An Historical Approach to the Relationship between Orthodoxy and Politics
Part 4: THE AGE OF EMPIRE (1861-1914)
When I consent to be a Republican, I do evil, knowing that's what I do... I say Long live Revolution! As I would say Long live Destruction! Long live Expiation! Long live Punishment! Long live Death!
Charles Baudelaire (1866).
His undoing will not be the earthly sword which he possessed for so many years, but the fatal saying that 'Freedom of conscience is a delirium'.
F.I. Tiutchev on Pope Pius IX.
European politics in the nineteenth century fed on the French Revolution. No idea, no dream, no fear, no conflict appeared which had not been worked through in that fateful decade: democracy and socialism, reaction, dictatorship, nationalism, imperialism, pacifism.
Golo Mann, The History of Germany since 1789 (1996).
The Jewish people has rejected Christ, the true Mediator and Messiah, and therefore has excluded itself from history. Instead the Germans have become God's chosen people.
Constantin Frantz (1870s).
[The Jews] are at the root of the revolutionary socialist movement and of regicide, they own the periodical press, they have in their hands the financial markets; the people as a whole fall into financial slavery to them; they even control the principles of contemporary science and strive to place it outside of Christianity.
Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev to Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1879). This is the final struggle. Let us come together and tomorrow the International will be the human race. There are no supreme redeemers, no god, no Caesar, no tribune. Workers, let us make our own salvation.
Eugène Pottier, L'Internationale.
It is neither blindness nor ignorance that ruins nations and states. Not for long do they ignore where they are heading. But deep inside them is a force at work, favoured by nature and reinforced through habit, that drives them forward irresistibly as long as there is still any energy in them. Divine is he who controls himself. Most humans recognize their ruin, but they carry on regardless...
Leopold von Ranke. The system worked, throughout Europe, with an extraordinary success and facilitated the growth of wealth on an unprecedented scale. To save and to invest became at once the duty and the delight of a large class. The savings were seldom drawn on, and accumulating at compound interest, made possible the material triumphs which we now all take for granted. The morals, the politics, the literature and the religion of the age joined in a grand conspiracy for the promotion of saving. God and Mammon were reconciled. Peace on earth to men of good means. A rich man could, after all, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven - if only he saved.
John Maynard Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923).
I. THE WEST: THE MASTER RACE (1861-1894) 7
1. THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 7
2. WAGNER ON CAPITALISM AND KINGSHIP 18
3. BISMARCK AND THE UNIFICATION OF GERMANY 30
4. THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN EMPIRE 34
5. THE PARIS COMMUNE 40
6. THE SECOND REICH 51
7. THE RISORGIMENTO AND THE FALL OF THE PAPACY 61
8. NIETZSCHE: (1) THE WILL TO POWER 75
9. NIETZSCHE: (2) THE ATTITUDE TO TRUTH 87
10. NIETZSCHE: (3) THE ANTICHRIST 95
11. A JEWISH WORLD GOVERNMENT? 103
12. MOSES HESS AND PROTO-ZIONISM 111
13. UNIVERSAL EVOLUTIONISM 125
14. SOCIAL DARWINISM AND RACISM 130
II. THE EAST: THE GOD-CHOSEN RACE (1861-1894) 135
15. RUSSIA IN ASIA AND AMERICA 135
16. “THE NEW MAN" 145
17. THE EMANCIPATION OF THE SERFS 149
19. MARX AND BAKUNIN 167
20. DOSTOYEVSKY ON PAPISM AND SOCIALISM 175
21. PORTENTS OF THE ANTICHRIST 181
22. THE JEWS UNDER ALEXANDER II 188
23. THE DEVILS 199
24. THE EASTERN QUESTION 204
25. THE GRECO-BULGARIAN SCHISM 221
26. AT THE GATES OF CONSTANTINOPLE 232
27. RUSSIA, ROMANIA AND L'ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE 241
28. DOSTOYEVSKY ON RUSSIA 248
29. THE CRITICS OF DOSTOYEVSKY 260
30. THE TSAR AND THE CONSTITUTION 275
31. THE JEWISH QUESTION 282
32. RUSSIA AND THE BALKANS 294
33. VLADIMIR SOLOVIEV 301
34. POBEDONOSTSEV ON CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS 309
35. THE REIGN OF TSAR ALEXANDER III 319
36. THE VOLGA FAMINE 325
37. THE ROOTS OF THE REVOLUTION 328
39. IMPERIALISM AND CIVILIZATION 345
40. AMERICAN IMPERIALISM 352
41. FUNDAMENTALISM VS. LIBERALISM IN AMERICA 361
42. THE FOUNDING OF ZIONISM 368
43. POBEDONOSTSEV ON DEMOCRACY 381
44. THE WELFARE STATE, SOCIALISM AND CHRISTIANITY 387
45. SOCIALISM AND MASONRY 404
46. STATE VERSUS CHURCH IN FRANCE 413
47. JAPAN: THE MEIJI RESTORATION 419
48. GERMANY ON THE PATH TO WAR 430
49. FREUDIAN PSYCHOLOGY 445
IV. THE EAST: THE LAST TSAR (1894-1914) 456
50. TSAR NICHOLAS II 456
51. RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY 463
52. REBELLIOUS STUDENTS, WORKERS AND PRIESTS 473
53. THE GREEK CHURCHES AND "PROTO-ECUMENISM" 479
54. FERMENT IN THE RUSSIAN CHURCH 492
55. THE NATIONALITIES POLICY 501
56. THE LIBERATION MOVEMENT 517
57. THREE RUSSIAS: PETERSBURG, KISHINEV AND SAROV 523
58. PEASANT RUSSIA 533
59. UNREST IN THE ARMY 544
60. THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 548
61. THE PRESS AND THE LIBERALS 557
62. BLOODY SUNDAY 563
63. TOWARDS THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF SYMPHONY 569
64. THE 1905 REVOLUTION 579
65. THE STOLYPIN REFORMS 599
66. THE PRECONCILIAR CONVENTION AND GEORGIAN AUTOCEPHALY 605
67. THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION 612
68. THE BEILIS TRIAL AND THE JEWISH “BLOOD LIBEL” 621
69. THE KOSOVAN AND MACEDONIAN QUESTIONS 634
70. SERBIA CHANGES COURSE 645
71. THE YOUNG TURKS 650
72. THE BALKAN WARS 658
INTRODUCTION This is the fourth in the series Autocracy, Despotism and Democracy, following volume 1: The Age of Faith (to 1453), volume 2: The Age of Reason (1453-1789), and volume 3: The Age of Revolution (1789-1861). This fourth volume, subtitled “The Age of Empire”, takes the story to the eve of the First World War in 1914. It traces the great empires as they reach their zenith. Of course, the Age of Empire as an ideal of governance did come to an end after the Great War. But from that time “empire” was a dirty word and even the new empires of the Soviet Union and the United States refrained from calling themselves such.
Considerable attention is also paid to the major new belief-systems of the time, - Socialism, Nationalism, Evolutionism, Freemasonry, Freudianism, Nietzschianism, - and how they interacted with each other and with the old beliefs, especially Orthodox Christianity. The major theme is the undermining of the old belief-systems of Orthodox Christianity and Autocracy by the new ones coming from the West until the huge catastrophe that began in 1914 takes place. If God wills it, a final, fifth volume, “The Age of Antichrist”, will be devoted to the description of the unfolding of this catastrophe in the twentieth century.
My debts are very many, and are detailed in the footnotes. Especially important to me had been the writings of the Russian Orthodox monarchists: St. Philaret of Moscow, St. Ignaty (Brianchaninov), St. Theophan the Recluse, the holy Optina Elders, Lev Alexandrovich Tikhomirov, St. John of Kronstadt, St. John Maximovich, Archbishop Averky of Jordanville and Archpriest Lev Lebedev. Among western historians I have particularly benefited from the writings of Philip Bobbitt, Bernard Simms, Paul Johnson, Niall Ferguson, Norman Davies, Isaiah Berlin, Sir Geoffrey Hosking, Misha Glenny and Noel Malcolm.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us!
February 12/25. 2014.
Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.
East House, Beech Hill, Mayford, Woking, Surrey. GU22 0SB.
I. THE WEST: THE MASTER RACE (1861-1894)
1. THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
The American Civil War was not unexpected. As early as 1787 Alexander Hamilton "had made a prediction: The newly created federal government would either 'triumph altogether over the state governments and reduce them to an entire subordination,' he surmised, or 'in the course of a few years the contests about the boundaries of power between the particular governments and the general government will produce a dissolution of the Union.'"1
"Each side," writes J.M. Roberts, "accused the other of revolutionary designs and behaviour. It is very difficult not to agree with both of them. The heart of the Northern position, as Lincoln saw, was that democracy should prevail, a claim assuredly of potentially limitless revolutionary implication. In the end, what the North achieved was indeed a social revolution in the South. On the other side, what the South was asserting in 1861 (and three more states joined the Confederacy after the first shots were fired) was that it had the same right to organize its life as had, say, revolutionary Poles or Italians in Europe."2
States can create new nations, just as nations - states. As Norman Davies writes, in the nineteenth century nationalism "came in two opposing variants. One of them, state or civil nationalism, was sponsored by the ruling establishments of existing states.3 The other, popular or ethnic nationalism, was driven by the demands of communities living within those states and against the policy of those governments. There are as many theories on the essence of nations as there are theorists. But the essential qualities would seem to be spiritual in nature. 'The nation is a soul,' wrote Renan, 'a spiritual principle. [It] consists of two things. One is the common legacy of rich memories from the past. The other is the present consensus, the will to live together.'"4
In 1924 the Scottish writer John Buchan wrote that for the South "the vital thing, the thing with which all its affections and sentiments were intertwined, was the State. The North, on the other hand, had for its main conception the larger civic organism, the Nation."5 And yet what was "the Nation"? The 1848 revolution in Europe had shown how difficult it was to define a nation, and how people of the same nation theoretically speaking (that is, according to theories of language or blood) nevertheless preferred to remain citizens of States ruled by other nations rather than go to war for the sake of reuniting the "nation" in a single, ethnically homogeneous state. Clearly, there was much uniting North and South in terms of language, culture, religion and race. In his famous Gettysburg Address Abraham Lincoln emphasized that the United States was a single nation, using the word "nation" five times.6 But if one group of people feels itself to constitute a different nation from another group, this psychological fact alone creates an important difference that cannot be ignored. Thus insofar as the Southerners felt themselves to be a different nation, they were - up to a point - a different nation. And so, if the revolution of 1776 had been justified in the name of the liberty of the new nation called America, although it had previously been one nation with Britain, then that of the Southerners in 1861 was no less justified - not least because, as they argued, the Constitution of the United States permitted the secession of individual States.7 “The real question” about American slavery, writes Eric Hobsbawm, “is why it should have led to secession and civil war, rather than to some sort of formula of coexistence. After all, though no doubt most people in the North detested slavery, militant abolitionism alone was never strong enough to determine the Union's policy. And Northern capitalism, whatever the private views of businessmen, might well have found it as possible and convenient to come to terms with and exploit a slave South as international business has with the 'apartheid' of South Africa.
"Of course slave societies, including that of the South, were doomed. None of them survived the period from 1848 to 1890 - not even Cuba and Brazil. They were already isolated both physically, by the abolition of the African slave-trade, which was pretty effective by the 1850s, and, as it were, morally, by the overwhelming consensus of bourgeois liberalism which regarded them as contrary to history's march, morally undesirable and economically inefficient. It is difficult to envisage the survival of the South as a slave society into the twentieth century, any more than the survival of serfdom in Eastern Europe, even if (like some schools of historians) we consider both economically viable as systems of production. But what brought the South the point of crisis in the 1850s was a more specific problem: the difficulty of coexisting with a dynamic northern capitalism and a flood of migration into the West.
"In purely economic terms, the North was not much worried about the South, an agrarian region hardly involved in industrialisation. Time, population, resources and production were on its side. The main stumbling-blocks were political. The South, a virtual semi-colony of the British to whom it supplied the bulk of their raw cotton, found free trade advantageous, whereas the Northern industry had long been firmly and militantly committed to protective tariffs, which it was unable to impose sufficiently for its desires because of the political leverage of the Southern states (who represented, it must be recalled, almost half the total number of states in 1850). Northern industry was certainly more worried about a nation half-free trading and half-protectionist than about one half-slave and half-free. What was equally to the point, the South did its best to offset the advantages of the North by cutting it off from its hinterland, attempting to establish a trading and communications area facing south and based on the Mississippi river system rather than facing east to the Atlantic, and so far as possible pre-empting the expansion to the West. This was natural enough since its poor whites had long explored and opened the West.
"But the very economic superiority of the North meant that the South had to insist with increasing stubbornness on its political force - to stake its claims in the most formal terms (e.g. by insisting on the official acceptance of slavery in new western territories), to stress the autonomy of states ('states' rights') against the national government, to exercise its veto over national policies, to discourage northern economic developments, etc. In effect it had to be an obstacle to the North while pursuing its expansionist policy in the West. Its only assets were political. For (given that it could not or would not beat the North at its own game of capitalist development) the currents of history ran dead against it. Every improvement in transport strengthened the links of the West with the Atlantic. Basically the railroad system ran from east to west with hardly any long lines from north to south. Moreover, the men who peopled the West, whether they came from North or South, were not slave-owners but poor, white and free, attracted by free soil or gold or adventure. The formal extension of slavery to new territories and states was therefore crucial to the South, and the increasingly embittered conflicts of the two sides during the 1850s turned mainly on this question. At the same time slavery was irrelevant to the West, and indeed western expansion might actually weaken the slave system. It provided no such reinforcement as that which Southern leaders hoped for when envisaging the annexation of Cuba and the creation of a Southern-Caribbean plantation empire. In brief, the North was in a position to unify the continent and the South was not. Aggressive in posture, its real recourse was to abandon the struggle and secede from the Union, and this is what it did when the election of Abraham Lincoln from Illinois in 1860 demonstrated that it had lost the 'Middle West'.
"For four years civil war raged. In terms of casualties and destruction it was by far the greatest war in which any 'developed' country was involved in our period, though relatively it pales beside the more or less contemporary Paraguayan War in South America, and absolutely beside the Taiping Wars in China. The Northern states, though notably inferior in military performance, eventually won because of their vast preponderance of manpower, productive capacity and technology. After all, they contained over 70 per cent of the total population of the United States, over 80 per cent of the men of military age, and over 90 per cent of its industrial production. Their triumph was also that of American capitalism and of the modern United States. But, though slavery was abolished, it was not the triumph of the Negro, slave or free. After a few years of 'Reconstruction' (i.e. forced democratisation) the South reverted to the control of conservative white Southerners, i.e. racists. Northern occupying troops were finally withdrawn in 1877. In one sense it achieved its object: the Northern Republicans (who retained the presidency for most of the time from 1860 to 1932) could not break into the solidly Democratic South, which therefore retained substantial autonomy. The South, in turn, through its block vote, could exercise some national influence, since its support was essential for the success of the other great party, the Democrats. In fact, it remained agrarian, poor, backward and resentful; the whites resented the never-forgotten defeat, the blacks the disfranchisement and ruthless subordination reimposed by the whites."8
"In a sense," writes J.M. Roberts, "there had been no colour problem while slavery existed. Servile status was the barrier separating the overwhelming majority of blacks (there had always been a few free among them) from whites, and it was upheld by legal sanction. Emancipation swept away the framework of legal inferiority and replaced this with a framework, or myth, of democratic equality when very few Americans were ready to give this social reality. Millions of blacks in the South were suddenly free. They were also for the most part uneducated, largely untrained except for field labour, and virtually without leadership of their own race. For a little while in the Southern states they leant for support on the occupying armies of the Union; when this prop was removed blacks disappeared from legislatures and public offices of the Southern states to which they had briefly aspired. In some areas they disappeared from the polling-booths, too. Legal disabilities were replaced by a social and physical coercion which was sometimes harsher than the old regime of slavery. The slave at least had the value to his master of being an investment of capital; he was protected like other property and was usually ensured a minimum of security and maintenance. Competition in a free labour market at a moment when the economy of large areas of the South was in ruins, with impoverished whites struggling for subsistence, was disastrous for the black. By the end of the century he had been driven by a poor white population bitterly resentful of defeat and emancipation into social subordination and economic deprivation. From this was to stem emigration to the North in the twentieth century and racial problems in our own day."9
The Northerners' zeal to destroy the patriarchal, agrarian, slave-owning society of the South alienated lawmakers in both North and South. Thus "the lawmakers of Illinois - the president's home state - called the Proclamation [of Emancipation in 1863] 'a gigantic usurpation at once converting the war professedly commenced by the Administration for the vindication of the authority of the Constitution into the crusade for the sudden, unconditional and violent liberation of 3 million negro slaves, a result which would not only be a total subversion of the Federal Union but a revolution in the social organization of the Southern States the present and far-reaching consequences of which to both races cannot be contemplated without the most dismal foreboding of horror and dismay.'"10
Again, the famous southern general Robert E. Lee was no savage slave-owner. But faced with the choice between the North's violent destruction of the South and defending the South from that violence, he felt he had to recommend the latter course to the Confederate Congress. "Considering the relation of master and slave, controlled by humane laws and influenced by Christianity and an enlightened public sentiment, as the best that can exist between the white and black races while intermingled as at present in the country, I would deprecate any sudden disturbance of that relation unless it be necessary to avert a greater calamity to both." But, he went on, in the present crisis, "I think we must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves at the rise of the effects that may be produced on our social institutions. My own opinion is that we should employ them without delay," and the "best means of securing the efficiency and fidelity of this auxiliary force would be to accompany the measures with a well-digested plan of gradual and general emancipation."11
Another striking example is provided by General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, the South's best general and, in the opinion of Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British armies early in the twentieth century, "one of the greatest natural military geniuses the world ever saw". As James I. Robertson Jr. writes, he was a profoundly religious man, who deeply loved his two wives. "He owned two slaves, both of whom had asked him to purchase them after the deaths of their masters. Anna Morrison [his second wife] brought three slaves to the marriage. Jackson viewed human bondage with typical simplicity. God had established slavery for reasons man could not and should not challenge. A good Christian had the twin responsibilities of treating slaves with paternal affection and of introducing them to the promises of God as found in Holy Scriptures. To that end, Jackson taught a Sunday afternoon Bible class for all slaves and freedmen in Lexington.
"Jackson and the VMI [Virginia Military Institute] corps of cadets served as gallows guard in December 1859, when the abolitionist John Brown was executed for treason and murder having seized the government arsenal at Harpers Ferry. As war clouds thickened in the months thereafter, Jackson remained calm. The dissolution of the Union, he told a minister, 'can come only by God's permission, and will only be permitted if for His people's good.'
"Civil war exploded in mid-April 1861, and Jackson promptly offered his sword to his native state. Virginia's close ties with the South, and its opposition to the federal government using troops to coerce a state, were the leading issues behind Virginia's secession. The state regarded as unacceptable the idea of federal troops marching through Virginia to wage war on other states. The nation was still so young that the rights of states remains strongly ingrained in political thinking. Jackson had been a strong believer in the union until Virginia left it. When this happened Jackson felt the same as thousands of his neighbours: Virginia, the Old Dominion, had been in existence for 180 years before a 'United States' was established. The roots of families like the Lees and Jacksons ran deep within Virginia's soil. In 1861 an American's birthright and heritage was his state, not a federation which, during the last fifteen of its seventy-four years, had been in turmoil over the slavery question."12 The cost of the civil war was horrific: 600,000 died on both sides, more than all the Americans who died in the two world wars (520,000). Many thousands refused to join the Northern armies and draconian measures were applied to fill the draft. Brutalities were committed on both sides, but more on the side of the "liberators", and nostalgia for the Old South has lasted to the present day.
The slaves were "freed" to enjoy unemployment, continued poverty and the continued oppression of the whites. "The slaves were freed," writes Reynolds, "but they did not become equal citizens. The twelve-year Northern occupation of the South from 1865 to 1877, known as Reconstruction, was too short and not radical enough to reconstruct Southern ways; in fact, the South defiantly romanticized the pre-war order as part of its separate identity. From the perspective of civil rights, Reconstruction was therefore a tragic missed opportunity - not rectified until the so-called Second Reconstruction of the 1960s, which depended on an assertion of federal power inconceivable to the still essentially states' rights mentality of the 1860s. In any case, most Northerners of the late nineteenth century were just as Negrophobe as their Southern counterparts; they had little inclination to force on the South racial policies they rejected for themselves. So, instead of slave and free, the great divide in American society became the one between white and black.
"Freedom is heady stuff but it does not fill stomachs. Frederick Douglass, the Northern Black leader, noted that many a freed slave, after a lifetime of dependence, lacked the means or training to set up on his own. Now 'he must make his own way in the world, or as the slang phrase has it, "Root, pig, or die"; yet he had none of the conditions of self-preservation or self-protection. He was free from the individual master but the slave of society. He had neither money, property, nor friends. He was free from the old plantation' - but was turned loose 'naked, hungry and destitute to the open sky'. And there were 4 million freed slaves across the South in 1865."13 Of course, by comparison with most States, the United States remained a land with a large measure of religious and political freedom. But as a result of the war the power of the State over the individual was vastly increased for all, in both North and South. States can liberate their subjects, as Tsar Alexander II did - much more successfully and humanely, and on an even vaster scale - in contemporary Russia when he freed the serfs. But as often as not liberation by the State leads to greater subjection to the State. And this was perhaps the main lesson of the American Civil War for future generations: that the attempt to force freedom as often as not leads to still greater slavery.
Certainly, the victory of the North over the South meant no liberation for the American Indians. “In December 1868,” writes Bernard Simms, “President Johnson told Congress that ‘Comprehensive national policy would seem to sanction the acquisition and incorporation into our federal union of the several adjacent continental and insular communities.’ All this was bad news for the Indians who inhabited the great space between the core area of the Union and its outliers on the Pacific Ocean. Over the next thirty years, they were progressively expropriated, marginalized and in many cases simply killed, as the Union moved westwards in a cascade of new states…”14 As regards the Christian attitude to slavery, while the Gospel does not endorse it, neither does it endorse violent wars to destroy it. Archbishop Averky of Jordanville writes: "The epistle [of the holy Apostle Paul] to Philemon vividly witnesses to the fact that the Church of Christ, in liberating man from sin, does not at the same time produce a forcible rupture in the established inter-relationships of people, and does not encroach on the civil and state order, waiting patiently for an improvement in the social order, under the influence of Christian ideas. Not only from this epistle, but also from others, it is evident that the Church, while unable, of course, to sympathize with slavery, at the same time did not abolish it, and even told slaves to obey their masters. Therefore here the conversion of Onesimus to Christianity, which made him free from sin and a son of the Kingdom of God, did not, however, liberate him, as a slave, from the authority of his master. Onesimus had to return to [his master] Philemon, in spite of the fact that the Apostle loved him as a son, and needed his services, since he was in prison in Rome. The Apostle's respect for civil rights tells also in the fact that he could order Philemon to forgive Onesimus [for fleeing from him], but, recognizing Philemon's right as master, begs him to forgive his guilty and penitent slave. The words of the Apostle: 'Without your agreement I want to do nothing' clearly indicate that Christianity really leads mankind to personal perfection and the improvement of the social legal order on the basis of fraternity, equality and freedom, but not by way of violent actions and revolutions, but by the way of peaceful persuasion and moral influence."15 On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Although Lincoln, as we have seen, was not a fanatical abolitionist, and was motivated above all by a desire to preserve the Union intact, it is difficult not to see in his death retribution for the evil deed of the civil war, the successful attempt to overthrow the patriarchal society of the South and replace its slavery by the slavery of being at the bottom of the wage-labour industrial system.
At the same time, that other great liberator, Tsar Alexander II, sympathized with Lincoln’s efforts. When the American president appealed to the Russian tsar for help, the latter “immediately, in great secrecy, sent to American two squadrons of military vessels under the command of Admiral Lesovsky, who occupied the ports of New York and San Francisco. This unexpected help shocked the whole of Europe, and England refrained from intervention, which guaranteed the victory of Lincoln…”16