I have previously opined that Mark Hackard is the deepest 'modern' socio-political commentator that I know of:
And, just today, I have discovered that a few months ago he set-up a Russian (and Orthodox) focused blog called Soul of the East; which archives some of his best work - and is a venue for new pieces including his translations of some outstanding but unfamiliar Russian thinkers.
I have just begun reading through the newer material, and was struck by this translation from Ivan Ilyin:
We shall first examine the mechanistic view.
It sees in man first and foremost the instinctive individual with its
“desires” and “needs”: every person wishes to work less, enjoy himself
more and relax; procreate and accumulate; maintain his irresponsible
opinions and express them without hindrance; to find the like-minded and
associate with them wherever they may be; to depend upon no-one and
wield as much power and influence as possible.
After all, men are born
“equal”, and hence each of them must be provided equal rights for the
assertion of their desires and needs: these are the inalienable rights
of liberty which cannot abide restriction. Therefore every person should
have an equal voice in affairs of state.
For so many people there will
be so many equal voices. Whatever a man may fancy is to be affirmed, and
let there be no interference in this. Allow like-minded men of all
nations to unite freely; let the votes be counted; the majority will
As to the quality of the desires, plans and undertakings of all these
men of one mind, and especially the motives and intentions of voters,
no-one may concern himself. All of this is protected by inviolable
“freedom”, equality and the secret vote.
Every citizen as such is
considered already reasonable, enlightened, well-intentioned and loyal,
incorruptible and honorable; each man is given the opportunity to
discover his “valor” and veil all his designs and schemes with words
about “the common good”.
Until he is caught, this man is not a thief; until taken red-handed,
he demands complete respect. He who has not been implicated at the scene
of a crime (for example, treason, foreign espionage, conspiracy,
bribes, waste, fraud, call-girl rings, counterfeiting) – is considered a
political “gentleman” independent of his profession and a full citizen.
Most important are liberty, equality and vote-counting. The state is a
mechanical equilibrium of private (personal and group) agendas; the
state is built as a compromise of centrifugal forces, played out in the
performances of political actors. And politics should move according to
the results of mutual distrust and competing intrigues.
Unfortunately this view (as much as I know) is nowhere expressed in
such a frank and precise form. It is not a doctrine; it is simply an
unspoken political dogma, rooted in the world and taken as the
self-evident essence of democracy. All men are formally free; all men
are formally equal and contend with each other for power, for the sake
of their own interests, yet under the pretense of a common benefit.