The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Russia, The Royal Martyrs, and Revolutionary Modernity

Russia has been much in the news lately as left-wing wackos have been trying to paint US President Donald Trump’s attempts to get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and allow the two countries to peacefully co-exist as some sort of treason. In my childhood, Russia was still in the grips of the murderous, totalitarian, ideological, regime bent on global conquest that had seized power in the fall of 1917. How well I remember that at that time, the same people who are crying “the Russians are coming” today, labelled anyone who warned about the Communist Kremlin’s evil designs a “McCarthyite.” The term alluded to Joseph McCarthy, the American Senator from Wisconsin in the 1950s who warned about Communist infiltration of the State Department. “McCarthyite”, as the left used the term, was more or less synonymous with “witch hunter”, although McCarthy has been mostly vindicated by the facts of history. (1) For the left, Russia could do no wrong as long as the Bolsheviks were in power, but once the Soviet regime collapsed, she can do no right. What an absurd and insane way of looking at things.

We have just reached the hundredth anniversary of one of the first in the very long list of monstrous crimes that can be charged to the Bolshevik account. On July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife Empress Alexandra, and their children the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, as well as their household servants and the court physician, were shot, stabbed, and clubbed to death in Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, where they had been moved shortly before the murders. They had been prisoners for over a year, at first a mild house arrest under Keresnky’s Provisional Government, then a much harsher imprisonment following the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks’ rise to power.

The murder of the Romanovs had been foreshadowed by the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on January 21st and October 16th respectively in 1793, and before that by the beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649. There are a number of parallels between these murders. The victims, in each case, included the legitimate Royal Sovereign of the country in which the revolution was being perpetrated. He was also, in each case, the Royal Protector of a Church which claimed descent from the early, undivided, Apostolic Church and which was under attack by the revolutionaries. Charles I was the Protector of the Church of England which was under attack by the Puritan Calvinists. Louis XVI was Protector of the Roman Catholic Church in France which was a target of the Revolutionaries who were disciples of the rationalist Rousseau. Nicholas II was Protector of the Russian Orthodox Church against the atheistic, Marxist, Bolsheviks. In England and France, the revolutionaries tried to give a façade of legality to the murders by holding show trials in which the kings were condemned by kangaroo courts. In Russia, the Bolsheviks didn’t bother with this, they simply declared the Tsar to be guilty of crimes against the Russian people and had him shot. In each case the royal murders failed to satisfy the bloodlust of the revolutionaries, but rather merely whetted their appetite for the mass murders that were to come. (2)

There is a sense in which all three crimes were committed by the same perpetrators. While the term “left” did not develop its political connotations until the French Revolution, when it was applied to the enemies of the Crown, aristocracy, and Church because of where they stood in relation to the speaker in the French assembly, the Puritans were definitely historical antecedents of the French Revolutionaries, just as the Bolsheviks were their ideological descendants. The Puritans, like the Anabaptists of continental Europe, were the “left-wing” of the Reformation, those who thought the Magisterial Reformers had not gone far enough. They were also the first classical liberals, or, as liberals were called at the time, Whigs. In their thinking, and especially the secularized version of it offered in the writings of John Locke, the foundation was laid for the much more radical thought of Rousseau, which inspired the French Revolutionaries, and in turn laid the foundation for Marx, the father of Communism. In this lineage can be seen one explanation for the fact that “left-wing extremism” is a far less commonly heard expression than “right-wing extremism.” The latter expression is, of course, never used in good faith. It is employed by the left, to smear those who hold views that the left has decided are to be considered to be outside the pale of acceptable discourse, by association with the regime that governed Germany from 1933 to 1945, of which regime “right wing extremism” has connotations despite the fact that it was a revolutionary rather than a reactionary regime, that despised the old order of “throne and altar” that “right wing” was historically and traditionally associated with, and even called itself “socialist.” The reason “left-wing extremism” has not caught on is that it is redundant. The essence of the left, its very nature, is the relentless desire for the complete overthrow of all time-honoured institutions, traditions, and order. From royalty, nobility and the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the middle classes and private property and enterprise in the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, to marriage, the family, the nation and even the biological realities of race and sex in the twentieth and twenty-first, the left has moved on from one target to another, seeking only to destroy in its hatred and rage, with its ultimate targets being the Good, the True, and the Beautiful and indeed, God Himself, for, as Dr. Johnson observed centuries ago, the first Whig was the devil. The left is extremism, and extremism is the left.

In the Restoration, the Anglican Church at the 1660 Convocations of the provinces of York and Canterbury, canonized Charles I as a saint and martyr. Similarly, eighteen years ago the Russian Orthodox Church canonized its royal martyrs, all of the murdered Romanovs, as passion bearers. In both cases the honour was far more worthily bestowed than is the “cheap martyrdom” that contemporary evangelicals award to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, let alone the spurious pseudo-sainthood conveyed by the same upon Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. While their faith was not the sole reason that Charles I and Nicholas II and his family were put to death, it was part of the reason, and in murdering them, their revolutionary enemies sought to kill that which they symbolically represented – the old order of Christendom, with its alliance of throne and altar, church and state. Bonhoeffer, while a clergyman – albeit one who should have been defrocked for his heretical theology which bordered upon atheism at the very end of his life – was executed for taking part in a political conspiracy. The Roman Catholic Church has never canonized Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, perhaps because its canonization process is more elaborate and requires more than mere martyrdom. It is not likely ever to do so as long as the usurper Jorge Bergoglio has his claws all over St. Peter’s vacant throne.

I wouldn’t hold my breathe waiting for Rome to develop enough sense to kick Jorge to the curb, bring back Benedict, and canonize Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Whatever Rome does or does not do, however, we can and ought to honour and remember them, alongside our Anglican Royal Martyr Charles, and the Imperial Family of Russia, and the sacred witness they bear to the truth of the old order, against the bloody, violent, and revolutionary hatred of the progressive left.

(1) For a thorough substantiation of this claim see M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, (New York: Random House, 2007). See also Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator, (New York: Free Press, 1999). McCarthy’s famous crusade against Communism began four years into the Cold War, which followed immediately after a lengthy period, which began with the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, in which the American government was incredibly pro-Communist. One of FDR’s first acts as President was to recognize the Bolshevik regime in Russia, to which he sent an ambassador, William C. Bullitt Jr., whom he recalled when Bullitt refused to whitewash the Stalin regime which, just prior to his arrival, had committed the Holodomor (the man-made famine that starved over ten million Ukrainians). In Bullitt’s place he sent Joseph E. Davies, who painted the Stalin regime with roses, even as it was conducting the infamous show trials known as the “Great Purge” under his nose. In 1943 FDR ordered Davies’ odious, pro-Soviet memoir, Mission to Moscow, made into a pro-Stalin propaganda film. While some might argue that FDR was forced into this relationship with Stalin by the necessities of WWII – an argument that would be true in the case of Sir Winston Churchill who knew Bolshevism for what it was and had been speaking against it for decades – FDR was, in fact, a naïve, egotist with a messiah complex, who saw himself and Stalin as brothers in progress, the leaders of two nations founded on modern ideological principles. The records of the Tehran Conference demonstrate how much closer in spirit to Stalin than to Churchill, FDR really was, making it less surprising that the outcome of FDR’s wartime negotiations with Stalin included the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe up to the eastern half of Germany, including Poland, for whose sake Britain and France had gone to war with Hitler in the first place after Hitler and Stalin had made a pact to invade and divide her between themselves. Needless to say, Roosevelt’s administration was overrun with Soviet agents and Communist sympathizers, such as Harry Dexter White. When the Cold War began, shortly after WWII ended, a number of highly placed Soviet spies, such as Alger Hiss, were exposed through the defections of Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley, and attempts were made in most branches of the American government to remove Soviet agents and other security risks, but the State Department resisted these attempts. Enter Joseph McCarthy, who in early 1950 gave a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia in which he declared the State Department to be “infested with Communists” and waved a paper which he claimed contained the names of a large number of individuals within the Department known to the Secretary to be members of the Communist Party. The US Senate appointed a subcommittee, headed by the hostile Millard Tydings, to investigate McCarthy’s charges. When the Republicans gained control of the Senate after the 1952 Congressional election, McCarthy himself was named chair of the Senate Permanent Investigations Committee. In 1954, William F. Buckley Jr and L. Brent Bozell went person by person, through the list of those McCarthy had either named before the Tydings Committee or investigated with his own, demonstrating that whether or not they could be shown to be “card-carrying members of the Communist Party” they represented real security risks. McCarthy and His Enemies: The Record and Its Meaning, (Chicago: Henry Regnery). Indeed, the majority of those about whom McCarthy raised concerns were later investigated, found to indeed be security risks, and removed from sensitive positions in the State Department. After the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991, information from two newly available sources, the Soviet archives, and the declassified-as-of-1995 Venona Project (a counterespionage project that intercepted coded messages between the Soviets and their spies in the West) firmly established the guilt of many individuals such as Hiss, whose innocence the liberal left had loudly maintained for decades, and showed that indeed, the Communist Party USA had been acting as subversive arm of the Soviet Union, and that Soviet penetration of the American government in this era was far more extensive than McCarthy had suggested. See John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1999).

(2) As revolutionary modernity developed from the fanatical Calvinism of the Puritans to the rationalistic democratic egalitarianism of the Jacobins to the dialectic materialism of the Marxist-Leninist Bolsheviks the scale of the atrocities committed by its regimes increased, exponentially so in the final stage with Communism murdering over one hundred million people in the twentieth century. Those who, unlike David in 1 Samuel 24 and 26, are willing to lay their hands on the Lord’s anointed and commit the crime of regicide, will have no greater regard for the lives of those of lesser rank.

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