Freedom and Stockholm Syndrome

Just in case you thought China was the only country where people suffered Stockholm Syndrome, Reuters reports that Stalin has been voted Russia’s third most popular historical figure. And I hear familiar refrains too:

Stalin’s nostalgic supporters like to repeat that he defeated Nazi Germany, industrialized the Soviet Union and achieved total literacy across a backward peasant nation.

Oy, I’m so tired of this thing. Repeat of the things I heard five months ago. Reason enough to have no faith in humanity, because any impatient “reëducation” from such oppressive systems will merely result in, well, “reëducation” camps as a naturally permitted consequence.

And consider this:

He said a whiff of Stalinism was felt in Russia’s harsh tone with the West which has accused Moscow of backtracking on democratic reforms and keeping a tight lid on dissent.

“Again, foreign enemies are to blame for all internal problems, so you need to rule with an iron fist – it’s a purely Stalinist method.”

Guess where else. I guess this is a common theme across places that have suffered oppression of the mind and soul as well as the body. But then again, look at original sin: doesn’t that, too, have elements of Stockholm Syndrome? Enter the Christ, whose incarnation we celebrate this season, who has come to break down this tyranny.

All the more important to cultivate an education that frees the mind to the fullest extent possible. After all, if justification were the only important thing in God’s redemption, there would be no need for eschaton, for church, for theosis, for being in the world. As it is, the project is bigger than that (see Trevin Wax’s interview with N.T. Wright for more on that).

It isn’t dispensable, then, to take part in redeeming the mind. This has nothing to do with socioeconomic class: the gospel is preached to all people, and the project it proclaims is meant to free all parts of the man held in bondage to Satan’s power. If we’re concerning ourselves with material well-being – shalom in the flesh – then we must concern ourselves as well with the shalom of mental freedom.


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