On June 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a highly anticipated speech delivered at the 25th St Peterburg International Economic Forum, said that the West “crudely and shamelessly impose their ethics, their views on culture and ideas about history, sometimes questioning the sovereignty and integrity of states, and threatening their very existence.”
Commentators have largely overlooked Putin’s comments about the West’s imposition of their “ethics” instead of focusing on his discussion of the effect of economic sanctions on Russia and the justification for Russia’s “special military action” in Ukraine.
Putin’s comments should be considered carefully because they imply that the West’s imposition of “their ethics” and “their views on culture and ideas” threaten Russia’s existence.
The West, including the United States, Canada, and Australia, just to name a few countries, is implementing a social engineering agenda: abortion on demand—now returned to states’ legislatures in the United States, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, shaming of the Western civilisation, denigrating the role of religion in society, compulsory critical race studies, and transgenderism, among others.
Lately, the issue of transgender rights has been embraced by the political class and activists. Proponents of transgenderism claim that there is a human right to transition to another sex different from their biological sex and that the view that people are born either male or female is an example of rampant discrimination and homophobia. Their claim is taken seriously by legislators throughout the Western world, including in Australia.
An example is the Australian state of Victoria’s Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021, which criminalises behaviour that frustrates people’s desire to transition to another sex. The Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, commenting on this, explains: “Practices that seek to change or hide someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful and unlawful” and that this law “bans these change or suppression practices and provides a range of options for preventing and responding to them.”
The American Psychiatric Association indicates that, while support for people “with gender dysphoria may include open-ended exploration of their feelings and experiences of gender identity and expression,” psychological attempts “to force a transgender person to be cisgender (sometimes referred to as gender identity conversion efforts or so-called ‘gender identity conversion therapy’) are considered unethical.”
The prohibition of gender identity conversion strategies to treat gender dysphoria is thus promoted as the next human rights challenge. To that effect, comments, which do not toe the official line, might be criticised severely as “homophobic.” There are many examples of people who lost their jobs for communicating their belief that people are born either biologically male or female.
What is a ‘Woman’?
Some social commentators have argued against the adoption of laws that allow or even encourage transgenderism. For example, the renowned author, J. K. Rowling, who favours abortion rights and has made generous donations to the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, was recently censored for indicating that the “scientifically observable biological difference between men and women is both real and a valuable distinction.”
The transgender activist brigade immediately swung into action to discredit her views and destroy her reputation. However, these transgender activists fail to understand the obvious, namely that the concept of “woman” becomes meaningless if it is extended to include a biological man who transitions into a woman.
This is nicely illustrated by U.S. President Joe Biden’s successful nominee to the American Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, during her Senate confirmation hearings, disingenuously and incoherently indicated that she did not know the definition of a “woman.”
But there is some pushback. In March 2020, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed into law the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. This act prohibits transgender athletes from competing in sports against athletes of the other biological sex.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) also recently decided to exclude transgender female athletes from women’s elite swimming competitions. FINA foreshadowed the establishment of a separate competition for transgender athletes. However, this might not alleviate the pain felt by those who suffer from gender dysphoria, an affliction that is capable of wrecking the lives of many people.
As highlighted in a report entitled “The situation of transgender persons in Russia” (pdf), this is also true for Russia, where these people suffer societal discrimination.
Will We Safeguard Our Civilisation?
Putin’s point that the West appears to have lost its moral compass and that its civilisation is experiencing an existential crisis is to be taken seriously. However, his point, even if it is valid, cannot hide the realisation that the geopolitical ambitions of the Russian regime are objectionable and endanger world peace, but the imposition of Western values on Russia is not the answer to its aggressive war in Ukraine.
The uncontrolled mushrooming of social engineering legislation is a product of the last 50 years. In the 1960s and 1970s, human rights legislation predominantly focused on ensuring equality of opportunity for men and women.
In the June 2022 issue of Quadrant, Andrew Cusack argued that, nowadays, any adverse commentary and views expressed by social conservatives on the propriety of social engineering developments are dismissed as irrelevant.
So, why do social conservatives do what they do? The answer is that more needs to be done to push back the inexorable march to undermining the rich civilisation of which the West is a beneficiary and keeper. However, it fails to be seen whether people are willing to put their heads on the chopping block and jeopardise their comfortable existence to write about the West’s licentiousness.
Perhaps, the number and quality of the comments to this opinion piece will give an indication of the West’s commitment to maintaining our civilisation?
In his address to the forum, Putin indicated that the West’s economic sanctions are not having an effect on Russia and that the country will survive the hostility of NATO and the West.
He also implied that the depravity of the West is slowly petrifying its civilisation, ensuring that Russia, in the end, will survive and possibly even prevail. So naturally, Putin’s views on the imposition of Western ethics on Russia are likely to be dismissed as the ramblings of an old, sick man whose mind is rapidly deteriorating.
So the question remains, who will win the clash of competing civilisations?
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.