Western civilisation, as well as its artificial construct, a.k.a. European Union, has been scandalised. A Russian artist, Konstantin Bogomolov, dared to analyse the gathering and tell it what he thinks about it, and it was neither pretty nor complimentary. He went so far as to say that today’s Western civilisation (and the European Union in particular) was worse than Nazi Germany, and her leaders were worse than Adolf Hitler.
He called his essay, published by Russia’s Novaya gazeta (Новая газета) newspaper The Rape of Europa 2.0.
The expression is based on an ancient Greek myth: Eros, he of the bow and arrows to hit people and make them fall in love fame, managed to target the almighty god Zeus, just as he was watching a beautiful princess named Europa. Zeus took the form of a tame bull. Europa, not knowing the animal’s real identity, mounted it. It ran to the sea and swam to the Crete Island. Once there, Zeus dropped all pretences, revealed himself. It is not known to this day whether Europa resisted before their erotic encounter or not, but still, the story got into mythology as a rape. In any case, she would become the first queen of Crete.
Italian artist Titian painted his vision of the scene between the years of 1560 and 1562, which is how it would become part of Europe’s official history.
Paul Robinson, a professor of Russian and Soviet history at the University of Ottawa, describes Bogomolov’s essay as a manifesto, something the author would welcome with a chuckle if he were to hear about it. Robinson goes on to claim that Bogomolov (verbatim quotation) “uses quite inflammatory, indeed offensive, language to lambast the modern West as a model that Russia should discard in favour of a ‘new right-wing ideology.’ ”
Professor Robinson is rather wildly misrepresenting Bogomolov’s essay in the name of what he thinks equals progress.
It all depends. Bogomolov is of the view that he is only describing facts, and, looking from the outside in, it seems that this is precisely what he’s doing, and if someone doesn’t like it, tough.
By adding adjectives, Professor Robinson seems to have lost his academic detachment (and cool). Besides, even though he might have mastered his Russian and Soviet textbooks, he seems not to understand that Russians have always been uneasy about their relationship with the West, including Europe.
Konstantin Bogomolov’s wife Ksenia Sobchak’s godfather was indeed today’s Russian President Vladimir Putin, but what this has to do with Professor Robinson’s attempt to denigrate the Russian author, theatre director and actor, remains unclear.
And Bogomolov doesn’t mince his words.
To the gist
Today’s Western civilisation, especially Europe, has decided to castrate human beings, that’s how Bogomolov describes the super-duper ideology emanating from European Union’s headquarters in Brussels.
Quoting the dark moods and predictions in American film director Stanley Kubrick’s movie, A Clockwork Orange, and from the works of his Russian ancestor, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), Bogomolov argues that today’s Western (and European) so-called elites are so scared of human beings that they decided to eliminate everything that is human about them. We all share all kinds of qualities, good and bad, Bogomolov writes, and these elites have, first of all, decreed what is good and what is not, and then they proceeded to eliminate all that they do not like.
That, after all, is what political correctness is all about.
A human being, Bogomolov writes, is a being that is both beautiful and dangerous. Just like nuclear energy, humans can both create and destroy.
Modern civilisation, until recent years, managed to control the dark forces through religion, philosophy, arts, and education.
Today’s so-called Western civilisation, according to Bogomolov, relies on people who had undergone some kind of castration combined with lobotomy.
People may be smiling, but their smile does not reflect cultural progress. It reflects decay.
New ethical Reich
To explain: das Reich is a German word. It means empire.
No longer is the Western civilisation aiming to ensure personal freedoms for its members. It is now fighting its members as one would an energy that is extremely difficult to tame. The justice system no longer belongs to society: it has become one of the tools governments use to bully their citizens into submission. Its goal these days: isolate and punish those who dare thinking differently (dissidents is the usual word in the English language, инакомыслящий in Russian).
What we’ve got here is just another form of socialism. Google, Apple and Facebook have replaced Siemens, Boss and Volkswagen as leading sectors of national economies, and societies are now ruled (in Bogomolov’s words) by queer activists, feminist fanatics and eco-psychopaths.
Traditional totalitarian regimes used to repress the freedom of thought. Today’s totalitarianism has gone one step further: it tries to repress emotions, as well.
Feelings and thought used to be private areas for all human beings.
Western civilisations view people as the sum of their emotions and thoughts. Hatred is just the opposite of love. It may be complicated but it is a part of a being human, Bogomolov writes.
The Nazi regime used to train people to hate. The new regime insists that we all love. It’s not acceptable to say “I don’t love,” or “I don’t like,” or “I’m afraid.”
Your feelings these days must reflect today’s public opinion. Anyone who feels harmed or injured can bring their complaint in and demand that society regulates the outrage by banning it (while paying for new and new and new officials to deal with it).
That’s what’s called the New Ethical Reich, according to Bogomolov.
The so-called social media networks have become extended arms of this new injustice. Just say something that someone feels is unusual. The so-called decent, orderly and respectable crowd will tear you to pieces.
New ministries of truth in action, that’s what it is, really. Where is George Orwell when we need him?
No need to rely on Bogomolov’s word here: we’ve seen it so many times with our own eyes, it is no longer funny.
Another issue: it no longer takes government to chase people out of their jobs or social standings for their opinions. Society concentrated in the social media does the job to perfection. Just be a modest low- to mid-level scientist who dares question what is known as accepted science. Or any kind of modest, tax-paying citizen who dares question what is known as general opinion.
War on death
It just so happens that we are born, we live, and we die.
Except: the new Reich has introduced a new fixed idea: we all must remain young.
Besides, Western civilisation has gone through sexual revolution and moved very quickly to fight it.
Why? asks Bogomolov, and he answers the question: sex equals freedom. That’s why it is dangerous. Also, the new ideologues say, sex reveals humans’ animal feelings. Sex leads to new life. And no government or society can control it. That’s the worst part.
The struggle with Muslim immigration is about all of this, and its acceptance by the new ideologues shows how impatient they are with all things civilised.
You no longer need to check a person’s race. Check their past: what if you find some blots on their ethics that violate the new order of things?
Where is Russia in all this?
His country, Bogomolov writes, has lost her links with civilisation thanks to the Bolshevik revolution and its aftermath.
Now, Russia is searching for signs that can lead her back into civilisation. That includes a civilisation not afraid of complex (and complicated) people in their multiformity. A civilisation that respects a human’s freedom to love and hate.
It used to exist. It was a civilisation that respected individual values, expressed in the way people thought and created.
That’s what Russia was looking for in the 1990s, Bogomolov writes. She didn’t find it.
What she found was decay filled with empty words about good and just.
I hate, writes Bogomolov, the atmosphere of violence and fear. The Black Lives Matter hate-filled crowd is trying to force university professors to take to their knees instead of respecting their country’s national anthem, to share their homes with BLM supporters, and pay off dead criminal George Floyd’s relatives.
Russia, Bogomolov writes, has gone through all this, and more, in the 17th century.
And here’s the worst part: those who disagree with today’s society are not orthodox dreamers. These are free, well-educated and successful people, whose dreams are simple: be free of all this dark and strange nonsense.
They are afraid to speak up, though, they are afraid of being assaulted on social media, they don’t want to be submitted to moral terror and lose their jobs just because they want to be free.
They need support, they need a new organisation, they need the right to be and remain free.
Humanity as such, concludes Bogomolov, needs to stand up, lose its fear, and fight.