Friday, June 26, 2015

Russia Leads a Counterrevolution

We tend to believe that everything gets decided by the government. We even believe that the executive, the legislature and the courts can create new realities. Even new values.

At present, America is undergoing a cultural revolution. It began during the Vietnam era and has proceeded apace, with ups and downs.

We are so fully confident of our revolutionary values that we are selling them around the world, in term of liberal democracy and human rights.

America is now thoroughly open about all things sexual. We do not merely obsess; we show off our new liberated attitude toward all things sexual.

We continue to flagellate ourselves for the sins of the past, the better to create a culture where guilt prevails. America’ success was purchased on the backs of the oppressed and now we are duty-bound to make reparations. Everyone who is not a privileged white male can now line up to receive some form of largesse. It’s not about any oppressed minority, because the oppressed are a majority now.

America has increasingly rejected religion in favor of atheism. We don’t believe in a Creator who produced reality as we know it. We believe that we can create our own realities: either by interpreting things differently or by believing that we are one thing or another.

America has embraced pharmacology as the cure to everything that ails it. Licit and illicit drugs are becoming increasing available. We’re becoming a stoner nation.

We have become mindlessly hypersensitive to the possibility of giving offense and we insist that people use language differently, lest they give offense. It’s bad enough when colleges ban The Vagina Monologues because it might offend women without vaginas, but when JP Morgan Chase bank tells its employees to avoid words like “wife” because someone might take offense, you know that the cultural decline is accelerating.

Of course, these values are now being enshrined by the courts in the name of equal rights and non-discrimination. It’s as though people have come to believe that because people have equal rights they are equal in all other things.

Some believe that this cultural revolution has brought us closer to the truth. Others have suggested that it’s a grand cultural experiment that may work but that may not. Time will tell.

Dare we point out that the playing field is not the Supreme Court. The playing field is international economic, political and military competition. If America becomes too slothful to compete effectively, the future will look less bright. When Camille Paglia sounded an alarm about America’s new decadence and when she said that the minds of American college students were like jello, this is what she was talking about.

Of course, some countries are following America’s lead. Others are not. They do not accept the new cultural values and are leading a counterrevolution.

Ironically, to say the least, the leading counterrevolutionary force today is Vladimir Putin’s Russia. So says Roger Cohen. One might add Xi Jinping’s China to the list, but more on that later.

Putin has very bad press in the West. He is often portrayed as a new type of autocrat… not without justification. Putin’s actions in the Ukraine have provoked economic sanctions. He has ignored them.

It’s not just that he does not care. Why should he when his approval rating in Russia is around 89%.

Roger Cohen raises the issue in his column today:

The escalating conflict between the West and Moscow has been portrayed as political, military and economic. It is in fact deeper than that. It is cultural. President Vladimir Putin has set himself up as the guardian of an absolutist culture against what Russia sees as the predatory and relativist culture of the West.

To listen to pro-Putin Russian intellectuals these days is to be subjected to a litany of complaints about the “revolutionary” West, with its irreligious embrace of same-sex marriage, radical feminism, euthanasia, homosexuality and other manifestations of “decadence.” It is to be told that the West loses no opportunity to globalize these “subversive” values, often under cover of democracy promotion and human rights.

The Cold War against godless Communism was well worth fighting. Now the tables seem to have turned. It’s Vladimir Putin, in an increasingly close alliance with China and even Turkey who is fighting culture war against the godless West:

Beyond Putin’s annexation of Crimea and stirring-up of a small war in eastern Ukraine (although large enough to leave more than 6,000 dead), it is this decision to adopt cultural defiance of the West that suggests the confrontation with Russia will last decades. Communism was a global ideology; Putinism is less than that. But a war of ideas has begun in which counterrevolution against the godless and insinuating West is a cornerstone of Russian ideology. To some degree, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey shares Putin’s view of the West. China, meanwhile, finds uses in it.

Of course, Putin has suffered economic sanctions. But, he does not very much care about having been expelled from the G-8. (As a sidelight, famed investor Jim Rogers thinks that Russia is a great investment.)

Putin does not care about the West because he is pivoting toward Asia, and in particular toward China:

This Russian decision has strategic implications the West is only beginning to digest. It involves an eastward pivot more substantial than President Obama’s to Asia. Putin is now more interested in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose core is China and Russia, than he is in cooperation with the G-8 (from which Russia has been suspended) or the European Union.

China reciprocates this interest to some degree because a Moscow hostile to the West is useful for the defense of its own authoritarian political model and because it sees economic opportunity in Russia and former Soviet Central Asian countries. But China’s fierce modernizing drive cannot be accomplished through backward-looking Russia. There are clear limits to the current Chinese-Russian rapprochement.

What we all want to know is: who will win. Cohen believes that the West should cling to its values and that Russia will ultimately fail.

He writes:

As a senior European official attending a conference organized by Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs put it, Russia’s is a “loser’s challenge” to the West, because it has given up on modernization and globalization, whereas China’s is potentially a “winner’s challenge,” because it is betting everything on a high-tech, modern economy.

Cohen believes that Russia has given up on economic modernization and globalization. Time will tell whether this is true or false. Given Putin’s popularity in Russia, he has clearly grasped something essential about what is going on in the world.

One does not know how the rapprochement between Russia and China will affect both nations. Perhaps Russia will adopt a more Chinese free enterprise-driven model of economic growth?

To offer some needed historical perspective, Russia under Gorbachev and Yeltsin tried to modernize according to the Western democratic model.  People all over the West cheered.

At the same time Deng Xiaoping led China to modernize by using an authoritarian capitalist model.

By most objective standards, the Chinese model prevailed. Russia has a higher per-capita GDP, but much of it is due to commodities. Today, the commodities market--let by oil--is declining. With it, Russia economic growth is falling. China has been growing far more rapidly and seems capable of continuing to do so. So, Putin is not merely rejecting the decadence of the West but he is trying to reverse course after the Russian democratic experiment.

But, Cohen retorts that refugees the world over are flocking to Western Europe and America. Surely they are seeking freedom and opportunity and human rights. Or, are they seeking refuge from the culture wars in the Middle East and Africa. Then again, they might want welfare and generous entitlements?

Whichever is true, these people also know that Russia would never allow masses of undocumented aliens to invade its territory. The same applies to China.


JPL17 said...

But, Cohen retorts that refugees the world over are flocking to Western Europe and America.

Funny thing, after 3 lawless, outrageous decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court in a row, emigrating *to* Russia no longer looks so crazy ...

priss rules said...

Never understood why 'marriage equality' applies to homosexuals and trans-gender people but not to incestuous people and polygamists. Why isn't same family marriage allowed?

I guess it's less about equality and more about privilege and power. Homosexuals have the backing of Wall Street, Las Vegas, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Ivy League elite schools, top law firms, and etc.

Polygamists and incestuous-sexuals have no such support.

Then, this is more about 'marriage privilege' than 'marriage equality'. If marriage should be whatever individuals say it is, then, why aren't polygamists and incestuous-sexuals allowed to redefine marriage? Why do only homosexuals and trans-gender people get the privilege?

In the end, it's about power and privilege, not about equality.

That's just how the world works.

The West is now degenerate, decadent, crass, materialistic, and sick.
Not worth emulating in anything but science, technology, and medicine.

Seriously, is Barney Frank's anus really the sexual equal of a woman's vagina that produces life? If a fake penis of a trans-gender person the equal of a real penis of a man?
Is anal-penetrative 'sex' among men really of equal biological and moral value as real sex between men and women?

Claiming that unequal things are equal is an evil. It's like saying 2 + 2 = 5 is equally valid as 2 + 2 = 4 in the name of Math Equality.
They might as well say fool's gold is as good as real gold in the name of Metal Equality.

And why do super-rich people push the 'gay agenda'? It is to undermine and destroy real progressivism centered on economic issues. As gentrifying blue cities get richer and richer while everyone else grows poorer, the Liberal yuppies who make all the money want a 'progressivism' that is pro-rich. And it just so happens that narcissistic and vain homosexuals love to cater to the rich.

No wonder the elites -- including Sheldon Adelson and Koch Brothers on the 'right' -- have been pushing the homo agenda. As progressivism turns more 'gay', it turns more pro-rich and pro-privilege.

priss rules said...

Currently, Russia has sounder values, but two things hold it back:

1. Corruption

2. Lack of work ethic that the Chinese have.

I think the Deng vs Gorbachev comparison is off.

It's possible that Glasnost and Perestroika may have worked in China because Chinese simply like to work harder.

Russians love their vodka too much.

Russians need to shape up in their habits and manners.

Ares Olympus said...

These sorts of blogs are tough to summarize. Can I try?

Many Americans and Western Europeans...
1. are socially liberal ...
2. feel a collective guilt for our past sins and ...
3. are either atheists or nonreligious ...
4. believe drugs [like marjuana] are harmless...
5. believe we need to be more sensitive to the feelings of certain minorities...
and that everyone should agree.

BUT, these beliefs may put us in existential competition with other countries, especially like China and Russia, who used to be Marxist "Red", but now they're better capitalists than us.

China's authoritarian capitalist model may be superior to our liberal socialism that rewards failure and punishes success.

We need to be careful that our generosity doesn't attract all the losers from other countries who can't or refuse to succeed under restrictive authoritarian capitalism.

We need to build walls, expand border patrols and new laws before its too late and keep undesirable people out.

But we won't because we're too liberal to protect ourselves from these undesireables from taking our generous benefits.

Viva la revoluciĆ³n!

n.n said...

Selective-child under sacrificial rites, class diversity under institutional prejudice, and now selective exclusion under peculiar equivalence. It's certainly a progression, and some quality of "progress".

priss rules said...

"Many Americans and Western Europeans...
1. are socially liberal ...
2. feel a collective guilt for our past sins and ...
3. are either atheists or nonreligious ...
4. believe drugs [like marjuana] are harmless...
5. believe we need to be more sensitive to the feelings of certain minorities...
and that everyone should agree."

I disagree.

PC is not liberal(in the proper sense of the term). It is coercive and censorious. You MUST praise and glorify homos or else you will be destroyed in many places.

The idea of 'collective guilt' and 'past sins' is nonsensical and irrational. Why don't blacks feel guilty for 10,000 yrs of slavery in Africa? Why target all whites for special 'guilt'?

Marijuana isn't as harmful as some drugs, but much of pot culture is infantile, shallow, and flaky. Not a helpful attitude in encouraging maturity.

Sensitivity must be reciprocal. All sides need to try. But blacks spread hate through rap music, illegals give Americans the middle finger, and homosexuals act like kings and queens over us 'serfs'.

A more tolerant society is good. The West is intolerant with PC judgmentalism and censoriousness. It is 100x worse than McCarthyism. Even Eastwood's mild joke about Bruce Jenner has been censored. Ridiculous.

priss rules said...

"Some believe that this cultural revolution has brought us closer to the truth."

Truth according to the Kardashians and Chris Crockers of the world.

Truth such as 'hands up, don't shoot'.

"Cohen believes that Russia has given up on economic modernization and globalization."

Sanctions were forced on Russia.

What the globalists hate about Russia is the idea of national values and sovereignty.

They fear it will spread in Europe.

When Russia blocked the gay victory parade, globalists took offense because the homo agenda is a proxy of what is now US globalist imperialism.

And given what NATO has done with Libya and then Syria, one has to be crazy to trust the west.

And west brought down the government in Ukraine.Putin responded to defend Russian ethnics there.

Anonymous said...

I would rather live in a nation of strong men and women who value individual rights and liberty yet contend for political-economic power then in a nation which approves 89% of one strong man and a small group of cronies that retain most of the political-economic power.

Russia and other oil exporting regions are at the mercy of the global financial system because energy is purchased from financial instruments that generate aggregate demand. If the financial system causes Greeks and others to live under austerity then the price times quantity of energy consumption must be reduced. People who can pay usually do pay for goods, services, and debt repayment. People who can't pay usually don't.

Russia and China have serious domestic and international finance problems, and have to enact policies that sustain the middle class if they expect to compete with Europe, the United States, and other regions that recognize economic justice as necessary to sustain a democratic society.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I'm just glad that I live in a country where when the words "the Supreme Court has spoken" means that we don't have to argue about certain things anymore, like homosexual "marriage."

That is comforting, because now we know that the Lefties will stop crooning about Citizens United, since the unelected, unaccountable, almighty Supreme Court has ruled in that one. Or the Heller case about gun control. Or the Hobby Lobby decision concerning rights of conscience about contraception, abortion and other religious prerogatives... certain prerogatives, of course.

After all, the Supreme Court's "definitive" pronouncements carry as far as Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. Those never changed. The Supreme Court hath spoken!

I guess certain rights are safe.

Does everybody like being ruled by Anthony Kennedy's subjective moralizing? That majority opinion for Obergfell v. Hodges was a frightfully embarrassing read. Anna Quindlen or MoDo could've rendered a more intellectually cohesive argument than that. We officially have a postmodern Supreme Court. Enjoy!

priss rules said...

"I would rather live in a nation of strong men and women who value individual rights and liberty yet contend for political-economic power then in a nation which approves 89% of one strong man and a small group of cronies that retain most of the political-economic power."

How strong are men and women in a country when they don't even have the conviction and courage to defend true marriage and defend the borders?

It seems Putin is popular because he is partly responsive to the people.

In contrast, the elites in this country ignore the masses. And what kind of values do the elites spread among kids?
To emulate pussy riot and Lena Dunham.

A nation that cowers to the likes of Emma Sulkowicz and 'Caitlyn' Jenner has no courage left.

And economics in the US has at least one thing in common with Russia. The 1% grows richer while the rest are left behind.