Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Philosophy Matters

Russian Conservatives Challenge Notion Of 'Universal' Values.

"As the newly resurgent Russian state has asserted itself increasingly on the international stage, the conservative political elite has sought to flesh out something of an ideology that justifies the rejection of international institutions and Western criticism of political developments in Russia. In doing so, it has revived the 19th-century tsarist mantra of "Orthodoxy, autocracy, and nationality."

"I am deeply convinced that the conception of human rights varies from one culture to another, from one society to another, inasmuch as the very concept of the person varies," says political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, who heads the Center for Conservative Studies at Moscow State University and is a leading public proponent of the new Russian conservatism.

In Russian culture, Dugin says, a "collective anthropology" has predominated, meaning that the individual can only fully realize his or her potential when functioning as part of the entire society. The Russian conception of human rights does not include "the right to sin," meaning that society, especially in the form of the Russian Orthodox Church and the central state, has an obligation to protect itself as a means of protecting the rights of its citizens.

Dugin says the Russian cultural tradition on rights and values has more in common with the Islamic tradition than with Western liberalism. "In the Islamic and Orthodox traditions, almost everything corresponds," he says. "We both reject specific aspects of secular, Western, European, individualistic conception of human rights."

If that doesn't send a chill in your blood, you have no pulse.

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