Lithuania and Poland.
For our purpose here, two aspects will suffice. The one is how Christianity came to Estonia. The other is how Liberty has.
By 1193, when Pope Celestine III announced a Northern Crusade to convert the Baltic peoples to Christianity, they had already lived in the area for 8,000 years and had been preyed upon by the Kievan Rus for centuries. The “Livonian Brothers of the Sword” (Fratres militiae Christi de Livonia) would bring the word of merciful Jesus to these simple polytheist folks by sword and fire at the same time when the Fourth Crusade was sacking Constantinople.
A hundred years later, the Livonian Brothers had allied with the Order of the Teutonic Knights [“the Order”], Danes and Germans had moved in as the overlord class that enserfed the local tribes, but the uprisings by serfs and stubborn pagans would continue well into the 14th century. By the time it succumbed to the superior force of the Augustinian monks in chainmail and their allied knights, Estonia’s autochthon population was half of what it had been recently.
No sources in English are readily available about the rule of Latvia and Estonia by the Brothers of the Sword. However, the “Christian” ministrations of the Order in neighboring territories provide a basis for extrapolation.
The Prussians, whose lands would become the main stronghold of the Order, had been exterminated already by the 14th century. Thus did the word “Prussian” come to connote “German.” The Livs of Latvia and Estonia were luckier: about 400 remain with us today, though the Livs’ extermination is partly attributable to 20th century Soviets.
In 1308, singing "Jesu Christo Salvator Mundi” the Teutonic Knights seized the Polish city of Gdańsk (Danzig) and slaughtered 10,000 of its inhabitants. In their 1327 plundering raids on the region then known as Polonia Maior, the Order terrorized the people by burning down their villages and murdering women and children. There was much more of this.
Eventually, the creeping holocaust against the last remaining pagans, the Lithuanians, drove their prince Jogaila to convert his people to Christianity and form a protective alliance with Catholic Poland by marrying its queen. Under his command, the Polish-Lithuanian (12) army defeated the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald on July 15, 1410. That victory has averted a Christ-impostoring genocide of so wide a scope that its recent 600th anniversary was attended by the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
For Estonia, final relief from the Order would take another 25 years, but 550 more years of oppression were to follow. By the time the latest invaders -- the Soviets -- were done with it, Estonia had again lost ¼ of its population to mass murder, deportations to Siberia, harsh prison, confiscation of farms and forced starvation. All that in the brief span of Soviet occupation in 1940-41 and reoccupation in 1944 -1991, separated by three years of harsh German Nazi rule.
The Estonians never gave up. To fight the hated Soviets, at least 70,000 joined various units of Hitler’s army after German occupation in 1941 (13). When the Soviets reconquered the country in 1944, 30,000 Estonians took to the forest and resisted the Bolsheviks to the last man, for 30 years.
What the Soviets did not accomplish by mass murder, they tried by demographic and cultural means. They diluted the autochthon population by resettling Russian colonizers to Estonia and giving them special privileges. By 1990, 40% of the population of what was now Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was Russian, and Russian had become a required second language, slowly supplanting the first.
For a nation of $1.3 million to withstand all that, brave the Russian bear with nothing more than song and solidarity, and emerge with freedom and an intact national identity after 1000 years of foreign occupation (14) was a miracle.
There is a threefold lesson that Estonia’s history offers for the West. The first is that this is a vale of sorrow for whole nations like it is for individuals. Nations that have been spared travails such as befell Eastern Europe ought to feel grateful and protective of the advantages that good fortune has granted them. Instead, Western Anglophonic countries have frittered away their unique blessings such as defensible borders, cultural cohesiveness and monolingualism to pursue extreme utopian fantasies, as though it could be done with impunity. History however is not linear but circular. The wheel turns fastest for them who ignore its working.
The second and third lessons of Estonia’s history are that Christianity needs to be ransomed from its manglers on the Left, the Right and the doctrinaire middle before it can be resurrected as a widespread spiritual force that the West needs so badly. To consider that properly we have to return to the Western context.
Toward a greater mugging onto eternity
Christianity is now at the far left end of a historic amplitude that started with the pendulum at the opposite end on July 6, 1415. On that day, Jan Hus was burned at the stake for stiff-necked heresy just a month after the deceased John Wycliffe had been condemned for a similar reason to exhumation and burning, along with his books. From that far end of Church fanaticism, a counter momentum started that generated the Hussite Wars and other internecine Christian slaughter that would tear up Europe for the next 300 years. In the realm of ideas, the arc of the pendulum went from abusive Church absolutism to the Reformation, back to Counter-Reformation, on to Enlightenment, Jacobinism, Marxism-Socialism, and the current religion of life-as-entertainment, consumption, pretentious stupidity, celebratory baseness, sloth and dhimmitude to the nonwhite and non-Christian.
Independently thinking clergymen started the reckoning with the excesses of institutional Christianity at least since mid-14th century. Even the Enlightenment had clergymen linchpins like Denis Diderot and Adam Ferguson. The Euro-peoples’ faith tried to find a golden balance, but the inertial Church hierarchy resisted too hard for too long. So much kinetic energy had built up, that when the pendulum finally smashed through the resistance, it swept far past the zone of equilibrium into liberalism, relativism, and loss of the faith and the faithful.
Nostra Aetate came in 1965 to proclaim religious liberalism in a grand measure half of which would have been far more useful 200 years earlier. What remains of serious practicing Christendom seems to be occupied mainly by the Christian Left. That is the “What would Jesus do” movement, presaged in Blake’s Jerusalem. It rides on the purist momentum started in 1415, pushing Christianity’s pendulum farther into the realm of neutered self-liquidation in reaction to its former fanatical absolutism.
“Does the Catholic Church have a future?” asks J. Peter Nixon in “Only the Saints Can Save Us,” the title answering the question. The author notes the dissonance between the official claim of following “one who embraced poverty, chastity, and obedience to the will of God,” and the modern summum bonum of material comfort, sexual fulfillment, and freedom from societal obligations. This hypocrisy has repelled many, particularly the young.
“The liberal path of greater rapprochement between Church and culture has not proven successful for those denominations that have tried it,” writes Nixon. But what the author offers differs little from the formula of B. H. Obama or any Euro-socialist. He sees the future of the Church in a common return to saintly life “that make(s) no sense unless Jesus Christ is who we believe Him to be.”
There is a double problem with this perception of Christ and Christianity: its ontology and its epistemology. Just skimming the summary surface of the epistemology as per the current state of New Testament studies is good for 50,000 words; we can but touch upon it here so that at least the deluded ontology get a more comprehensive treatment.
(2) I pieced such details of Juhan Liiv’s life and work as appear here from a short Wikipedia entry, which is practically the only relevant item available in English, and a slim hodgepodge of not always mutually consistent items posted on the Internet in French, Polish and German. Also, by partially deciphering a few Estonian items with the help of a dictionary and a partly shared cultural frame of reference, as Estonia was a part of my native country, Poland, for 70 years in the 16th - 17th centuries and had a similar experience of fighting German, Russian and other invaders for the last 1000 years.
(3) As I don’t speak Estonian, the translation was puzzle-work, taking the readily available Estonian text, hunting all over the Web for partial translations by Estonian bloggers, piecing those together and then cleaning up their English. Peep Sarapik composed the beautiful choral score.
(4) English-language translation by an Estonian blogger may not be 100% accurate, but it’s the only one available.
(5) Oakland is third from the top of crime rankings of the cities of the extra-Mexico North American landmass -- crimes in such volume that the police no longer respond to complaints of burglary, theft, embezzlement, extortion and vandalism. It’s the home of Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, of Discovery Channel’s Gang Wars, and of Afro-American Cultural Marxist saboteurs like Barbara Lee and Ron Dellums and institutions like Ella Baker Center ... the list is very long.
(6) Both Swedenborg and Blake considered Blacks more advanced spiritually than Whites.
(7) Unfortunately, no good choir performances of this song are available on YouTube. This is the least objectionable one.
(8) U.S. Congress wrote it into law in 1931.
(9) The same attitude is common among other Northwest European Protestants.
(10) B.H. Obama does not belong in the same category, even though his socialist policies exceed those of his predecessors. Obama is executing a strategic plan on behalf of his people: the Afro-Americans first and the postcolonial populations second. Obama’s white predecessors for 50 years had only utopian, mushy notions largely anchored in their Christian faith and oblivious to their own race’s, nation’s or civilization’s interests.
(11) American Jews are even more hobbled this way, for largely similar reasons. A similar attitude is quite common among Nordic Protestants.
(12) There were other Slav volunteers, including the great Czech Jan Žižka who would later become the commander of the Hussite forces.
(13) 30,000 had been impressed in 1941 into the Soviet Army. Estonia got it from both sides.
(14) To be exact, Estonia had won its independence in 1920 -- it had to fight for it against both the USSR and Germany -- but lost it again in 1940.
Takuan Seiyo was born behind the Iron Curtain to two survivors of the Holocausts, only one of whom and which was Jewish. He emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-60s, got four university degrees while living hand to mouth, and made his career in the electronic MSM. In 2005, after many years of witnessing the staggered collapse of his beloved California, he left to live in the Far East. Returning to the U.S. frequently in search of a new place to call home, in 2006 Mr. Seiyo started writing after a long wait in a snaking TSA security check line, behind Tom Wolfe.