5 thoughts on “Latest interview”

  1. Wow. That was refreshingly sane and informative. Mr. Gottfried is basically a “galactic brain” compared to your typical “dough brain” Russia-watching pundits (or just any pundits and “experts”)…in few rare instances when he talks sense. He’s saying what ought to be said long ago – your, Anglo-Saxon, notion of “conservatism” is a deviant one from what the rest of humanity had been viewing as such. The so-called parochial “conservatives” from the “5 Eyes” are just has-been liberals, dissatisfied more with the form, rather than substances… and who have no serious economic background to (for)see, how their dearly beloved capitalism brought them to such ignoble condition.

    What, though, no one mentions in these talks about “Continental vs Anglo-Saxon” conservatism are the history and history of the socio-economic differences. Namely – Ye Olde Goode Feudalism and agrarian societies, how they shape the mores and perceptions, why they persist and why the Perfidious Albion (and later – The Land of the Free) are different and shouldn’t be taken as “normal”.

    Also, no one dares to admit, that the whole “conservatism” as a political concept, is a case of reaction, and their proponents, therefore, are reactionaries.

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  2. Interesting conversation, as far as I am concerned it would have been even more interesting, had it been only between you and Gottfried. Enjoyed the comparative perspective. Gotto planned and guided that? Ok, I may not have payed the necessary attention.

    *****

    Gottfried is an interesting commentator and critic of the conservative American scene. Caught my attention felt ages ago, 2002-2003, and for a while beyond, there were others. Paleos vs Neos. Long time not read, and never before seen.

    I agree with him. You have an elegant style … But yes, i somewhat disliked Gotto’s invitation to self-promotion, in such an inelegant way. … A bit of irony would have been helpful there. Maybe a joke? Does that mark me as American outsider? Anti-American? It’s as standard in America you are prepared for that, just as you are ready to declare your belief in God? …

    *****

    Otherwise, Gottfried, considering Germany – East/GDR and West. ..

    West: Ok let’s start with Bayreuth, Bavaria with its yearly opera pilgrims. It wouldn’t exist if Wagner was reduced to or simply considered a proto-fascist only in Germany, ever. No? Full discovery: if music can prove it, I am more than simple a suspect. Among the several operas we studied in my final years of Gymnasium was one Wagner Opera. My favorite, unfortunately. … Our teacher in music apparently didn’t feel compelled to tell us about his notorious pamphlet.

    On Wagner (as on artists generally, as long as they do not turn into pure propagandists) I am with Barenboim , who seemingly caused a scandal by playing Wagner in Israel. …

    Besides: There is this vague memorytrail on my mind. I never had the time to follow it up, unfortunately to leave deeper traces on my mind concerning Russian parallels in the art to what now may be reduced to Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk by now. Curiously enough. Fact: Stalin effectively killed a rather lively art scene in Russia too. That’s what makes the socialist and the Nazi expression in the arts so similar in hindsight. Was it a conservative move?

    East: … would take too long to challenge basics in for me by now rather familiar American misconceptions both West and East. But yes, complex both East and West. …

    But is the German writer from Dresden accidentally Gerhard Barkleit?

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  3. Right off the bat, the first problem is the framing of the debate where there is presumed no difference between the United States, Britain, Canada, etc in the “Anglosphere” when compared to Russia (You might as well ask him whether

    The British perspective on their history is very different from the Americans in particular, and has more in common with Russians.

    A similar mistake would be to compare America to the “Slavosphere” which would include Poland and Ukraine.

    It’s apples and oranges.

    To illustrate, “Right-wing” British subjects nearly worship their Royalty in a way that disgusts Americans; indeed their Oaths of service are to the Royal lineage, not to the Framework which connects the American Armed Service to their People, or the elected official empowered thus. American military personnel are routinely given a “brief” when in a diplomatic setting to avoid insulting “Anglosphere” sensibilities when they are in Australia or Diego Garcia (note these sensibilities are distinctly “un-Americans” and thus part of the “Anglosphere”).

    These realities are hardly unknowable, given a plain reading of American history from the Founding colony of Plymouth*.

    Britain, after all, is historically America’s worst enemy – the Soviet Union included. The dismantlement of the British Empire was as much a relief to traditional Americans (only the non-traditional elite cried over it) as was the dismantlement of the Soviet Union.

    The divide is very real, though clearly many in the “conservative” INC political establishment are only vaguely aware of it or willfully blind to it (proof that they are not actually a part of the body politic of those they to be spokesman of, “Conservatives” whom they know little to nothing about).

    I doubt very much Right-leaning Russians have anywhere close to the visceral contempt for the Romanovs at ANY point in their history, as Right-leaning Americans have for the British Royals today (to say nothing of more widespread traditional American sentiments in the pre-WW2 era).

    By contrast, Left-leaning Russians I’m told despise the Romanovs, whereas Left-leaning Americans share the British adoration of Royalty and aristocracy (from the media to political elites and aristocratic wannabes).

    But ultimately, your analysis is essentially correct.

    Russians and Americans (apples to apples, kind of) traditionally have VERY different ideas of where authority originates and what part its delegated power plays in the daily lives of the citizenry. That much is clear based on simple cursory conversation between a Right-wing Russian and a Right-wing American, be it the place of Church in the public sphere (as opposed to “God”, Americans distinguish God from Church, which your guest (like many Russians) falls into the trap of confusing one for the other) to Guns (I’ve had some wonderfully enlightening disagreements with Russians, who default to state permission for firearm ownership on impulse) to the powers of the State – The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are philosophically incomprehensible to most Right-wing Russians, whereas to Right-wing Americans, it makes perfect sense (the Russian Constitution is not nearly as highly regarded by Russians, and – via transliteration – appears to be philosophically in conflict with the American Constitution).

    Indeed, these differences are similar to British vs American differences – and I have had an Englishmen attempt to “moderate” discussions between us and Russians (“No thanks, you two think alike”).

    *No, Jamestown was a Royal Colony from the beginning, who’s administration was dictated by the Crown and its monopolistic company. There was no local rule, and the Jamestown residents could only make “suggestions” for approval by a Royal-appointed Governor. Whereas Plymouth was settled without Royal approval, elected its own Executive (Governor), Legislature, and Judiciary (combined General Court), and governed themselves independently (though the English still claimed dominion over them much as China does to Taiwan today) until 1676 when the British and their Indian allies ultimately defeated and conquered Plymouth as part of the “United Colonies”.

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    1. Shorter version: A more enlightening framing would be…

      “Why Conservative Russians and Conservative British agree on so much.”

      or

      “Why Conservative American values differ from their Russian and British counterparts.

      Because again: if you get a Right-wing Ruskie, a Right-wing Brit, and a Right-wing Yank in a room together to talk Issues of State, Governance and philosophies, I guarantee you the Brit and Ruskie will be at odds with the Yank, far more than with each other.

      That is at least as significant as the Brits and Yanks sharing similar languages.

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