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    Central Asia
     May 12, '14


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SPEAKING FREELY
Guilt and shame in Crimea
By Friedrich Hansen

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

Sotchi, the Russian venue of the recent Olympic Games, is less known as the prominent hotspot of homosexuals in Russia. This particularity seems to be behind the latest comparison of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently took hold of the Crimea, with Hitler, who annexed the Sudetenland in 1938 - albeit for totally different reasons.

For unlike aggressive atheist Hitler, with his homoerotic paganism and rogue temperament, the considered homophobe Putin, with



his salient countenance in the face of Western saber- rattling, is firmly wedded to the re-awakening of Orthodox Christianity and Judaism in Russia. [1] Hence it does not surprise anybody that gay advocates are going ballistic. [2]

Putin's religious pivot is a treasure - more than anything else perhaps - and he shares it with China, a country estimated to become the world's foremost Christian country within fifteen years from now. [3] Professor Fenggang Yang of Perdue University is a leading expert on religion in China. He reckons that by the year 2030 China's Christian population (including Catholics and Protestants) could reach about 250 million "placing it above Mexico, Brazil, and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world" (Inquisitor, April 20, 2014). Therefore we should not be fooled by the news that fast growing mega-churches with up to 50,000 Chinese Christians are being crushed by police.

For Chinese rulers have good reasons to be wary of charismatic movements spinning out of control and are adamant to put a lid on the Christian awakening. They are pointing to the outbreak of Christian millenialism resulting in the catastrophic Taipeng rebellion (1850-1864) with casualties to the tune of 20-35 million (Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth - Varieties of the Millenial Experience, Oxford University Press: 2011, p 209).

By contrast, Christianity and Judaism in the US and Europe are in fast decline. Part of this dramatic secularization are new anti-religious laws hitting Christians in the US and bans on ritual slaughter or circumcision in Europe putting Jewish and Muslim communities at risk. Therefore increasingly Western Jews, just like Crimean Muslim Tartars, threatened by aggressive secularization are turning their gaze not least to Moscow these days.

At the same time China is struggling to emulate the European Renaissance breakthrough in science and technology that was triggered by protestantism, as Harvard historian Niall Ferguson shows in his 2011 book Civilization: The West and the Rest (See more here.)

The recent Putin-equals-Hitler gaffe by the secretary of the German treasury, Wolfgang Schauble, could not be more off the mark. It is not only misleading as a metaphor for totalitarianism but it is also offensive to Eastern and particularly Russian historical sensitivities. Yet it was Hillary Clinton who, to my knowledge, introduced the Hitler-Putin equation. [4] This was an early indication for what some pundits in the US have called her signatory issue for the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond: the gender wars. Putin is likely to become the scapegoat in the global gender wars that are predicted to dominate Clinton's presidency just as race wars are dominating Obama's now.

For it will be with the globalization of the gender wars, so far an issue only in the West, that Putin will be targeted by the reductio ad Hitlerum smear and the legend that gays were genuine victims of the Holocaust. While gays certainly suffered more under Hitler than under Putin the comparison is an attempt to deny the active role of gays in the Nazi-SA helping to lift homosexual Hitler into power (Lothar Machthan, Hitler's Geheimnis, Alexander Fest Verlag 2001).

Hillary's Hitler quote represents the gravest possible offense to the Russian sacrifices in the war against fascism that also spared the Anglosphere devastating losses - sacrifices of the kind that could be avoided in the Pacific theater only at the price of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this sense, Western and NATO amnesia is breathtaking, all the more for being in the grip of political correctness. Even more worrisome are the media slanders against Putin's Russia, which are best understood as rants of angry losers. Certainly, recent Western diplomatic performance evokes the envy of rogue warrior states worldwide.

Which brings us back to the scarcely remembered first Crimean War that ended in 1856 and, like the present skirmish or upheaval, was triggered by struggles over control of Jerusalem and its rediscovery as the hub of Christianity. Back then Russia lost access to the Mediterranean sea but won the authority over the Holy Seculpre in Jerusalem, regarded as the most prestigious Christian church outside the Vatican.

In March, demonstrators in Sevastopol were filmed shouting "We don't want the European homo-culture". In most parts of eastern Europe and certainly in Russia, Gay Pride Parades, the liberal trademark of any modern Western metropolis, are not allowed. This is backed up by Putin's earlier stance against Western same-sex marriage, depicted by him as promoting infertility.

Russia has recently banned gay propaganda in schools and also forbade the adoption of children by homosexuals. We are unlikely to be seeing the introduction of same-sex marriage at the eastern fringe of Europe or in Russia any time soon. But make no mistake: Putin, perhaps without realizing this fully, is also defending free-market principles against Western liberal statism and EU dirigisme.

The question arises where freedom of contract in the market place, the foundation of Adam Smith's concept of allowing the free exchange of goods and services, has the better standing in the near future. Is the answer still in Western economies? Or is the prize eventually going to the emerging economies in the East? Part of the answer is: luckily Western anti-discrimination laws and EU-directives on gender equality don't reach beyond the Ukraine.

In the West these state interventions [5] force everybody to enter contracts against their conscience, religious or other. Thus the baker, the restaurant or the bed and breakfast owner are denied a free choice whether to serve the extrovert Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community or certain introvert religious sects. Should Christian employers be forced to hire Muslims with head scarves as receptionists against their will? Liberals in the West are still believers in Rousseauan virtual contract-theory, which claims that all of us poor things upon birth have automatically underwritten to yield our personal freedom to the general will of the state.

Adam Smith would have none of this. He "invented" the free market exactly to prevent coercion in markets and to enable the free play of choices for customers and providers as well. Smith insisted on the free individual contract in the market place as the rule and the submission to state regulation as the exception for defense, education and public order.

By contrast, the strong influence of queer and gender ideologues in the West represented by Judith Butler and the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel somehow targets Adam Smith's intrinsic link between monotheist morality and free markets. Before his The Wealth of Nations in 1776 he published the lesser known but equally important The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759. BDS perfectly mirrors the "anti-discriminatory" policy in the West driven by the LGBT movement. After all, to prohibit people from buying Israeli goods flows from the same secular bigotry as coercing people to supply goods and services to gay people.

Now Judith Butler presents herself as a spotless Jew, a dubious claim given her book Parting Ways and her frantic dismantling of Jewish national identity and the Jewish state. It is therefore necessary to dig a little deeper into matters of Judaism.

Earlier this year, former chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth Jonathan Sacks held his inaugural lecture for a chair in Biblical Law at King's College London. Not referring to the Crimean crisis at all, he elaborated at great length on the intricacies of monotheism and why it ultimately boils down to monogamy between man and woman. After all, Israel is symbolically depicted as the faithful bride of the Almighty One.

Although in Genesis we do not find a single word on monotheism, Sacks points to six examples of the unique male-female bond in marriage. Crucially in Judaism man and woman are one flesh meaning only both together represent likeness in the image of God, not a single one of them alone. This forms the intrinsic link between monogamy, marriage and immortality by rearing offspring surely emerging form one flesh. Equally, as Sacks pointed out, Judaism invented the guilt culture (basically personal redemption and forgiveness based on God's grace), which carried Western Christianity for two millennia.

It is for this reason that increasing numbers of religious people feel threatened by the recent ascent of manifold sexual identities (facebook enumerates fifty to chose in between) emerging by "coming out" as "good" - blaming dissenters as "bad" people. Of course this started with the sexual revolution triggered by the invention of the contraceptive pill, the spread of extra-marital copulation and the desecration of the close link between monogamy, marriage and child rearing. The explosion of same sex communities is just another expression of this "liberation" of sex from the genteel tradition and the Christian moral order.

In other words the sexual revolution set off the drift of the traditional guilt culture towards a shame and honor culture. The former rests on inwardness and divine authority with forgiveness as the means to resolve conflicts. It is characteristically dependent on the ear and voice. By contrast the shame culture is turned outward giving the lead to the eye and gaze, equalizing and relativizing everyone and everything as well as dispensing of a superior authority - ultimately promoting revenge as the only way to settle conflicts and restore the honor of the family or clan.

It was the Jewish guilt culture that enthroned the ear as the leading sense in biblical times and privileged it over the eye with the ban on images. Yet postmodern shame culture unleashed unlimited images and instead curbs free speech, privileging the eye over the ear. It was the German philosopher Schopenhauer who stressed that the perception of the eye is immediate and nearly without consciousness. It serves mere understanding as opposed to reflective reasoning ruled by the audible sense.

The ban on images was emulated by both other monotheistic branches: Christianity and Islam for the sense of hearing is biologically privileged to serve reason. It is first and last in human life, making it the primer of our emotions. This was already observed by Immanuel Kant who noted that the ear turns our attention inwards whereas the eye leads us outwards to the world at large (the concept genuine with Kant was expanded by Arthur Schopenhauer's "Kritik der Kantischen Philosophy", in: Gesammelte Werke Band III, Berlin 1847, pp 30).

Embryos become accustomed to their mother's unique sound of voice in the womb long before birth leaving an indelible trace. This has yet unknown consequences for outsourced pregnancies in same-sex couples and offspring that is separated from biological mothers upon birth. It is for this reason that individuals are emotionally crippled for the rest of their lives. Interestingly, the sense of hearing dies last on our death bed too.

Continued 1 2






Putin stands up to Western decadence
(Feb 28, '14)

 

 
 



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