Last week, I established that Russia is not democratic in practice, as Putin controls the reins of power via the elimination of the free press, the purging of political opponents, the corruption of state officials, and more. I believe that, once again, we are heading toward a battle of ideologies – democracy vs autocracy.
As of 2017, about 57% of countries have democracies (of some kind). The general trend throughout the 20th and 21st centuries has been toward more equitable government structures – where the people have a say in the underlying functioning of society. Unfortunately, China and Russia (two major world powers) are controlled by a few powerful people.
Now I want to get a very powerful point across.
The following is an excerpt from George Orwell’s review of Hitler’s Mein Kampf:
“Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude of life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and the avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues.”
“The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags, and loyalty-parades.”
“However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarized version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.”
Putin offers the people of Russia this same vision and purpose – a revitalization of national pride, victory over the “West,” and the unification of fraternal peoples. The West is half to blame. The same sentiment rings true 80 years later; capitalism has failed to bring about any noticeable contribution to the values that humans hold highest – chiefly, the pursuit of purpose greater than oneself.
That is not to say that democracy and capitalism are inherently to blame; put simply, the pair often bring about great prosperity, ridding future generations of any real strain. It is part of human nature to accept what is given – the animalistic part of us does not want to struggle. Just like the dogs we keep, we want to be pet, fed, and groomed. But just as the dog is meant to run, hunt, and protect, we are happiest when aligned with our Purpose.
Perhaps in the modern era, the happiest man is the one who represents democracy and capitalism through the lens of self-sacrifice – the man who struggles to create something bigger than himself and who strives daily to provide value to the world with his creations. He is the man in the arena, fighting to give a voice to those who are unheard. He is not a tyrannical man, keeping his gold stockpiled in a fortress, but a selfless man that gives freely, knowing that his life was never about him in the first place.
Notice the general trend that has been seen time and again throughout history: with the death of true masculinity comes the onslaught of tyrannical rule over weak men and the collapse of civilizations. Do not be content with your current situation and your current self; remember to struggle and grow.