Monday, July 16, 2012

Which Way Forward?

If 'returning to the Constitution' is not the proper response to today's troubles in the States, what is?  In another essay by Father Johnson, we find models in history to look to and learn from.  Below are a few of the more noteworthy passages from his essay, but the whole of it is worth the time to read.

Old Russia was and is represented by the Old Faith and the Cossack uprisings under Bulavin and Pugachev. In short, their programs were identical: a popular monarchy, the free peasant commune and the Old Faith: the three ancient pillars of justice. In opposition is the “Egyptian” rule of technology, centralization and oligarchy, the three pillars of injustice. Such as view is echoed in early medieval Ireland and medieval Serbia. Society was divided up into self governing communes, who elected their clergy and were loyal to local custom. Local monastics offered spiritual guidance and sainthood, not to mention education and social welfare. The state, if it can be called such, was represented by a monarch with a tiny retinue of supporters. His role was purely to defend the faith from outside influences, as he had little role in the functioning of the mir or rod.

Order exists through tradition and paternal authority. Decisions were taken by the sobor, where all needed to agree on a course of action. Mutual aid was at the center of the Old Rite, based on asceticism and the limitation of wants. Bothering with technology and money was viewed as involving the Orthodox faithful in the world of Satan, who, according to the Scriptures, controls all the states of the world. The Old Faith never had a modern state, nor do the Hasidic Jews or Amish in America, and yet order was maintained and a certain degree of prosperity and open displays of happiness were regular features of such communal lives. In addition, despite small numbers, the above groups all had an influence on their respective communal lives far out of proportion to any kind of traditional state power.


The free peasant commune was always at the forefront of the Old Faith and the rebellions against bureaucratism under Bulavin and Razin. The free commune, as is traditional, should elect its leaders and law enforcers, all should be represented in the capacity of heads of households, for the economy is based on the natural institution of the extended family, of which both the parish, commune, ethnos and labor association is a natural outgrowth. This was largely the case in medieval Serbia, Ireland and the Cossack host, and remains part of their nationalist heritage even until today. Kingship and commune and based on law, which itself is based on custom, ethnic tradition and the canon laws of the church, all of which are, in turn, based on experience, survival and suffering. The commune (or labor association/artel in a more industrial capacity) should exist in coordination with the local parish and monastery for instruction and social welfare measures. Forming a web of institutions that serve both for the worship of God and for the fulfilling of natural needs.

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