This is a story about money. Lots and lots of money. Money that most people in Armenia have never seen but which has affected every last Armenian life. This is a story of millions upon millions of dollars, thousands of foreign-funded activists and the hundreds of organizations that usurped power in Armenia and led the country to the edge of the abyss.

At the end of the Soviet Union, Francis Fukuyama claimed that with the fall of Soviet communism, liberal democracy had won, calling it “the end of history.” Fukuyama and others believed that liberal democracy was the last remaining option believing that liberal democracy would naturally take over the world. It did not take long for people, including Fukuyama himself, to realize that this was a pipe dream and that liberal democracy could not be considered an eventuality. Thus was born the goal of imposing liberal democracy on the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.


“Every man should be gentle, but also passionate; for he must have the spirit to fight against incurable and malignant evil. But the evil which is remediable should be dealt with more in sorrow than anger. He who is unjust is to be pitied in any case; for no man voluntarily does evil or allows evil to exist in his soul. And therefore he who deals with the curable sort must be long-suffering and forbearing; but the incurable shall have the vials of our wrath poured out upon him.

(Plato, Laws, Book V)

My writings of the past weeks…


House Democrats kneel in Congress after George Floyd’s death

The protests and riots following the death of George Floyd have been replete with claims of systemic racism. But, a friend pointed out that Democrats, the group favored by those making the charge of systemic racism, were in charge of Minneapolis when Floyd died and that the police chief, Medaria Arradondo, was appointed by them. Despite these facts, charging the officer who was apparently responsible for Floyd’s death took several days, during which time outrage about the incident exploded into mayhem.


A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth

A major problem with the so-called democratization of discourse by Facebook and Twitter, is that ignoramuses inject the conversation/discussion/debate with nonsense so that, even if you’re able to parse through it yourself, others will inevitably be confused.

This confusion leads to helplessness and a feeling that knowing the truth is unattainable through debate. Of course this is exploited by savvy political operatives when they don’t have a good argument but understand the power of this phenomenon.

The helplessness of the observer — and sometimes the participant(s) — devolves into nihilism, where they begin to believe that the truth is not…


The Return of the Prodigal Son (Pompeo Batoni, 1773)

When wealthy Romans died, those surviving them would display wax masks of their faces in their homes, often in prominent locations like the home’s atrium, where it was plainly visible to visitors. It was not uncommon to pray to ancestors and, along with Roman gods, ask for their favor. To take pride in ancestors, to remember them, and to place them in the Roman Pantheon indicated a profound respect for an ancestor’s contributions to one’s present status.

Roman ancestor worship was eventually replaced by its companion in Christian filial devotion, as enshrined in the Bible through exhortations to respect one’s…


Masterly artisanship, a rare indulgence in the modern day, is on display at The Met in the Making Marvels: Science & Splendor at the Courts of Europe exhibition.

I have a special fondness for artisans and their work. It’s rare to find items today that were produced by hand, much less by the hands of a master who is able to make something of exquisite beauty and ineradicable quality. Instead, the artisan has been replaced with the designer, a person who envisions a thing, creates a scalable model, and sends it off to be mass produced.

The difference between the designer and the artisan is that the artisan envisions what he is going to build, and then builds it; the designer envisions the thing (I think the jargon…


Welcome to the HR machine. Smile. Do not reply.

Getty

Comparison, they say, is the thief of joy. LinkedIn, where the modern jobhunter is inevitably diverted, is all about generating professional comparison. Amid the infinite scroll of your network’s promotions, new jobs, and attendances at the latest nugatory conference, there is a new sidebar where LinkedIn fills you in on a grab bag of encouraging and discouraging news, to keep the balance.

Recently, one of the news items on my sidebar was something about the applicant tracking systems (ATS) widely used in hiring by ever-growing human resources departments. …


“To-day we have climbed to heights where we would open at least the outer courts of knowledge to all, display its treasures to many, and select the few to whom its mystery of Truth is revealed, not wholly by birth or the accidents of the stock market, but at least in part according to deftness and aim, talent and character.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

On a recent trip to my neighborhood library, a relatively small affair, I walked through the stacks, as I do, just browsing. I was astounded by the number of choices. What was…


In an historic vote, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turkey from 1915 to 1923. The resolution was an affirmation of America’s record on the Genocide, going back to the eyewitness account of US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Henry Morgenthau.

Out of the House’s 435 Members, 405 voted in favor, with only 11 “no” votes. Three Members voted ‘Present,’ effectively abstaining from the vote. Of these three, the surprising outlier was Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN),the “woke” Member from Minnesota who fashions herself a stalwart of justice.


Abigail Adams (Portrait by Gilbert Stuart)

In the course of wasting valuable time in that unmatched abyss of wretchedness called Facebook, I read a lament by an acquaintance where he judged some presenters and their audience at a recent forum to be astoundingly ignorant. He drew a contrast between the dim wit of the subjects of his consternation and the exaltation of education by a Founding Father in a letter he wrote, not failing, with such a citation, to propose a contrast with his own erudition. He then went on to skewer the targets of his ire for perceived charlatanry.

Charlatanry is reprehensible behavior that is…

William Bairamian

Politics, culture, society, and Armenia.

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