Risk From An Unfamiliar Culture

 

Risk From an Unfamiliar Culture

Lessons in Life

Usually I stay away from the political arena but it’s often hard because the line between the political arena and the rest of our lives gets frayed. The roots of this commentary come from the book Red Notice by Bill Browder. I made mention of it previously and the deeper I got into it, the more I found what he wrote has broad implications.

Once again I have to say I am stunned by this book. In one sense it feels like it is a compellingly interesting novel, but it is really his story. There are times when I simply gulp at the import. I also find it is stirring memories and his experiences and conclusions mesh with so many components of our world.

The Focus

But let me focus on the central point of this post which relates to the reality of Russia. Our world is growing smaller and our interfaces more complex. Here in North America we have our differences but were functioning reasonably well at least until recently. But in other parts of the world there is much more drama and issues that lead into deep conflict.

A Reprise of a Story

In two previous posts I wrote about a man by the name of Nicolai Kokhlov. I met Nicolai while I was working on my doctorate at Duke many years ago and the experience was unforgettable. He brought a bridge to another reality I have never forgotten.

Nicolai was the head of Russian intelligence in Eastern Europe and, to put it mildly, it was not a nice job. He didn’t just gather intelligence. He also had to have people killed. The fact of what he had done was startling because he was a mild mannered man of substantial grace. He seemed so gentle and humble. One evening we fed him vodka and heard the depth of his story.

On that evening he talked about some of his work in detail and there was an utter disconnect from his demeanor and what he had done. In the end he could not endure the life and he made arrangements with American intelligence to defect. He was to go on Radio Free Europe and announce his defection. At the same time our people were to take his wife and children and spirit them out of the country. He made his announcement, but we did not go for his family. They were taken by Russian intelligence. In the end they were not murdered but he never saw them again. At the time of our meeting he had remarried and had children with his second wife.

The Russians poisoned him with a radioactive substance and our German military hospital saved him. It was clear he had a morality very different from much of Russia.

The Point

On that evening we heard in detail about a very different culture and how we too often betray our promises. Now comes Bill Browder’s book. He is a brave and determined man who opened investing in Russia as the communist empire collapsed. But at one point his investment business was attacked. But it was attacked in a way that the attackers were going to take huge personal loses to their own investments. To us it seems curious but Browder quoted an old Russian proverb and summarized the import this way: “The moral is simple: when it comes to money, Russians will gladly—gleefully, even— sacrifice their own success to screw their neighbor.”

Now the Conclusion

We have a curious story unfolding about Trump and his family and their enmeshment with Russian oligarchs. What Browder spells out in Red Notice is the risk which there is not just to the Trump family but to our nation as well. We do not understand this component of the Russian culture but it comes down to the fact that they may seek serious damage to us even while damaging themselves. To that we need to give serious attention.

Did this issue even occur to you?

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 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

A Focus on Patriarchy

 

Shifting the Focus Regarding Women

It’s time to turn the focus to the issue of patriarchy and men. But first I believe there is a definitional problem regarding feminism.

I’m intrigued by a term I keep hearing. Radical feminism. Perceptions that suppression of women needs to end and be replaced by empowerment seems to me to be anything but radical. So, I did some research and came up with the following definitions of radical feminism.

Definitions of Radical Feminism

The definition from Robert Jensen’s book The End of Patriarchy is “Radical feminism is a radical, structural politicized response” to “patriarchy’s rigid, repressive, and reactionary gender norms.”

Wikipedia – “Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.

Another is – “Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men.” (The site from which I drew this definition shall remain nameless because when I type the name my fonts go crazy. Creepy!)

New Question

I think I need to turn the whole thing on its head by asking the question, “What is the justification for subjugating women?” The fact that subjugation exists is not justification. A woman’s place is in the home is not justification. Men do all things better (that’s laughable) is hardly appropriate. I won’t bother with more space to note absurd justifications.

I prefer to simply deal with the movement of feminism of which there may be various forms with varying degrees of proposals and demands. To my mind, fulfillment of the potential of women and their participation in world society is anything but radical. As far as I’m concerned we can ditch the term radical.

The Bottom Line

I have to wonder what the perceived benefits for society as a whole are by subjugating half the population of earth. And then I get to the point where I wonder why we are even having a debate. Does it simply come down to a male stating “because I said so” ?

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in debates that we make it one form of an academic discussion in which we pick over words. In this instance I’m fascinated by why we are even having this debate. Once we note that women have been the focus of discrimination and subjugation it seems reasonable to focus and make changes. Granted we haven’t done so well with racism which we have declared to be inappropriate and damaging. Now we know some people declare against racism but behave in a racist fashion anyway. The same thing is happening with women and there is a certain absurdity attached to this debate. With the subjugation of women, though, there seem to be a cadre of insistent defenders of subjugation who must be dealt with.

###

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

###

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

Wait! Its Not All Politics

 

A Challenging Time – Again

Without question this is a challenging time and the outcome is not at all clear regardless of our hopes. And we now live in an age where the media is always before us and discussions are ongoing. But what is the focus?

Achieving a Focus

Too often I hear a discussion begin but it seems caught in a tailspin when it is focused as if it is all about politics. Each side proclaims that they have the true way and then drag it in to the next election and their import. 

Unfortunately that approach, of which both side are guilty, is not productive. It is essential for us to move away from that reductio ad absurdum. Such a move is typically self serving in a demanding world requiring focus and study.

Not a Simple World

Wishing to achieve a comprehensive view of many issues is nothing other than entering a field of dreams. It takes time to separate out issues and focus them. Many issues must be decided in isolation with acceptance of exceptions.

As best we can we need to clarify what we are seeking to solve or develop. And that means we have to move the ideology out of the way. Here again is where the negotiations of the conservative and the progressive are essential. Few decisions come with a giant leap forward. Conservative attention to traditions and values are useful as well as the progressive attention to a developing need in a rapidly changing world.

Mutual Respect

Too often we find ourselves on the field of ideological conflict when we must face off with mutual respect. Each side must surely yield something but an essential core usually is that new problems have arisen before us and we may well have to seek new types of solutions.

An Example

Here is one of my favorite examples. In this age of empowerment of women we need to examine ourselves. I won’t go into the full complexity here but it is a new age. Traditional values may stress such things as “a woman’s place is in the home”. Well, kind of. Women do birth our children and that isn’t going to change. But we are building alternatives and are finding immense rewards as we work to bring the other half of the world into full completion with us.

I’ll leave it at that, but the point is that change comes and we have to blend viewpoints and seek solutions which reward our traditions, reality and new realities. It’s that simple and complex all at the same time.

The Essential Point

In the world as it is, the challenges before us are surely most often not about politics. It may play a role but the challenges are discrete and stunningly diverse and are sources of wonder–if we choose

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

#####

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

 

Entering the Real World

 

Opening Exploration

We don’t really have a collective ideology as much as we would like to believe it. We stand up for America the Beautiful but there are many places within America where it is not so beautiful. It may be found in poverty, racist strongholds and corporate greed among many. But let’s proceed from the place of ideological conflict and the fact of blessing and curse.

A Lesson

Naively we may enter adult life believing we have a firm ideological path. If our eyes remain open we find that the landscape is blurred. An attractive ideology may be undercut by the real orientation of an individual or a group. 

Deep in the inner city poverty of Baltimore my eyes were opened. Among others there were people who were naive and well intentioned, people who claimed liberal orientation but were thieves and conservatives who were dedicated only to self interest.

As such a scene opens it is essential to evaluate it and learn rather than walk away. That is our real world at all levels and it must be mastered throughout life.

The Lesson of Children

Let me turn a page with an illustration. Many people have children expecting that a “little me” will arrive. In a sense they are all little mes but the biggest lesson is that your child or children will simply be who arrives at your home. They must be loved, tended and guided. And from that experience the richness of your life evolves. In some ways your work life is no different. Take what comes, assess, shape and learn.

Conservative Versus Progressive

The view I came away with is that these opposed positions and ideologies are essential. A sound conservative preserving essential values is to be valued. And in the world at large there is inevitable change which currently is rapidly accelerating. That means that progressives cannot seize the moment such as it is and race forward without balance or decision. 

That is where the conservative comes in. When we come together and negotiate we bring together a functional future. 

Our Current World

But now my view is that true conservatives seem to have been forced into hiding. The people who call themselves conservatives now do not strike me as bringing firm and productive values. There has been a revolution in which corruption has taken hold along with a narrow, unproductive view of the world.

We have lost the valuable negotiations of the past and badly need them back. We need our devoted conservative sisters and brothers back. The field of the future is strewn with barriers and misapprehensions. We must see the potential and that we have to restore our ability to negotiate and balance. The future is rushing at us and I firmly believe that the transformation on the horizon can be devastating or utterly fulfilling. Much more later.

 

Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

 The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.Coming Soon

The Tragic Loss of Conservatism

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

######

The Tragic Loss of Conservatism

It Is a Loss

I recall a time past when there were proud people of substantial values who held forth with the values of constructive conservatism. Yes, I used the word constructive. These were people to be admired because they contributed to stability, depth of commitment and the productive exchange of ideas in a world facing inevitable change.

In Opposition

The family I grew up in was firmly Republican. Late in the evening of the election of 1952 we sat up and cheered at the election of our hero Dwight Eisenhower. He had led us through the ruinous war against Naziism. His value of our country was firm and he stood before us in triumph and vision. He was the person who brought us the interstate highway system among other benefits.

Through it all he stood firmly for traditional values and against reckless change. As such he was a hero and benefactor.

My World Changed

In time my experiences in my life led me to embrace other viewpoints. My family was privileged and we toured the world beginning shortly after the end of World War II. It was breathtaking. I found myself over time seeking novelty and diversity. My brother went to Princeton and I went to the University of Michigan. It was time to head out further into our country. From there I went to North Carolina which was emerging from its racist and revolutionary past. Just one hundred years after the Civil War. It was a stunning lesson. From there I went to work in inner city poverty in Baltimore. Nothing could remain the same and I had to examine values and the future. I brought the experience of each corner with me. I never lost my rich past but turned to support progressive positions.

Two Definitions of Conservatism

Now let me turn to the world of conservatism. I found two definitions.

Commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation.

The holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

Who can be opposed to supporting traditional values in most instances. Exceptions are found of course as in the case of when racism is a traditional value in the culture. But generally stability is something to support. And in the second definition it is obvious that we support free enterprise and private ownership. It is when we come to socially conservative ideas that we may run into conflict.

In Progressive Ideology

In general, at least for me the issue is not in the ideology. It is a matter of how we take it forward and whether it is ill planned and ill considered. On the streets in the sixties and its time of revolution there were many things worthy of advancement. Among them was racial equality and the advent of the empowerment of women.

There were times when I found myself working against the radicals in the “progressive” mix. Change was clearly essential, but not necessarily revolution.

What Was to Come

It is not a clear and simple world out there. We fought our battles decade after decade and it was challenging. Change brought stunning openings of possibilities along with undesirable revelations. In the next post I’ll dig a little deeper into what I saw and where it has led us.

###

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See) 

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.