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Ordering of society Society. East-West Universalism and Nationalism

Society. East-West
Property is not sacred
According to Nikolai Berdyaev

“But the peoples of the West are chained by their virtues to earthly life and to earthly goods. The Russian people, by their virtues, are detached from the earth and turned towards heaven. Orthodoxy brought them up spiritually in this. … The ease of overthrowing property in Russia came not only from the weakness of legal consciousness among the Russian people and the lack of bourgeois honesty, but from the exceptional detachment of the Russian man from earthly goods.” (Н.А.Бердяев)

And so I affirm that at the basis of the Russian revolution, which took place in a semi-Asiatic, semi-barbarian element and in the atmosphere of a decomposed war, lies a religious fact connected with the religious nature of the Russian people. The Russian people cannot create a middle humanistic kingdom; they do not want a rule of law state in the European sense of the word. This is an apolitical people in the structure of its spirit, it is striving towards the end of history, towards the realization of the Kingdom of God. They want either the Kingdom of God, brotherhood in Christ, or fellowship in Antichrist, the kingdom of the prince of this world. The Russian people have always had an exceptional, unknown to the peoples of the West, detachment, they did not feel exceptional chainedness and attachment to earthly things, to property, to the family, to the state, to their rights, to their furniture, to the external way of life. The Russian people were chained to earthly life by sin, and their sins were no less, even more than those of the peoples of Europe. The Russian people are probably a less honest and respectable people than the peoples of the West. But the peoples of the West are chained by their virtues to earthly life and to earthly goods. The Russian people, by their virtues, are detached from the earth and turned towards heaven. Orthodoxy brought them up spiritually in this. European man considers his property sacred and will not allow it to be taken from him without a cruel struggle. He has an ideology that justifies his attitude to earthly goods. A Russian person, even if the sin of greed and money-grubbing has taken possession of his nature, does not consider his property sacred, has no ideological justification for his possession of the material goods of life, and deep down he thinks that it is better to go to a monastery or become a wanderer. The ease of overthrowing property in Russia came not only from the weakness of legal consciousness among the Russian people and the lack of bourgeois honesty, but from the exceptional detachment of Russian people from earthly goods. What seemed to the European bourgeois a virtue, the Russian person seemed to be a sin. And the Russian landowner was never completely sure that he owns his land honestly.

The Slavophils … were decided opponents of the ideas of Roman Law on property. They repudiated Western, bourgeois, capitalist civilization.

The Slavophiles were warm defenders of the Commune, which they regarded as organic and as the original Russian structure of economic life among the peasantry, as all the narodniks thought. They were decided opponents of the ideas of Roman Law on property. They did not regard property as sacred and absolute; owners of property they regarded as stewards only. They repudiated Western, bourgeois, capitalist civilization. And if they thought that the West was decaying, it was because it had entered upon the path of that bourgeois civilization, because in it the unity of life had been split asunder.

Nikolas Berdyaev
The Origin of Russian Communism
I. THE FORMATION OF THE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENTSIA AND ITS CHARACTER

Western ideas of property were alien to the Russian people; they were but feebly understood even by the nobility.

In accordance with their own ideas of property, the Russian peasantry always thought it wrong that the nobles should possess vast tracts of land. Western ideas of property were alien to the Russian people; they were but feebly understood even by the nobility. The soil was God's, and all who toiled and laboured at it might enjoy the use of it.

Nikolas Berdyaev
The Origin of Russian Communism
INTRODUCTION. — THE RUSSIAN IDEA OF RELIGION AND THE RUSSIAN STATE

The absolute nature of private property was always denied [by Russian people].

One of the chief supports of narodnik socialism was the fact that the Roman conception of property was always alien to the Russian people. The absolute nature of private property was always denied. To the Russian mind what was important was not one's attitude to the principle of property, but one's attitude to the living man. And that, of course, was the Christian position.

Nikolas Berdyaev
The Origin of Russian Communism
III. RUSSIAN Narodnichestvo AND ANARCHISM

The first principle is just as antiChristian as the Roman theory of property.

Nikolas Berdyaev
The Origin of Russian Communism
VII. COMMUNISM AND CHRISTIANITY

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