“If it is given at all to the West to struggle out of these tangles of the lower slopes to the spiritual summit of humanity then I cannot but think it is the special mission of America to fulfil this hope of God and man. You are the country of expectation, desiring something else than what is. Europe has her subtle habits of mind and her conventions. But America as yet, has come to no conclusions. I realize how much America is untrammelled by the traditions of the past, and I can appreciate that experimentalism is a sign of America’s youth. The foundation of her glory is in the future, rather than in the past; and if one is gifted with the power of clairvoyance, one will be able to love the America that is to be.”
For the past two weeks, we have been hearing a lot of talk concerning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The question we’re hearing the most from the corporate media is: how do we punish Russia and its leader Putin for invading Ukraine? It is quite obvious that once we have consumed our dose of the daily news, we are supposed to scapegoat Russia in any way possible. A plethora of Western media entities has pulled out from the Russian market. Russian banks have been cut off from international payment systems. Cryptocurrency wallets have been targeted. Russian shops in the West have met a barrage of negative reviews and boycotts. Not even Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky have been spared!
Does scapegoating work? From looking at recent history we know that sanctions and similar actions against enemy countries are not practical solutions. Contrary to what the regular talking heads at CNN, MSNBC, and FOX might tell you, sanctions are just as effective at enabling dictators as they are at destabilizing nations. Did sanctions work against Iraq, Iran, and North Korea? The answer is self-evident. On the other hand, sanctions, from a moral point of view, are like bullets in warfare in that they aim to rob and starve whole populations who may or may not agree with their governments.
Why is Putin doing what he did? Is the man crazy or is there a deeper anthropological explanation for his actions that the rulers of the West have an incentive to avoid? Some have written that Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet empire, yet others insist that he is a Christian fundamentalist who wants to be the successor to the Czars. Both these assertions might be true, but we have little evidence to prove them. What seems more realistic is that Putin is made from the same cloth as the Obamas, the Clintons, the Bushes, etc. Indeed, as recent as January of this year, Vladimir Putin spoke at a virtual conference at the World Economic Forum1 and implemented the same authoritarian restrictions during the pandemic as Western elites like Trudeau and Macron did.2
Let us look at some of the statements that Putin has made when he was accused of meddling in Western affairs. Putin has repeatedly argued that what he does pales in comparison to what the United States government has done in their foreign policy endeavors. When Biden called Putin a “killer,” Putin replied, “We always see in another person our own qualities and think that he is the same as us.”3 In another statement, Putin said to Biden, “Don’t be mad at the mirror if you are ugly.”4 Any student of the French anthropologist, René Girard, will immediately identify these statements as highly mimetic. In other words, Putin is only doing what he has learned from the West’s policies in recent history. It is not a stretch to call him an imitator of the government of the United States.
Putin very much considers America his mimetic rival. It does not take an anthropologist to recognize that in the modern world whatever America does, the world, especially Russia, follows. The reason for this is very clear: America boasts of the highest GDP and is dominant in the information market; the United States also has the most powerful military in the world. Putin wants that kind of commanding position for his country, but unfortunately, like most leaders, he thinks that the way to achieve this dominating status is to mimic America’s increasingly tyrannical domestic and foreign policies.
There’s a reason why America’s ruling elites, whether conservative or liberal, have a penchant for avoiding any discussion related to their horrendous track record on war. Should they start talking about the countless lives lost in American interventionism there is no doubt that their careers would nosedive. They would also realize that wars have a direct correlation with technological stagnation and growing economic debt. What Putin does, and he has publicly talked about this numerous times, is that he provides a mirror to these elites and makes their actions all the more banal.
Now when a binary thinker–a person at the mercy of the media–reads all of the above, he/she will try very hard to conclude that this article is an apology for Putin, but we shall not indulge ourselves in that futile little exercise as we are only interested in solutions. Knowing that Putin’s government is a mirror to America’s failing globalist policies, what must American leaders do to nullify Putin’s threatening stance and, dare I mention, transform the heart and mind of the Russian president? The answer lies in the words below:
“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all… [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty.”
–John Quincy Adams
America is already in a place where her citizens can discuss the value and consequences of liberty like no other country before it. This is due to the infection of the Christian story in America’s culture. René Girard made a profound observation when he said that the scientific method arises when the persecution of scapegoats ceases. America can find the renaissance spirit again but, as Girard noted, it cannot do so while waging endless wars overseas and censoring and imprisoning non-violent people at home.
The last two years have shown us how insipid and corrupt America’s medical science industry is where a select few big corporations hold sway over which medicines are approved and which are not. The same is the case with a worthless nutrition science industry that has failed to stop the rising cases of diabetes and obesity and instead spends much of its energy demonizing organic foods like red meat. Most horrifyingly, America also boasts the highest number for prison population, a large amount of whom are incarcerated for victimless crimes. Last but not least is the example of the Federal Reserve which devalues hard-earned American money more and more as the years go by.
When Americans realize that statist might-makes-right philosophy is self-defeating and self-cannibalizing, America will rekindle the spirit of the Wright brothers and the Nikola Teslas and find solutions through voluntary interaction and creativity. The pandemic has shown us that there are many doctors and health experts such as Paul Alexander, Robert Malone, and Peter McCullough who are not afraid to go the extra mile and provide non-coercive solutions and real treatment with cheap, generic medicine. Americans, instead of demanding censorship for these dissidents, should celebrate and uplift them as pure examples against a politicized, profit-driven system.
A lot of state-oriented thinkers try to argue that liberty has more downsides to it than upsides. Is this really the case when someone like Rufus Rochell, sentenced to 40 years and 8 months, is able to spend time with his family, or when someone like John Bolen, sentenced to life for a non-violent offense, is able to reunite with his wife? Countless more examples can be given, but what needs to be clear is that freedom is never an evil thing, and it’s precisely because America’s rulers consider it burdensome that America becomes a negative role model for the world.
How can America become a positive role model for the entire world? The answer is very simple: America must stop engaging in wars overseas and injustices at home. America must find the spirit of innovation and creativity again. The bureaucratic and institutional hurdles that only serve to impede progress must be rendered useless. Enough energy has been spent on information warfare; it is now time to look to the atoms and figure out how we can make our neighbors healthier and prosperous. Once America, through voluntary interaction and creativity, is successful, leaders like Putin and his mirror of death will fade away into obscurity and Russia too will seek to mimic the standard-bearer of liberty.