Jumping on the moral high-grounds
Over the last weeks the debate regarding gay rights in Russia has been heating up as various EU officials or head of states have declared their moral superiority by boycotting and refusing to attend the Sochi Olympics. True be said Russia hasn’t done well to facilitate the EU’s plans for expansion in the region or Americas plans for global hegemony. The unfortunate recent events in Ukraine where the EU is stirring up domestic unrest provide just another proof that, as Maximilian Forte argues, ‘protesting the Sochi Olympics is a lot less about gay rights than it is about instrumentalizing divisive identity issues to serve US and EU geopolitical aims’.
I simply cannot get over the incredibly hypocritical stand of French President François Hollande who refuses to attend the Olympic games because of the way minorities are treated under the current Russian law. The same time in France there is a widespread discrimination against Muslims and other minorities not to mention similar problems in other EU member-states.
Where was this high sense of morality during the European football championship which was held in Poland and Ukraine in 2012 or during FIFA’s World Cup in South Africa in 2010? Do these countries have a better record in civil rights, labour or even gay rights than Russia does?
Even the USA, whose President Obama has ordained himself as an international activist for gay rights, have several states in which their laws are not that much favourable for the gay community. While in his own country federal law must respect and follow the state law it seems that the laws of other sovereign states must follow the wimps and opinion of America’s president no matter the fact that some in the US find Russia’s anti-gay laws hardly to be so extreme.
Personally I find these laws wherever they exist plain stupid, ridiculously out-dated and socially irresponsible but this is not the whole point in this issue.
Imperial cycles of assimilation
The politics of power and empire dictate that geopolitical manoeuvres for global domination should be accompanied with complimentary measures for dominating the global geo-culture. In the modern capitalist world-system this is exemplified by the doctrines of liberal ideology. In the post-Perestroika era it is this neo-liberal ideology perpetrated by the new generation of neo-conservative intellectual and political bourgeoisie who crusades for individual rights, tolerance and for reform of traditional and anti-modern institutions. Their aim is simply to structurally shape the global landscape in their liking.
Yet again this is hardly a newly discovered pattern in human history and the cycle of empires. Who can forget the Jesuit order and many other western expansionists with their doctrines of divine assimilation? From projects designed to assimilate and school Indian children in America and Aboriginal children in Australia, we developed the modernization theory making ourselves as Westerners the standard of what is to be a modern man or a modern society. 20th century’s developementalism allowed the West again to set the infamous neo-liberal structural adjustment programs as blueprints for under-developed countries to fall in line while the global capital took away whatever natural resources were left to them. Human rights or gay rights and, at an even greater scale, emergency as a means for intervention is just a continuation of the process. The process is, as very nicely Maximilian Forte puts it,’that of certain core states dictating the direction of change, the pace of change, and placing themselves at the zenith of human evolution.’
In the excellent documentary from the BBC ‘The power of nightmares’ (http://dotsub.com/view/2019dcbc-330c-4edb-a463-39a63492f65b) Adam Curtis sees the marriage between Leo Strauss’ and Milton Friedman’s ideological neo-liberalism with the US imperialism as the outcome of the efforts of the Western state to win back what it lost in the Revolution of 1968. Basically this was the state’s conscious ratification as the rightful expresser of the public’s will. The marriage enhanced the efforts for a renewed global standardization that serves the interest of Western elites.
Copy-pasting has a meaning
In the context of the gay rights debate in Russia our global chefs are treating us with an extended menu on the ideas of sexual rights where we are told that we are all required to be on the same page.
Somehow though and perhaps quite conveniently so, some choose to ignore long term realities of custom and social conventions to suggest that the legal reformation would put the Russian state on the path for respecting gay rights. It misses though the possibility that if this legal transformation is perceived in the wrong way it may very well have some negative or opposite results provoke resentment and aggression for gay people in Russia. Laws cannot transform social, personal or sexual attitudes they can only police them and penalize them. The same way no amount of legislation against gay rights will ever change the fact that homosexuality will always be a natural and normally occurring feature of any human population.
In a nutshell: Should Russian legislation be reformed to respect gay rights? Yes it should. But it should in its own pace, rhythm and taking into account its local intrigues and circumstances.
All these though seem secondary because in the cultural wars for the hearts and minds of the public the emperor needs to constantly create the fictional perception that he is what is best for humanity and therefore has not only the right rule but also the duty to lead the world. So copy-paste is still the norm for the Western imperialism.