Utopias, Shigalyovs, Lotharios and Suffering

I think I am coming to terms with the fact that I may be destined to be both naturally conservative, or traditional, or likely, a nostalgist, and yet a Socialist. I love the small things, the old songs, the old traditions, the family. Not the mere nuclear family, the Dobson family, or what have you, but the whole of a family, the family that extends into the past and is broad, deep and abiding, neck deep in vice and virtue. How ever rare such a family may be, both in our time and in ages past, it is beautiful when it happens.

I am a Socialist because I see Capital crushing and leveling the small, the old, the family. I am convinced that in the world to come, the socialist ideal is the closest we have imagined to how it will be. Some say that is utopia making, that we cannot achieve it in this world, in this time. To a certain extent I agree, but we need utopias and ideals. Can we achieve socialism? I think not. That does not mean we should not strive intensely to get there. To emulate that ideal and get as close as we can. Liberty, equality, brotherhood. Is that not half the Gospel? How we are to relate to each other?

I agree with Dostoevsky’s criticisms of utopias, when those utopias are the visions of men imposed on his fellow man. I despise both the slavemaster Capitalist and the bleeding heart Liberal who would tell us all how to live. Ayn Rand is as guilty as any Shigalyov. No, my dear Chesterbellocian, Socialism is not about the State owning the means of production, controlling the lives of it’s subjects. Socialism sees the State fading away. The land, the water, the air, all that is contained in it and the tools of production that are brought forth from it, are the creations of God and are His handwork, and are the common inheritance of all mankind.

So, yes, I believe in a “traditional” family, or rather, the Christian ideal of the family, which rarely exists. I believe in all of those surrounding tropes of heterosexuality and per-marital abstinence, and so forth. Yet, I believe those beliefs, the old moral teachings related to sex, are used by those who would destroy us. A liberal Christian might point out that Christ rarely spoke about sex, to make the point that perhaps it doesn’t matter. I don’t say that. It does matter, but that same argument does lend some perspective to how much it matters in the grand scheme of things, which is probably very little. Especially in relation to caring for the suffering. That is the true test of an ideology, and dare I say, a Church, a parish: how do they care for the suffering? I have been to parishes where they drive out the suffering, barring those rare types who can smile while their lives are torn asunder.

One of my best friends is a man who has a weakness for the ladies. He is open about his sin and will call it that, “my sin.” Which he rightly notes that we all have, in one form or another. Once another friend told me that the ladies’ man needs to decide who he is – the faithful Orthodox Christian or Lothario. I think not. My favorite definition of kitsch is “the absolute denial of shit.” And kitsch is from Satan himself, dear readers. Especially a life lived as kitsch. That is why our Monsieur Lothario is one of the few real and true Christians I have ever met. The shit is right there for you to see. Not reveling in it, just letting it be there and so. Being Christian isn’t hiding your vices from the eyes of the world. It isn’t policing other people’s bedrooms. It is to love both God and man, to try and be better, to care for the suffering, and God knows the world is filled with enough of them.

Some Anarchists like to say, “No kings, no gods.” I like, rather, “No kings but God.” However trite that might be, and even if I am a secularist.



Filed under Culture, Religion, Small Things

4 responses to “Utopias, Shigalyovs, Lotharios and Suffering

  1. “One of my best friends is a man who has a weakness for the ladies. He is open about his sin and will call it that, “my sin.” Which he rightly notes that we all have, in one form or another. Once another friend told me that the ladies’ man needs to decide who he is – the faithful Orthodox Christian or Lothario. I think not.”

    I completely agree. If you make an ultimatum, great, they’re gone. Which would you really have somebody do: be a Lothario who still comes to church every Sunday, or be a Lothario who never comes to church again? I’d prefer the former, especially if he realizes that it’s wrong (it would be a little different if he were agitating for that lifestyle choice, but I’d still prefer it). I’d rather kick out the greedy people than the lustful.

    • Further, you know, this is the sort of thing that drives a lot of people out of the church when they get to college (or earlier): they get a girlfriend, start having sex, and then stop attending church because they know that sex outside of marriage is wrong according to the church. Especially if they’re in some Protestant establishment that makes it the biggest sin, the one unforgivable offense. Once they’ve tasted the forbidden fruit, they’re forbidden to return (in their mind). And some people, like the aforementioned friend, explicitly make it the case! That is a horrible outcome and I don’t doubt that the priests (or pastors, in the Protestant case) are horrified by it, as it is explicitly not what they want.

      • I think it is generally the case now that to be conservative or to be traditional is to take a hardline on sexual issues, and to make it the greatest of all sins.

        But, yes, though I think even the bourgeois should not be kicked out, I would prefer the churchly company of the lustful over the greedy.

  2. Daniel Nichols

    Your nostalgic socialism is in the best tradition of British radicalism, whose utopia was curiously traditional and agrarian….

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