“Thirty rouble for your sportshoes Nike! Forty rouble!”
The fartsovschiks whispered to us, a class of eighth-grade American boys, on streetcorners, during the cold, windy Moscow March of 1983. One evening we encountered some of the last Soviet-era stilyogi themselves, our teenage Muscovite peers. They wanted to hear Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on a Sony Walkman which one of us had.
Through the communist era in Russia, the stilyagi rebelled–by wearing Western clothes and singing Western pop songs. Even in the 1980’s, fartsovschiks risked prison to traffic in this kind of contraband. Under Stalin, in the forties and fifties, the stilyagi themselves could go to prison camp for wearing zoot suits or listening to jazz.
Now, political campaigns in the U.S. often include charges that the incumbent party has led with un-American tyranny or authoritarianism. Paranoia about election rigging doesn’t seem to me to serve any purpose, especially when there’s no evidence.
But: can we identify a reigning ideology which our powers-that-be maintain, even at the expense of the truth? A state-sponsored mythology that provokes free-thinking people to rebel?
Yes, and it has to do with birthing babies.
The Soviet Union never had a post-WWII baby boom. The Bolsheviks made abortion legal in 1918. Through the twentieth century, demographers came to identify “the communist system” as a scientific factor–a fertility suppressor in and of itself.
But, since the 1970’s, we Americans have danced around replacement-rate fertility. And since the onset of the recession of 2008, we appear to have cratered well below it. Pope Francis called Europe a “haggard grandmother, no longer fertile.” That applies to the USA now as well.
Doesn’t a below-replacement-level birthrate indicate an unhealthy society–pretty much, by definition? Young people living under Soviet rule had to contend with Marxist uniformity poisoning social life. The stilyagi of 21st-century America have to deal with the mythology of the sexual revolution.
No zoot suits. But what about this:
We do not accept that pornography has a place in a civilized community. We reject the idea that such abusive and disgusting trash can be “mainstreamed.”
We believe in marriage. We believe young people have the courage to make commitments. We believe that God provides for couples that trust Him.
Stilyagi literally means “stylish people.” What could be more stylish in 21st-century America than a church wedding involving a lot of kneeling and praying–with no pets, no prenups, and no preening?
Also, how about these three principles:
- A child has a right to be conceived in his/her mother’s womb, by his/her father.
- A child, once conceived, cannot intentionally be killed.
- No one has a right to engage in sex that is inherently unfruitful.
Doesn’t seem like a reasonable person could quibble with any of these. Of course, these basic principles of marital decency and societal fertility leave procured abortion, artificial contraception, IVF, masturbation, and sodomy on the cutting-room floor. Where they all belong.
The Soviet regime eventually succumbed. The unholy Playboy/Planned Parenthood regime will fall one day, too. In the meantime, we can cultivate our zoot-suit rebellion by seeking the holy joy of real Christian chastity.