By Walt Garlington for The Saker blog
Dixie has always had a heavily agricultural economy, so many here are able to sympathize with the farmers in the Netherlands, whose lands and livelihoods are being threatened by globalists and radical environmentalists to further their agendas of technocratic control, depopulation, and so on.
And more than that. The Dutch farmers are skillfully using unconventional tactics in their fight (e.g., blocking roadways with manure, tractors, or hay bales set aflame), something Southerners also are familiar with in their wars against the British Empire (1776-83) and the nascent Yankee Empire (1861-5) under generals such Francis Marion, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and John Mosby.
But there is another similarity that isn’t so good. The South in her fight against the Yanks didn’t offer enough of a difference in fundamental ideals to inspire her people to keep fighting until independence was achieved. To be sure, there were (and are) some very real, very deep differences between the two that played a large role in their conflict. But what the War between the States ultimately boiled down to was a clash between two types of governmental systems: the centralized, unrestrained Yankee governing system and the decentralized, limited government of Dixie. And there simply isn’t enough spiritual strength and vitality in an idea like constitutional interpretation to fire good, decent men to fight in an agonizing war for years on end.
Thus, the South surrendered to Lincoln’s Army in 1865 after only four years of fighting, and has not mustered the wherewithal to challenge Washington City’s rule over her since then.
A similar situation may be developing in the Netherlands, where a right to widely distributed private ownership of land, economic autonomy, and this sort of thing is being opposed to a centrally planned economy with very few owners. Will the Dutch farmers be able to keep their resistance going with abstractions like ‘freedom’ as their underlying motivation?
The prospects do not seem too bright. In a contest of one atheistic, materialistic ideology (distributed ownership of farms) vs another atheistic, materialistic ideology (central ownership of farms), the system being pushed by the more ruthless of the two groups of people will likely prevail.
This is what happened in the States: Lincoln and his generals waged unlimited warfare against the civilians of the South and broke them down physically and mentally. Likewise in Canada with the trucker protests earlier this year, the globalist Trudeau government used harsh tactics against the protestors to bring that populist rebellion to a quick end.
The protests in the Netherlands are likely headed for the same sort of resolution: a hard crackdown by the Rutte government that breaks the spirit of the protestors, who then tamely submit to the new order. Unless . . .
Unless they infuse their protest with a substantive religious core.
For hundreds of years, the West has been working feverishly to secularize her society, to reject her Christian past. But it is precisely there that she will find what she needs to persevere against the globalists.
As the Feast of the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God is upon us, it is fitting to look at an instance of successful Christian resistance against a brutal foe that includes Her:
‘When the hordes of Batu Khan approached Smolensk in 1238, in the service of the Prince of Smolensk was a Roman soldier from a noble Orthodox family, who was Orthodox himself. His name was Mercurius. He was tall, courageous, and strong. It saddened him to see the destruction of so many churches, and he wished to lay down his life for Christ.
‘One day, during evening prayers in the temple before the wonderworking Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, the sacristan of the Cathedral heard a voice say, “Go to my servant Mercurius at Podol and quietly say to him: ‘Mercurius, the Sovereign Lady is calling you. Go and meet the enemy in your military armor.’
‘The sacristan went to his house and found Mercurius in the yard, praying in his armor. He had a miraculous premonition, and was waiting for him. The sacristan said, “Mercurius, go at once. The Sovereign Lady is calling you.”
‘They entered the cathedral, and Mercurius made a prostration. Once again, a voice came from the Icon: “My servant, Mercurius, I am sending you to drive the enemy from this city, and to defend this temple. It is for this reason that I have called you from your country. Tonight the enemy has plotted in secret to attack the city, and to destroy it. However, I shall not leave this city; by my prayers, it shall not fall into the hands of its enemies. Go at once to the place called Dolgomoste. An armed host of evil enemies is waiting there. Do not worry; you shall defeat the enemy Voevod. I shall not abandon you. You shall defeat the enemy in battle and obtain a crown of victory from God, and eternal blessedness.”
‘Dolgomoste was 14 versts from Smolensk. There was an enemy force, ready to attack the city in the morning. As he left the cathedral, Mercurius quietly and discreetly passed by the city guards, and with the words, “Most Holy Theotokos help me,” he rushed at the enemy. The first soldier was a giant who was proud of his strength, and he was followed by others. The Tatars ran when they saw a radiant Woman, and lightning-fast warriors, who struck them, and so they retreated permanently from the boundaries of Smolensk. Saint Mercurius, however, died in battle, and his head had been cut off.
‘The next morning, the citizens were surprised to see that the entire field was littered with enemy corpses. They found the body of their protector and buried it in the cathedral church. They hung his armor above his coffin, in accordance with his final wishes, as expressed by the sacristan.
‘The relics of Saint Mercurius rest in the cathedral church, which is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God.’
The message is clear: The Lord will help us overcome our enemies. The question for the West is, does she have enough faith and humility to even ask for the help? Or is she so overcome with pride and paralyzed with unbelief that she cannot?
If the farmers and their allies in the Netherlands have not yet reached such an abysmal state, then there is a saint who could be a St. Mercurius for them – St. Werenfrid:
‘Werenfridus was an Englishman by birth and was probably born in the kingdom of Northumbria. He forsook country and friends, to dedicate himself wholly to the service of God and his fellow creatures. He went to Ireland, where he served God in solitude and recollection. He is said to have been one of those twelve apostolic men belonging to the English nation, who were destined for a missionary career.
‘With their leader St Willebrord, these were sent out of Ireland by St. Egbert. They were destined to carry the word of life to the Frisians, Saxons and other pagans in the German territories. The exact time of St. Werenfridus arrival there, is not known. He was one of those Gospel preachers, however, to whom the Netherlanders are indebted for their Christian teaching. . . .
‘He particularly planted the faith and Church of Christ in the Isle of Batavia or Betuwe. He likewise converted the inhabitants of Medemblik, Durostadt, Elst, and Westerwort. His admirable virtues were very remarkable. And as he planted the Faith, so too he planted vegetables and taught others to do so too – hence his patronage of vegetable gardeners.
‘The writer of his Acts assures us, that it was impossible to express how rich he was in all good works and how careful he had been in administering comfort to the afflicted. He was incomparable for his kindness while he was an exemplar of charity towards the poor. He was assiduous in his watching, and rigorous in his fasting. He was diligent in prayer and he excelled in all devotion. In fine, he was conspicuous for all virtues. Great success attended his labours in gaining souls to Christ.
‘In a good old age, he received the reward of his labour. He departed some time around 780. . . . There formerly stood a collegiate Church dedicated to God in his name. This was much frequented, because miracles were often wrought within it by the Saint’s intercession.
‘ . . . There are many Churches sprinkled around Holland and Germany dedicated to him.’
What could be more fitting than inviting this patron of gardeners, this Apostle of the Dutch, to march with the farmers in their contests with their opponents? On banners and icons; in folk songs and prayers, they should carry him everywhere!
The West without the Orthodox Church and Her saints is little more than a collection of petty tribes squabbling interminably over paltry treasures that will perish with this present world: money, power, democracy, liberty, and the like. It is only union with God that gives anything unending life and unfading value. To the extent that the Dutch farmers can baptize their protests, the greater will be their chance of victory. Just ask the protestors of Montenegro who overcame an evil law in 2020.
The same holds true for all the West: life in the Orthodox Church of her ancestors or death outside of Her. On that choice alone depends all her fate.