On the centrally coordinated Third World invasion of Western countries. It’s World War III in every way but formally named as such in retrospect, and that’s only because “retrospect” is still in the future:
Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition,” [Viktor Orbán] said at Kötcse… “I am convinced that Hungary has the right—and every nation has the right—to say that it does not want its country to change.” France and Britain had been perfectly within their prerogatives to admit millions of immigrants from the former Third World. Germany was entitled to welcome as many Turks as it liked. “I think they had a right to make this decision,” Orbán said. “We have a duty to look at where this has taken them.” He did not care to repeat the experiment. (Link)
Culture moves in Frivolous-Heroic cycles, you can also call them Comedy-Tragedy cycles. People immersed in the spirit of one such era will not understand the feelings and motivations of those who lived under the opposite spirit of its time.
Fifteen or even ten years ago, frivolity was the the state of mind in east-central Europe, specifically in Poland. Popular culture from that time reflects the enthusiasm for the newly-joined European Union. It was a materialistic period. With that thought in mind, I recently re-watched the first five seasons of the popular comedy series Ranczo (The Ranch), which premiered in 2006. It’s a well made, engaging show set in a fictional village in rural eastern Poland.
The main character is a young American woman who unexpectedly inherits a dilapidated country manor in that remote Polish village. Newly divorced and jobless at that point in her life, she travels there with the intention of selling the manor to a ready buyer, who happens to be the town’s strongman Mayor. But she sees the property in its bucolic setting and her plans change. She becomes enamored of the house and to the Mayor’s chagrin, decides to keep it, renovate it with the money made from the sale of her Manhattan apartment, and live there on that manor. That’s the shows premise, established in the first episode.
Cynically, I can say that Ranczo was a vehicle for feminism that intensified as the series went on, as well as a little bit of multicultural propaganda. Generously, however, I will qualify that judgment by adding that its politically-correct messages were more of a reflection of Poland’s upbeat attitude about the West and “progress” during that decade.
This fan-made video in (American) English nicely introduces the series:
Here is a behind-the-scenes video about the series. No subtitles unfortunately, but you can see the actors/characters on the set in high definition. Good commentary by the creative team, if you understand the language. The actor who plays the lead male character Kusy says:
It’s a great joy for an artist, the feeling that, at that one moment in your life, you took part in something that gave so many people pleasure. We did it nobly, thoughtfully, from the heart, always respecting our viewers as thinking, feeling, sensitive beings.
And in the words of the actress who plays the coquette waitress Wioletka:
I started acting in Raczo after my first year of college. I remember when my mom asked me after the first day of filming the first season: “What kind of a show is it?” I told her that it’s a strange show, there is nothing like it on Polish television because up until then, everything was kind of an imitation of what’s in Europe but nothing that really spoke of Poland. So I told her: “Mom, it’s such an odd show that it will flop after the first season. Nobody is going to watch it.” Well, I think my intuition was off. I had no idea that I’m taking part in something so exceptional.
The series in fact turned out to be spectacularly successful. It ran for ten seasons, from 2006 through 2016. I only saw the first five seasons, which my in-laws gave me as a gift DVD set.
National survival strategies
European nations are not easily absorbed into larger empires because the differences in language form a barrier that protects the integrity all of the other aspects of national identity: religion, blood, temperament, folkways. That’s unlike America’s experience of growing into its contiguous 48-state country, which was facilitated by the common English language of its settlers and assimilated European immigrants.
Where there are unique languages in proximity to one another, there is a resistance to a multi-ethnic togetherness under a singe point of political control. This is Europe’s kaleidoscope of its many different nations. On such a polyglot continent, the strong nations will jostle against one another until a continental balance of power is found, the weak ones will go along with the dominant powers as long as their distinctness is respected.
And here is modern Poland’s uncommon condition: too strong to bend to the will of its larger neighbors, too weak to be a continental power in its own right. As a result, the country has availed itself of each of these three approaches to national security:
1. The Faraway Ally. One strategy has been to ally with a more distant power, with mixed results. Nationalists’ alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte during the Partitions era did bring about a short-lived independent Duchy of Warsaw but at too great a cost of life on his Russian campaign. An alliance with France and England in 1939 failed to deliver when it mattered. And since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the non-regional ally, and not without benefits: NATO membership modernized Poland’s military, including combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the alliance also makes Poland subject to US cultural hegemony with its homosexual and anti-racist agenda.
It remains to be seen where the limits to the positives in this alliance are encountered. There is always the peril of insufficient cynicism about the US government among the older generation of politicians, whose Russophobia is a relic of the Communist decades.
2. Regional Coalition. The second security strategy is a central European alliance. The great statesman Józef Piłsudski (1867 – 1935) wanted to create an Intermaerum of east European countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea as bulwark against both German and Russian territorial ambitions. This alliance would include a number of small nations peeled away from Russian Empire’s (and later Soviet) control on the model of the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The Visegrád Four alliance with culturally-kin Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary today serves a similar purpose, as does the Three-Seas Initiative of twelve east-central European countries.
3. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. A third strategy is to join the strong neighbor. The Communist era was, in effect, a forced partnership with Russia that in retrospect delivered long-term blessings. And afterwards, Poland’s joining of the European Union was a voluntary indenture to Germany, with its short-term costs and payoffs.
A balance of strategies. Poland presently plays a tripartite balance of foreign policy:
- A relationship with the United States as leverage contra the EU and Russia.
- Subordination to Germany as an EU member state for the sake of economic benefits.
- And an increasingly meaningful partnership with east-central European states in reaction to western Europe’s migrant-insanity and America’s globalism.
The optimism and the wariness
A dialogue in one of the early episodes of Ranczo caught my attention. There are four Village Drunk characters whose function is part comic relief, part meta-commentary. One of them is Stan Japycz, an old man who’s seen his share of historical changes. By unspoken hierarchical order, he sits at the right end of the storefront bench (from viewer’s perspective) as the elder of the group. His drinking companions are talking about the EU’s lavish financial investment in Poland. As a witness to history, he expresses his wariness of such generosity. Paraphrasing the dialogue:
“So, what will the EU want from us in return for all that free money?”
“Maybe they are just generous”
“There is no such thing as something for nothing.”
“But what about the [post-war Communist] land reforms? That was something for nothing.”
“It’s easy to take someone’s stuff and give it away to someone else. Here, the EU is giving us their own money. Mark my words, one day they’ll come to collect.”
The EU “visited to collect” in 2015, in the form of European Commission’s directive to eastern European states, including tiny countries like Latvia, take in their massive quotas of Muslim immigrants. Thank God for Viktor Orbán, who was the first to say No and stand firm on his refusal. From what I observed in Poland, remotely from here as well as during my visit three years ago, is that the Frivolous era has passed. Ranczo’s sanguine westward longing feels anachronistic today.
The idealism of its time
Imagine a television comedy series made for three-digit IQ audiences united by a common culture. No vulgarity, no gratuitous innuendo, slow narrative pace for people with normal attention spans, camera that captures the pastoral beauty of its setting. And zero Diversity; even the foreign characters were played by Polish actors, which no doubt helped foster good chemistry on the set.
I haven’t decided if the feminism, which is laid on thick in certain episodes, is conscious subversion or if it’s that era’s faith in Progress as personified by the EU. It was a campaign of eliminating (highly exaggerated) national pathologies such as wife-beating, drunkenness, laziness, corruption… things that you could say festered in the less advanced parts of Europe. But now, knowing what we know in 2019, it’s complicated because we know that thots aren’t gonna patrol themselves. Some girls like to be choked and we need them in our social fabric too. We need men who aren’t afraid of a little prison time in our social fabric too.
People who subscribed to Ranczo ideals thought that you could create a better world by eradicating common human vices. They were wrong. Pride, as all of tradition teaches us, is the downfall of the ambitious. No, dear reader in 2006. The EU will not make Poland better. It will instead try to send inbred brown rapists to your daughter’s middle school under the full protection of the state.
In another dialogue, the four storefront drunks talk about how EU will one day exploit them as cheap foreign labor and on top of it, ban their favorite activity. Which of course is open-air drinking as long as they hide the bottle from the passing village policeman. Who in turn, in accordance with prevailing social mores, pretends to not-see them drinking illegal moonshine. One character drives his point home: “Have you ever heard about open air drinking in the EU?”
Ten years later, the EU murdered the eleven-year-old Ebba Åkerlund in a country where there is no open-air drinking of moonshine. It humiliated our entire civilization in Rotherham and ignited the Gilet Jaunes uprising. No, reader from 2006, the EU can’t fix Poland’s problems. The EU is the enemy.
Ranczo is an allegory for Poland itself, with the various the characters representing certain national archetypes.
Lucy. The main character, who is a young, recently-divorced Polish-American woman who moves into the village and brings Progress with her. She teaches English to children and birth control to teenagers. She solves everyone’s problems with her cheery can-do attitude. She’s Poland’s westward gaze, a hope that “this half” of our identity will lift us above the eastern backwardness.
Kusy. Her eventual love interest; they get married and have a baby in a later season. An artist earlier in his life, he works as Lucy’s handyman, self-destructively haunted by his past tragedies. He represents the national spirit over the rocky course of history. Lucy soon discovers that despite being at a low point in his life, Kusy is a brilliant, educated man of high character and she inspires him to overcome his personal demons.
The Village Mayor and the Parish Priest. My favorite characters, in a way. They are twins, played by the same actor. The Mayor represents the Communist-era despotism, corruption, and atheism. The Priest represents, of course, Roman Catholicism and the compassionate but straight-and-narrow moral code. And this is important: the twin brothers despise each other, but they often find themselves in situations where they have to work together.
Other primary characters. A few of them start out as comic-relief figures and some as villains. But each develops into a fuller character who finds redemption and of course, love:
- Wealthy owner of a construction company, adept at greasing the right palms.
- His wife, who owns and runs the village store in front of which our four favorite philosophers spend their days drinking.
- Speaking of, the four storefront drunks: the venerable Stan, the two middle-aged petty criminals, and the young sometimes-employed construction worker who dreams of taking control of his destiny.
- A highly literate but easily-led journalist.
- An airhead coquette waitress at the local watering hole.
- An accident-prone policeman who takes his job very seriously.
- A destitute farm family with seven children, all prodigies. The mom is a simple woman who speaks with a backwater accent. The dad is an ex-con, along with being one of the four storefront drunks.
- The Priest’s stout housekeeper, a pious but highly opinionated woman.
- The Mayor’s spoiled, nagging wife.
- The Mayor’s flaky teenage daughter Klaudia.
- The female accountant with the Mayor’s office, a hopeless-romantic spinster.
- A talented young intern to the Mayor, with ambitions of his own.
- An old, reclusive herbs-woman and traditional healer.
- The doctor and his class-conscious wife, and their rocky marriage.
- A Machiavellian schemer who almost gets away with ruining the village; when he’s run out of town, it really had the feel of one of the 109 past (((expulsions))).
A globalist Blue Pill
One of the regular characters is Klaudia, the Mayor’s teenage daughter. She adopts a different subculture in each episode, according to an always-off-screen new boyfriend. She goes through a Punk phase, Goth, morose existentialist, vegan, Hare Krishna, businesswoman, Feng Shui enthusiast, Grunger, etc. etc. In one episode, she dates a Skinhead and as expected, shows up dressed like one. She tells Lucy about this latest thing she’s into. Lucy is Klaudia’s confidant through her normal teenage stuff.
Lucy listens with a worried look on her face as Klaudia tells her: “You know, my boyfriend says things that make a lot of sense.” She then summarizes his nationalist case, nothing more extreme than what Marine LePen would say. Overhearing this, Kusy gives Klaudia an enraged earful about hate being bad.
Kusy’s heavy-handed appeal to tolerance is a product of the Frivolous era, incomprehensible to today’s audiences in the Heroic era. The upside to having had to stomach this moment of vile globalist propaganda wrapped in such a nice television show and think about all the other viewers who saw that, is the fact that the West has now seen the fruits of tolerance and those fruits are crawling over with worms.
A nationalist Red Pill
The village Priest is in a bit of a panic because the Bishop from the big city had called him, informing him of his of his plan to visit the village. He tells the Priest not to tell anyone that he’s in fact a Bishop; he wants to come off as an ordinary Priest so that people act naturally in his presence. He wishes to see the parish as it really is, and also to take a break from the trappings of rank he deals with daily.
Beside himself with anxiety, the Priest arranges things so that the village is on its best behavior. The church dignitary arrives. It’s worth noting that the he is a tall, distinguished man with an authoritative voice. He is also a sympathetic one-time character.
Meanwhile, word gets out that the visitor is a Bishop. Oops, the priest’s housekeeper may have let that slip. So all of the townspeople prepare themselves to pretend they don’t know who he is when they meet him. The village policeman, out of uniform for the sake of being inconspicuous, trails him on his solo walks around the village to ensure his safety. The Bishop quickly notices that he’s being followed and assumes the worst: secret police surveillance.
He then runs into Kusy, whose odd words as he contemplates his next artistic project deepen the Bishop’s paranoia. Finally, Lucy approaches the Bishop in a friendly manner. Because of her foreign accent, she mentions that she’s American. But by the workings of verbal comedy, the Bishop concludes that she’s a US intelligence agent. So now his conviction that he’s under surveillance becomes more than he can stand: it’s not just domestic security organs any more, it’s now a foreign superpower that spies on an incognito clergyman visiting an obscure village. The memorable moment when the Bishop sternly lectures the bewildered Lucy:
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Before, it was the KGB that persecuted us. Now, it’s the CIA. Well, let me tell you something, Missy! This here is a free, sovereign nation. We’re not some damn colony of yours. Are we clear on that?
World War III
Our civilization will get through it if we enforce the words of Victor Orbán: “Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition. Every nation has the right to say that it does not want its country to change.”
The village in Rancho represents our respective homes. This is why Lucy held on to her inheritance.