Why is the choice of traditional values so important?

23:58 30.11.2023 • Alexey Drobinin , Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia, as well as other countries, has launched and is conducting an in-depth revision of ideas that were assimilated, at first glance. These ideas largely shaped the economic, political and cultural world that emerged after the Cold War in the context of the unipolar concept and related globalisation processes. This long overdue and certainly beneficial process is directly related to the strengthening of the multipolar foundations of international life. Obviously, there can be no technological sovereignty without national science and production facilities; nor can any country be truly independent without the unique practices and values of its population.

Three or four generations of Russian citizens experienced several completely different political and ideological regimes and opted for a civilisational choice prioritising development in line with national traditions. Without renouncing science and technological progress and the advantages of participating in the international division of labour, we are discarding the gloomy wraith of perceptions and ideological concepts adopted in the well-known historical environment of the late 1980s and the 1990s. They are of little use in current geopolitical realities. Experts in all managerial spheres are rationally placing an emphasis on forms, methods and approaches, borrowed from the longstanding tradition of Russian statehood. Nor do we reject appropriate aspects of advanced foreign experience.

Global development has now entered another crucial phase. Russia is once again facing foreign attempts to hamper its development. One of the main directions of attack comes in the form of the Western values agenda (or rather, that of the globalist elites who have seriously encroached upon their domestic rivals, including nationally-oriented elites). More and more people involved in international communication are discarding and rejecting this agenda right before our very eyes. They are not doing this because they want to quarrel with globalists and neo-liberals, but because aesthetic perceptions, preached throughout an entire era as a model of universal human values, have proved unviable.

If we listen to past and present statements by politicians, public intellectuals and other public opinion leaders of the Western globalist mainstream, we should not doubt the fact that they have hatched all kinds of ambitious plans, and that they continue to hatch such plans today. Summing up, they are voicing the following logic: aAs economic globalisation continues to develop, as mass education spreads and as people gain additional access to Western popular culture and become accustomed to American standards, the mentality of people in non-Western peripheral countries will also start changing. They believed that the religious and traditionalist factor would eventually recede into the background in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, just like in post-Christian Europe. People were expected to become receptive to neo-liberal values, including the so-called tolerance concept.  

However, something went wrong, so to say, and we can see this with the naked eye. According to British weekly The Economist, the mouthpiece of the neo-liberal establishment, despite the aggressive imposition of narratives seen as profitable by the ruling Western elite via globalist media outlets and NGOs, the rift between Western values and those of the rest of the world is not narrowing. It is becoming wider and deeper.[1] Moreover, conservative circles in Western society are increasingly rejecting the neo-liberal ideology.

Those involved in discussions about neo-liberal narratives are always tempted to limit everything to deliberations on the strangest and most challenging element, specifically, prioritising the so-called gender issues and LGBT rights. However, this issue is more complicated, and it would therefore be appropriate to analyse the paradigm of neo-liberal values in greater detail and to divide it into four tentative aspects, including the economy, politics, society and technology.

1. Economics

The first and main postulate in this area is the dominance of the US dollar as a reserve currency and means of payment in international trade. De-dollarisation is seen as an existential threat to Western hegemony. Non-Western countries, on the other hand, are denied the right to exercise exchange controls.

The next sacred cow is commodities and sales markets that are open to Western capital, including speculative capital. In the United States and the European Union, protectionism is declared a reasonable measure to regulate cross-border flows. Others are encouraged to believe in the “free market” and to “improve the investment climate” for Western capital in their territory. Here is a case in point: the US banned a number of Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE, from importing telecommunications equipment because American corporations were finding it increasingly difficult to compete with them. At the same time, the Americans are insistently demanding preferential treatment for their companies in China.

The governments in the West are facing a difficult challenge right now: they need to find the best way to portray the planned confiscation of private assets from Russia. The answer seems obvious within the neoliberal paradigm. The inviolability of private property is certainly a fundamental principle that underlies the “market economy.” So of course, private property cannot be seized – expect when it is really necessary, but only by the West, from representatives of countries with “authoritarian” regimes. Laws and propaganda will be adjusted to fit with this ideological construct.

Another manifestation of the neoliberal approach to economics is as follows. They take an issue of global significance, such as environmental protection or climate change, and turn it into a mechanism for promoting the interests of Western financial and industrial groups.

We are not going to deny that there are major environmental and climate problems; but our approach is in favour of finding collective ways to address them. However, the Western approach is increasingly drifting towards eco-extremism. They are imposing the most stringent standards and regulations for the “green transformation” on the countries of the Global South, where developed countries used to establish hazardous industrial facilities in the past. Developing countries are required to accelerate the energy transition, which implies drastic cuts in the use of fossil fuels and in investment in the conventional fuel and energy industry. This makes sense for neocolonial states that are contemplating super profits from exporting green products and technologies, with American and European multinationals taking over fuel markets and draining money from developing economies to finance their own energy transition. This is fraught with many countries being starved for energy and, as a result, facing a shortage of resources for development. At the same time, the West – namely the EU – is not above increasing coal and fuel oil power generation if necessary.

If we consider the neoliberal economic model at the household level, consumerism has been spreading like a virus in the West for years – a philosophy of excessive consumption and commodity fetishism propped up by the vicious practice of “easy” loans and aggressive marketing. This model of consumer behaviour is deliberately introduced through the so-called international and independent media so that Western manufacturers can monopolise global markets. In the pursuit of profit, corporations use sophisticated advertising to promote unnatural and excessive needs among consumers.

2. Politics

The partisans of neoliberalism have been trying to make it look as if the United States and West European countries are based on the principles of “liberal democracy.” That dubious assertion is not the subject of this article. We will look at the component parts of the “democracy” which the West is trying to spread around the world.

It has been apparent for a long time that democracy in its neoliberal interpretation is not power or government by the people or even power by the majority of people. It is power by a minority of society over the rest of it, allegedly for its benefit. There are no clear criteria for a “democracy for export,” which has a narrow explanation as a set of pseudo-democratic “rituals,” such as the dogmatic principle of the “alternation of power.” It is imposed on sovereign states when they try to pursue a nationally-oriented policy. Blinded by their political and propaganda aspirations, they overlook an “insignificant trifle,” that is, the decision of the majority expressed during elections or a plebiscite to keep a certain politician in the leading position. At the same time, they prefer to “forget” about similar precedents in the Western democracies, such as the four terms of US President Roosevelt or the 16 years of Angela Markel’s leadership in Germany.

Democratic procedures in Western countries long ago turned into a way of legalising power and they have nothing to do with the rotation of elites in the leadership of these countries. Political dynasties have been holding the reins in many countries, from Belgium to the United States, for decades. It is not surprising that the term “deep state” has become popular or that big monopoly business has dominant positions in Western governments, because pseudo-democracy is designed to serve its interests.

Another Western “democratic value” is “free and fair” elections. The level of “freedom” depends on the existence of “independent” media foreign agents who are controlled by the West, and “fairness” depends on allowing “independent,” that is pro-Western, candidates or parties to take part in elections and on ensuring results that will satisfy the West. One more prerequisite of “freedom and justice” is the certification of the election process and results by Western-appointed missions of foreign observers under the umbrella of the ODIHR, the OSCE or other tame organisations. It goes without saying that no truly independent country permits such external diktat in relation to elections, as a crucial backbone institution.

Another neoliberal method is to distort the concept of human rights by prioritising political and civil rights and at the same time depreciating socioeconomic and cultural rights. The West has no regard whatsoever for the rights of “non-Westerners,” despite the fact that human rights are declared an absolute value in the West, that is, even more important than national security. The United States and its satellites are using this approach to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. There is a long list of “colour revolutions,” none of which improved people’s lives. Western experts working in the interests of defence industries say that it is necessary to lend international legitimacy to these technologies and have invented various concepts towards this end, such as the right of non-systemic opposition in “authoritarian regimes” to receive foreign assistance.[2]

Contrary to the proclaimed principle of freedom of speech, the neoliberal West is implementing a “digital Gulag” project, that is, total control by IT giants and oligarchic clans over public opinion and historical memory. They are using mechanisms of covert censorship and deleting “undesirable” accounts and their content to suppress dissent, turning a blind eye to the fact that this amounts to a flagrant infringement of the right to freedom of opinion. The reality of life in the West includes the electronic surveillance of politically “unreliable” people and the use of virtual algorithms in the media sphere to manipulate the public.

A vivid example is the campaign of Russophobia unleashed in the West. Anti-Russian racism, meaning the broad use of hate speech towards Russia and the Russians, has become a fact of life that is regarded as politically correct in the West. The Western media and public opinion leaders are promoting chauvinistic tales about Russia based on the use of dehumanising and alienating rhetoric with regard to Russian people and false ideas of “collective responsibility” for the security crisis created by the West itself and, consequently, about the need for “collective punishment” of Russians. This media campaign is being fostered by modern-day Western politicians and has all the elements of totalitarian propaganda.

The rampant encouragement of the neoliberal ideology has turned the Western institutional media and social networks into a hornets’ nest of biased journalists, promoters, lobbyists and pseudo-activists, who are helping the authorities to wage an information war against Russia. The once “independent journalism” is no more. The few exceptions, such as Tucker Carlson and Seymour Hersh, only prove the rule.

The neoliberal “moral compass” of the West even allows the forms of ethnic and language hatred that was outlawed after WWII and the Rwandan genocide. It is notable that this approach has not been condemned, not to the least degree, by the passive international organisations whose executive bodies have been “privatised” by the West. For more than nine years, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) turned a blind eye to the death of Donbass children during Ukrainian armed attacks. UNESCO did not react to the assassinations of Russian public figures such as Darya Dugina and Vladlen Tatarsky, or to the attempt on the life of Zakhar Prilepin. The information provided by the few Western journalists working in the zone of the special military operation and who are able to report the truth is not allowed to reach the Western societies, and these journalists are blacklisted.

3. Society

Neoliberal views on ethics and culture, as well as on history and social relations, are in conflict with the worldview of those who adhere to traditional values.

In the West, for example, the decriminalisation and legalisation of drug use is openly advocated. It is about blurring the line between soft and hard “substances,” destigmatising drug use and positioning drug addicts as normal, healthy members of society. There are plenty of examples. They include “coffee shops” in Amsterdam, “recreational smoking” in the United States and Canada, medically controversial “harm reduction” and “substitution therapy” programmes implemented through neoliberal NGOs in various parts of the world. The Hollywood film industry is working to popularise the habit of drug use. Statistics confirm that all these efforts are bearing fruit. According to reports from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction[3], the number of people who use marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis has increased over the past 10 years from 3 to 3.7 million people and already accounts for about 1.3 percent of the EU population. The number of drug addicts in treatment has almost doubled in just two years, from 55,000 to 97,000. There is a steady increase in seizures of illegal products containing cannabis (555,000 cases in 2020, and 566,000 in 2021). And this is just the beginning.

Phenomena that were once marginalised and that lead to a fracturing of people's consciousness, such as the obsessive LGBT agenda, radical feminism, the cult of social political correctness to the point of absurdity, and “critical race theory” (based on the assumption that race is not a biological but a socially engineered characteristic to oppress non-whites) have become a standard of everyday life in Western countries. Any understandings that refer to tradition or that contradict “progressive” theories are declared archaic, outdated at best.

It is important to emphasise here that sexual minorities are part of all societies. They should not be discriminated against and they should have the same civil and socio-cultural rights as all other citizens. Of concern is the propaganda of non-traditional values, which is becoming more and more aggressive. Thus, according to IPSOS, one of the major international companies specialising in sociological research, in a number of countries where the neoliberal paradigm has taken root (Germany, Sweden, Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain), the share of LGBT representatives is two to four times higher than the corresponding world average (the medical standard is about one percent of the population). And in some countries, in surveys among young people, up to 18 percent of respondents admitted to same-sex attraction.

Neoliberals do everything to make those who adhere to classical (normal) ethics feel discomfort and shame, to make them feel “unfashionable.” The methods of oppressing those who openly express disagreement with deviations that aggressively make their way have already been tested. These are “cancellation culture” and “deplatforming,” encouraging reports to the authorities, collective bullying and unsubstantiated stigmatisation with insulting labels: racists, fascists, communists, sexists, homophobes, gender haters and the like. Adherents of traditional views, now declared “wrong,” are forced to publicly repent.

Representation of women, as well as of newly emerging sex minorities in government and even in business, is addressed through artificial, absurd quotas that undermine fair professional competition and the essence of meritocracy inherent in classical capitalism and liberalism. All this is being done with the thunderous and pervasive support of the neoliberal mass media and the tireless work of specialised foundations and non-governmental entities.

At the same time, work is underway to include the concept of the “third sex” in the World Health Organisation's guidelines on gender issues in health care; calls are being made to revise ethical standards regarding reproductive choice, the medical alteration of human nature, and the sexual integrity of children (in fact, a step towards the legalisation of paedophilia). In Spain, it has even come to the point of decriminalising bestiality. There, relevant amendments to the legislation were introduced in February 2023.

The developments are aggravated by the deep crisis that has hit the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant associations. Their reputation has been damaged by numerous scandals. Today, the church in the West faces accusations of spreading “white Christian nationalism” and “white supremacy” as well as attempts to marginalise the LGBT community. The clumsy attempts by some religious communities to win sexual minorities to their side, even to the point of willingness to allow same-sex marriages, have left many people aghast. As a result, many in the West are unable to find peace and solace in the church.

There is a rapid decline in the statistics of church attendance (especially of traditional denominations) in Europe and the United States, and excuses with references to the post-pandemic period do not stand up to scrutiny. A growing social group of people indifferent to matters of faith could radically change the socio-political landscape.

It is clear to a sober-minded observer that the “renewalist” part of the West has deviated greatly from the generally recognised standards of human morality, which, incidentally, were not rejected by classical liberalism. However, neoliberalism is already aimed at breaking the spiritual, cultural and social heritage of various civilisations. The values of the Enlightenment, Christianity, other monotheistic religions and even post-Christian atheism are being supplanted by the tenets of the “new ethics” under the supposedly plausible pretext of fighting discrimination against minorities. To replace humanism, neoliberal ideologues promote the concept and practices of transhumanism, posthumanism and posthumanity.

4. Technology

Neo-liberal Western ideologists actively promote individualism and the priority of an atomised individual over any other factors and considerations. They advance ideas of constant self-perfection and individual inner and outer transformation regimens, including with the use of modern technologies. They always note that technologically advanced people alone can be considered more progressive than everyone else. In reality, this smokescreen conceals multiple commercial or political interests.

In our opinion, the problem is that the cultural and ethical mechanisms that regulate social relationships and relations between individuals are being replaced by technological permissiveness. The West is turning advanced technological solutions, including medications, into a universal tool for eliminating therapeutic and social issues. At the same time, these issues are largely far-fetched or are artificially imposed. The task is to persuade ordinary people that any wishes aimed at attaining inner comfort can be fulfilled.

This paves the way for promoting trendy research and development projects to change human nature using modern bioengineering technologies. For example, the West is using puberty blockers more actively to prepare teenagers for sex-reassignment surgery. Predictably, this is motivated by huge corporate profits. In 2022, the sex-reassignment surgery market was worth an estimated $2.1 billion in the United States alone.[4]

Biomedical methods aimed at changing a person’s appearance are becoming more subtle. Advanced inventions include 23andMe and Atlas that facilitate genetic profiling as a fun-filled game/service. Businesspersons are fascinated with the idea of giving birth to genetically modified children and performing head transplants. One can also mention projects aimed at boosting human endurance, doping studies and efforts to make people more resistant to pain and other irritants. Research projects in the field of merging human bodies and machines through AI (the creation of cyborgs) are becoming more popular. 

We would like to note the hustle and bustle around AI generators and numerous virtual socialisation projects. One can hardly explain this as anything other than a desire to make money by exploiting human whims and weaknesses.

In effect, the virtually uncontrollable implementation of these ideas, albeit under plausible and even noble pretexts, and the introduction of little studied technologies facilitates more profound socioeconomic rifts in society and perpetuates inequality in specific countries and on the international scene. Western biotech, biomed, IT and other corporations are acting brazenly and irresponsibly. They do not want to relinquish opportunities to create a context for future changes and innovations that spell fabulous profits, despite the risks to individuals and segments of society. The neo-liberal section of Western society does not see a major problem in the loss of awareness of the inviolability of universal human values.

* * *

The entire neoliberal agenda is, in one way or another, a product of big money, designed to serve the interests of transnational corporations through political, economic, and social shackles. The pseudo-democratic and neoliberal attitudes imposed by the West are not at all what Russia or other countries signed up to as part of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or other international commitments that we took on after 1991.

Observing these processes from the outside, from Russia, we cannot avoid noting that the underlying ideology is morally defective and toxic for its own bearers. But, after all, it is their choice and they have to live with it. Every nation has the sovereign right to choose its own path of development. However, this does not mean that we will not defend ourselves against such a lifestyle being imposed on us. Let degeneration be confined to the neoliberal segment of Western societies.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his remarks at the 9th St Petersburg International Cultural Forum – the Forum of United Cultures on November 17, “The experience of the millennium-old history of our country convincingly shows that cultural diversity is the greatest blessing while the interaction of cultures is one of the conditions for stable and peaceful development. After all, some of the main reasons for today’s international tensions are rooted in the claims of some forces to exclusivity, including cultural exclusivity, their disregard for the customs and spiritual values of others, a striving to subject everyone and everything to unification under their own pattern that they consider the best and most universal. This distasteful globalisation and, let me add, cultural expansionism, have led to cultural suppression and deprivation and have multiplied the potential for conflict.”

The goal of the intellectual and political community, which cares about the future of its own people, is to identify and consistently neutralise any threats to the original way of life and traditional values, which are crucial to Russia’s full-scale and successful development in the 21st century.


[1] See, for example: “Western values are steadily diverging from the rest of the world’s” https://www.economist.com/interactive/international/2023/08/03/Western-values-are-steadily-diverging-from-the-rest-of-the-world

[2] Fostering a Fourth Democratic Wave: Fostering a Fourth Democratic Wave: A playbook for countering the authoritarian threat. Merriman, H., Quirk, P., Ash, J. — E-text // Atlantic Council: [site]. — URL: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/fostering-a-fourth-democratic-wave-a-playbook-for-countering-the-authoritarian-threat.pdf (accessed 24.06.2023).

[3] https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/sites/dafault/files/pdf/31082_en.pdf, https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/edr/trends-developments/2013_en

[4] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/us-sex-reassignment-surgery-market


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