Liberalism is dead: World leans on a new order
Illustration courtesy Russian International Affairs Council
Last week’s G20 gathering in Osaka was a signal event: it signaled how much the world has changed. The centerpieces of the new configuration are China, Russia and India, with the EU and Japan as eager adjuncts, and with Eurasian integration as the overarching priority. The agenda was clearly being set by Xi and Putin. May, Macron and Merkel—the European leaders not quite deserving of that title—were clearly being relegated to the outskirts; two of the three are on their way out while the one keeping his seat (for now) is looking more and more like a toyboy. The Europeans wasted their time haggling over who should head the European Commission, only to face open rebellion over their choice the moment they arrived back home.
And then there was Trump, let loose now that the Robert Mueller farce has come to its inevitable conclusion. He was running around trying to figure out which of America’s “partners” can still be thrown under the bus before the roof comes down on Pax Americana. It’s a stretch goal because he is out of ammo. He has already threatened all-out war—twice, once against North Korea, once against Iran, but, given the disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, sanity caused him to keep his military Humpty-Dumpty safely seated on the wall.
Trump hasn’t completely given up on trade war yet, but here too he is encountering problems and is being forced to backtrack: Huawei is being recalled from the sanctions doghouse. Trump must knock out another major player—either China, Russia or the EU—before Eurasia becomes cemented together via land trade routes controlled by China, Russia and Iran instead of sea routes patrolled by the US Navy; if he doesn’t succeed, then the US is out of the game, its military might and the US dollar both rendered irrelevant.
Of these, the EU seems like the softest target, but even the Europeans somehow managed to launch the mechanism that allows them to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Trump is definitely in a tough spot. What is the author of “The Art of the Deal” to do when nobody wants to negotiate any more deals with the US, now knowing full well that the US always finds ways to renege on its obligations?
And then comes the bombshell announcement. In an interview with Financial Times Putin declares that “the liberal idea... has finally outlived its usefulness” because it no longer serves the needs of the majority of the peoples. Not “people,” mind you, but “peoples”—all different, but all the viable ones united in their steadfast adherence to the principle that family and nation (from the Latin verb nasci—to be born) are über alles. Some might perceive hints of fascism in this train of thought, but that would be akin to arguing that since fascists are known to use toothbrushes, then ipso facto toothbrushes are fascist implements to be outlawed and everyone must go back to cleaning their teeth with twigs and sticks. That Putin was able to utter words to the effect that the liberal idea is dead—something no Western leader would dare say—shows how much the world has changed.
Not that some Western leaders wouldn’t say it, if they only could. “Our Western partners,” Putin said, “have conceded that some elements of the liberal idea are simply not realistic… such as multiculturalism. Many of them conceded that yes, unfortunately it doesn’t work (LOL) and that we must remember the interests of the native population.”
Not that Russia doesn’t have its share of problems related to migrants, due to its open border policy with certain former Soviet republics, but it works to resolve them by demanding competency in Russian and respect for Russian culture and traditions, while “the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done, that migrants can rob, rape, steal, but that we must defend their rights… What rights? You broke a rule—you are punished!”
The migrant crisis is a perfect example of how liberalism has outlived its usefulness. Liberalism offers two ways forward, both of which are fatal to it. One approach is distinctly illiberal: halt the influx of migrants by any means necessary; insist that the migrants already in the country either conform to a strict set of requirements, including demonstrated competency in the nation’s language, detailed knowledge of its laws and administrative systems, strict obedience to its laws and demonstrated preference and respect for the customs and culture of the native population—or be not so much deported as expelled. The other approach is liberal at first: allow the influx to continue, do not hinder the formation of foreign ghettos and enclaves which native citizens and officials dare not enter, and eventually surrender to Sharia law or other forms of foreign dictate—guaranteeing the eventual death of the liberal idea along with much of the native population. Thus, the choice is between killing the liberal idea but saving the native population or letting the liberal idea die willy-nilly, taking the native population along with it. It offers no solution at all.
“We all live in a world based on traditional Biblical values,” quoted Putin. “We don’t have to demonstrate them every day… but must have them in our hearts and our souls. In this way, traditional values are more stable and more important to millions of people than this liberal idea which, in my view, is ceasing to exist.”
This is true not just of the believers—be they Christian, Moslem or Jewish—but of the atheists as well. To put it in terms that may shock and astound some of you, you don’t have to believe in God (although it helps if you do—to avoid cognitive dissonance) but if you aspire to any sort of social adequacy in a traditional society you have no choice but to sincerely think and act as if God exists, and that He is the God of the Bible—be He Yahweh, Elohim, Jesus and the Holy Trinity or Allah (that's the Arabic word for “God”).
Putin capped off his argument by ever so gently and politely putting the boot in. He said that he has no clue about any of this “transformer-trans... whatever” stuff. How many genders are there? He has lost count. Not that he is against letting consenting adult members of various minority sexual groups do whatever they want among themselves—“Let everyone be happy!”—but they have no right to dictate to the rest. Specifically, Russian law makes homosexual propaganda among those who are under age illegal. Hollywood’s pro-LGBT mavens must be displeased: their choice is either to redact LGBT propaganda from the script, or to redact it from the finished film prior to its release in Russia (and China).
Here Putin is tapping into something that is fast becoming a political trend everywhere, including that former bastion of liberalism—the West. It is in the nature of democracies that previously repressed minorities tend to clamor for more and more rights up to and often well beyond the point where they begin to impinge on the rights of the majority; but at some point the majority starts pushing back. By now it can be stated with some certainty that in the view of the majority the LGBT movement has gone too far. Opinion surveys attest to this fact: LGBT support crested at well over 50% but has been dropping by roughly 10% per year for several years now.
How far beyond that point has the LGBT movement gone? In some Western countries children as young as three are subjected to “gender reassignment” that follows a sequence of indoctrination, chemical castration and physical castration, even against the wishes of their parents, resulting in a sterile individual. Pray tell, why should any sane parent agree to having their offspring sterilized, thus ending their bloodline? The vast majority of Earth’s population finds such practices appalling, and this is starting to include the home of the now dead liberal idea—the West itself. As a first, timid step of the overwhelming pushback that seems likely ensue, a “heterosexual pride parade” is scheduled to be held in Boston.
Note that the item in question is not “gender” but “sex.” The word “gender” does exist, but the sense in which LGBT activists and feminists use it is an instance of overloading—of linguistic violence. The only sense in which the term is valid is as grammatical gender, which is a feature of most Indo-European languages. In these languages, all nouns are assigned to one of exactly three genders—male, female and neuter—in English identified by the pronouns “he,” “she” and “it” while in Russian they are “on” “oná” and “onó” and, quite typically, “he” (“on”) is the default or unmarked gender while the other two require gender-specific endings (“-a”, “-o”). Male and female nouns and pronouns can denote either animate or inanimate objects, which answer either to “Who?” or to “What?” while neuter nouns and pronouns can only denote inanimate objects, which answer to “What?” (except in poetry, as permitted by poetic license). By the way, this clears away the confusion over alternative “gender-specific” pronouns, be they “ze,” “hir” or “ququuuxx”: in order to function grammatically, they must still make a choice between masculine and feminine, or they indicate that someone is an inanimate being—a “what” rather than a “who.”
The grammatical use of the term “gender” is justified; all others are fanciful efforts to overload the term in a way that does not comport with physical reality. And the reality is this: tissue samples of any specimen of the human species allow the specimen to be readily sexed by looking for an XX or an XY chromosome pair and assigning a corresponding “F” or “M” symbol. In the vast majority of cases, the specimen itself can be sexed by visual inspection, just like a chicken but far more easily—by examining the genitals.
Crucially for the survival of the species, an “F” specimen should generally be capable of giving birth after mating with an “M” specimen. There are various abnormalities and pathologies that lie outside this basic scheme, but they are sufficiently rare as to be considered “in the noise” for most purposes.
The outliers certainly deserve the liberty to engage in any hanky-panky that tickles their fancy, but pretending that they belong to a rainbow of fictional “genders” does not help the rest of us at all. Perhaps referring to them all as “pidor,” as the Russians often do, oversimplifies matters a bit. (The word is short for “pederast” which is from the ancient Greeks, who were famous for pederasty, and which literally means “boy-love.”) On the other hand, with most Russians it would probably be a mistake to try to explain to them the difference between Q1 and Q2 in LGBTQ1Q2 because to them this question is sooo interesting! (Italicized phrase is to be read with a groan, a slack-jawed face and an eye-roll.)
That said, you can certainly go on believing in a rainbow of genders, or in elves, or unicorns, for that matter, and those who are kind and polite will tiptoe around your liberal shibboleths while those who are rude and uncouth will laugh in your face or even shove and slap you around a bit in a vain effort to knock some sense into your head. But we should be kind and polite and, as Putin said, “Let everyone be happy.” In turn, we should probably try to avoid being shoved and slapped around by people whose heads are full of outdated, wooly notions. Some of these heads—notably those belonging to snowflakes, who seem congenitally unable to brook any disagreement—will explode on their own.
Most importantly, we should deny these people any and all access to our children. Here, Putin issued a clarion call that should resound around the entire planet: “Leave the children alone!” His call should resonate with the vast majority of humans, of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths, who take the divine exhortation to “be fruitful and multiply” quite literally and wish for their progeny to do the same. When conditions turn for the worse, as they often do, they drop like flies in autumn, but then death is an essential part of life, and they regenerate and live to swarm again once conditions improve.
As an aside, now that liberalism is dead, those who feel that the planet is overpopulated only have the right to speak for themselves. That is, it may very well be the case that Earth is overpopulated with you, but that, of course, is for you alone to decide. If you feel sufficiently strongly about this matter, you should perhaps take charge and rid the planet of your good self, but please allow the rest of us wait to depart this world in some other, more naturalistic and less ideologically motivated manner.
In the meantime, the rest of us should be able to have as many children as local conditions warrant. Putin had nothing to say on this question; he is the president of Russia, Russia is not overpopulated, and the rest of the planet didn’t elect him. Likewise, now that liberalism is dead, your opinion on Russia’s demographics matters not at all—unless you happen to be Russian, that is.
There is much more to say about the death of the liberal idea, and this is only the first installment—clearing the decks by throwing some useless baggage overboard, if you will. Far more important is the question of what will replace the liberal idea now that it is dead. Free market capitalism is also dead (just look at all of the financial shenanigans, the sanctions and the tariffs!) and Western free-market conservatives and libertarians should note that ideologically they are still liberals and that their ideology is also now dead.
But what is there to replace liberalism? It seems that the choice is between artificially resuscitated Marxism-Leninism (with Leon Trotsky lurking menacingly and Pol Pot sitting Buddha-like atop a pile of rotting corpses) and shiny, high-tech modern Stalinism (with distinctive Chinese characteristics). Intelligent boys and girls, when offered a false choice by being asked “Do you want an apple or a banana” usually respond “No!” I would like to do the same. But then what other choices are there?
(John Orlov is the author of this piece, one of the world’s most famous dystopian. This piece has been taken courtesy Russia Insider).
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