These are not happy days for Americans, particularly if raised on traditional American values of Northern European provenance. Conscientious work as redemptive virtue, thrift, self-reliance, self-restraint, Biblical ethical principles, modesty, high-minded civic culture, love of liberty, distrust of centralized power, America’s ruling elite — once the embodiment of such values and now a putrid trench running from Wall Street to Madison Avenue to Washington DC to Hollywood — has debauched and upended them as thoroughly as though it has been teleported directly from 3rd century Rome. It has deployed the full arsenal of Roman degeneration: unsustainable spending, shaving the coins of the realm, excessive taxation, disincentives to work and saving, wanton waste, corruption on an enormous scale, opulent narcissism at the top, lax borders, importing foreign populations, degrading the value of citizenship, promotion of sexual deviations and excesses, undermining the family unit, trampling on traditions, inuring the populace to “free” handouts and soul-corroding entertainment.- - - - - - - - -
The headlines, 20 years after they were already visible on the screen of common sense and history, invoke daily the “US debt explosion” and successive 13-digit “stimuli.” The clique at the top is fighting a debt recession by adding a lot more debt to the recession. It’s trying desperately to hide its criminal negligence and complicity in the largest swindle in the history of the world. It’s sweeping trillions of unsweepable bad debts under a rug and sowing future financial and social destruction while babbling of the “green shoots” of recovery.
I need to get out of this calamitous idiocy. And so, I take a vacation to view the farce not as framed by the spinmeisters’ proscenium but as it appears from downstage, behind the main actors.
I fly to Warsaw, and from there to the patch of land now divided between Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia but for a thousand years floating on the currents of history between Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Saxony and Prussia, and showing all that. Altogether a fitting place from which to look on west. Particularly as it’s from here, behind the Iron Curtain then, that I viewed the West, with longing, for the first ten years of my life.
All (Western) things interconnect
Often, they connect in a church. On a stroll through Warsaw I seek shelter from the city’s bustle in a pretty and modest, for this land of magnificent churches, baroque church. It’s called Kosciól Przemienienia Panskiego, which translates as Church of the Lord’s Transfiguration (1).
At the apex of the facade, the coat of arms of the Sobieski family. Inside, a sarcophagus with the heart of Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland, scourge of Islamic aggression and liberator of Vienna. Sobieski funded the construction of this church in 1683 to thank God for his victories over the Turks.
I go in for Sobieski and come out with Europe. For Sobieski’s roommates in this church are his successor on the Polish throne, August II the Strong, in the other sarcophagus, and Count Jan Maurice von Hauke, resting among Polish aristocrats in the catacombs.
August, renowned for his physical strength and bravery, straddles the history of Europe, if in a more ambiguous way than Sobieski. Born in 1670 in Dresden into the ruling Wettin dynasty, he died in Warsaw in 1733. As Friedrich August I he was Elector of Saxony in 1694 -1733, and as August II he was King of the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania in 1697-1704 and again in 1709-1733.
Like Sobieski, August fought the Turks, but with less success…
Read the rest at the Brussels Journal.