Re. democracies and monarchies: a dozen European states remain monarchies but tempered by their democratic complements in power (parliamentary systems).
Re. bigotry in the west — the point is the people fight it in concert with their governments. The real tension is between ethnolinguistic cultural majorities and their interest in preserving themselves and evolving as they themselves determine. As much has given rise to what I call the “New Nationalism” and, like Viktor Orban in Hungary, “New Nationalists”. Those on the Far Right in relation to those movements are often anti-Semitic, which goes with the defensiveness and, probably, patronage. Even in Hungary, however, such as Jobbik may become prominent but make the final climb into political leadership.
With Jobbik in Hungary, the revision is just weird, but explained some by the persistence of Soviet politics in the post-Soviet Era.
Regarding Ukraine, Alexander J. Motyl has been arguing for the ceding of Donbas, but it’s not about being Russian in any case. The truth is ordinary people resent state-enabled criminality and related criminal aggrandizement. Yanukovych worked to get himself shoved out of office, and some of Russian heritage with whom I’ve spoken — and some I have read about in Grigas’s book, resent being used by Moscow as “compatriots”. The claim of protection is seen as a pretext for aggression that either expands or strengthens Russia’s area of control and influence or that results in a “frozen conflict” lending itself to criminal enterprise (where there is no effective and functioning sovereign, there’s a lot of space available for mischief).
Even while posting about Nadiya Savchenko’s liberation, I have wondered about both inherent and legacy politics plus what the effect of fame and public interest may have on her political vision as she necessarily updates herself.
In the British sphere, I’ve unconditionally accepted Naz Shaw’s “turnaround” or present stance and, with either, her repudiation of the anti-Semitic facet of the Labour Party.
Finally, regarding criminality, we have all got some vanity, and our personal mixes of “reparative” and “malignant” narcissism generally fill out a moderate life. With the criminal class, immoderation becomes either desirable or habitual, partly because of what we think of as criminal has lost its brakes in conscience, busted through normative boundaries, and, here invoking the Islamic concept, “exceeded limits.” When these people are small and surrounded by a lawful society, the wind up in jail; when they’re large, they may go a long time in business before hitting any walls; and in politics, they can ruin states — and they do that in profound ways.
The want of the power to impose suffering on innocent others with impunity becomes, I believe, a facet of that political criminality we call “dictatorship”. It’s not just the firm hand that one may dislike to the point of loathing: it’s the dispensing of sadism that comes through those that the good find aberrant and abhorrent.
Welcome to Virtually New World.
Now that we’re all here and furiously chatyping, what are we (and leaders old and new) going to do with it?
We may try to recognize some things we don’t like about our Newest Age.
Also deeply related on this blog: “Why the Jews?”, a piece that is at bedrock about one human response to “absolute power” — within which concept BackChannels would include the power to make others suffer with impunity — that has worked its way around the world.
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