Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Great Retreat from Moscow

From the Blog "Kelebek" by Miguel MartinezPosted on 

Miguel Martinez was born in Mexico and is presently living in Florence, Italy. He is a polymath and a polyglot, interested in history, politics, culture, literature, and much more. His blog is titled "Kelebek", "butterfly" in Turkish. In this post, Miguel takes the retreat of Napoleon's armies from Moscow as a paradigm for the present conditions of society, and of "the Left" in particular. We are retreating, but nobody seems to have realized that and "Le Pen's Grenadiers will not reduce the distribution of wood or food, no matter how cold it will get." The post is written from an Italian perspective; for the non-Italian reader it may help to know that Matteo Salvini (described as leading "paratroopers" in the post) is the leader of the extreme right "Lega Nord" Italian political party. The boldface and Italics sentences are in the original. Translated and slightly adapted by UB.

by Miguel Martinez

On Sep 14, 1812, Napoleon entered Moscow.
It was the culmination of his Empire which had never reached such an extension in the Eastern Europe. It was also one of the rare occasions when a foreign leader had managed to occupy the Russian Capital, a feat that would never be repeated again.

So, simply by growing, Napoleon destroyed everything he had built and he caused the death by freezing of some 400,000 of his devout soldiers.

It is difficult to find a better example today of the destiny of the West.
A commenter to the Kelebek blog, Mirkhond, writes about the French elections:
“Unfortunately, the growing impoverishment of ever larger sectors of the European society surely doesn't help in generating trust for the Left who appears to be worried only about gay marriages. That gives space to Le Pen and others like her.
It is a diffuse kind of reasoning that reveals, and at the same time masks, a truth.
Let's start from what goes wrong when a single person makes a mistake. We can say, "Renzi didn't understand...."
But "the Left" is composed by millions of people in a whole continent. They don't make a mistake, they are the victims of history.
Let's go back to the image of the retraite de Russie.

Let's try to see it in this way.
The Left redistributes. It redistributes what capitalism plunders from nature, from the rest of humankind, and from future generations. Ayn Rand and other aficionados of universal destruction wrote brilliant criticism of the parasitic nature of the Left.
We haven't yet arrived to the showdown, but are already in the deflating phase of this immense bubble. More or less everyone today, except perhaps in India, where they still have to understand the point, would underwrite the simple statement, "I think my son will have a worse time than me"

In short, we have to manage the Retreat.
The Retreat is not a prophecy. We have been doing that for decades (many mark 1974 as the decisive date, but the concept is enormously complex). Not surprisingly, these are the same decades of the disorientation of the Left everywhere in the world.
Now, in the Retreat, there is little to redistribute, except for medals - Even Napoleon had coined medals expressly to remember the Retreat:

Not by chance, the principal activity of the Left today is the redistribution of medals. Be careful not to use the term "negro", try to free an Italian prisoner in Turkey (and how many Tunisian prisoners are there in Italy, for whom nobody says anything?). Scream because on Facebook someone said something unpleasant to someone else, celebrate because a multinational hires as manager a paraplegic lesbian.
Plenty of people go wild for these things as if the problem were the lesbian girl and not the multinational. These hysterical reactions make the Left feel important and these hysterical people feel that they are defending the Western values. It is a game that makes everyone happy. 
On a more serious plane, there is the nationalistic proposal. The rest of the world may well retreat, we won't. We will keep following the path of progress, developing, building factories, being 20th century, in short.
Le Pen's Grenadiers will not reduce the distribution of wood or food, no matter how cold it will get.

This proposal is not without a certain logic, at least until we keep believing in growth, progress, and the bubble. And since the Left cannot cast doubt on these absolute truths, their reactions become as neurotic and irrational as those of the Right. 
But if instead we were to doubt these very assumptions, we would immediately see the limits of the answers given by Le Pen's grenadiers, Salvini's paratroopers, or Trump's Marines 


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)