Where is the historical West? Part 5 of 5

Domitius Corbulo


Russia

The West also includes areas which are seen today as partially Western. I am thinking (firstly) of Russia. There is much uncertainty about Russia’s Europeanism. Perhaps of all the cultural factors which may classify Russia as Western none is more important than the bringing of Christianity to the Slavs by Byzantium scholars in the 10th century. With the end of Byzantium, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was certainly claimed by Ivan III (1440-1505), Grand Duke of Muscovy. Yet, the same Caesaropapism we saw in Byzantium developed in Russia, leading some historians to question Russia’s place in the West.  The Russian allegiance to Orthodox Christianity, they argue, kept Russia outside of the Catholic scholastic culture, the Papal Revolution, rise of autonomies cities and universities. Russia was the most resistant to classical liberalism. While Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825) was raised in the ideas of the Enlightenment, and during the beginning of his reign relaxed censorship and reformed the educational system, he refused to grant a constitution; and, after the defeat of Napoleon, he returned to strict and arbitrary censorship. In 1914 the Russian autocracy and its police were firmly in controlled. In March 1917, the Tsarist autocracy fell apart, and a provisional government led by the middle classes and liberal nobles passed reforms that provided universal suffrage, civil equality, and an eight-hour workday, but in October 1917 a small militant faction toppled this liberal government and set out to transform Russia into a bureaucratically centralized state dominated by a single party.  The Soviets tried to destroy every institution and cultural lifestyle associated with Russia’s Christian past in order to reconstitute society on the basis of an anti-Western doctrine

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called Marxism. This regime collapsed in the 1990s, but the emerging state structures, it is argued, remained mired in autocratic customs and policies.

But perhaps the most important reason why Russia is not altogether seen as Western is that geographically it occupies a vast territory extending from Eastern Europe deep into Central Asia, Siberia, and into the Far East. Other historians address Russia’s “distinctive” Slavic culture, but what is invariably left out from all these accounts is that Russia has been predominantly a culture and a territory founded and nurtured by Caucasians. The origin of the first Russian state, the state of Kiev, is a matter of much controversy; its existence has been dated roughly from the 800s AD to 1240, at which point it was thoroughly destroyed by the Mongols; and one of the contending arguments is that the founders of Kiev were Norsemen or Vikings. The name of Rus, from which the name “Russians” was derived, has been variously ascribed to “red-haired” Vikings. Now, Russia before the “Russians,” it is true, included a number of ancient cultures within the many landscapes that came to  be enclosed within its boundaries, including Scythians, Cimmerians, and Sarmatians, but many of these groups belonged to the Iranian and Thracian divisions of the Indo-European language families, and only some to an Asiatic, Mongol and Turkic-speaking background.  The Proto-Indo-European homeland, after all, was located in the general region of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, which is in present day Ukraine. The Indo-Europeans, who remained in this region, after the migrations, are said to be speakers of Balto-Slavic.

Looking at the ethnic composition of the former Soviet Union (circa 1979), we find that of a total population of 262.436 million, the Russians and Ukrainians alone numbered 187.307 million, not counting the Baltic peoples and other Indo-Europeans. After the Soviet Union broke up in the 1990s, the Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) came to account for about 85 percent of Russia’s demography. Most of the non-Slavic peoples found themselves neatly grouped within the newly demarcated nation states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The “Asian” part of the former Soviet Union was thus cut off. The Turkic speaking peoples which remained inside Russia are now widely and sparsely distributed in the middle Volga, the southern Ural Mountains, the North Caucasus, and above the Arctic Circle. Russia is not only the largest country in the world but homeland to the most numerous ethnic group in Europe and one of the largest white groups in the world – notwithstanding its current low fertility rate.

Philippe Nemo’s claim that Russia is not really Western because under its Orthodox Christian order it did not experience the separation of church and state, Catholic Scholasticism, and the rise of representative institutions (2006) is wrong on ethnic grounds. It is wrong on high cultural grounds: Russia has contributed one of the greatest literary traditions to the West, starting with Alexander Pushkin, the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov and Nikolay Nekrasov, dramas of Aleksandr Ostrovsky and Anton Chekhov, and the prose of Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Ivan Goncharov. It is wrong on geopolitical grounds: Russia’s relentless geographical expansion into Siberia, beginning in the late-1500s and reaching the Pacific by 1639, is as deserving of admiration as the achievements of other well-known European explorations. Russia has been a land of numerous great explorers associated with heroic expeditions from Siberia to the Artic into Space; it launched the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, the first human spaceflight in 1961, the first spacewalk in 1965, the first space exploration rover, on the Moon in 1970, and the first space station in 1971. Guillaume Faye’s vision of a Euro-Siberia federation covering all European lands in between the Atlantic and the Pacific is a salutation to Russia’s geographical achievement and possible impending role in the struggle with the Asian world for the survival of Western civilization.

Latin America

Another area of the world often classified as both Western and non-Western is Latin America. The countries comprising Latin America, one argument goes, inherited many of the feudal institutions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spain and Portugal, which had long stagnated, in contrast to North America, which was founded by a group of settlers representing the latest phase in the cultural progression of Europe, the principles of limited government, natural rights, religious tolerance, and individual enterprise. Whereas the North was gradually populated by enterprising families who brought with them the basis for the creation of “an institutional matrix” that committed the emerging state to set up a set of legal and political organizations, rules and enforcement of property rights, which ensured relative order and economic prosperity, Latin American culture became rooted in the Iberian tradition of a privileged nobility and a medieval landholding system in which most of the land was owned by a small clique ruling over a mass of  impoverished peasants lacking property rights and land. Historians also point to the persistence of a mercantilist disposition among Latin American rulers. From colonial times, the crown acted as the supreme economic patron, with the result that much commercial activities came to depend on special licenses, grants, monopolies, and trade privileges.  The import-substitution policies adapted from the 1930s through to the 70s created economies dominated by bloated and inefficient state sectors that either manage the economy directly or burdened it with massive regulations.

The message of this rather influential interpretation is that Latin America can be classified as Western in the degree to which it has adopted liberal democratic values and institutions. Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, an avowed admirer of Margaret Thatcher, believes that there is already “a Westernized Latin America that speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English (in the Caribbean and in Central America) and is Catholic, Protestant, atheist or agnostic.” There is another Latin America that remains authoritarian, hierarchical, corporatist, and patrimonial. But he is “convinced” this Latin America will become, “sooner rather than later,” Western thanks to further modernization and democratization. Latin American, he adds,  has been bedeviled not only by a pre-liberal Hispanic political culture, but by an indigenous “pre-Hispanic” presence particularly in countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Once liberalism takes firm roots, and “race-mixing” is extended “in all directions,” then “all Latin Americans” will join the Western world. Vargas Llosa opportunely announces that “the distinctive identity of a mestizo continent” will make Lain America “a model for the rest of the world.”

Latin America possesses some Western traits; this cannot be denied, the Spanish legacy, Christianity, and a high number of rather original writers: Jorge Luis Borges, known for his invention of the philosophical short story; Rubén Darío and the modernismo poetic movement; Alejo Carpentier, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Julio Cortázar — to mention a few names of European descendants. But Mario Vargas Llosa is correct to emphasize the overwhelming reality of mestizaje in this continent even if he wants to promote two incompatible things: i) the idea that Latin American is becoming liberal, transcending its ethnic identity and creating a culture “possessed by individuals and not collectivities,” and ii) the idea that Latin America is becoming a place where a new race, the Mestizo, will emerge standing as a “model” (a new and improved species?) for the rest of the world. The implied logic of his argument is that Indians should willingly engaged in miscegenation in the name of La Raza Cósmica. He neglects altogether the wishes of the more than 2000 different Indian groups in Latin America to retain their racial makeup, shared habits, folkways, and collective rights to their ancestral lands. The notion of the autonomous individual is not a cultural construct of Indians.

Mestizaje is also a denial of whiteness in Latin America. The ethnic composition of most Latin Americans is not European. Nevertheless, some countries, certainly Uruguay, regions of Argentina and even Brazil, do exhibit a considerable European genetic heritage. There is debate, and acrimonious exchanges on this question, for example, about the exact whiteness of Argentineans, with some studies questioning the commonly held view that Argentina is uniquely a European nation; still, the bio-geographic ancestry of Argentineans has been shown to contain “a large fraction of European genetic heritage in their Y-chromosomal (94.1%) and autosomal (78.5%) DNA, but their mitochondrial gene pool is mostly of Native American ancestry (53.7%)”. While the mitochondrial or the maternal gene inheritance may seem low, many Argentines are the descendants of an exceptionally high rate of European immigration: between 1857 and 1950, 6,611,000 European immigrants arrived in Argentina. According to a 1914 Census, over 80 percent of the Argentine population were immigrants, their children, or grandchildren. Uruguay, with about 88 percent of its population white and descended from Europeans, and only 4 percent black and 8 percent mestizo, is more European than the present United States.

Concluding Thought

The transformation of the vast pristine continents of North America and Australia into core members of Western civilization is one of the supreme accomplishments of Europeans. The countries erected out of these continents, Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand, were overwhelmingly white not long ago. This is no longer true. The headlines speak for themselves: “For the first time in history, there were more minority children born in the United States than white, according to 2011 census data.” “Australia’s Asian population is soaring as immigrants from across the region – particularly China and India – enter the country, official data suggests.” The top four countries of immigrants to Canada between 2001 and 2006 were China, India, Philippines, and Pakistan. “Canada is becoming a nation of Tiger Mothers”. Europe is experiencing similar trends; the Africanization France is well underway.

Where will the West be in the future? The difficulties we encountered identifying the historical West will pale in comparison to the immense struggles we will face recognizing this civilization in a thoroughly mongrelized geography.

End of Part 5 of 5.

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14 Comments to "Where is the historical West? Part 5 of 5"

  1. Will Fredericks's Gravatar Will Fredericks
    December 10, 2012 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    @Marcus:

    Russia might have been very “Westernized” if not for the Mongol conquests, before that it was following a trajectory similar to that of central & Western Europe. Despotism, serfdom, massive corruption, and brutal punishment typical of an oriental civilization all followed after that. Huntington demarcated the “west” with a border running NE from Croatia to the Baltic for good reason, but biologically the Europe east of this is still very European.

    The difference between “West” and “East” by most criteria seems rather elusive, but I think you are right to target the Mongol invasions as a turning point for Russia, as with many observers. More generally it seems western christian civilization has been threatened by three great incursions over its history; the Moors from the southwest, the Tartars, from the East and the Turks from the southeast. Really all three seem to have left their mark, and characteristics of “westernization” seem strongest in the areas of Europe, i.e. the northwest, most protected from these intruding forces.

    The impact of the Tartars on Russia that you mention, such as “Despotism, serfdom, … and brutal punishment” typical of an oriental civilization, I think are more properly the characteristics of collectivistic societies/cultures, not excluding of course our own middle ages, and the Tartar invasion just seems to have been mostly negative, in impeding the progress and development of western individualism that it tends mostly toward in good conditions. But not dissimilar to the impact of the other invasions. Spanish culture has to careful observers a considerable North African influence, and Balkan culture has a considerable Turkish influence. Not surprising that Russia was similarly influenced. At that before Bolshevism, with its great de westernizing impact, led not surprisingly, by Lenin/Ulanov, who was 1/4 tartar and 1/4 Jewish, and of course Trotsky/Bronstein.

  2. Freki's Gravatar Freki
    December 9, 2012 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Russia is certainly not European or Western from a sociological or cultural point of view. Russia is Eurasian, not European. As for demographics, one should keep in mind that Russians are not simply Slavic. They are more like Finno-Ugric + Slavo-Turkic. Russians do not self-identify with the West, not even with Europe. They have their own version of “civilization”. It’s a version appreciated only by very tiny subcultures outside Russia.

  3. Taras's Gravatar Taras
    December 8, 2012 - 11:52 pm | Permalink

    @Andrew:

    Slavs are white, period. Indeed, they have existed in that region before the last Ice Age ended, the archeological evidence for that is massive. They were overun by the Mongols but then again so were the Western Europeans by the Huns 800 years before. So most Europeans do have a drop or two of Asiatic blood because of these facts. Slavs are whiter than many Americans, who are really crypto-Indians because they have American Indian ancestry. I know this firsthand, many of my friends and associates have American Indian blood. And in the field of invention, Slavs invented among other things, the modern helicopter, and they were the first to get a satellite into orbit. They have made huge advances in astronomy, chemistry and physics, not to mention telescopes. Moreover, they have developed new types of weapons that the West has been forced to catch up with, such as missiles that can sink submarines from tens of miles away. Slavs have been the targets of genocidal invasions on the part of the Mongols, Muslims and Nazis, not to mention the Swedes, Lithuanians and Germans. Why should we be “Western?” They do not want to be like Americans, who a growing number detest for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the fact the tail wags the dog instead of the other way around here. We are different when it comes to language, culture, and religion, but we are white like everyone else from Europe. I have a Russian family for neighbors, and their children speak, act and otherwise live like any other white American. Slavs are diverse in appearance, there are many who can pass for Nordics, others that are more dusky, yet others that are unmistakably Slavs.

  4. Achaean's Gravatar Achaean
    December 8, 2012 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Why not a long Roman name like “Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius,” or “Caius Ummidius Quadratus Sertorius Serverus”?
    But I understand why Corbulo; Roman generals are fascinating characters, and Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, (7-67AD), was known for his exemplification of the Roman belief that “everything old was best…the ideals were to be found in the past”. Liberals are always striving for ideals in the future, and one way to counter them is to show students the virtues of the past. On Corbulo’s strict disciplinary methods, see this 1909 Dissertation (UofC): http://archive.org/details/studyofcndomitiu00schouoft
    Click on the PDF file on the left for a digitized copy.
    Pages 33-35 describe Corbulo’s efforts to recover Roman military discipline in the East. Nero later became suspicious of Corbulo’s disposition after an assassination plot organized by another group, and he also resented Corbulo’s support among the Roman population, so he was ordered to commit suicide, which, as dutiful Roman, he did by falling on his own sword, saying, “Axios!”
    Nietzsche: “The Romans were the strong and aristocratic; a nation stronger and more aristocratic has never existed in the world, has never even been dreamed of…”

  5. norm s's Gravatar norm s
    December 8, 2012 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    The media loves to refer to anyone from Central or South America as Spanish. While it is true that the Spanish did interbreed more than our colonists it seems that as long as you speak Spanish you are Spanish. This would mean that our American Indians are English because they speak English. Many full or almost pure South American Indians now call themselves Spanish. The Indian culture is very dynamic and includes the Mayans but the distinction is only seen by other Indians. How many Americans could tell the difference between all the American Indian tribes. They are all just called Indians for practical reasons. This may be one reason to group all South and Central Indians as Spanish.

  6. michael colhaze's Gravatar michael colhaze
    December 8, 2012 - 4:37 am | Permalink

    @ andrew: as to Russian ethnic composition, you better check a few present day statistics instead of advancing far-fetched Nordic nonsense. That apart, you may cast a glance at the magnificent cultural achievements of this country, particularly in literature (which no Nordic country has even come close to).

    @ Mr. Corbulo. Thank you for an excellent piece. Just a question: why Corbulo?

  7. Anglo Saxon's Gravatar Anglo Saxon
    December 8, 2012 - 1:20 am | Permalink

    @Marcus:

    Yes Marcus, I agree with you. And I would like to add the following.

    Remember that prior to the disaster we now know to be Jew-led (philosophically Shtetl based) Bolshevism, the vast area east of the Baltics and Caspian was called “The Russian Empire”.

    Russia before the Wall Street financed insurgency could boast an impressive list of achievements: in agriculture, construction, the sciences, music, literature, and art.

    If memory serves me well, it was once Russian (and Ukrainian) Grain that fed much of Western Europe.

    The building of a railway that connected Moscow to the Pacific Coast was infinitely more impressive than anything achieved by the Harriman dominated railways expansion that fanned out across the continental USA.

    These achievements, which I would like to invite TOO Readers to explore on their own, suggest Russia was indeed a valid extension of Europe. The city of St. Petersburg was constructed (on reclaimed swamp land) with this reality in mind.

    And as you so rightly pointed out, Mother Russia was badly wounded and perverted by the Mongol Invasions: of which The Golden Horde was the most significant phase. Later, the invading Poles also have a lot to answer for!

  8. Marcus's Gravatar Marcus
    December 7, 2012 - 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Russia might have been very “Westernized” if not for the Mongol conquests, before that it was following a trajectory similar to that of central & Western Europe. Despotism, serfdom, massive corruption, and brutal punishment typical of an oriental civilization all followed after that. Huntington demarcated the “west” with a border running NE from Croatia to the Baltic for good reason, but biologically the Europe east of this is still very European.

  9. Achaean's Gravatar Achaean
    December 7, 2012 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    @Andrew:

    I will answer for Corbulo the many valuable points you bring up.

    First, I sympathize with the Nordic viewpoint; the US, Canada, and Australia were, in the first instance, created by Whites from the northern English speaking regions of Europe, and we know that Germans have played a big role in American history. I learned not long ago that “German Americans (German: Deutschamerikaner) are citizens of the United States of German ancestry. They comprise about 50 million people, making them the largest ancestry group ahead of Irish Americans, African Americans and English Americans.”

    Germans have also played a major role in Europe’s history, both as indicated in this article, which clearly celebrates the role of German barbarians in sustaining the vigor of the West after the fall of Rome, and later in modern times, wheh Germany became the major industrial/scientific power in Europe after the 1850s, and as the birthplace of the greatest philosophical tradition since the ancient Greeks.

    I understand as well the desire of Nordics to preserve their racial characteristics in distinction to non-Nordic whites, just as I would understand the desire of non-Nordics to preserve their own. Where you go wrong, I think, is in reducing this whole debate to a matter of preserving Nordics, and in assuming that the Nordics are the greatest achievers in history. I would say they are in unison with the earlier Western tradition associated with the Greeks, Romans, and French. The Scandinavian countries did not accomplish that much in world historical terms besides the Viking movements, but that does not mean we should neglect them as key to the West. The Slavs are white, and they are very important; Russia was influenced by some Viking contribution, but it is more Slavic than Nordic, and it is the biggest country in the world, and the Slavs should be credited for creating this country that rather than being called non-White. The Turks are not Slavs, not even Indo-European, but members of the Altaic language.

    This article does not say that Latin mestizos are a model to the world but simply that there are whites in LA; not all Nordic but nevertheless White. It argues that LA is not Western except for certain historical antecendents, and a few regions with some high white percentages here and there.

  10. Andrew's Gravatar Andrew
    December 7, 2012 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Corbulo, thank you for your article, which I enjoyed reading, although I have a few bones to pick with this last installment.

    In determining whether Eastern Europe is “Western”, you say, “Russia has been predominantly a culture and a territory founded and nurtured by Caucasians.”

    My understanding is that the Eastern sphere is 25% Nordic, the rest being mostly Slavic. While both are Caucasian, these are two very different groups, extending even to skull shapes. It is hypothesized that the Slavs are the result of intermixture between Nordics and Turkic (or some other non-Nordic) peoples.

    With all due respect to the Slavs, they are very different than Nordics in temperament and other traits, as would be expected from racial groups separated by geography for a significant time. Their average IQ is lower than Nordic populations, and therefore their national accomplishment is lower than in Nordic nations (see IQ and the Wealth of nations).

    Culture and society are a function of race. Each race has its own unique brain structures, thus the culture and society of a nation will reflect this. East Asian cultures are naturally very different from those that arise in European or other racial groups.

    Slavic Russia has always been, and will always be, quite different from Nordic nations, because of that racial difference. Those nations were founded by the Viking Rus, yes, but that is irrelevant to whether they should be considered Western. “Western” to me means the culture that is commonly found in Nordic populations, being a result of the particular traits of that racial type. Eastern Europe, primarily a non-Nordic racial type, we see a very different society and political structure there, which is really something different than what we usually regard as Western Civilization.

    “the idea that Latin America is becoming a place where a new race, the Mestizo, will emerge standing as a “model” (a new and improved species?) for the rest of the world”

    WTF? I hardly think that 89-IQ mestizos who historically form what we regard as failed states can be considered a model for the world. They have their natural right to exist and follow their destiny, but I think they are more a model of what not to do/be for most other races.

    “Uruguay, with about 88 percent of its population white and descended from Europeans, and only 4 percent black and 8 percent mestizo, is more European than the present United States.”

    A European is not a Nordic. Spain has a heavy admixture of Arab/Berber blood, which tells in the Spanish populations’ swarthy appearance and the culture/society that has organically formed there. Spain could be regarded as a borderline area of Western Civilization, similar to Italy below Rome, which has a different genetic makeup (also heavily non-Nordic) and thus a different culture. South American “Whites” are significantly intermixed with non-Nordic influence, while most Nordic populations in Germany, the U.S., Canada and other Nordic outposts are not. As expected, mostly non-Nordic Uruguay has a society that reflects its genepool, which I would argue is decidedly not part of Western Civilization/the Nordic sphere.

    “Where will the West be in the future? The difficulties we encountered identifying the historical West will pale in comparison to the immense struggles we will face recognizing this civilization in a thoroughly mongrelized geography.”

    I think its necessary to restate that the essence of Europe and Western Civilization is not in the traditions, culture, language or land area. It is in the genepool, the DNA. It is the little blue-eyed, blonde baby that will grow up to have European offspring with another of its own genotype. Even if the entire European people had its history, language, culture, traditions and society completely erased, and was relocated as far away from Europe as possible, if the genepool remained intact, the population would over time invent a new language, culture and everything else that would have a decidedly European flavor, something that reflected their DNA. Alternatively, put a population of non-Europeans in Europe, give them European language, customs, institutions and everything else, and they will soon create a completely different culture and society, one that reflects their own inborn traits.

  11. buckle's Gravatar buckle
    December 7, 2012 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

    @Curmudgeon:

    The logic of the article is that concerned American WNs should emigrate to Argentina or Uruguay.

  12. December 7, 2012 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    @Anglo Saxon:
    Ethno-European is bang on.

    The term “Western” was originally used to describe the European people who were colonizing the Great Plains of North America. Think cowboys.

    The term has been co-opted by the tribe to mean an American style of government. We constantly hear the term “Western style democracy”. All that means to me is a government infested with, and corrupted by, the tribe.

  13. Anglo Saxon's Gravatar Anglo Saxon
    December 7, 2012 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so very much Domitius Corbulo.

    Many excellent writers (and Commenters) have contributed to TOO over the years, and your 5-part Treatise will be remembered with affection and, going forward, oft referred to … of that there is no doubt.

    You ask … “Where will the West be in the future?”

    Perhaps we need to re-frame our terms of reference before we consult the Runes? Instead of calling ourselves “Westerners” … an abstract term for an abstract people … why don’t we simply call ourselves what we are?

    Ethno-Europeans.

    Even the dreaded Amerikan term “Whites” has more legitimacy than the geographically challenged “Westerners”.

  14. Gregor's Gravatar Gregor
    December 7, 2012 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Off Topic: Dr. MacDonald had an excellent radio interview this morning, Friday Dec 7, with Charles Giuliani on the Oracle Broadcast Network.

    It is available at http://www.oraclebroadcasting.com/archives.php?who=Truth_Hertz … the December 7 archive file.

    The interview begins just before the end of the first hour, and continues to the end of the show. Dr. MacDonald got some very interesting points out, and Giuliani allowed him a lot of space.

    If you love TOO, you’ll enjoy this.

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