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26 September 2015


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In a sense. It was JPII who consistently protected the vile Maciel, to the very end. Benedict took action against Maciel as soon as he was able to do so.

Mark Logan

Richard Sale,

Forgive me, I was unclear. The lie isn't bullies are cowards it's that cowards aren't to be feared.

Mark Logan

London Bob,

Nonsense. There have been very few US politicians assassinated by neo-cons and the Military Industrial Complex (tm), if any. There is no "habit".


Maciel? Marcial Maciel Degollado?

My limited not very inspired look on matters, is, that Benedict wasn't able to keep matters under the lid, not least due to US public opinion. ... the Boston scandal???

The Catholic church including Benedict has been aware of the problem for a long, long time. But handled it more discreetly. Including children by priests. One of my earliest memories is an Irish friends, that told me stories. No, I wasn't aware of the multitude of cases in Germany at the time. There is a long struggle going on that did not reach the levels of public opinion. I got glimpses of the struggle in stories that left the church instead of payments by the church of women and kid.


The Catholic Church and women is another and longer story. Eve and the apple?

But yes, all that said, I somewhat like the idea of celibacy, and the idea of spirituality as some type of immaterial, non-earthly state of matters. ;)

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad, Mark Gaughan,

This piece by Ilyin needs to be read in the context of an awareness of what its author was trying to do.

To take from it the conclusion that the concept of 'law' was absent in his thinking would be to turn the truth on its head.

By coincidence, a new post on Ilyin has just been put up on the blog of the Ottawa University academic Paul Robinson, under the title 'More on ''Putin's Philosopher''.

(See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/more-on-putins-philosopher/ .)

The post also helps explain how Robinson became one of the most interesting Western commentators on contemporary Russia. He is an intelligent and imaginative British conservative – unfortunately a rare breed these days, as such creatures have largely been pushed up out by unintelligent and unimaginative neoconservatives (rather like our native red squirrel being pushed out by the grey one!)

After doing a first degree at Oxford, Robinson spent five years in British Army Intelligence. When he went back into academic life, he chose for his doctoral subject White émigré military organisations in the 1920s and 1930s. As part of his study, he wanted to find out what these émigré soldiers believed in – which led him to Ilyin, who was one of the leading intellectuals of the emigration.

Early in Putin's presidency, Robinson noted that a great deal of what he saying had strong parallels with what the White émigrés had said, which led him to write a notable article in the 'Spectator' in January 2004, under the title 'Putin's Might is White'. In this, he described the Russian President as having been a 'typical Soviet radish – red on the outside but white at the core.'

(See http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/10th-january-2004/18/putins-might-is-white .)

In the article, Robinson gave a 'thumbnail sketch' of the tradition to which Ilyin belonged, and with which Putin has identified himself. Having pointed to an enduring Western myth about Russia – that the state had traditionally been enormously powerful in that country – he went on to explain the conclusions which writers like Ilyin drew from their readings of their country's history:

'A weak state can lead to despotism. It is only under the shelter of a state strong enough to protect its subjects from crime or external assault, to create and enforce laws to regulate commerce and industry, and to encourage the arts, education and other social benefits, that a society can prosper, and that the conditions for individual liberty can ever hope to exist.

'This was certainly the view of the two Russian philosophers most closely associated with the White Russian armies, Petr Struve and Ivan Il'in. Struve began his intellectual career as a Marxist, but ended it as a monarchist. Equally remarkably, Il'in was first expelled from Soviet Russia to Germany for his anti-communist agitation, and then forced to flee from Germany for his refusal to support the Nazis.

'Both men understood that the intelligentsia's obsession with liberating the people was unleashing forces which would eventually destroy all liberty in Russia. Only an authoritarian government, they decided, could protect individual freedoms in the absence of a political culture that accepted basic ideas such as property rights. A society whose people understood legal rights and duties could successfully govern itself. One that did not must be ruled by a powerful individual, who would educate the people in its legal consciousness until such time as it was fit for self-rule.

'This sounds like a recipe for dictatorship, which indeed it was. But Il'in made a clear distinction between dictatorial rule and totalitarian rule, The latter was 'godless', and while the state should be all-powerful in those matters which fell under its competence, it should stay out of other areas, such as a person's religious beliefs or private life entirely.'

In what little I have read of Ilyin, there is certainly plenty with which I would want to disagree. But he is in my view a figure one can argue with and learn from – by contrast to those neo-Jacobins in Washington and London, whose delusions about 'liberating the people' in the Middle East and elsewhere have proven so catastrophic.


from Wiki entry on Ilyin:

"The Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov, in particular, was instrumental in propagating Ilyin's ideas in post-Soviet Russia."

Here is one of Mikhalkov's exercises in propagating those ideas:


Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments; I will look into this.

For myself, men like him, remind me of Utopian discussions of Muslim thinkers that I have read in Persian; forever looking for the Just & Noble & Grand leader to lead the Ummah or Iran or any other state - in the absence of the Hidden Imam.

There is a strong Platonic component in all of these discussions - a la Republic of Plato - but very often without reference to any of the developments that has taken place in Political Philosophy since his time.

Furthermore, when reading those discussions as well as Ilyin's, I am reminded of the weak but noble Shah Sultan Hussein (a great patron of the arts), the last of the Safavids, who bears major responsibility for the destruction of that state - plunging the Iranian plateau into chaos from which it has not yet recovered. And he has to be contrated with the ruthless but effective but not so noble Aqa Muhammad Khan Qajar who salvaged some pieces of the Safavid Empire and created what later became the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Aqa Muhammad Khan Qajar, thus, brought peace to the population within his conquered territories while Afghanistan became what it was then (and now).

Every Iranian is aware of Shah Sultan Hussein as a model of how not to be King and yet Aqa Muhammad Khan remains a maligned person in popular imagination and Iranian historiography.

Lastly, when reading Ilyn, I kept on asking myself - "Where is Machiavelli in all of this?".

Mark Gaughan

Thanks David.





Yes, Father Maciel, who got away with some very bad things for a very long time.

Nothing wrong with celibacy if undertaken with an individual's free consent rather than being part of the rulebook. Originally the celibacy requirement came about over issues concerning Church real estate and inheritance laws and it has since led to all manner of hypocrisy and worse trouble, IMO.



Are you Catholic? pl


In and out. Currently out. But I keep tabs on things.

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