Skip to comments.Ivan Ilyin, "The idea of Kornilov"
Posted on 06/22/2013 9:55:22 AM PDT by annalex
From a speech in Prague, Berlin and Paris. First published in the Paris newspaper "Возрождение (Vozrozhdenie, Revival)", № 15 dated June 17, 1925.
Today we turn our thoughts to the Russian national hero Lavr (Laurel) Georgiyevich Kornilov.
While people are alive and as long as they believe in God, so long out of their midst heroes will arise to lift and carry on himself the burden of their lives. And as long as the nation is alive, which gave birth to such a hero, as long as it is alive and bearing in its heart the faith in God, it will turn its thought and its will to its heroes, loving them and honoring them, reflecting on their feats in its mind and accepting them in its will, so that to imitate them and continue their work.
In the works of a national hero the life of the nation finds its concentrated and mature expression.
A hero is not a sinless or an infallible man; he is a sinner, like all people; and in his life there may be unsuccessful steps and errors. But his mistakes as well as his exploits are errors of his nation and the exploits of his nation. In them -- he and his nation are one. And if he makes a mistake with his nation, then he is the first to walk away from it, reject it, looking for new ways, ways of salvation, and the first to take upon his shoulders the burden of woes and the burden of redemption ...
And the nation understands it and follows after him. And if it not all of it follow and not at once, but first in the person of its best sons, then he whole nation goes on the path of its hero, recalling his image, saying his name and glorifying his work.
The hero takes up the burden of his nation, the burden of its misfortunes, of its struggle, of its quest, and having taken up that burden, he wins - wins already by this alone, indicating to all the way to salvation. And his victory becomes a prototype and a beacon, as achievement and the call, the source of victory and the beginning of victory for everyone connected with him into one whole by patriotic love. That's why he remains for his people a living source of cheer and joy, and his very name sounds like victory.
A national monument has not been erected yet by the Russian nation to Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov. But it will stand next to the monuments to Minin and Pozharsky. We have nowhere to build it from stone and metal. But it is already built in our hearts ... And now, in a spiritual monument we have gathered to focus our thoughts on his deed.
But not about the biography of Kornilov I want to talk about today and not about his personal character, but rather about something deeper, harder, more sacred: on the idea a bearer and incarnation of which he was; about the best heritage of its heroic spirit, about that what he carried in his heart and to what he called by his heroic struggle.
This idea is more than a single man, more than a feat of one hero. This idea is great as Russia and the sacred as her religion. This is the idea of the Orthodox sword. The idea is forgotten as an idea, lost from the Russian consciousness, desecrated by the Russian intellect; but it is preserved in the Russian heart and the Russian will. This idea inspired and created the Russian White Army: it sparkled in White hearts, to the death it lead our White heroes: and it will die only when Russia be gone from the face of the earth.
On it I'd like to stop your attention today.
One of the reasons for the great misfortune that has befallen our country is in the wrong structure of the Russian character and Russian ideology. Especially so in the broad ranks of the Russian intelligentsia.
This error should be marked primarily as sentimentality. Sentimentality is a spiritually blind compassionate disposition, the predominance of feeling over the will and philistine "mood" over religiousity. It is a pointless softening of the soul, that knows how to indulge it its minute feelings but that cannot love the work of God with the entirety of the soul; that cannot decide; cannot take responsibility and lead a fight of the will. The sentimental soul does not understand that God is greater than man, and that "humaneness" is not the last word of human virtue and wisdom ...
And then, in a kind of combination of limp sentimentality, spiritual nihilism and moral pedantry the pernicious doctrine of Count Leo Tolstoy "of non-resistance to evil by force" emerged and gained strength; the doctrine which had time to poison the hearts of more or less several generations in Russia, and undetected spilled into their souls and weakened them in the fight against the evildoers.
Giving yourself a seductive appearance of the only true interpretation of Christ's revelation, the doctrine has long inspired and quietly seduced too many, that love is humane compassion; that love excludes sword; that all resistance to an evildoer by force is embittered and criminal violence; that he who loves I not one who is struggling, but the one who runs away from the fight; that living and patriotic desertion is a manifestation of holiness; that it is possible and right to betray the work of God to one's moral self-righteousness ...
Lured by this voice of sentimental morality, people began to believe in the untouchabilty of evildoers, extricated their strengths from the struggle against them, and presumed their valor to be in the timid acquiescence to Satan and his hordes of men; did not believe in the reality of evil, and buried themselves in the floor cracks in the hour of the death of our fatherland. And they came around only when the breath of death enveloped their lives from edge to edge.
Could it be that in the suffering the Russian people did not grow wiser and will not grow wiser? Could it be that they cannot tell where is the revelation, and where is the lure? And is not each one of us called to seek this sagacity?
In search of my sagacity I undertook to write a study on the resistance to evil by force, in order to try to find the right source and resolution of the issue, once and for all to turn this "Tolstoyan" page of the Russian nihilist morality and restore the ancient Russian Orthodox doctrine of the sword, in all its power and glory... Now my study is finished and in a few days will be published as a separate book, which I dedicate to the "Russian White Army and its leaders" ...
And so, the first thing I had to establish in this study, is the true meaning of Christian love, the meaning misunderstood and distorted by sentimental moralists. Christianity teaches philanthropy. But calling to love man, it sees in him not an animal that suffers, but a spiritual being, turned to God as its heavenly Father. The gospel teaches above all and by all means to love God; and this is the first, the greater commandment; the love of man appears only in second place. And it's not just because God is greater than man, but also because only in God and through God, man finds his "neighbor" of his brother by a One Heavenly Father. To love ones neighbor as oneself, can only one who found and firmed within himself the sonship of God, and only through that he can discern the son of God also in his neighbor. And having learned to love God, he naturally and necessarily will love in others His sons and his brothers.
Gospel teaches us not animal compassion, but God-loving philanthropy, it teaches love spiritual. But spiritual love is something higher than usual compassionate humanity, relaxing one who is sorry, and one who is the subject of being sorry. Spiritual love is the power that informs and educates, that raises up. She loves in a man his face turned to God, not his villainous motives and actions. To love the evil, the evildoer, the Satan, to sympathize with them, help them, join them - is unnatural, disgusting and lethal. On the contrary, the evildoer is always in need of a firm "no", in the resistance that educates him, compels him, and if need be, represses him.
In calling to love our enemies, Christ had in mind personal enemies of man, not God's enemies, and not blaspheming molesters, for them drowning with a millstone around their neck was recommended. Urging to forgive injuries, Christ was referring to personal insults to a person, not all possible crimes; no one has the right to forgive the offenses suffered by others or provide for the villains to offend the weak, corrupt children, desecrate churches and destroy the Fatherland. So therefore a Christian is called not only to forgive offenses, but to fight the enemies of God's work on earth. The evangelical commandment of "non-resistance to evil" teaches humility and generosity in personal matters, and not limpness of will, not cowardice, not treachery and not obedience to evildoers.
In dealing with the evildoers a Christian should exercise the denying face of love: he is not called to love the evil in man or promote this evil. He is called to desire for everyone a spiritual transformation and enlightenment; but he does not have to extort from his soul a saccharine, mawkish feeling of tenderness at the sight of heinous acts. It should be enough for him to remember that great moment in history when God's love in the guise of anger and whip expelled from the temple the blasphemingly vulgar crowd; and after that he has to understand that all the prophets, the rulers, judges, teachers and soldiers should have in front of their spiritual eyes that image of righteous anger and not doubt the righteousness of their cause.
It is pointless and ruinous to defend the freedom of the unimpeded villainy. On the contrary, with the villains is it necessary to fight. But not out of personal animosity toward them, but for the love of God, of the saints, of the Fatherland and of others. Subject to condemnation is not the sword, but the evil and self-interested feeling in the soul of a warrior. Love rejects not the fighting with the villain, but only the wishing of evil in the fight. No one is required, no one is called to maintain a union of positive love with the evildoers; on the contrary, all are called to and must break away from sympathy to them and all of complicity with them and oppose them in life and in death. And woe to the nation that has lost the will and ability to fight this: it either shall revive this will in itself or it will die, because the evildoers will exterminate its best sons, and the rest they will turn into their submissive slaves ...
May the will for this fight wake up in the Russian hearts! May it motivate the faithful sons of Russia as it inspired and led, and to this day is leading the Russian White Army! The flag of Kornilov is a banner of the heroic love of the Fatherland, the love donating all the comforts of the world for the national altars and planting before the eyes of a man the guiding images of Archangel Michael and Saint George.
That is how the idea of love and the idea of sword was understood was understood in the ancient Russian Orthodoxy, that spoke from the mouth of St. Theodosius of the Caves: "Live in peace, not only with friends but also with enemies: but only with your enemies, not with the enemies of God." It is that love that was taught by our bishops and saints; this is how the sword was carried by the Russian Orthodox kings and their faithful nobles, this is how laid down their heads Orthodox soldiers.
In this ancient Orthodox spirit our Russian national hero Lavr Georgievich Kornilov lived and fought.
Let us be faithful to this spirit also. In it - our victory; our impending, certain victory ... For we win when our sword will be the love and the prayer, and our prayer and our love will be the sword!
Both the author and the subject of the speech are heroes of the Russian White Movement, one that sought, and so far has failed to topple the illegitimate Bolshevik government of Russia, now in the ninth decade of its accursed existence. The author is Ivan Ilyin a brilliant philosopher and an inspiration for the White Movement to this day. The hero here spoken about is the White Army general Lavr Kornilov, whose revolt against the revolutionary provisional government of Russian in July 1917 was the first popular uprising against the pseudo-democratic lawlessness, that doomed the Russian Empire and released the demons of the Bolshevik Revolution. It is indicative that he was among the conspirators against the Tsar (possibly the errors Ilyin speaks about), so it can be said that Kornilov represents both the worst of the Russian nation that murdered its lawful Tsar and consequently murdered itself, and her best as she rose against Bolshevism just a year later, under the White Army banners. Several photographs illustrate the faces and the symbols of that uprising.
Another reason I publish this translation is to illustrate what a decline the Western social thought has experienced in the past century. Who speaks today of heroism, the Fatherland, valor, faith? Yet how do we intend to comprehend, let alone alter the course of our own nations history if we lost the very language of social discourse? Are we then to wonder that we are lead to spiritual and economic ruin -- by an imbecile with a scant connection to the American nation and an empty smile? May not America of tomorrow be a vanishing nation that Russia is today.
If you want to be on this right wing, monarchy, paleolobertarianism and nationalism ping list, but are not, please let me know. If you are on it and want to be off, also let me know.
It is brilliant, and I see its application to other countries as well. Thank you.
Please add me to your list.
Fantastic article sir.
right wing, monarchy, paleolobertarianism and nationalism ping list, but it sounds very intriguing! I will read. I’m wondering what paleolobertarianism is - I assume you mean libertarianism. How does that differ from the LP party? Sort of libertarianism without the mandatory vice and open borders?
I think it has a direct application to the United States primarily, as the US, like Russia, is a frontier nation and therefore a heroic nation, that owes its rise and fall to Christianity.
Done. Thank you.
Paleolibertarianism was a term coined by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. whose purpose, according to Rockwell in 1999, was "to recapture the political edge and intellectual rigor and radicalism of the pre-war libertarian right. There was no change in core ideology but a reapplication of fundamental principles in ways that corrected the obvious failures of the Reason and National Review crowd." Rockwell associate, the late economist Murray Rothbard, also wrote about "paleoism" and paleolibertarianism. In January 1990 Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. published "The Case for Paleo-libertarianism" in Liberty magazine. He wrote that paleolibertarianism was "based on a libertarian opposition to "all forms of government intervention economic, cultural, social, international" combined with cultural conservatism in social thought and behavior. It opposes a licentious libertarianism which advocates "freedom from bourgeois morality, and social authority." Citing drug use by libertarians and the nomination of a prostitute as the California Libertarian Party candidate for lieutenant governor, Rockwell asserted that "the only way to sever libertarianism's link with libertinism is with a cleansing debate." Assailing alleged "hatred of western culture," he asserted that "pornographic photography, 'free'-thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda - no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them.
The root idea as I understand it is that free exchange of goods (material goods or cultural and intellectual goods) is independent of government, precedes the government and can operate today without the government. That is because the role of government as cop and the judge that would catch frauds and thieves are in fact another service that can be exchanged on that very market.
However, while a market can exist without a government and in spite of an existing government, it cannot exist without religion and without a nation. That is because a culture that arises from religion in a nation makes the valuation of the exchange possible. That I think is an idea that goes back to Fichte.
This is, anyway, the sense in which I say "paleolibertarianism".
Thanks to both of you. Will carefully read this article today.
The article has nothing to do with paleolibertarianism. I just mentioned it to characterize my interests generally.
Oh, okay. I am corrected!
Interesting piece. Thanks for the flag.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.