Arnold Toynbee Meets Putin

The ten volume set of A Study of History isn’t in print any longer, I’m told that Oxford University Press is considering reprinting the entire series, including maps and the noted final volume titled ‘Reconsiderations’, nevertheless, a classicist like Toynbee would have appreciated the recent work of Peter Pomerantsev & Michael Weiss in The Menace of Unreality:  How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture & Money.  Toynbee understood the impact superior civilizations had when they contact weaker, more dependent communities.  The less civilized social unit becomes either militarized or collapses as it borrows from a superior source.  The only other solution than mimesis is an archaic response breeding collapse.

Here’s a quote from Pomerantsev and Weiss:  “Russia has hybridized not only its actual warfare but also its informational kind.  Much of the epistemology democratic nations thought they had permanently retired after the Cold War needs to be relearned but adapted to even clever forms of propoganda and disinformation.  The wisdom of Orwell must be combined with the savy of Don Draper. . . . 

How does one fight a system that embraces Tupac and Instagram but compares Obama to a monkey and deems the internet a CIA invention?  That censors online information but provides a happy platform to the founders of Wikileaks, a self-styled purveyor of total transparancy?  The purports to disdain corporate greed and celebrates Occupy Wall Street while presiding over an economy as corrupt as Nigeria?  That casts an Anchluss of a neighboring country in the grammer of both blood and soil nationalism and anti-fascism?  This is why American social reactionaries, Australian anarchists, British anti-imperalists and Hungarian neo-Nazis all find so much to favor in the application of Putinism, at home and abroad.  Putanism is whatever they want it to be.”

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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