Civilizations rise and fall, and the West is in the autumn of its ascendancy, many prognosticators have warned. Among them is Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (shown, right), who said Friday that “the Western, liberal model of society is dying, and a new world order is taking its place,” as Tsarizm relates it.
Of course, this would just be the new, new, new, new world order (unless I’m missing one), or, maybe, New World Order 4.0. The NWO idea dates back to the end of WWI and President Woodrow Wilson’s vision for world peace; the phrase was uttered a bit later by Adolf Hitler; much later by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; and, most famously, by President George H.W. Bush in a 1991 speech.
Yet what Lavrov is actually talking about is the New World’s (and Europe’s) disorder, which is leading to their decline. As Tsarizm also writes, “Lavrov declared today [4/12] that the Western, liberal model of society is dying, and a new world order is taking its place. Lavrov made the comments at his annual meeting with students and professors at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, reported Russian state news agency TASS.”
“The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty — this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization — is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it,” the site reported Lavrov as saying.
In contrast, Lavrov hailed “a new geopolitical era marked by ‘multipolarity,’ stating that ‘the emergence of new centers of power to maintain stability in the world requires the search for a balance of interests and compromises.’ He said there was a shift in the center of global economic power to East from West,” Newsweek writes, providing further detail.
Newsweek continues, “‘Unfortunately, our Western partners led by the United States do not want to agree on common approaches to solving problems,’ Lavrov continued, accusing Washington and its allies of trying to ‘preserve their centuries-old domination in world affairs despite objective trends in forming a polycentric world order.’ He argued that these efforts were ‘contrary to the fact that now, purely economically and financially, the United States can no longer — singlehandedly or with its closest allies — resolve all issues in the global economy and world affairs.’”
Lavrov touted the necessity of “diplomacy,” unsurprising since he’s a diplomat. Yet many of his words weren’t very diplomatic, as he also said that in an effort to preserve their “dominance and recover their indisputable authority,” the United States and its allies “use blackmail and pressure,” Tsarizm also tells us. “They don’t hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states.”
While some of Lavrov’s observations are correct, what’s implied in the above is nonsense. Virtually all people and every nation try to preserve their power and whatever “domination” they may enjoy, and interfering in sovereign states’ affairs is status quo. Rome, the Persians, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, the Vikings, the British Empire, and every notable power have done so. The Soviets almost brought it to a new level, and today’s China has aggressively inserted itself into Africa and elsewhere, now is making inroads into the Caribbean, and aspires to world-hegemon status.
As for Russia, do the names Georgia and Ukraine remind you of anything? In geopolitics, “unfair interference” is what the other guy does.
But Friday wasn’t the first time Lavrov bloviated about his “new world order.” Espousing a seemingly utopian vision, Tass reported him as saying in 2013 that once the polycentric system is formed, “the world will use shared values from all religions: striving for the good, decency, freedom, responsibility, and respect for the elderly.” Yes, and we’ll all live happily ever after. The end.
Since Lavrov is a diplomat, much of what he says must be viewed as marketing and geopolitical maneuvering. Nonetheless, moderns do indulge this curious, arrogant fancy that they can create heaven on Earth; this is likely because since they don’t believe in actual Heaven, Earth is all they’ve got.
Interestingly, though, Lavrov rightly criticizes the West for wanting to meld nations and cultures, yet himself has proposed what could be construed as the melding of all religions. He might say that he simply supports distilling commonalities out of them for universal use, but, in reality, globalization’s immigrationism and multiculturalism and his global-values notion reflect the same mistake.
It’s irrelevant whether something is “shared.” Venereal disease can be shared, and the flu is widely shared. Commonality tells us nothing about quality. Where “values” are concerned, and we should be speaking of “virtues,” all that matters is whether they’re true.
But moderns don’t generally believe in the true because they don’t believe in Truth (correctly defined as absolute and existing apart from man); they’re moral relativists, believing all “values” are human inventions and hence relative and, in theory, equal.
This is what breeds the West’s cultural relativism and religious relativism (the latter of which Lavrov seems to espouse). After all, what differentiates different cultures is what differentiates different faiths: that they involve different values. Yet this is a distinction without a difference if “all values are equal.” For then all cultures and religions would have to be morally equal, too, since what differentiates them — “values” — are actually all qualitatively the same.
Thus (mis)informed, it follows that it doesn’t matter what culture or faith you embrace or if you mix them all up, from any objective standpoint; they’re all just flavors of the day. In other words, it’s silly to criticize cultural relativism while entertaining the religious variety. If religions are qualitatively “relative,” cultures would also have to be. Both ideas are corollaries of moral relativism.
Instead of wallowing in this confusion, one question we should ask is: What is the ideal culture? If we have it, we should retain it; if we’re lacking, we should move toward it. But simply mixing cultures together, haphazardly, allowing certain cultural elements to supplant others, unthinkingly, is free-association foolhardiness. It’s like supposing that you could randomly slap mechanical parts together and luck into building a functional airplane. Or, it’s like instead of finding a great recipe and following it meticulously to create your delectable dish, just throwing whatever comes your way into the pot, oblivious to whether the result will be an unpalatable or even poisonous brew.
Of course, here’s what makes even most opponents of cultural relativism squirm: The same question can and should be asked about religion — and the folly is the same when haphazardly mixing religious elements together. It doesn’t matter what’s shared. It matters what’s true.
The tragedy is that like all beliefs proposing equality, relativism doesn’t actually breed equal treatment (in its case of values). For laws governmental and social must be made, which means that some “values” will be imposed via the gun and social pressure while others will be stigmatized. The difference is that instead of being determined by pursuit of the objective, they’re born of the subjective, of the power-holders’ preferences.
Is such imposition a contradiction of the relativist creed? Not really. After all, when everything is relative, contradiction can be no worse than consistency and, thus, is not contrary at all.