Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Worst Analogy Ever

Well, perhaps there have been worse ones, but I can't think of any at the moment. Writing at Taki's Magazine, John Zmirak attempts to justify his reluctant support for John McCain by comparing the upcoming American election to the Russian Revolution, likening McCain and the Republicans to Tsar Nicholas II, and Obama and the Democrats to the Bolsheviks. As a member of my forum pointed out, only someone who knew very little about either the last Tsar or Lenin could write such nonsense.

While it is true that the two wars into which Nicholas II led his country (1904-05 with Japan and 1914-17 with Germany and Austria-Hungary) obviously turned out not to be in Russia's best interests, Nicholas went to war only because he sincerely believed that doing so would be, according to a traditional and relatively narrow concept of "national interests." John McCain, in contrast, has consistently supported a war which has now lasted longer than both of Nicholas's combined and has been motivated by a wild-eyed neoconservative ideological crusade to spread "Democracy" to the world. (It is impossible to imagine Nicholas II picking some republic halfway around the world to invade in order to turn it into a monarchy!) Nicholas II went to war with Germany in 1914 with the greatest reluctance, persuaded by his generals and advisors that he had no other patriotic option. While he loved military pageantry, he regarded war itself with an appropriate solemnity, fully aware of the inevitable loss of human life. McCain, in contrast, despite his own horrible experiences in Vietnam (another American war at least as pointless and ill-conceived as any waged by a monarch), finds it funny to joke about how he would "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." Nicholas II was a devoted family man who if anything went too far in his loyalty to his wife and children; McCain is a lifelong womanizer who discarded his first wife after she became disfigured in favor of a wealthy bimbo young enough to be his daughter. (Yes, I'm aware that many kings and tsars did have mistresses; they generally did not, however, divorce their queens and officially replace them with their mistresses while their queens still lived.)

I am not a supporter of Barack Obama either. (I am planning to write more on the election and why I will not be participating in it in a subsequent post.) But the idea that Obama is our era's Lenin, or that he intends towards conservative Christians in America anything like the terror that Lenin and Trotsky unleashed on the Russian Orthodox Church is patently absurd. I disagree with Obama on many issues, including abortion, but I believe that he sincerely believes himself to be a Christian and a conciliating "unifier." There is nothing of Bolshevik hatred in Obama himself, though I won't deny that some of his supporters have attitudes towards conservative Christians that are not entirely dissimilar. But leftist radicals will be disappointed if they think an Obama presidency will mean they will finally get their way all the time; like all presidents, Obama will inevitably have to make compromises, play to the center, and deal with the reality that most Americans are not as ideological as his highly motivated base.

It may be unfair to expect most Americans to fully appreciate the distinction between anointed monarchs and elected politicians, but it's also relevant in debunking Mr. Zmirak's analogy to point out that the obedience owed by Russian soldiers to their Tsar in 1917 has nothing whatsoever in common with the purely tactical loyalty to McCain Mr. Zmirak would have conservatives exhibit today. From a Russian Orthodox monarchist point of view, the Tsar was accountable only to God, the very personification of Holy Russia, and a Russian soldier who deserted him would be guilty of treason against both his country and his faith. Surely even the most die-hard Republicans would not dare to claim any such mantle for John McCain, nor could they even if they wanted to.

John Zmirak is a mildly traditionalist Roman Catholic who has written with affection of the Habsburgs and with horror of the French Revolution. I've admired some of his articles in the past, so I am disappointed to find him parroting the establishment line on Tsarist Russia, and don't understand his inability to apply whatever monarchist sympathies he has to dynasties not adhering to his own Church. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, while I obviously didn't know Nicholas II, I daresay I've read more about him than John Zmirak has, and Mr. Zmirak, John McCain is no Nicholas II. And fortunately, Barack Obama is no Vladimir Lenin.


Blayne said...

My one qualm with your well written article is Henry VIII's shameless replacement of Catherine of Aragon with Anne Boleyn.

A mistress replaced a queen and saw thousands die for Henry's lust.

Theodore Harvey said...

Ah, but the whole point was that Anne refused to be Henry's mistress; she would only be his wife. And it was not all about "lust"; undoubtedly Henry sincerely believed that he needed a male heir for the stability of the kingdom.

Nevertheless, perhaps I should add the word "generally."

Blayne said...

Yes and it did not stop them from fornicating prior to marriage making her mistress material...