Category Archives: Delusion

How Not to Run a Franchise

It was at the Great Rebranding Meeting at their US headquarters in 2017 that the MacSonalds Corporation decided not to rename itself. ‘Our reputation is based on Tradition’, agreed the executives. ‘If we rename ourselves to ‘The True MacSonalds’, as some have suggested, people will realise we have changed the ingredients. We must at all costs keep the same name, so that nobody notices anything’. All agreed that the franchises in North America and in their Australian colony were firmly under their rebranding control and that the only problem would be in Asia, always a thorny problem. ‘They need to follow the successful American business model’, declared the executives. ‘They’re very backward in Asia. They raise hardly any cash for us’.

Therefore, the Board voted to send a new manager to Asia to reform their small franchise operation there. But who? There seemed to be only one candidate. Several executives opposed the new manager (‘he’s too young’, ‘he’s untrained’, ‘he hates everyone except for himself’, he’s too aggressive’, ‘he’s a jealous narcissist who’ll meet an empath’, ‘he’s a control freak’, ‘nobody likes him’, ‘he’s toxic and will rub them all up the wrong way’, ‘they’ll figure out his real game’, ‘he doesn’t even speak their languages’, and ‘he’s a fake’). However, most of the rather elderly managers were blinded by the new manager’s dynamism and excellent command of English. ‘Over there it’s out of control, why, those Asian guys don’t even behave like Americans’, they said, ‘the boy will sort them all out and bring them into line. He says he’s been to college and he can even speak in what sounds to me like a British accent. Leave it to him. Send in our sheriff and he’ll clean them out’.

So, soon after the Meeting a small trail-blazing group duly went over from the US to the Asian head office and brutally sacked the senior manager, who had been there all his life, in order to make way for their go-getter protege. ‘We know best’, they proclaimed. After all, ‘regime change’, kicking out the old hands who have dedicated their whole lives to the franchise and know the people, is essential to any ‘modernizing’ American operation abroad. Of course, that all created scandal and the old Asian hands left MacSonald’s at once, in a state of shock. ‘We’ve started the ball rolling. Now, wait for the fireworks to start – shock and awe’, said the old hands, rubbing their hands with glee and adding: ‘He may be an upstart who knows nothing, but he’s sure got energy and loves money. He’ll rake in the dollars and that’s exactly what we need. We’re princes and we have to live like princes’.

So the young whippersnapper, now with the fancy title of ‘Head of Asian Operations’, came over and at once rented an expensive residence and smart car. At the very first meeting with the locals, who had been there even before the new boss had been born, he began insisting that everyone speak American. Then he revealed that he did not even know the name of the territory he was in charge of and so insulted several nationalities. He also made it clear that he would brook no opposition to his absolute rule, especially from the experienced, and would impose strict censorship on any dissenters. ‘I’ll be checking on you all and this is how you must contact me. Remember: I know everything and you know nothing’. A stereotypical nasty American – and an embarrassment to nice Americans.

Next he tried to take over the properties of the franchisees, not realising the latter had put their own money and great efforts into their properties over the decades, that the properties did not belong to him. As the lawyer commented: ‘That’s illegal, it’s a property grab’. In return: ‘The keys, give me the keys!’, he shouted down the telephone. When he could not get his hands on the property, he began to demand ‘absolute obedience’, meaning worship of himself, as if he were some sort of cult leader. Then he turned really nasty, raged, and was spectacularly rude, bullying and gaslighting, projecting all his faults onto others, demanding as much money as possible. In one of the few remaining Filipino outlets, they asked each other: ‘Who does he think he is, an infallible Pope?’ In the two Singapore outlets they called him ‘the cowboy’.

He clearly did not understand that being a successful business is not just about making a quick buck in the short term, but about looking after your customers in the long term, from generation to generation. What really enraged the jealous young man was when the local franchisees expanded because of their own success, without him. Either he would have full control or else he would close you down. It seems that he had never been told how a franchise operation works. What a pity they had not instructed him in the basics of respect for other human beings first. He would take no advice.

From that point on, all went from disaster to catastrophe. He expelled nearly all the outlets in the Philippines because they ‘did not make true burgers’. However, so much had he hoodwinked, some would say hypnotised, the oldies in the US, that they not only let him get away with this, but even approved of it. Word soon got around all the similar corporations in Asia as to who he was and they sat back and waited for him to fail. The whippersnapper found himself very isolated and he would complain about being lonely. Despite the fact that he used to alter the minutes of all the meetings to make himself look good before he sent them back to the US, the Board in the US was made aware of what had been going on.

However, they ignored what the Asian whistleblowers had politely presented and backed their protege, asking him to punish those who had warned them what was going on. It was on their own heads. No surprises then when the franchisees did exactly as they had warned and left MacSonalds after decades. The Board had not only ignored them, but also punished them for telling the truth, the very thing they hated the most. The franchisees joined the competitor, MacTonalds, which was already seven times bigger anyway and, above all, Pan-Asian and not foreign. The franchisees commented that ‘leaving had been like getting out of a straitjacket’. The whippersnapper began shouting: ‘They’re all fired!’ (too late – they had already left and joined the rival). Then the trigger-happy foreigner added frantically: ‘Only our burgers are true. All the others are fake’. Everybody laughed and laughed at him for that. The psychiatric ambulance was on its way.

When some time after all this, as had become inevitable, MacSonalds went into administration, one of the old hands commented ruefully: ‘The boy messed up big time. I guess it’s our own fault, we never taught him how to say sorry and then we backed him up. He hoodwinked us’. But it was all far too late for such regrets about the lack of any moral sense. And all because, from the very outset, they had not listened to the local people and the local managers.

Sic transit gloria mundi…


Spirituality or Moralism?

I spoke recently to a Romanian parishioner who had lived for a very long time in the Middle East and married a charming man, originally a Muslim. Taking him to a certain Romanian elder, who is still alive, she expected whom she supposed to be a very conservative elder to condemn her for marrying a Muslim and berate the Muslim for being such. Instead the elder came out and warmly embraced the Muslim and treated him as a brother. It was not long before the Muslim had joined the Orthodox Church. The story illustrates the old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

The point is that the Spiritual is not conservatism. The Spiritual is the Tradition, the ever-renewed Inspiration of the Holy Spirit over the millennia, which is quite different from conservatism. Indeed, it is precisely in the absence of the Spiritual that conservatism, with its killing moralism and dead ritualism, takes over. Moralism is a sign of the end of the living, not of life. Both modernists and conservatives (‘traditionalists’) are moralists, because neither has the Spiritual, both lack Love, the very thing that they both claim in their self-delusion to have.

We saw it in the time of Christ with the Pharisees with their censorious judgementalism. We saw it with the Calvinistic Puritans, so intolerant that they could find nowhere to live in Europe and so had to go to America, where they slaughtered the native people and hunted innocent women to death as witches. We saw it with the Jesuits who preached hatred in the Name of God. We saw it with the Zoe and Sotir brotherhoods in Greece, who turned so many against the Church. We saw it with psychopaths and fanatics who tried to turn the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia into a mean and nasty sect. None of them knew that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Moralists always exploit the naïve and weak, manipulating them and making them feel guilty for not being ‘conservative’ enough. They lecture and berate others, who have experience of the inner life. This is all because the moralists themselves have no inner life. And because they have no inner life, they pre-judge and condemn all others. And they pre-judge and condemn because they have no compassion and love for human weakness, only hardness of heart which destroys both themselves and others. Moralism is spiritual death; only the Spiritual gives Life, for only the Holy Spirit is the Giver of Life.

The End of the Western Delusion: 1990-2020: History Begins Again

Since Protestantism denied any sort of collective ‘Church’, it was always concerned with ‘personal’, individual salvation. Therefore it was precisely out of this curious understanding of salvation, that we are not saved together, that modern Western individualism grew up. For as time passed and Protestantism degenerated into Secularism in the revolution that began in the 1960s, individualism rapidly turned into self-interest, self-indulgence, self-flattery, ‘the feel good factor’ and infantilism. This is ‘personal salvation’ according to the individualistic, atheist gospel of Secularism. Everyone is their own god – the ultimate millennial result of the filioque.

Thus, after the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and then the collapse of the rest of the Marxist nightmare, the self-appointed task of Western ideologues assigned themselves a task. Sure that their ideology of individualism, ‘the free market’, had triumphed, it was simple. Under the delusional camouflage of their slogan of individualism, ‘freedom and democracy’, in other words, do whatever you want, they would conquer the rest of the world.

So they tried to mop up the remains of Imperial Russia (not much left there after 75 years of Western Marxism, they thought), finish off primitive Islam and stride forward, confident that China and India would also fall into their laps like so much ripe fruit. ‘History had ended’, so claimed the bullying triumphalists with their ‘The West is Best over the Rest’.

Now they would conquer the world through the crowd-pleasing, truly populist, idea of selfishness, backed up as usual, of course, with the usual Western organised violence. This hubris was nothing but the old pagan Roman bread and circuses, revamped as materialist consumerism and the Soft Power of Hollywood and modern music. The masses would, like zombies, swallow all this, and agree to be bombed by NATO and exploited by Western companies from the US and the EU, their heads zombified by Rambo, Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Lady Gaga and any other nonsense that the West could produce.

Only it was not as simple as that. Actually, not everybody is a selfish Western ideologue and will agree to anything, just because they have been offered flattery and a million dollars. Some people have principles, some people are not selfish, some people have values greater than the dollar, some people know that ‘freedom and democracy’ are myths. Like the early Christians in the Colosseum, some people still believe in greater things than vulgar consumer goods and Hollywood, they believe in collective, not individual, values, values like historical tradition, patriotism and national identity. And, just like our spiritual forebears, the early Christians, we do not fear death. Even under the threat of coronavirus, whether manmade or natural.

That people may believe in more than bread and circuses and do not live by bread alone has been demonstrated in recent years even inside the Western world, with the rise of what the venal elitists of the snobbish media condescendingly call ‘populism’, for example, as in Brexit and Trump. However, long before this, outside the Western world (the West is always spiritually backward), we already saw resistance to Western Secularism.

For example, although Russia fell into the hands of a drunken Western puppet in the 1990s and although his Harvard advisors created mass hunger, abortion, alcoholism and suicide, Russia has since raised itself up to sovereignty. It now has a certain dignity and we see there the long and slow return to national identity and the traditional Russian defence of peoples whom the West has tried to wipe off the map, for example, in Ossetia and Syria. As for the Muslim world, it too fought back after the anti-Muslim Wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, where the West, despite its mass brainwashing propaganda, disastrously lost the last shreds of any moral authority. The world saw that the only weapons of mass destruction were those that the Western Powers massacred Iraqis with.

Historically, the West had no success in spreading its ideologies of Catholicism and Protestantism in Russia, India, Japan or China. Even after the collapse of Communism, when it sent out its evangelical missionaries to the former Soviet Union, bribing them with free English lessons, all they harvested were a few unstable, uprooted and neurotic souls.

Even successes in Latin America, the Philippines and Africa were very limited: Catholicism and Protestantism there are both anti-secular and have very little to do with wishy-washy, happy-clappy, baby-boomer, self-indulgent, infantile Western Catholicism and Protestantism, which today are simply forms of Secularism, with as much spiritual content as dishwater. The Non-Western world will accept consumer goods and Western Soft Power, its films and music, for amusement’s sake, but nothing on a deep and serious level. The elite may have its traitors, but the people remain loyal to their own age-old Civilisation and culture beneath the surface.

Some may point to the contemporary ‘successes’ of American evangelicals in China, who claim 120 million converts. This of course is nonsense. Just as in Japan, South Korea or Thailand, the only ones in China who ‘convert’ to Protestantism do so because they want to be rich ‘like Americans’ from the land of consumerism and Hollywood. For why are the Americans rich? Because Americans are Evangelicals, ‘God has blessed them’. By adopting the American religion, they too will be ‘blessed by God’ and so be rich. At least that is the myth that is peddled to the simple, ignoring the tens of millions of dirt poor, homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts in the real America, let alone the Gospel call to ascetic poverty and Christ’s statement that Mammon (i. e. the dollar) and God are irreconcilable opposites. All this is just American imperialism.

Today’s Western Secularism is as unexportable as yesterday’s Western religion was unexportable.

For instance, I remember a BBC journalist (and spy) declaring to me that Orthodoxy in Russia is unimportant because fewer than 5% of Russians go to Church. This statistic is true, but he had totally missed the point. Orthodoxy, i.e. Christianity, is important in Russia not because of such a statistic but because it is the Civilisational underpinning of Russian culture. Regardless of how many people go to Church, all (except the elite of English-speaking thieves/oligarchs/traitors who consort with Western journalists and spies) have Orthodox (i.e. Christian) values in some sphere or another. And those values, of the majority, are not those of elitist LGBT Western Secularism and never will be.

The Gospel of Western self-indulgence only works among the corrupt elite. The puppets, traitors and crooks, appointed by the West to run Latin America (Haiti, Cuba, Pinochet, Nicaragua), Greece (the colonels), the Philippines (Marcos), the Ukraine, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Phanar etc, are precisely that. The West has only one technique, corrupt the worst elements in the country and then appoint them as the ruling elite by force and they will allow Western companies to asset-strip the countries involved.

How will this Western perversion be defeated?

Whether the fight is against pseudo-Christian Western religion or one of the forms of Secularism which evolved from it, be it atheist Communism or consumerist Capitalism, there is only one value which can stand up to Western Secularism. And this is not xenophobia and crude nationalism, evil Stalinism in the case of Russia – even among some who claim to be Orthodox!; this is not Maoism in the case of China, where the ruling ideology long ago stopped being Chinese Communism and became Chinese Nationalism, upheld by savage Capitalism; and this is not Islamism in the case of the Muslim world, an Islamism created from the outrage of repeated Western invasions of and interference in Muslim Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

What then is the only value that can stand up to Western Secularism?

It is God, the One Universal Reality and Ideal. Not the false Western god, the idol made in the imagination and image of Western ideologues. The real God is not made in our image, we are made in His image. The Holy Spirit comes from God, not from Western man, nor for that matter from the Islamic god of Mohammed, but from the real God the Father, from Whom alone proceeds Holiness and Truth. This was revealed by Christ, not in Europe, but in Asia, of which Christ was in His human nature a native.

Just because the American elite has little understanding of history, culture, language and faith, it thinks it can impose its individualistic self-indulgence throughout the world. Insulated from reality in their bubble, it underestimates other people. Not all are as selfish as those ideologues. Most of the world has greater and stronger values than the individualistic self, it has a collective value, a belief in its own national identity and destiny, culture and history, values that go beyond space and time, beyond the here and now, back into history and into the future, a Civilisation that is greater than the self and goes on to eternity. Not the Western delusion, but God. Here is the answer. Thirty years have passed since Western ideologues began to claim that the West had triumphed, that History had ended. In reality, History is beginning again. For many around the world the West is not Best. In the age of coronavirus the West is Pest.