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Putinism and the Anti-WEIRD Coalition

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:47 PM


I was intrigued by this article as soon as I saw the Haidt-echoing title--WEIRD, recall, stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.


Resisting Western post-modernism on a cultural level is but one component of Putinism, albeit an important one. What comes first, however, is an emphasis on national sovereignty, meaning a more traditional, indeed Westphalian, view of state power and non-interference in others’ affairs. That Putin has stolen Crimea indicates that Moscow’s views on this are highly conditional. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Putin’s regular incantations of the need for respect for sovereignty, which are of course aimed directly at the United States, which Russia views as a hypocrite of the highest order in international affairs, are popular among other regional powers who fear U.S. military might, especially China and India. Moreover, Putin would no doubt argue that his seizing Crimea is in no way a violation of sovereignty since Ukraine is not a legitimate country in the first place (an interview last year where Putin referred to Ukraine as a mere “territory” did not get the attention abroad that it merited). For most Russians, all this falls under the need to restore national honor after the disasters of the 1990s, and is to be applauded heartily. Additionally, there are plenty of people in the world who don’t like Putin or Russia, yet who are happy that someone, somewhere is standing up to American hegemony.

Putin is trolling not just gays but feminists:


Gay activists in the West have latched onto all this, but it’s important to note that Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” ought to be seen as part of a full-spectrum assault by the ROC, and therefore the Kremlin, on Western post-modern values. (Westerners seem not to notice that Russia’s anti-homosexual laws are mild compared to many in the Islamic world and Africa, and Moscow continues to have a thriving LGBT scene.) Putinism rejects Western-style feminism just as strongly as homosexuality. As Patriarch Kirill explained recently, “I consider this phenomenon called feminism very dangerous, because feminist organizations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which must appear firstly outside of marriage and outside of family,” adding that it’s no coincidence that most feminist leaders are unmarried and childless.

The risk Washington cluelessly faces is that while the rest of the world does not love Russia or Putin, they are disgusted by what America has come to represent:


Moreover, there remains the question of just how universal post-modern Western values actually are outside educated elites. There is ample evidence that many average people in the potatozone who fear Russia nevertheless are closer to the Kremlin’s positions on cultural matters than to America’s. In Georgia, where loathing of Russians generally and Putin particularly is universal, resistance to LGBT rights and feminism remains deep and broad, with the support of the Orthodox Church, while much the same can be said of Moldova, where fears of Russian invasion are acute, but so are fears of Western social values.

(Permanently banned pretend-Jew Dibs is Moldovan.)

#2 GhostfaceCracka


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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:52 PM

There are some interesting points in that essay, he sees what most of his brethren in his part of USG won't see or won't admit to seeing, but the author is the enemy. I know who he is, a soulless spook who is adept at seeing the flaws in his own country's position, but only in a tactical sense. I think he is unable to judge his own country's course because he lacks a moral center outside the National Security State. Contrast with Michael Scheuer..

#3 Bumbling American

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 06:29 AM


This is simply because we are WEIRD. That’s social science shorthand for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic – and nobody is WEIRDer than Americans. In the last several decades many Americans, and essentially all our elites, have internalized a worldview based on affluence, individualism, and secularism that makes us unique, globally speaking. So much so that we seem unable to comprehend that there actually are opposing viewpoints out there.

One of the subtler tricks of the neocons was to attack the idea of relativism. It sounds vaguely conservative--we're sticking up for universal truths against the egghead postmodernists--but in practice that means sacralizing the WEIRD worldview and making it an invasion-worthy offense to run your country differently. At home, meanwhile, mainstream Fox-watchers start to forget that their own country was not all that WEIRD within living memory.

#4 Alex


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Posted 11 April 2014 - 07:06 AM

I agree with GFC. I recently read a similar article in Spiegel which likewise makes some interesting historical points but obviously attempts to convince Germans that their lack of support for harassing Russia is only the result of emotional hangups related to WW2 (which they should get over):


Having read a decent sample of user commentary on online media in various countries, what people are clearly saying is simply that they oppose the shifty foreign policy position of their own governments and express grave suspicions about the narrative the media is forcefully pumping out. Leaving Russians or Putin and naive beliefs in his sainthood out of this just isn't an option for the media, however.

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