I have been speaking or presenting to Ukrainians a lot of late, and I’ve come to understand that the damage done by Russia to her people and these people, to the Chinese by law, policy, and influence, to the Indians by education and influence, to the west by imitation, and maybe to all mankind by consequence, is as great as the damage done by christianity to our people in the ancient era.
Ukrainians had common law, credible judges, a moral population, a middle class, and high culture. It was a very poor country. And the Russians brought schools, roads, and hospitals to the peasantry.
But they also brought genocide, secret police, “disappearances”, torture, gulags, slave labor, distrust, rule by fear, a culture of deceit, a culture of corruption, a culture of immorality… and a thousand other ills that are nearly impossible to reverse without generations and strong leadership from western aristocratic peoples.
The Russians do not accept their crimes any more than the jews accept theirs, the Chinese theirs, or the ancient christians theirs. The americans and British do recognize their failures. But still they try to drag man into prosperity and out of his natural state of endemic corruption. And they do not know or accept that the reason for their success was their ancestor’s aristocratic paternal parenting of degenerate, corrupt, violent man. And without their rule man cannot be dragged out of ignorance and poverty.
But dragging Ukraine out of her poverty is a task the Ukrainian people are no longer fit for. They lack the will, the agency, the courage, the discipline, to systematically crush corruption in all walks of life through persistent universal threats of violence.
So I have changed my mind. Ukraine has a Russian-created and maintained, failed state, and the people suffer in poverty for it. Ukrainans are genetically exceptional. They are our Urheimat. Our purest kin. Ukrainians are not genetically broken, but they are culturally (normatively) broken.
Having given birth to great thinkers such as Menger and Mises, they are as corrupt now as the Jews and Russians that corrupted them. They merely lack the aggression of Jews and Russians. They lack courage. They lack empirical rather than moral reasoning. They lack the understanding of incentives that comes with a middle class and a middle class bureaucracy. They are no longer superstitious christians but remain moral christians lacking all conviction.
Last night, a reporter told me I was a romantic to think that the judiciary could be fixed. I thought that was strange because my solution was to hang a lot of them, increase the salaries of the younger generation, give the judiciary its own sheriff force of ex-military men, create an inspectors branch, and then reorganized bureaucracies one at a time using technology to create transparency.
But just as a revolution requires outside financial support, reformation of Ukrainian law and bureaucracy requires outside financial support. And during the 20th century, states could use fiat currency to borrow against future production, and pay for their transformations. In the Russian and Chinese era they turned to slave labor to accomplish what capitalists accomplished with fiat credit.
So Ukraine would need to effectively go into a receivership model relationship with a third party – the EU, or America, or Canada – in order to make use of third party funds to pay for her restoration.
Loosely speaking, this restoration of the government would cost is in the neighborhood of $5B over 6 years, with a >50% likelihood that an additional $2.5B would be required. Most of this cost would go to increased salaries in the judicial, sheriff, and investigatory branch, and for the software to create transparency in the government, but partly made up by increased fees now captured by corruption (theft), which the citizens will be willing to pay – even if it means they only pay the increased fees for the ‘faster processing’ lines.
The primary cost of software in such cases is adapting it to the miscreant processes followed by a bureaucracies. Instead, Ukrainian reform would restructure the bureaucracy to accommodate the software processes.
We would need to train and bond people in the bureaucracy and every person would be criminally liable, without exception, for his actions and the actions of all others in his or her chain of processing.
There is an argument to be made that bribery here amounts to pay-for-service, with the government employees obtaining only a minimum salary. Very much like commissioned salespeople. And in many bureaucracies this understandable as long as it is still POSSIBLE to spend time (delay) instead of money.
However, collecting fees for preferential service given the different value of each of our time, is different from collecting fees for circumventing law, or collecting fees for violating the law, or collecting fees to avoid punishment by the law, or collecting fees to avoid false prosecution under constructed (intentionally exploited) laws.
In the past few days I have seen corruption that we westerners cannot imagine: Judges requiring bribes to give a fair sentence instead of an exaggerated sentence: this is extortion plain and simple. I have seen a state media outlet whose director is appointed, so that he can pay kickbacks from ghost jobs to the city council members that appoint him. I have seen parents educate their children in how to find jobs that allow corruption, and how to get away with corruption. I have seen policemen bribed by ‘bums’ to let them sleep on benches. I’ve seen policemen bribed by street vendors so that they can harass passer’s by, and encroach on public streets.
The source of liberty is not government. It is that priesthood we westerners take for granted because they do not teach us myths, direct us to specific ends, or interact with us in rituals other than court and jury. This priesthood has served us for thousands of years. Improving during most, regressing during some. it is the priesthood and the militia that govern. The rest is consequence.
Liberty is created at the bottom by men who tolerate nothing else.
Ukrainians are a bit lazy, a bit cowardly, a bit suspicious, a bit dishonest, a bit ignorant, and a bit dirty, and all too comfortable with taking joy in petty thievery. They are all these things. They think ‘small’. They are just like the southern Italians prior to the european integration. They are examples of Banfield’s “Moral Basis of a Backward Society”. They are (like the Russians who made them) a Backward Society.
They need aristocracy or a judicial priesthood, and a militia of common men desirous of prosperity for themselves and their kin.
Political processes do not supply moral men. Moral men supply moral political processes, and immoral men supply immoral political processes.
We all rule with the men we have. To rule morally requires moral men. To rule immorally requires immoral men. And Ukrainians have no moral men of courage with which to rule.
And that is the sum of my four years struggling to understand them. And I am heartbroken by it.