Conservative Russia, post-modern West
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at The Unz Review
Since Russia’s legal prohibitions (in early 2013) against homosexual propaganda (especially directed towards underage children) and its forthright defense of the Christian institution of marriage, the vigorous opposition to Putin has assumed a “moral” dimension, symbolized best, perhaps, by Obama’s appointment of several over-the-hill, openly homosexual athletes to head the United States delegation to the Sochi Olympics in early 2014.
Such an action demonstrated both the fundamental rejection by the American leadership (and Western European leaders) of Russia’s affirmation of traditional marriage and traditional Christianity, while illustrating the formal apostasy by the West from its own traditional Christian moorings.
Enter Russian-American journalist and author Masha Gessen. Numerous references to Gessen began to appear last year, and soon she was appearing as “the Russian authority” on several of the Sunday morning news programs and as a guest on the Establishment’s special programs dealing with Russia and Ukraine.
Repeatedly, she is identified as “the noted expert and author on Russia and Vladimir Putin.” Her 2012 volume, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, has been cited on such programs as “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation” as critical to understanding Russia and its president. She is the most widely-quoted writer on Russia and Putin now in the West.
But just who is Masha Gessen?
She is identified by the Wikipedia (not known for its right wing bias) as a Jewish lesbian activist, with dual Russian and American citizenship (how did she manage that?), who is “married” to another lesbian, with a “family,” but who advocates the abolition of the “institution of marriage,” itself.
She has identified herself as a violent opponent of Putin and of traditional Christianity.
Yet, her book, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, is held up as the best volume on Russia and its president, while even her defenders (writing reviews on Amazon.com, for instance, and elsewhere) admit that her study reads like “one, long, impassioned editorial.”
Let us add that Gessen is an unrelenting champion of the Russian lesbian punk rock band, “Pussy Riot,” who profaned the high altar of one of the most sacred churches in Russia, the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
Her volume, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot (2014), is a passionate apologia for that pornographic lesbian band and a vitriolic attack on both Putin and traditional Orthodox Christianity, especially the institution of marriage, which Putin strongly and publicly defends.
Her attacks find their way into the whole spectrum of American opinion, including, sadly, into supposedly conservative publications.
Indeed, many Neoconservatives are remarkably “soft” on issues surrounding homosexual rights. [See, for example, “Fox News Goes Gay,” Christian Newswire, August 14, 2013; James Kirchick, “Out, Proud, and Loud: A GOP Nominee Breaks Boundaries,” The Daily Beast, February 18, 2014; Andrew Potts, “Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer calls gay rights struggle ‘heroic’,” Gay Star News, January 1, 2014 ]
Gessen, then, has now become one major source for attacks as well as the “analysis” spewed out by the major networks.
As one can see, the real key here increasingly is the issue of homosexuality and the fact that Putin’s Russia defends traditional Christian ethics and has clamped down on gay propaganda.
Gessen finds this intolerable….thus, even though her journalistic writing purports to take a researched and scholarly view of Russian affairs, her attacks, the charges of corruption and anti-democratic tendencies, are all subsumed into something much more important to this vocal activist: an all-encompassing passion to advance homosexuality worldwide and an unremitting opposition to traditional Christianity.
But it is not just a prominent and influential publicist like Masha Gessen who identifies the issue of homosexuality as central to the hatred for Putin and contemporary Russia. Gessen’s views are now completely mainstream in the West, illustrated resoundingly by President Obama’s naming of those gay former Olympians to represent the United States at Sochi.
The gesture was unmistakable, but its symbolism indicated something more profound in the West’s post-Christian mentality.
Indeed, this salient aspect of what euphemistically is now called “defending human rights” underpins EU and American policies towards Russia. Such organizations as the Human Rights League, People for the American Way, and the United Nations have gotten involved on a global level, cementing this template.
In the international political sphere, no clearer illustration of this pervasive influence on policy may be found than in the response of close American ally German Chancellor Angela Merkel to President Putin’s criticism of the collapse of traditional Christian morality in America and Europe.
As reported by The Times of London, November 30, 2014, Merkel, who had for some time urged a softer approach to Russia and continued negotiations, finally realized:
that there could be no reconciliation with Vladimir Putin when she was treated to his hardline views on gay rights.
The German chancellor was deep in one of the 40 conversations she has had with the Russian president over the past year — more than the combined total with David Cameron, François Hollande and Barack Obama — when he began to rail against the “decadence” of the West.
Nothing exemplified this “decay of values” more than the West’s promotion of gay rights, Putin told her.
It was then, said sources close to Merkel, that she realised Europe and America should abandon all hope of finding a common language with the Kremlin and instead should adopt a policy of Cold War-style containment.
And Merkel is not alone. She joins Barack Obama and prime ministers David Cameron, Francois Hollande, and the leaders of the EU in expressing this important underlying rationale for Western policy towards Russia.
It is, then, the formal Western and American embrace of homosexuality, same sex marriage, and other deviations from traditional Christian morality as normative that has opened a steep chasm and motivates zealous proponents, for whom Vladimir Putin and a revived traditional Russia present a distinct challenge to their eventual global success.
It is, then, this rebellion against God-created human nature and against natural law, itself, that is bitterly opposed to Russia’s affirmation of traditional religious belief.
It is this divide now that forms the deepest basis of the profound conflict between East and West.
Indeed, the world has been turned upside down, with Russia now defending Christianity, while the American and Western political and media elites viciously attack it. As Patrick Buchanan now rightly asks: “On whose side is God NOW on?”
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European intellectual history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain and an MA in American intellectual history from the University of Virginia. He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk.