I finally did it :-) I recorded a podcast while on a long drive across the beautiful Ocala National Forest (that is the photo attached to the podcast). This time, I did things a tad differently. It was not a Q&A but rather a topical podcast where I discussed two issues I felt needed clarification: the issue of whether the blog is sacrificing quality to quantity (in my own writing and in the format of the new blog) and my politics (since I have been accused of being anything and everything, from Communist to Fascist). This is not a formal podcast like the previous ones, no music, your can hear the sounds of my engine (there is only that much I could filter out), but this was the only opportunity that I had to “speak” to you all. I hope you will enjoy it. Please let me know what you think, okay?
To stream or download the podcast please click here: https://sites.google.com/site/sakerpodcast/home and go to the bottom of the page to Podcast #7.
Transcript of podcast no. 7
Provided by the kind help of a wonderful lady “A”
Welcome to my podcast, this is the Saker speaking, I am sitting in my car – hence the noise around. I apologize for that. The best I can do is try to cut some of that noise out during close production. I’ve never tried that before, I’ll see if it works, but if not, please bear with me as I really have no other opportunity to make a podcast other than the one I’m using right now, in the car.
Second note, this time I’m not going to be making a Q&A. The reason for that is that I want to make something a little different, shorter, and I also ask for your opinion. The first thing I want to say is that I have been getting suggestions from readers who are tired of the Q&A format, who have been suggesting that I might want to switch to a thematic podcast, that is, covering maybe one specific topic but more in depth. If you agree with that idea, please let me know. And topics are literally anything you want, one of my friends suggested that I make more personal podcasts, other issues, other than, you know, the Empire, politics and the risks of war. I feel a little uncomfortable about that, just because I don’t want to make ‘me myself’ a podcast, but if you guys are real interested about some of my views on other issues or more personal questions, we are a community and I’m certainly open to discuss you know, maybe lighter topics, maybe life topics, whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be serious, academic, respectable and efficient, so let me know if that’s something of interest to you.
Today I want to do two things, I want to first of all address an email I received from a reader today, which was very heartfelt and which I think expressed the views of many of you. Maybe not the majority but still quite a few. Basically, this reader told me that he thought that in recent times the quantity of material on the blog, diminished the quality. His point was you know, ”… if you’re trying to make another copy of Russia Insider then that’s your right, but I think we’re losing a lot in that because we don’t need another copy of Russia Insider, I have Russia Insider which is excellent and you’ve been citing even twenty more sources. But what I wanted was your analysis, your views and I think that this has been lost in the overwhelming amount of information that you are now displaying on your blog.”
In a similar vein a lot of you have noticed and made the comment of, that the blog in the first place looks complicated. There’s a lot of information on it and that information sort of drowns, there’s too much basically, to handle. I know that at least some of you prefer the older form of the Blog Spot, which was simpler, it was chronological and it had much less content. So I think I need to give you my feedback about this. And third point, my webmaster, Herb has also suggested that he finds that the front page a little bit overwhelming. Too much basically, too much too much too much. Now, when we (Herb and Saker) start discussing how to go about making it simpler, that gets more complicated. So we ended up deciding that we could try a number of things on another server, where we test things before we actually place them on the blog, and we’re working around that.
But I want to share with you just a couple of comments, because these past months have been extremely overwhelming for me. I mean I’ve worked a lot and also had trouble, then I was sick and then I was traveling. First of all, I do agree, I completely agree and I plead guilty to the fact that I participate much less to the comment section, and you know, there are many other people posting. I have guest posts on the blog and basically I was a little bit in the backgound of the work. But please hear me out on my end, and see if the rational makes sense to you or not.
The blog is of course a blog of a one guy, its a one guy blog. But it also is I think, the center of a much larger community, and not only is this community formed of the other seven blogs I think that we have now, probably going to be an eighth one soon, but also there’s much more happening behind the scenes, that simply you can’t see right now. For instance, the so-called Brothers in Arms thing. You know if you look at the list of the other websites or bloggers that we collaborate with, some of that has been absolutely crucial. For instance our Russian team leader has had some health issues, so the Russian blog was basically unable to produce as many translations, as in the past, well, during this moment of crisis the Brothers in Arms really helped out. One in particular, Tatzhit Maholiwich [sp?] has been doing a fantastic job helping me, and you know he sub-titles videos.
And so what I’m trying to say is that the benefits, of building up contacts with other like-minded people, have been revealed by that temporary crisis that we had, because of the health problem, but the leg work needed to establish these contacts, was never seen, it was in the background. And this is really typical of how things happen. I think for instance that another example I’ll give you, is the interview I made with Sheikh Imran Hosein. The third part is still pending by the way. But I think the first two are already extremely interesting. I mean I’m really really proud of having done that. I think its a unique and very interesting thing. Well, it took a lot of time to make that happen. There’s a lot of emails exchanged, just plans. I wanted to include another friend, and then he didn’t want to participate, I mean I’ll spare you all the details, but there is hours and hours of work behind many of the things that you see on the blog. More, that you don’t even see on the blog but which are used, which are needed, in the background to make things happen. All of that takes a lot of time.
And here I wanted to specify one such thing, which I think is extremely beneficial, even though the friend that wrote me that email [mentioned at the beginning of the podcast], was critical about, that is the three Research Assistants, who are now writing the Ukrainian Sitreps. Here I’ll tell you, I think that truly, its a win-win situation for everybody. First of all they are saving me a lot of time for other things. They just began doing that, so you don’t see the results yet, but I promise you I will be more available, thanks to that research they do for me. That’s really priceless for me. Secondly, I think they’re actually very good. But thirdly, its not that they’re substituting their reports with mine, mine are available now in what I call the Analytical Sitrep, where I basically cover you know, I do more of a commentary and an analysis of what’s happening in the Ukraine, as opposed to them who are just providing the raw facts.
Now that is typical of what I would call a growth of the blog and it might be that some people, like this friend of mine who wrote to me and said, “You know, they’re very good people but what I want to hear is your analyses, not theirs.” Well, first of all, not everybody wants to necessarily only hear my analyses, and secondly they’re not analyzing, they’re providing facts. And thirdly by the fact that they’re doing what they’re doing, they allow me to write analyses. So please understand that its an evolution, but I honestly don’t think we have lost anything in the process. To a certain degree, yes I have been more absent from the blog personally, but that is due to the fact that I have to invest time, to organize things, to then have more time to do what I want to do most, what I like to do most, and that some of you appreciate the most, and that is to do myself, personal blogging. I know that makes sense to you, that my absence has always been invested. I did not go for holidays, or lounging on the beach and just enjoying the sunshine like a lizard. I was actually working very hard in the background, even when I was sort of scarce on the blog itself.
Secondly about the appearance of the blog. Ok, I do understand, and I fully agree that you know the old Blog Spot was simpler, and simplicity can be good, but its not necessarily always good. For instance, one of the big problems that I had on the Blog Spot, the chronological presentation, was that one long article would push everything down. You could place, on Blog Spot up to ten articles per page, but some of the articles were long, and then the short ones were basically crushed good, or squished – squeezed and mangled and disappeared in the middle. Here [new blog], by having a thematic presentation, some stuff stays for much much much longer, because basically each sub-section has its own headlines. So even though the chronological, you know, an article might have been published two or three weeks ago, its still there. The headline remains in its specific section, belongs to, be it a guest post, or be it the watch list, or even my little Sandbox, which I really enjoy a lot now. Its the part where I can write, you know less, you know its basically where I play and post whatever the hell I want.
All these things, that presentation [new blog] allows for much more, allows for several kinds of readings, and allows information to remain available, to the reader visiting for the first time. Or maybe the casual reader who comes once a week, to get much more, according to his or her choices. I don’t think its a loss. Now I will grant you that the front page looks cluttered, but that’s the price to pay for having a lot available at your fingertips.
Again, you’ve heard my argument. If you really hate it, go straight to the chronological link, ‘Latest Articles’. If you click on that, you have everything in the old order. But yeah, we’re discussing with Herb how we can make it less cluttered. By the way, your suggestions are welcome. I think that is, you know, let us know what you like. I personally think that the basic concept of how the previous webmaster, Gevorg, how he did the blog, was a very good one. I personally like it and I’ll try to accommodate those of you who don’t like it, but please look at the, you know, if simplicity, if we lost the simplicity, didn’t we gain, in the availability of information, for different people ?
Then there is the issue of the guest posts, and you know, the fact that other people, that its not only me, me me me me but that its other people too. Well I think that’s actually crucial, and this is not one I think I can go back on. For two reasons. First of all, really, me me me me me ? No. I’m not that narcissistic. I think other people often see things better and certainly write better than I do. But they also give their analysis better than I do. I mean the perfect example for me, is the recent article by Ishchenko about ‘What Does Putin Really Want ?’. I mean he basically said everything I’ve been saying for a long while, but my God, he really said it, better than I ever did, and its synthesized in one good article. So I think that the readers immensely benefit from having other people write also.
Same thing for generally, translations. I mean one of the key things is, that the western media is organized in such a way that it basically blocks out any kind of prospectus, from other cultures and peoples. Particularly those designated as the bad ones, the enemy, as the bad guys of the day. I mean ask yourself, you know, before the war against Iraq, how many Iraqi points of views were you exposed to ? I mean probably nothing. So one of my crucial, I think, missions, is not to duplicate Russia Insider, and I’ll explain why I think there’s a big difference, but to provide full length analyses, articles and shows, translated into English. And I’ll tell you exactly why this is not a copy of Russia Insider.
Well, first of all, I was first. They came second. No, (laughing). Seriously. Russia Insider is using a specific format which likes to keep information short. You’ve noticed most of their articles are, you know, maybe a page long, or whatever number of words that is, I mean five to six hundred ? I tend to privilege longer more detailed analyses. So that’s one big difference. I don’t think they would pick up some of the longer things that I’ve posted on the blog, which I think are extremely beneficial. Again the Ishchenko article being, you know, I think one of the best ones. But there’s another thing.
For practical reasons, I mean because Russia Insider is not run by one single individual, and because Russia Insider has, how shall I put it, has, lets be honest, I mean they have, they have a specific, they are ‘high visibility’. They have political and other considerations. They can’t just write anything they want. I mean they can write what most people there approve of, but there are certain controversial things, certain topics which they are going to be a little reluctant to touch upon. I don’t. I don’t have a bad topic. God knows I’ve touched on a lot of, you know, sensitive topics. I don’t have a problem with that. So I don’t think anybody has to fear … I am driving behind a slow moving group of cars and at the head of it there’s a cop car, so I don’t think I’m going to be passing any time soon, so ok. Sorry, off topic, I’m in a car, and I pay attention to traffic … So I don’t think there’s a risk of my blog becoming Russia Insider. We’re complementary but we’re not doing the same thing. So that’s about it on this topic, of quantity versus quality.
I am sensitive to those of you, like my friend who wrote today. Again, please, if you are among those who are not happy, or have some ideas, or are frustrated about something ? Simple. Please write to me, write to Herb, and we will try. I mean after all, this blog is for you primarily, so I will try to accommodate, definitely. But I need practical suggestions, do-able things. I can’t, two things I can’t do is, just guess how to fix a problem, when I don’t know what you really like, without being told about it. And the second is that, I absolutely cannot make a 180 degrees and go back to Blog Spot. That’s not going to happen. But if I can make things better ? I definitely will. So that is the first topic I wanted to cover today.
The second one is a little bit also off topic. I thought of writing about that on the blog, but I never had the chance. And I sort of made comments about that, here and there in the comment section, but its about my politics. Because even people within the blog, the Saker Community, have sometimes asked about my politics. What they are, or not. And there was this issue of being you know, I’m [either] on the Left, I’m on the Right. I want to clarify something here, just because now is an opportunity to do so in an easy way. Some of you might know I was, as a kid, I was raised extremely Conservative. Hating everything Socialist and Communist with body, mind and soul. And basically, I don’t even know what to say, sort of a Reagan fan, and a very typical ‘cold war warrior’. I believed in all that Imperial stuff, about defending the world against the Commie Plague. That’s a fact, I’m not proud of it, but I’m not going to lie to you either. So since then I changed a lot.
First of all, what really impacted me is two things. In college, I have two degrees actually, I have a double Masters, one is in Strategic Studies and the second one is in International Economics. And it was interesting, this school where I studied is called the Paul Nitze School for Advanced International Studies or The SAIS. Its part of John Hopkins University, but its a small campus in Washington DC. So all our teachers basically, not all but most of our teachers were from the executive branch of the US government. That’s the Department of State [State Department], you know, White House, CIA whatever. The usual. The Pentagon of course depending you know, what you were studying. And I studied the basis of Capitalism, they call it Market Economy. Its very interesting because even though The SIS, that’s what this school is called, The School for Investment and National Studies, The SIS, I then later learned, is considered sort of the breeding ground for Neo-Cons, and some of them truly are nasty. There’s a guy called Elliot Cohen who heads, he was the head of my department when I was there. Yeah they’re the real thing, they’re Neo-Cons alright. No problem.
But interestingly, our economic teachers, particularly one that I had, were very very sophisticated people, even though they were teaching the official curriculum, which was of course, pro-market in every way shape or form. They were always very good at pointing out to us that all these theories are based on specific assumptions. And one of these assumptions, that they hammered into us, is that the Market Economy, that the logic behind Market Economy is based on perfect information. That it is based on the fact that consumers actually have the full facts before them, and secondly that they [consumers] are going to make rational decisions.
But of course these two basic premises are false. As you all know, living, most of you at least are living in Capitalist societies, and the very last thing that you could say, is that in Capitalist societies true information is available to the consumer. That’s utter nonsense.
When you look at Microsoft putting one billion dollars down, to market the latest version of Windows, you realize, that is not information, that is propaganda. Its called politely, “marketing” but that is what it is. Its dis-information. And so here is the best proof that I could give, is Microsoft. Its certainly the worst, Windows is absolutely the worst operating system on the market. No doubt about it whatsoever. Yet, its used by 90% of the people. So if Market Economics worked, people would not be using Windows. I mean nobody would be using it. So. And people do, so that’s the cure.
Well, the second thing is, if you can look at a report on Youtube, there’s a series of very good documentaries called ‘The Century of Self’, which explains how people make decisions, and how Freud and Bernays and others developed propaganda. Do you realize its complete and utter nonsense ?
Normally our consumers are not given the true facts, but they’re also not making decisions based on rational calculations, which is the core underlying assumption, of Market Economics. So the theory of Market Economics and Capitalism generally, really took some hits in my mind, when I was actually studying it.
And then under the heading of “Know Your Enemy” I studied Marxism, and I was stunned to see to what degree Marx actually was correct in his analysis, his critique of Capitalism. Now keep in mind, these were years where I was still a fire breathing anti-Communist, you know, hating the Soviet regime. And of all the economies out there, I mean I just thought it [SR] was the worst of the worst. But I reluctantly agreed, “Well you know even if Marx’s solutions are horrible, his critique of Capitalism is very good.” So that was the second hit in my mind, that I realized, “You know what ? Marxism for all its faults, or not ‘its’, but the people who tried to implement it, (you want to pay attention to that) because what he says, basically what they say Marxism is, makes very much sense. I mean look at the environment we’re living in today.
Then the third thing that happened that changed my mind, is that I met very very good, left leaning, progressive, and even Communist people. Now you have to understand, it might sound, to those of you who are Communists, who are listening, are going like “What’s he talking about ?” Let me explain again. I was raised with the mantra, ‘You cannot be educated, good, and honest, and be Communist. There’s something wrong with you. You’re either an idiot or you’re evil or you’re just ignorant.” And then I suddenly met people who were very well educated, were very kind, good, principled people and were phenomenally well read, and very honest and good people. And they were Communist. So that really (laughs) sort of really you know, made my anti-Communism look stupid to me.
Then finally, I should also confess that as a teenager I was rebellious in my own way, even if I, you know typical teenagers, the way they rebel, is they rebel very much within the boundaries that they don’t realize have been put upon them. So my idea of rebellion was since I was a Commie Hater, and my family was Conservative, but they all hated Nazis, so what is the logical thing that a dum teenager does ? He starts studying National Socialism. And why ? Because that’s BAD. Its bad, but its not, I’ve not been ‘conditioned’ to reject it, like I’ve been conditioned to reject Marxism. So I read “Mein Kampf”. I studied the Nazis. I studied all their BAD literature etc. And why is that relevant ? Because eventually I realized that the National Socialists Party, I mean Nazi-ism and you know, I have really REALLY no sympathy for Nazis, but really ? In the same breath I would have to say I don’t find National Socialism particularly worse, than Marxism or Capitalism. And I don’t think Nazis, as people, were particularly worse than dedicated Trotskysts, Marxists, Leninists or you know, Free Market Economics Ideologues today. The problem is not the people. What I’m trying to say, well Nazis were different by one point, which I particularly don’t like about them. Well first of all they’re Racists, which really bothers me. That’s something that Marxists are not, and definitely in capital letters SHOULDN’T BE.
The second thing is fabular [sp?]theories are very very shallow. I mean there’s no equivalent of Lenin in National Socialism. When you read Mein Kampf, its not very interesting, and my comment is, its downright boring. So even though its a BAD book, I was almost yawning throughout it. And there is a lot of nonsense in that book. So I think Nazi-ism, if something makes Nazi-ism different from other ideologies its the low level of intellectual quality, of its ideology.
But in terms of evil ? I think that there’s the same ratio, that’s basically the conclusion I came to. What I’m getting at, is that there’s the same proportion of good and evil people everywhere. I don’t believe that people from one ideology are inherently more noble, better, smarter and better informed than people from another ideology. Basically all ideologies, I think, are evil. That’s where I’m getting to. And even the worst [of them],you know, Totenkopfverbande, are not any worse than the Chekisty, who were butchering way more people in Russia. Or other ideological groups ? Well frankly, some of the genocides committed by Westerners, particularly the British Empire, some of the behavior namely in South Africa and everywhere on the planet, was at least as bad as anything. So I realized that basically the Nazis are no different, and we use them as the ‘ultimate symbol of evil’ in order to basically conceal the evil that our societies and our ideologies do. They are a very useful scapegoat sort of. If we focus on hating them, then we don’t have to look at what we do.
So this sort of de-ideologized me. I don’t know if you can say that, but I sort of became disgusted with ideologies. Then another thing that acted on me, is of course the war in Bosnia, and the war in Chechnya, which both were the two ‘hits’ that finished my career as a military analyst. What else ? Oh and then the last thing, in 1993 I was in Moscow, during the coup. If you remember there was two coups in Russia. 1991 Yeltsin versus Gorbachev and the GKChp, that’s sort of you know, when Grachev was standing on the tank, basically the Soviet Union ended, that was one. But the real big one was in 1993 where we had Yeltsin basically attacking the Parliament and you remember the scene of the tanks shooting at the Parliament Building in Moscow. Well I was there. By coincidence. No I was not involved in it (laugh). Although its funny, when all this stuff started happening and all my friends who had stayed in the West, knew that I really hated Yeltsin, so I was getting frantic telephone calls, you know “Don’t go and die on the barricades !!” and I was going like “Guys you don’t realize, if he’s bad, the other guy is just as bad.”
So basically what we had in Russia in 1993 was a ridiculous scene where both sides were exactly the same. Both sides were ex-Communists, both sides were pretending to embody democracy and both sides were accusing the other one of being fascist. I mean it was disgusting. And again by the way, I would stress that there were good people on both sides. I tracked it, with both sides. There were some differences between the Democratic crowd and the Parliament crowd, and if you guys are interested I can tell you my recollections of how I spent those days there. Its kind of an interesting story. If you’re interested I can tell you how the Saker was around the Parliament Building, and what I saw during those days in Moscow. But basically ? I was really disgusted. I realized that people get killed because of ideologies. Even if they’re kind of similar, really, on both sides, and I was sort of, I became very cynical and tired, basically, of ideological labels and being ‘of the Right or of the Left’.
Where I am right now is, sorry it took a long while to get to this point, I consider myself neither of the Right nor of the Left. One Russian philosopher called Berdaev, said, “I don’t want to go Left, I don’t want to go Right, I want to go Up.” Or something very similar to that. And that’s where I am, in my life right now. I am totally non-judgment of ideologies, I don’t care what label you come in, you can waltz in and tell me you’re Leninist, and actually one of our Saker team leaders is a Leninist, and a very smart one at that, and we also have a bonafide Marxist, as another Saker team leader and they work along just fine and I’m kind of a mix of both I suppose. My economics ? I would say on the economics and social level I think I’m, I would be a very very progressive Socialist, almost Communist, kind of. Its where my economics are.
Basically I can summarize them very simply. I do fully and totally believe in Market Economics for the small business level, that is small entrepreneurs, small businesses, family owned, individually owned, not public trading businesses, should really have as much economic freedom and market freedom as possible. Should be least-taxed, least regulated. I mean here I kind of buy into the Ron Paulian Libertarian ideology, that its good, in consumer choices. For one thing, they (consumers) make better choices I think on the small level, because no local butcher store has a billion dollars to place into a propaganda campaign. So on that level I’m very very much a Libertarian, pro-Capitalist person.
On the mid-level, corporations, medium size corporations, here I would be I guess what you would call a Socialist. I think that they should be very strictly regulated. Corporations in my opinion do one of two things. They either serve you, or screw you. For them its the same exercise. What they really are in business for, you know they put those ‘mission statements’ ? That’s nonsense. Corporations are here to get your money. That’s what they do, and that’s when they have the ‘end of the year’ meeting with their stake-holders, they ask about only one thing. How much have we made this year and why. So I think that if corporations are left unchecked, like in the United States, they screw you. But if they’re well regulated like in Europe, they actually serve you very very well. So here, I believe in the Social Democratic or even Socialist model of Europe, which is very tightly regulated corporations, and secondly, very strong labor laws.
I believe in Universal Health Care, that’s just a matter of being civilized. Sorry no offense to those who don’t even live in the United States, who don’t understand why I consider that, but please believe me, the rest of the planet, all of developed mankind understands, that basically Health Care is a human right for a civilized developed society. So I think that’s just clear. Now, it can be run by corporations, through corporations, by the way, like certain countries in Europe, but basically I care for Universal Health Care absolutely.
I think the Work Force should be unionized. The notion that a single worker can actually negotiate his contract with an employer is ridiculous. And believe me, I worked for a while in the, its called ILO, International Labor Organization of the UN. I know Labor issues. Its laughable. If people are not unionized, then the Work Force is dead, its screwed and exploited every single time. And not because people, you know the executives, are bad, but some of it makes economic sense.
Again, we have the American model. I don’t think Walmart is what I want to see as a corporation. What I want to see as a corporation is where workers actually have rights, and can negotiate their contracts, and work on an equal basis with employers. And they do that by having the political support of the rest of the nation behind them. To explain that further, I could say that its a matter of sovereignty. I think that in any given country the sovereign power should be the people. Not big money. And the people of a nation impose the sovereignity, and their will, upon the corporations, who should be a subject, of the majority. This is the opposite of what we see in the United States, where we have a system, where its not one vote, one person, but its one dollar, one vote. So I am really deeply convinced that corporations should be tightly regulated.
And that finally, on crucial Strategic Industries and branches of the economy, I am a complete Communist. I think that that should be entirely nationalized. That includes everything that’s energy, that is defense and basically you know, banking. I don’t believe in private banking, I don’t believe in corporate banking, I think banking should be run by the State for the people. It should be a social and economic development tool and not a tool for enrichment. So here you have it. I’m a Capitalist on a small scale, a Socialist on the middle scale and a Communist on the National Asset scale. That’s for economics.
For social and moral issues I think the Left, historically Marxism, Marxist was a huge mistake. I mean their worst mistake was to become anti-religious, on the grounds that ‘religion is the opiate of the people, and its used by the ruling classes to maintain the oppressed masses in, you know religious stupor, which prevents them from revolting.’ There’s a lot of truth in that critique but they mistook, they made a huge mistake, a lot of people make, they mistook religion as they saw it in western Europe, with religion as a phenomena. And that was their big mistake. They didn’t realize that not all religions are the same, and even within the same religion there are very, kind of, different phenomena. And by basically declaring, as they did in Russia, that the clergy is a class enemy to be exterminated, and Christians are either to be shot or to be re-educated by labor, they basically made themselves an enemy that they couldn’t win against.
Today if you look at Latin America, the Latin Church is very very different from what you see in Western Europe. There’s definitely still the bad old cardinal standing next to the dictator in the Latin Church, but there’s also a Liberation Theology Church, where priest and clergy stand behind the local poor, and who push towards social, I wouldn’t even call it ‘rights’, I would call it ‘towards a civilized social model’. So. And they work actually very very well with left the Progressive Socialist and Communist, like Castro, like Daniel Ortega, Eva Morales, or Chavez when he was still alive. I mean there it is, the Left of Labor and the Right of Values have a lot in common, as Alain Soral says in France.
But on a family, you know for my own world view, I’m a traditionalist Orthodox Christian. I do believe that society, for instance I do believe that society should not be an open ended system, to cater to the will of the majority, of what they want. I believe in higher principles, and I believe that society has an education function. I think that’s not wrong. Because we had in history, societies that were educating, some societies that were educating people in the wrong way, thus suppressing for instance, debate or freedom of thought or research, doesn’t mean that, you know, you have to abandon that goal, and say that society has a sole function to ‘help people to pursue their happiness however they define it’. Let me give you a practical example. I believe that a good society should have democracy, [but] within specific moral spiritual limits. That is to say, I’ll give you an example that you will easily agree on. A society should for instance exclude, on a constitutional level, such a thing as slavery. Or such things as torture.
Now my list of what society should exclude is longer than that, I will be very honest to you. I have traditional, patristic, old Christian, you know first century Christian morals. Which means that society should basically inhibit, that which damages the individual and the planet, for one thing. So I won’t go into a long ideological speech here, but basically, what I would like to say is, I kind of like the Iranian model. Not because I’m a Shia Muslim and endorse everything they say, but if you have the time, study the way the Iranian government system is built. Its very interesting. They basically do have real democracy, but there is an oversight of people, who represent Islamic values. I think that’s a very good model, its a very healthy one, provided this is what, historically, the society wanted, and its what the majority of people wanted. But once they make that decision I think its a very sane model, much better than open ended democracy.
So I’m neither on the Left, neither on the Right, I work well with everybody. I think the three ideologies that I really have a problem with is, well, National Socialism because its racist; Zionism because its racist; and Wahhabism because its basically Satanic. So these are the guys that I truly couldn’t work with I think, (laugh). I would probably try if I could, you know, never too late to learn, but other than that, I’m kind of open ended. I prefer to look at things on a case-by-case, I don’t believe in universal systems, I think each country should have its own system. Its very funny for me to see that in Russia today, something similar to what happened in Japan. that is, formally. Even though the western propaganda says its not true, Russia’s actually very democratic. But in reality of course, its not. And neither is Japan. Japan is really run by a bunch of families, old families, big corporations, the ‘Ministry of Finance’. I mean, basically there is a very traditional Japanese power structure that parallels, the official democratic one. And that’s kind of what you have in Russia. Really Putin runs the country, thanks to the majority of the people, against the elites, and his power is based on his personal authority, even more than it is on the constitution. And I think that’s kind of typical. That countries, when given a chance, re-develop their historical, what Russian historian Ivan Solonevich called ‘the popular dominant’, the dominant trait and well, the Japanese remain very Japanese even though they have this external western layer of capitalism and democracy upon them. And Russians are again becoming more and more Russian, in the way their society functions, with the same kind of superficial layer the Japanese have.
And I like that, I think its very healthy. I think that every society should have that option. So that’s even another reason why I can’t see if I’m Left or Right. It depends on which country you’re looking at. I believe, I very much like referenda and popular initiatives, where you put something on the ballot or you try to censor a law, or recall, I like recalls, I like these democracy, you know hyper democratic things. But they work best on a small scale. As soon as big money gets involved I don’t think they’re very effective.
So I hope I haven’t bored you out of your mind with that non topical podcast. I just thought I would use the opportunity to talk to you. Let me know what you think, and if you want me to do different kind of podcasts, or come back to the Q&A, or maybe use one topic, or do more like I did today, just speaking to you and sort of like a one-way conversation. Please let me know and I wish you all the best and thanks for your patience in listening to me. Bye bye.