Author Topic: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?  (Read 70815 times)

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Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #135 on: February 29, 2012, 12:06:42 PM »
We strive for a "classless" society...but that also means we live in one of less class...[/b]
[/quote]

Well put!
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Alixz

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #136 on: February 29, 2012, 04:41:08 PM »
  Situational ethics and the "me generation" have turned many against the idea of sacrifice and service.  Also there were rules to be followed before WWII that have since been lost in the post war world and the need for everyone to "feel good" about themselves has brought about a selfishness that was not there before.

I know that the intention of telling everyone that they are"OK" may seem to be in the best interests of the psyche and Id and ego, but it has also brought out a disregard for others besides one's self.

I have seen it in the local Mall where young people no longer worry about the older patrons and push and shove them out of the way. No one holds doors for anyone out of respect for age or infirmity.  I think this because everyone feels entitled and therefore no one needs to be more entitled than one's self.

Before WWI and even up to the beginning of WWII there was still a belief in "age and wisdom". Now it has become "me first" and the heck with the rest of the world. There are no longer "standards" to be met if everyone is just fine the way they are and so the social rules fall away.

Some of the pre war standards are best left in the past. The idea of privilege due to one's birth is best left in the dust. But the idea of just being nice to one another could make a big comeback.

It amazes me that those who lived through the 1960s and promised to "love one another" and "he ain't heavy - he's my brother" could have produced the selfish "me generation" which is now producing children who think the entitled because the are "princesses and princes". At least that is what their parents and the media are telling them everyday.

Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #137 on: February 29, 2012, 05:34:39 PM »
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Situational ethics and the "me generation" have turned many against the idea of sacrifice and service.  Also there were rules to be followed before WWII that have since been lost in the post war world and the need for everyone to "feel good" about themselves has brought about a selfishness that was not there before.

This isn't always such a bad thing. "Situational ethics" also help to "keep the wolves at bay" so to speak. A service base society that says "nice" things to each other, even if it's largely superficial, is less likely to be a society in danger of upheaval. Think about it...when you're own the phone ordering something or with the damn cable company the person on the other hand is instructed to say things as nicely as possible. We all know they don't really mean it when they say "have a nice day", after we have been bitching for an hour about our service...but this is still a very useful tool. I'm much more likely to be put to ease by respectful words and calming tones.

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Some of the pre war standards are best left in the past. The idea of privilege due to one's birth is best left in the dust. But the idea of just being nice to one another could make a big comeback.

Let's hope! There is a natural distrust of many for power and privilege that was born out of a combination of a few things. One being jealousy towards to the "haves" in society. Another being a perfectly reasonable resentment caused by the influence of those who wielded such great power and did so with such callousness or irresponsibility. The other being the natural rebellious nature of the herd...spawned probably from major uprisings and revolutions like 18th century American and France and early-20th century Russia. It's that cool, punk rock element (if you will) that permeates through the mostly younger generation of most societies that just wants to make their mark and "matter" somehow.

I've already seen some emerging examples of "nice" culture making a comeback. We still hear plenty of horror stories in schools about teen violence, drugs, sex, bullying, etc. But I'm noticing with many of the children of friends/family that in many circles a backlash to all of that has begun. It's not across the board and certainly not a 24/7 campaign but it seems like a lot of the popular kids are trying harder in recent years to also be "good" kids. As if by some measure of charity they've decided that it's suddenly kind of cool to make the "out" crowd and lonely people feel good about themselves...like a challenge almost. And maybe that's superficial as well...but it's a hell of a lot better than picking on them instead, right?

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I have seen it in the local Mall where young people no longer worry about the older patrons and push and shove them out of the way. No one holds doors for anyone out of respect for age or infirmity.  I think this because everyone feels entitled and therefore no one needs to be more entitled than one's self.

Definitely a general lack of respect for elders...I agree that things don't seem to be getting any better there :-(

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It amazes me that those who lived through the 1960s and promised to "love one another" and "he ain't heavy - he's my brother" could have produced the selfish "me generation" which is now producing children who think the entitled because the are "princesses and princes". At least that is what their parents and the media are telling them everyday.

Well was it a flawed counter culture aesthetic and "hippie" ideology or was it just the backlash of the next generation? The "Me" generation. That mid to late-70s "Me" generation would have been too old to be the offspring of the 60s movement...they were more likely a 1/2 generation born from those too young to be in the WW2 generation but too old to be baby boomers. Or they were just the younger brothers and sisters of the counter-culture kids who wanted nothing to do with their more "placid" elder siblings.

By the time "Generation Y" rolled around it was too late. The baby boomers had kids that grew up entirely in a world of consumption and commercialism. Many of their parents "sold out" too, but even those who didn't simply could not keep their children sheltered from the culture around them. It's like telling your kids to stop listening to rock and roll or hip hop...once you've done that all they want is more, more, more!

But don't fret Alixz, at least we have our dear OTMAA to come back to! Individuals who are actual "princesses and prices", completely entitled, and yet respectful & humble in so many way...imagine that!
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline TimM

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #138 on: March 01, 2012, 02:17:13 AM »
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Reply to Tim message #124

Michael was heir after Alexei and would become heir again if Alexei died before Nicholas II.  There was no reason to "make him heir" - he just was in the general line of Pauline Laws - the heir.

I like to think of alternate histories as much as anyone else, but if this thread keeps going back to time travel and different realities, I'll have to move it to "Having Fun" and I don't want to do that. I think it has a lot of good information and well put together postings.  However, we can't live in a fantasy world and so let's try to get back to the topic and get away from alternate realities and solutions to Nicholas leaving the throne without getting his whole family killed.

Alixz, feel free to delete that post, I've already reposted it in the Having Fun section.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #139 on: March 01, 2012, 04:27:09 AM »
Not sure about continental aristocracies (I don't know enough about them to say), but among the British upper classes from the Victorian period onwards there was a strong ethic of responsibility being the quid pro quo of the privilege they had been born into. This was behind much of their involvement in 'good works', including charities, nursing during wartime etc. It's not entirely died out, but the generations brought up on that ethic are disappearing, sadly.

Ann

Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #140 on: March 01, 2012, 10:39:38 AM »
And among the Russian aristocracy. It was called "noblesse oblige" and, sadly while not universally practiced there was still enough of it going around to make a difference. On my Mother's Grandfather's estate he built a clinic staffed by a doctor (which is where my Grandmother learned to be a nurse), a school and church for all the individuals who worked on the estate and in the nearby village.  My Father's Grandfather while busy as the representative of the Moscow Nobility which required presence at lots of official functions took the time (and money) to support several charitable endeavors serving on the boards of a local hospital, a welfare society for young girls, a charitable institute first established by AIII and during the war heading up GD Elizabeth's charitable war efforts in Moscow.  While all this is admirable it was not unique and many members of the aristocracy and burgeoning middle class were likewise engaged in similar efforts, it's just that we don't hear about them. In the AP Forum we tend to focus on the Royal Families and their charitable endeavors often losing sight of the fact that Russia, like most other large industrialized countries, had very well developed social welfare and charitable organizations in addition to the efforts of the Church (something that the Bolsheviks never wished to acknowledge) which were supported by persons of means. Were the results of these eleemosynary efforts sufficient? Probably not and undoubtedly more could have been done, particularly in the cities, but then again at that time the large cities in west (e.g., London, New York, etc.) exhibited the same social ills which were often left unaddressed (and to a certain but probably lesser extent remain unaddressed).

Petr           
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #141 on: March 01, 2012, 10:45:10 AM »
In Anna Karenina, even Count Vronsky decides to build a hospital on his estate!

Ann

Vanya Ivanova

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #142 on: March 01, 2012, 11:40:17 AM »

My father's family the Ogilvy-Grants are the chiefs of the Grant Clan. They are still one of the largest landlowners in Scotland. Patriarchal aristocracies are entirely self serving. My ancestors built a model town called Grantown-on Spey with a school, church, park etc to re house the highlanders they had just forcibly 'cleared' from their land to make way for more profitable sheep. The town wasn't so much an attempt to compensate as 'civilise'. Even up until the present day my relatives are over turning the rights of their tenant farmers to pass on the investment they have made in the land to their children. It all reverts to the landowner on the tenants death.

To say that this type of feudal system was somehow nicer beggars belief.

Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #143 on: March 01, 2012, 12:51:21 PM »
To say that this type of feudal system was somehow nicer beggars belief.

Well without remarking on your family's efforts vis a vis their tenant farmers or the rights and privileges associated with the ownership of private property that seems to be a sweeping and pejorative categorization of motives which may be quite innocent, well intended and, in fact, laudable. I certainly did not opine on whether building hospitals and churches on estates is "nicer" than farmers owning their own land or on the merits of economic systems that may be perceived as unfair. I was merely pointing out the fact that not all members of the Russian upper classes were "blood sucking exploiters of the working class" and that many (if not most) were concerned about their fellow citizens and acted on those concerns.  I think this attitude and sense of obligation is well reflected in the recent English TV series "Downton Abbey", if you are familiar with it.  Yes it may appear overly paternalistic (I guess you refer to it as self-serving and would consider it degrading) and not to our modern taste but to characterize this concern as "feudal" is, in my opinion, merely hiding behind a label at the expense of recognizing worthwhile individual human feelings and action.  By the way, a truly feudal system would have an element of physical compulsion which was and is lacking then and now. Presumably your tenant farmers are not chained to the land like serfs (serfdom was abolished in Russia in 1861) and over time the laws of England and Scotland have protected the rights of tenants. However, I do object to the notion, for example, that someone who merely works in a factory absent anything else automatically owns an interest in that factory but then I'm a capitalist and not a socialist in the belief that history has shown that capitalism presents the best long term chance of improving the lot of the greatest number of people. In any case, agrarian reform is beyond the scope of this thread.     

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #144 on: March 02, 2012, 03:21:41 AM »
There may have been an element of self-interest, in that people who are healthy and well-fed generally work better, but I don't think that is the whole story.

Ann

Vanya Ivanova

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #145 on: March 02, 2012, 06:35:32 AM »


I should have phrased it more carefully and Petr, I sincerely apologise if you felt my comments insulted your own ancestors/family. Nicholas and Alexandra are a perfect example of kind caring individuals operating within that kind of system. I just meant that the system or 'set up' is fundementally unfair.

I believe in a constitutional monarchy and capitalism tempered with some socialist safeguards such as we have in the UK. The 'ideal' has to be the 'American Dream' - through hard work and ingenuity anyone can get to the top. I only mentioned my own background to show that I understand how that 'system' works and that even in a democracy such as the UK the aristocratic few still have an overwhelming advantage over the many. But thats human nature. In my opinion the stability a constitutional monarchy offers allows a system to slowly introduce change whilst keeping the 'best' aspects of the past and that is sadly what Russia has been denied. I am also a huge fan of 'Downton Abbey' its wonderful and Julian Fellowes doesn't shy away from social injustice!

Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #146 on: March 02, 2012, 11:24:28 AM »
Dear Vanya Ivanova;

No need to apologize and I never took your comments to be an insult.  Basically I share your views but they do raise the issue of the problems associated with the transition from an agrarian society with a "landed gentry" to more modern participatory political and economic systems (although as the current US presidential race points out there is still a wide divergence of views as to how "participatory" the US economic ssystem really is and we don't have the "landed gentry" issue).  I believe that absent the Great War Russia would have transitioned to a constitutional monarchy with a modern capitalist economic system. If you look in Wikipedia under serfdom in Russia there is the interesting observation that the Russian landed gentry was not in a position to resist the emancipation of the serfs because they were generally heavily in debt and had mortgaged their serfs to keep themselves afloat (the economic return on many Russian estates was nowhere as lavish as one may assume).  Thus, in late imperial Russia the landed gentry was slowly but surely losing its economic (and with it political) power while the industrial classes were increasing theirs which leads me to believe that the autocratic system which had depended so heavily on that agrarian society and its inherited social classes would, absent WWI, have morphed into a more participatory system. Frankly, I think the effect of punitive estate taxes in Great Britain post-WWII have had much the same effect (not to speak of the campaign against fox hunting  ;)). One of my Aunt's brothers inherited a castle in Scotland and he, like so many others, has had to open it to the public to help defray the costs of running the place.  She grew up in an enormous castle in Ireland with many rooms and remembers how cold it was in winter when they basically shut down the house and lived in a few rooms because the cost to heat the house was so exorbitant (plus it was an very inefficient coal burning heating system so you wore lots of sweaters). Her parents ultimately had to sell the house because they couldn't afford to keep it. So now we have Wall Street, internet and Saudi billionaires who enjoy the "good life" but I wonder if we haven't lost something gracious in the process.

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Alixz

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #147 on: March 02, 2012, 10:14:19 PM »
Not only Wall Street, Internet and Saudi billionaires.  There are (at least in the US) sports figures who make so much a year that it is incomprehensible.

They sign contracts for two or three years and make 10 million or more.  All they are doing is playing games. That is the new "leisure" class who play games for a living and they are the ones who can afford to live in the mansions.  All they while those working schmucks who buy their apparel and wear their logos only increase the income of these privileged few and spend enormous amounts on season tickets which just enrich the teams' owners and through them, again, the players.

And don't forget the politicians who parley their few years of "public service" in to private sector jobs and speaking engagements that net them millions as well.  I have to laugh at Al Gore as he makes his pitch against global warming and then jets around the country using fossil fuels to travel and keep his homes warm.

And these "public servants" don't even have the self respect not to get caught with their pants "literally" down.

Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #148 on: March 02, 2012, 11:40:48 PM »
Hmmm, such good comments and observations...almost makes me forget that we are well off topic, lol...

Alixz, impassioned as always! I'm sort a centrist in the pro athlete argument that we hear so often and you bring up again. Sounds silly to pay millions of dollars to someone who dribbles, kicks, catches, throws and/or hits a ball for living right? Of course we need to look at these people as entertainers, specializing in a craft no different than musicians or actors, artists or novelists, etc.

The "working schmucks" who follow them are doing so through a type of hero worship...many of us leading desperately ordinary and mundane lives require a little "magic" from time to time. Team sports, in particular, are also a rallying point...a common bond for thousands or even millions people in a geographic area. When the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008 accompanied by the long awaited parade and party that followed it was one of the happiest times of my life. Of course I could have taken a step back and assessed the situation and quickly realized that it's only a sport...overpaid grown men playing a game. But why? We all choose different things to place emphasis on in life.

I hate to state the obvious, but try telling me a majority of the people on the AP aren't here because they are, at minimum, fascinated by royal families...and at most conducting some sort of similar hero worship! In this case the critical sports fan might find our behavior particularly pathetic being that, unlike them, we are obsessing over individuals who for the most part have long since passed.

Now I will agree that athletes are far too often ungrateful, but I'm still hesitant to criticize someone for making as good a living as possible for themselves, through honest means, within the social/political/economic system they were born into. And paying huge chunks of salary to ballplayers does more than line the profits of owners, upper management, and investors...it's reverberates through a region. I live in the Philly market...and everyone can feel the positive emotional and economic impact a good team and popular players have on the well being of the area. How much more money is the bartender, hot dog vendor, newspaper salesman, or seller of sports apparel (just to name a few) making when the goings are good and the teams are winning?  

Plus it brings people together and gives them hope, even if the means which brought them there are questionable superficial. Corny as it sounds to many I'll never feel embarrassed to say that people like OTMAA, in addition to certain other historical figures, gives me hope! I don't dedicate hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to be entertained by them but most certainly the time, energy and love I spend on learning about them is, to me, priceless...
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Alixz

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #149 on: March 03, 2012, 10:41:00 AM »
I am trying to find a quote I read once that said something like:

"If you would control the masses, build a stadium."

It might be by Orwell, but I am not having any luck finding it.

By the way, I don't believe that entertainers are worth the money they are paid either.  When it is reported that someone makes 1 million dollars an episode for a TV show that means 1 million a week! Or if the show runs the regular 22 weeks, 22 million in about 5 months.  No one is worth that kind of money, especially someone who plays dress up for a job.

But you are right, we should get back to topic.