Sunday, July 3, 2016

In which What's Wrong With the World discovers What's Wrong With Russia

So, apparently Russia - continuing its war on foreign cultural influence - has decided that they're going to be tightly regulating missionary activity from now on. This has the What's Wrong With the World team up in arms, particularly Lydia McGrew, who complains:
And it is sheer xenophobia of the most blatant sort for Russia to try to outlaw having a foreigner (gasp) speak to a church or religious body without a work permit. Could such a foreigner be an imam recruiting for terrorist activities? Sure, but if that's who he is, and if you have good evidence that he's a terrorist recruiter, then don't let him into the country in the first place. You may notice that t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t i-m-a-m is not the same as B-a-p-t-i-s-t m-i-s-s-i-o-n-a-r-y, even if both happen to be foreigners.
The comments section continues this kind of theme, which amounts to 'Russia should conduct itself like a proper Western country! Damn it, we have respect for the 1st Amendment over here! The fact that Russia finds it necessary to try and insulate themselves from western thoughts and culture is downright xenophobic, I tell you!'

Now, I'm Catholic. Byzantine Catholic admittedly, but I'm under the Pope, not the Patriarchs. So in principle I should find any barrier to spreading the faith a worry. What I find remarkable in this exchange here is the lack of sympathy or self-awareness in any form, which is starting to look more and more typical for WWWtW. To them, it's absolutely unthinkable - wicked, horrible, and wrong - that Russia would be highly suspicious of western influence and seem to control or even minimize it. It's totalitarianism in its worst form, they should allow for the free flow of ideas and thoughts and foreign communication in their country!

Look, I'm not saying one has to defend Russia's policy. Go ahead, criticize it - I'm sure some russians will too. But what I find weird - even comical - is that WWWtW's admins will rant and rave about the Russians going out of their way to try and insulate their culture from outside cultural influence, when normally they write article after article about the rapid deterioration of the very culture that Russia is trying to minimize the influence of.

Worse is the strong suggestion that those backwards Russians have a lot to learn about government from their Western Christian counterparts, which more and more looks like a case of a morbidly obese AIDS victim trying to give other people health lectures.

Maybe the Russians have, if nothing else, a reason to be worried, and have a reason to guard themselves against the culture that looks like it won't recognizably exist in a hundred years. Maybe we have something they're right to protect themselves from as much as they can.

Edit: The best part is that if you look at WWWtW's comments, you see a transition. They start off talking about how all these poor missionaries want to do is spread God's word - souls are at stake! And then the whole thing devolves into what kind of secular values the Russians SHOULD have and what their government SHOULD be like and it's high time those damn russkies get with the program. It's hard to imagine why they'd view foreign missionary work as basically a backdoor for entirely secular concerns, right?


malcolmthecynic said...

I've officially left in disgust after seeing Lydia claim that religious liberty is a "long-standing principle" of western civilization while in the same thread also noting that it didn't appear until after literally over 2,000 years of western civilization and the entirety of medieval Christendom.

But the renaissance principle of religious liberty is such an important part of western civilization (even though it was totally non-existent for the vast majority of it) that Russia is downright immoral for not accepting it.

Yeah, I'll pass on further participation in that farce.

Crude said...

What bothers me is that this sort of thing proves Vox and company right about how conservatives don't conserve much of anything. I would think that the exceedingly rotten state of the West - the near universal cultural and moral decay - would indicate that something has gone wrong. At least it would indicate it to people who would agree that we're looking at, in fact, -decay- and not steady moral advancement. Not just in our government, but in our culture at large, and (this is the part fewer want to talk about) even in our churches.

But no, that can't be it. In fact, everything is fine, or if it's not fine, it has nothing whatsoever to do with morals or standards we elevated and enshrined. We didn't make any mistakes, and the culture and government (with its own set of flaws and problems) which doesn't have our problems could not have gotten some things right that we got wrong.

I can understand Lydia's frustration at the Russian laws if she or her friends are being told by the government their activities aren't welcome. I could even understand an intellectual problem with the laws. What I cannot understand is the conceit that Russia's just wrong, wrong, wrong, and also they have nothing to worry about when it comes to Western influence, and no good reason to want to oversee that.

B. Prokop said...

I place all my hope for the survival of Western Civilization on Poland.