I often wonder these days…

…how many people out there in the Western world actually support the anti-Russia rhetorics that seems to be the “thing” in the US government; and how many US citizens actually support those election campaign statements that seem to consist of the “The US should (more like “must”) be the world leader in everything, which means every other country poses great danger” WTH.

I mean… who the hell cares if the country they live in is “dominant” in the world?? Is it anyhow important?? Isn’t it more important that the country you live in does its best to ensure the prosperity of every citizen of it, and collaborates peacefully with other countries in order to create a better future for the whole planet Earth?

I’m not saying that our local Russian politicians are anyhow better than those in the US or elsewhere in the world (they’re all the same), but their election campaigns seem to sound more like what I just wrote above. Nope, they hardly ever deliver, but again, politicians never do. But ours seem to prefer a more “humane” style of lying.

The only field in which competition between countries is exciting is sports, if you ask me.

And even though I strongly disapprove of any lifestyle/ideology/regime that holds onto “traditional values” whatever this might entail (since most of the time those “values” really mean promoting hate and curbing scientific progress, all in the name of some mythical ideal) – I do not believe that a Darth Vader approach could ever work.

You cannot force anyone into “democracy” or “human rights” acting from the outside, or using techniques better suited for planning subversive operations than actually educating a “less civilized” society. Hint: do you really think homophobia disappeared from Ukraine at once? Or the US, for that matter? Or is there a single country in the world that has already achieved true gender equality in the workplace? See, I’m not even asking for anything as exotic as eliminating the concept of gender at all, or legally recognising polyamorous relationships, or promoting asexuality awareness… I’m talking about the “staple” human rights issues.

PS In case your news programs only repeat the same things about “pro-Assad-only Russia” over and over again – check this out, and it’s not even an RT post: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/15/middleeast/syria-isis-frontline-hama/

Russia HAS TO fight ISIS. It’s there to get us first. Half of Russia is Islamic.


12 thoughts on “I often wonder these days…

  1. I respect everyone’s opinions and I hope all will respect mine (whether or not you agree – agreeing and respecting are different things). I believe that countries (capitalist and socialist) should offer free education. Certainly this means that it is paid for by tax-payers and therefore is not user pays. I believe in this because of my own experience. My parents split up when I was 4 and my mother took me halfway around the world to Australia where I ended up being raised in what passes for poverty here. Eventually we ended up living in a government paid-for apartment and mum got a pension. All very socialist you may think.

    In the 70s and 80s Australia had a free education policy. Even as a kid I knew that I did not want to be poor and ignorant and so I exploited that system as best I could. This permitted me to get a well paid occupation and pay huge amounts of tax. With my taxes I have more than paid back the government housing, the free education and so on. I would not be surprised if my taxes alone have supported an entire school somewhere :) And the whole reason I have been able to pay so much tax is because of a system that helped me to succeed.

    Has Australia seen a diminishing of bright minds in academia because of this. No. Bright minds study their topics because they are interested in them, not for the money.

    Is the value of a degree worthless here? Probably – if that is all you care about – a piece of cardboard with your name and some letters on it. But the value of the learning… ah, priceless. It was access to that knowledge and its explanation that changed my life.

    My political leanings are left in some instances and right in others. I don’t believe in broad political approaches, I believe in a case by case appraisal of situations. But where education is concerned I believe that we need to give everyone the chance to excel because it not only benefits them, it benefits us through more taxes (in the long run) and by creating a citizenry that is better mentally armed to compete against the rest of the world.

    So to reiterate, I don’t believe that either a totally socialist nor a totally capitalist approach is a good one. Instead we need a smart approach that can appraise and exploit situations as they arise. One that is flexible and adaptable as situations change. Given current information and communication technologies I cannot see why we cannot achieve such an approach.

    Also relating to this post, there is the topic of public perception. I personally hate the media because they manipulate us. Russia is made out to be power-crazed military regime. Um… actually USA too, except in the USA’s case the banks control the politicians who control the military. Yet when I meet people from any of these countries I (mostly) meet ordinary people with normal lives and the same issues that I face. The media thrives on simplistic stereotypes of our respective nations.

    Also, do I care whether I live in a country that is dominant in the world? LOL. I live in Australia. Great life style here but we have about the same global dominance potential as… um… a hyperactive wombat. Does that bother me? No. This said, I honestly believe that some people do care. Very strange.

    Sorry for the rant. I will sneak away now and hope that I have not offended anyone.


    1. I don’t think anyone but me will ever read this, so the offence potential is in the wombat league =) Unless wombats are offensive? I have never dealt with one, as you can imagine.

      Now, I certainly do respect your opinion, but I feel I need to explain my point in more detail. You see, I am against free education because I work in it. Greg, I am not being coy or cute or whatever when I mention the survival minimum: you can be a supercharged professor here, with international publications and several decades worth of experience, and if you get 50 thousand roubles per month, you are darned lucky. Most of the time, it’s half as much. One USD is over 70 roubles these days; I leave the math up to you (and prices aren’t _that_ much lower here in Moscow than they are in the “Western world”).
      Working as a pure researcher won’t generally net you that much more. Everything which is funded by the government (excluding the government itself, of course) is not a place where smart people become rich.
      I know you are an optimist and I am a jaded misanthrope. And I am that way for a reason: out of all the students I have met in my life (both when I was a student and over the years I’ve been teaching), I can literally name maybe a dozen names who really wanted to learn something because they were interested, and not because their parents insisted they get a degree.
      There were more people invested in their studies among my groupmates when I was doing a paid-for degree. All that – merely anecdotal evidence, and yet.
      It’s true that there will always be a share of minds that are bright enough to provide meaningful contributions to the academic field but crazy enough not to choose something that pays well – yes there is this tiny percentage of those who just love being scientists/scholars, love to the point of being unable to do anything else. But the majority of the really bright minds here in Russia are not doing research or design or teaching. They are in IT. They get an engineering degree and move on to IT because they are smart enough. Now, IT is something that we cannot live without these days, true… but science – especially applied science – could use a higher number of smarter people, too. It’s rather behind the times here in Russia.
      And a lot of people who actually make even bigger money (those who buy and resell stuff, and those who control the oil/gas flow) have very poor degrees, often completely unrelated to what they do. They just have enough gusto to cheat and bully their way around in this cutthroat world.
      Of course you realise I am talking about Russia because it’s the only thing I have ever known. I can’t tell if your experience is specific to you because you’re a good person or if Australia in general is this amazing country full of people who want to learn and who provide opportunities to those who actually know what they are doing – but if Australia is like that, well, for how many years has the free education policy existed? Because Russia became that way over the 70+ years it was part of the USSR, where education was free. And of course, conscription makes the situation worse; I will never get tired of repeating that.

      In my heart, I am an anarchist who believes that in a perfect world, the very idea of money/finance is considered a sin. But as it is, at least in cultures like Russia and the States that only value noble stuff in theory and not in practice – and in practice, money and only money is what rules the world in those cultures – free higher education is not a good idea.

    2. Oh yeah: in Finland, education is free, too, and they’re considered to be doing fine re:quality (and apparently the money’s not that bad either). But a) Finland is a TINY country (at around 5-6 million people, it’s one-third of the population of Moscow!!), and smaller communities are so much easier to organise; b) I have heard that it’s not unusual for a group of students who find a topic too difficult to just up and leave in the middle of a class. I’m not sure it’s a good sign.

      1. Sorry for the long time responding. I had to think.

        I guess here free tertiary education (when it existed) did not equate to freedom to study any course you wished. There were still quotas and places had to be won through merit. This ensured that people only did courses if they both had the ability and the determination/desire.

        My second observation is that if someone is going to inherit daddy’s factory then there is a greater likelihood that they will not value education and will walk out of difficult classes just as you say. I base this observation upon actual discussions when I was a secondary school teacher. I did actually have students who said to me that learning did not matter because they were inheriting their dad’s businesses. Whereas my students from lower socio-economic strata tended to be one of either “I’m working hard to get out of here” or “What’s the point, I will never amount to anything”. The latter were always a concern. I myself had been one of the former.

        Throughout most of my career I have had to compete against people from families with money and all the right connections. It has been tough and very discouraging. Education has been my principal weapon in the workplace. Had I been born 20 years earlier I would never have been able to afford to go to University. And now we are back in the bad days in Australia where the cost of a degree is well on its way to being beyond poorer families.

        I do genuinely understand and agree with your argument that academics deserve more, but I cannot sanction depriving an entire segment of society from one of their few means of escaping the circumstances of their birth.

        1. Thank you for responding. I think I understand your point now – you do equate a degree with a chance to escape poverty. If it really works like that in Australia or some other countries – if it is possible to actually successfully compete against all those wealthy and well-connected dudes/dudettes/whomever having nothing but smarts under your belt, well, that’s great.
          But it’s not really the case here because, as I said, a degree by itself has no value, and neither does being smart by itself (there are families consisting of three generations of scientists, and they have been poor and will remain poor here). You can have Einstein’s brains, but without Machiavellian cunning, you won’t get far. Russia is a dog eat dog society, and the US looks to be much the same. It will very likely sink into the same hole if they ever remove the financial responsibility attached to a degree.
          “Quotas” and “places won through merit” are, again, ideas from a Utopian world. Theoretically, they exist here as well, entrance exams and stuff. But it’s just a façade.
          Another idea… it’s the 21st century, and a giant load of information is available legally free on the Internet. In the Good Will Hunting movie, the dude had to visit libraries; these days, you don’t even need to leave your bathroom. Russia has one of the best and cheapest Internet access systems in the world, so only the completely depraved people don’t use it. All the students have internet access on their phones/tablets.
          But just how many are using educational apps or websites?
          That lack of motivation is certainly connected with the sad fact that the male students are primarily busy escaping conscription, and the more times they need to retake a year due to failed grades, the better (if you are 27 and over, the army leaves you in peace). And females are being generally raised the patriarchal style (they’re told to invest everything in their looks and get married into a better life, so they don’t really care either). And yet.

  2. Yeah, Sanders is, Hillary Clinton is, and yes, Obama is as well. And it drives me up the wall when they use the term “free higher education”. I’m sorry, it is NOT free. Someone somewhere is paying…guess who? The tax payers; thus why I say “bigger Government”.

    The younger people just buy right into that. And don’t get me started on the Government putting their hand in the public schools for elementary and high school

    1. Funny, then, how Clinton and Obama are Socialists who hate the birthplace of applied Socialism so much.
      If that ‘plan’ ever comes into fruition, I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you what the US will be like in a few years: the quality of higher education will drop because teacher salaries will drop to a point barely above survival minimum, and so the brightest minds will quit; and the value of a degree will drop in the public eye, too, because what you get for free has no value. I know this for a fact because the US is so similar to Russia, and it’s exactly the way it is here. We have an extra complication in the form of males using this ‘free’ college time to legally escape the compulsory military service, but that’s the sole difference.

  3. You can’t judge the views of most Americans based on what you see on TV, or especially in Republican primary debates. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are quite popular nowadays, and neither is anti-Russian. Trump has been saying some particularly friendly things about Russia. However there is a hawkish minority that has undue influence in the press, including in the presidential debates, especially in the Republican Party.

    That said, the Western banking cartel will not give up its power voluntarily, and its American puppet’s proclamations of its own “exceptional” status is mostly manipulative propaganda by those pulling the strings. We are sick of it here, too.

  4. One of the things that is really starting to piss me off about this country is that there are so many people here who are wanting to vote for Socialists. I spent five years out of my life defending this thankless country against government oppression and I find it insulting to myself and my brethren who served and died in the belief of a smaller, less oppressive government.

    But maybe I’m just an old fashioned cynic. All hail the Peoples Republic of America. :p

    1. What does “Socialism” mean over there? Would that Sanders guy be one? I heard him promise free higher education to everyone and I could only hope it wasn’t going to happen. I don’t want American university teachers to starve the way we do here.

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