Although it is much delayed, I have finally finished The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev: Volume I. There are two more volumes of folktales to go. I hope to use it in a future book, which at this point only exists as notes on my computer and in my journal. The book will be Tales of the Land of the Firebird, the Firebird apart from Stravinsky’s ballet being a mythological figure in Russian folklore.
So it is that the country at the center of these stories is the ex-Soviet Union… but the countries in the book include Russia, Ukraine and Poland. I want to include the Baltics, Chechnya and perhaps even countries like the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Central Asia… Yet I do not know if the larger circle of countries which were influenced by Soviet Communism is possible right now… I want to have certain countries written about soon, especially Russia, Ukraine and perhaps Poland. Perhaps the Northern Countries of Russia, Ukraine and Poland (and perhaps the Baltics) will be in Part I. Then southwards in Central Europe–the Balkans (the former Czechoslovakia; the former Yugoslavia; Romania and Hungary) will be in Part II. Then the Central Asian Countries will be in Part III. Mostly, this book will relate to Communism, but not entirely.
Someday I hope to write about Sino-Communism: China itself; Tibet; North and South Korea; Cambodia; and the one place where Capitalism seems to have met its match: Vietnam.
As you can tell, I have a major interest in Communism, and my critique of Communism is that by and large it stymies individual liberties and does little for the economic well-being of its people. I also want–on a larger level–to give a general defense of America’s Cold War policies. I know this is an extremely unpopular gamut on the left these days. If AOC can be elected, we know there are people who believe either in Marxist or Marx-influenced ideas.
I admit what I think the appeal is: people are looking for a source for meaning. In a world where everything seems up for grabs, and religion’s hold on the population seems to be waning, people turn to radical ideologies. People instinctively feel the polarizing of our political spectrum, with Trump and his co-conspirators on one side and the other extreme being a amalgam of anti-religious, anti-patriotic, and anti-historical perspective. This last wants to essentially rewrite American history and debunk the very purpose of our country in the beginning. In this worldview, slavery was the norm and not the exception in American history, and democracy–however limited at first–something other than a fragile and revolutionary in nature. Most Americans find themselves between two extremes. And, alas, it is supposed to all boil down to one solitary formula: Are you for Trump, or against? More, to placate people who have difficulties with the left’s agenda, only economic incentives are named… So far I am against Trump, but I cannot say I wholeheartedly love the left’s cultural issues either.