The lack of balance between tolerance and reason in the free speech of the liberal world order has been causing the strengthening of extremist narratives and trends worldwide. Inattention to clear signs of new fascist ideology – ruscism – fortifying in the state of one of the permanent members of the Security Council, and naïve assumption of its reasonable behaviour led to a monstrous assault on the sovereign European nation-state, regional security, as well as the whole world legal order and stability.
When rhetorical ‘bothsidesism’ and unconditional tolerance become a weapon of mass destruction of minds?
Recalling Montesquieu, justice is a balance between diversity and unity, between tolerance and reason. Today’s liberal approach is clearly and heavily leaning towards tolerance forgetting the reason, and the tilt becomes impending enough to realistically overturn the ark of the liberal order. Radical narratives against migrants, conspiracy theories about Covid19, disinformation, and lies of autocrats are just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is that the liberal order has taught people to be tolerant of opposite opinions, but they were blown away to the extremes. Is nuclear power an ultimate source of energy or death? – this is an example of the topic which, in my view, societies can have disputes about. What reasons russians had to invade, kill, and destroy indiscriminately their sovereign neighbours, or who blew up the Kakhovka dam, occupied and mined by russians, are not the questions for casual philosophical disputes in a search of truth! These events must not be treated as political narratives, as such an approach makes crimes permissible under certain circumstances and awards impunity to the aggressor and the lawbreaker. Only by mentally objectifying everything, a human mind can realise the actual impact of the events and distinguish between right and wrong. Unfortunately, in the overwhelming flood of information in today’s dynamic and eventful world, people rush to grasp any thrown ‘stick’ of explanation instead of looking around for solid grounds of reason. “Objectivity does not mean treating an event as a coin flip between two public statements. It demands thinking about the objects and the settings that readers require for understanding amid uncertainty” as recently explained by Timothy Snyder.
Finding an effective mechanism to address the flaws of ‘bothsidesism’ and deliberate information manipulations might help alert societies early enough and trigger timely actions, preventing misinformation and false narratives from distorting minds and weakening societies in front of physical threats amassing in the shadows behind. False narratives hide the real intentions of political actors spreading them, which, in the end, are physical control over peoples’ lives and states’ material resources, as well as mental control over minds to justify and normalise any actions. If there were effective mechanisms of detection, acknowledgment, correction, and penalisation of deliberate disinformation pitching or irresponsible relaying, the world today would not be divided in opinions and attitudes towards blatant crimes of the aggressor, and with high certainty wars in the name of false causes could have been avoided. Individualism becomes a virtue only when all humans accept their share of responsibility in world affairs, especially the responsibility to think before saying and acting on information received.
Is ruscism more dangerous to the world than fascism?
That is worrisome that after one-and-half year of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Muscovites, many in the world still abstract from this war as from some isolated territorial dispute. Many in the international community turn a deaf ear to hate speech and international blackmail, and a blind eye to the committed atrocities by a venomous ideology gaining momentum. Ruscism is based on similar principles as fascism – disregard for liberties and human rights, repressive centralised state and a cult of the strong leader, the unifying image of external enemies, national exceptionalism and supremacy over other nations, mythical past and glorious destiny, internal and external propaganda with no free media, sexism, illegal annexations, invasions, and destruction, denial of other nation-states existence. While fascism produced the Holocaust, focusing on the extermination of Jews with other nationalities being purposefully liquidated as secondary, ruscism today is specifically genocidal towards Ukrainians, while expressing explicit public hatred towards “Anglo-Saxons” as the enemy mastermind. Same as the fascist Reich, the ruscist Muscovy state has been dreaming of a land empire, but with far more reaching appetites – “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”. Moscow promotes and supports far-rights globally – in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Hungary – you name it. And it distorts reality by trying to turn the tables for an external auditory who listens, claiming to fight imaginary Nazism, playing victimhood, and not just situational but historical. Natural ‘bothsidesism’ of liberal democracies only aids Kremlin’s propaganda, while extreme tolerance allows ruscists to push its narratives and version of events unimpeded for a prolonged period of time gaining sympathisers.
The realisation of the fact that ruscism as a state ideology of the russian Federation and so-called ‘russian world’ expansionism constitute a real threat to global peace, order, human liberties, and the progress of solving world problems, should help the international community to come up with an adequate response. Ruscism must have been taken seriously and studied thoroughly in comparison with fascism, assessing its actual and potential impact on states and societies around the world. Far-rights and far-lefts are yet again gaining strength in the world, and denying the threat they are posing does only a disservice and can lead to more tragic events, unless the world identifies the problem and reacts timely and decisively. Peace and order do not happen naturally – they must be built and probably even more importantly – defended uncompromisingly. Ruscism will not dissolve by itself unless fought back.