the date for a children’s march in downtownrnTucson in support of the Salvadoranrnpeople.rnFollowing the service, the ReverendrnFife baptized an infant, “child of CecilrnBillingsley and Joelle Waldron.” Thernchoir celebrated by singing a syncopatedrnhymn and accompanying it with thernclapping of hands, while a young blackrnwoman in a scarlet dress boogied to thernmusic. As the congregation filed out intornthe fresh and shiny morning, a smallrngirl tugged at the Reverend’s robe. Hernbent to her, they whispered, and suddenlyrnhe laughed and swung her ontornhis shoulder where she seized the ropernoverhead and rang the church bell loudly,rntwice.rnChilton Williamson, Jr., is senior editorrnfor books at Chronicles.rnLetter From Russiarnby Lawrence A. UzzellrnOrthodoxy and NationalismrnEarly in my first Russian-languagerncourse, our professor noted that the wordrnfor “Sunday” is the same as the word forrn”resurrection.” Somebody asked herrnhow that word had managed to survivernunder 70 years of totalitarian atheism.rnShe replied that Russian is so permeatedrnwith Christian images that it would bernimpossible to remove them withoutrnabandoning the entire language.rnOrthodox Christianity will have a profoundrninfluence on Russia in the 21strncentury. Western journalists, who havernan even worse grasp of Orthodoxy thanrnof pre-Vatican II Catholicism or evangelicalrnProtestantism, see that influencernalmost entirely in terms of nationalistrnbigotry. Some see the Orthodox mindrnas peculiarly hospitable to collectivismrnand authoritarianism. But in fact, thernmost tyrannical features of modern Russiarnare precisely those that have beenrnborrowed from Western models. WhenrnPeter the Great and his successors abolishedrnthe patriarchate of Moscow andrnturned the Orthodox Church into a virtualrnbranch of government, their inspirationrnwas not ancient Byzantium butrnLutheran Sweden. And the totalitarianrnideology par excellence was copied byrnRussians from a German atheist.rnWe clearly cannot predict the futurernrole of Russian Orthodoxy by watchingrnPatriarch Alexei and today’s other toprnbishops, who got where they are todayrnby kissing the hands that enslaved them,rnnor by examining the ecclesiastical bureaucratsrnof the 19th century. The leadersrnof the 21st-century Russian OrthodoxrnChurch will be independent actors,rndrawing on a tradition that predates Peterrnthe Great by 18 centuries. For arnglimpse of what this revitalized traditionrnmight be like, we need only readrnone book: an almost forgotten volume,rnpublished in Moscow in 1909, entitledrnVekhi or “Milestones.” Vekhi is a collectionrnof essays by seven Russian intellectuals,rna prophetic warning against thernrevolutionary abyss into which Russiarnwas about to fall. Most of its authorsrnhad been Marxists in their youth. Severalrnhad suffered arrest or exile underrnthe czarist government. But by 1909rnthey were well along in their various pilgrimagesrnback toward tradition and religion.rnAll but one would later go intornexile after the Bolshevik victory.rnOne of these authors, for example,rnwas an economics professor who laterrnbecame an Orthodox priest and head ofrnthe Orthodox seminary in Paris. Anotherrnone, also an economist, eventuallyrnconverted to Orthodoxy from Judaism.rnYet another, Nikolai Berdiaev, becamernone of the leading philosophers and religiousrnthinkers of the 20th century.rnAnd Petr Struve, who had been a leadingrnMarxist theoretician in the I890’s,rnwould lead the journalistic crusadernagainst the Soviet state after 1917.rnThe Vekhi authors repudiated therncentral tenet of socialism, that the salvationrnof mankind comes through politics.rnAs one of them said, “We recognizernthe primacy . . . of spiritual life overrnthe outward forms of society. . . . Therninner life of the individual . . . and notrn. . . some political order is the only solidrnbasis for every social structure.” Anotherrnaffirmed, “The Kingdom of Heaven isrnwithin vou, so is the Kingdom of thernDevil.”‘rnBut Vekhi is only indirectly a bookrnabout politics; it is more a book aboutrnmen’s souls, specifically the souls of thernrevolutionary intelligentsia. Reading it isrnlike reading Dostoyevsky’s novel ThernDevils; it is so prophetic about the moralrncharacter of the revolutionary regimernthat you have to remind yourself that itrnwas written before 1917, not afterward.rnIt dissects the revolutionary soul withrnthe kind of unsparing precision andrndepth of knowledge available only tornpeople who were former revolutionariesrnthemselves.rnAt every point, the Vekhi authors rejectedrnthe new morality of the revolutionrnin favor of an older morality drawnrnfrom sources such as the Bible. Theyrnrejected what one of them called “thernidolatrous worship of party interests. . .rnthat unprincipled morality that judgesrndeeds and thoughts from the point ofrnview of their partisan usefulness.” Insteadrnof partinost, or “party spirit,” theyrnupheld the pursuit of objective truthrnand intellectual integrity. Instead of factionalrnbitterness and fanaticism, theyrnupheld humility, forgiveness, and reconciliation.rnInstead of nihilism and terrorism,rnthey upheld a moderate politicsrnof constitution-building and of respectrnfor historical institutions. Instead ofrneconomic determinism, they upheld individualrnfreedom and responsibility. Insteadrnof envy and romantic alienation,rnthey upheld competence and hard work.rnInstead of materialism, they upheld absoluternmoral standards toward whichrnmen strive—and by which they arernjudged.rnIn some ways this vision is just as incompatiblernwith today’s Western consumerrnculture as with revolutionaryrnsocialism. You could apply whole paragraphsrnof Vekhi’s chapter on Russianrnstudent life to the self-indulgent babyboomersrnof our own society, almostrnwithout changing a word. Vekhi describesrnthe same worship of youth, thernsame pursuit of ideological fads at thernexpense of education, the same selfrighteousrnpreachiness on issues of publicrnand political morality combined with licentiousrnhedonism on issues of personalrnmorality. One can imagine what thernVekhi group would have to say about Sovietrnyuppies who yearn for Americanrnblue jeans.rnIt may seem from this descriptionrn]ohn Shelton Reed is on vacation this month. His faithful readers may wish to readrnhis article in the November issue of Reason.rnDECEMBER 1992/43rnrnrn