À. V. Shchipkov. Left Conservatism
The conservative movement in Russian politics is the most problematic. Differing from liberals and left-wingers, the Russian conservative constantly grapples with self-identification: what values are there to uphold, to preserve, and conserve? After all, the national tradition taken from any angle looks like a denial of values of the previous historical period. How can we talk about saving something? First of all we need to deal with this paradoxical situation where the interruption of traditions itself is manifesting into a tradition in every era.
Revolution from Above:
Russian history has many times witnessed a break in tradition. Mentioned above, the historical situation artificially returns to the previous level like in a computer game. Such has been the case during the Time of Troubles, the Church Reform of Peter I (Church dissent) in the early 18th century, and the events of 1917 and in 1991.
In each case, we see a revolutionary revision and tightening of the old terms of agreement between the government and the society. Each new historical period has set itself up for another downfall.
This point of view is typical not only for Slavophiles, as commonly cited. It is also characteristic of European conservatives. The infamous Marquis Astolphe de Custine visited Russia in the days of Nicholas I and wrote about a "government alien to the people of the country". In his book The Decline of the West, cultural scientist Oswald Spengler defined the situation in Russia as a "pseudomorphosis," taken from a geological dictionary (penetration of one piece of rock into another).
Nevertheless, Slavophiles had a historic chance to become supporters of Russia’s European choice, i.e. of the formation of a national and religious identity. However, they were not consistent in matters of national political development. Chronologists are familiar with a well-known note written by Slavophile K. Aksakov to Tsar Alexander II. "The Russian people are not revolutionary and are not intended to participate in politics," wrote Aksakov, "That is why Russia should not expect events similar to those that took place in Jacobin France. Instead, let the authorities give the people its right to have an inner life, with secular ways of life and thought, as well as community tradition" (K.S. Aksakov. Note on Russia’s Domestic Condition // The Slavophile Theory of State. Ñollection of Articles. Saint Petersburg, 1898).
The attempt to divide powers was naïve and the golden dream of Russian Conservative was brief. The rejection of claims for political self-determination solved nothing: the authorities did not think to observe the indicated boundaries. After all, the Russian project was ideologically meant to be an Enlightenment from above (unlike the European Enlightenment from below). That is, as the right of the "enlightened" comprador elite to reign supreme over the unenlightened people. Moreover, activists attributed the difficulties of the project were attributed to autocratic prejudices and the "vacancy of people’s minds".
Broadly speaking, this ideology was inherited by the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The sense of historical déjà vu was familiar to everyone: The VKPb (Vsesoyuznaya Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Bolshevikov, or All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks) was humorously re-imagined as "The Second Peasantry – the Bolsheviks" (Vtoroe Krepostnoe Pravo – Bolshevikov). Or the joke from the 1990s: "We used to have 15 oligarchs called the "Politburo." Now they don’t have a name."
In essence, Russia with its bureaucracy and serfdom was simultaneously an empire and a colony, hence historian Sergey Solovyov’s thesis on Russia’s internal colonization. This structure had little in common with Western empires, which included a strong national core and external donors.
In short, the Russian ruling class’s secular policy can be defined as a permanent revolution from above and an artificial break in national tradition. The state administration’s ideology and methods made the upholding of conservative ideas in Russia quite problematic. That is why, unable to resist the revolution from above, the Conservatives found themselves in a political offside time and time again at historical coiling.
Unfortunately, rather than solving this problem, the post-Soviet period has merely complicated it furthermore. This is the time of another historical break. The rejection of the Soviet identity in the late 1980s has led to "nowhere." Society has not returned to a line of development or a system of values.
Until society finalizes its attitude to its own history, conservatism will not take its rightful place on the social and political map.
What Should be Conserved?
Several years ago, Mikhail Remizov, a researcher of domestic conservatism, wrote "Every person who calls themself a "Conservative" has heard this question many times: "What are you going to "conserve" in Russia, a country that has had multiple breaks in tradition?" The question is quite appropriate. But only as a question. Not as an argument against Russian conservatism."
All of this is correct. However, the conservative camp’s opinions begin to clash when this question is put forth.
What is today’s conservative ideal? We endlessly hear of the concepts of "family", "religion," "the nation," and "bygone achievements" in reply. Or quite simple mindedly "stability" and "patriotism". The traditions worthy of conservation differ for various conservatives.
Here is the approximate typology.
1. Antiquarian Conservatism. It focuses on separate pieces of historical reality torn from the general historical context. For example, monarchists are nostalgic about the successor to the throne of the innocent victim Nicholas II. Keep in mind that the question is never raised regarding the "quality" of the monarchy or how past dynasties fared between each other. For example, it is obvious that Ivan III, Aleksey Mikhailovich, Peter II, Peter III, Paul I, Alexander I, Alexander II, and Alexander III represent widely different trends in Russian monarchies. Sometimes the conversation drifts to claims for some of the Romanov descendants to reclaim the Russian throne, although their political goals are unknown. Antiquarian Ñonservatism has a fragmentary view of history. It is often intolerant to Conservatives of another type, i.e. de facto, and works separately from rather than integrally with Conservative forces. It has no direct relationship with Russia's political reality.
2. Conservatives-Raisonneurs. Watching corruption, plunder of public property and the amoralism of mass media, they claim: "We need a conservative policy! Urgently! Here is a political program." By default, it is assumed that such a new wonderful program will help win elections and start a new life. There ends the real participation in politics. Even under Yeltsin's multiparty system, conservatives never came into the limelight at the pre-election stage, saying nothing besides the notorious overcoming of the 5% barrier.
3. Communist Conservatives or Soviet-style Conservatives. The irony of it is that these conservatives inherit the historical nihilism doctrine, that is, the tradition of freedom from tradition. The second paradox is that they, unlike most other conservatives, know exactly what they want to reconstruct. They want to restore the historically topic project of the Soviet statist social state. It is a clearly defined but hardly feasible task, at least because the material base of the Soviet Union is destroyed and there is no one to re-create it. Migrant workers building the "new Soviet Union" is a bad idea.
4. The Eurasian Doctrine stated in terms of geopolitics. It is characterized by a clear anti-western orientation and multiculturalism. However, it has no political program. The "Russian Eurasia" project is most probably a supplement and a pet opponent of the liberal mainstream. So to say, a super-systemic opposition.
5. Liberal Conservatives. They are either in the halls of power or nearby. They adhere to patriotic rhetoric, but do not deny the economic liberal course (resource-based economy, curtailing social programs, export of capital, dependence on international financial centers). Conservative phraseology covers the liberal course and creates an illusion that the governing class protects certain values and national priorities. In this case, they obviously conserve Russian liberalism not as an ideology but as an economical basis and a development model.
6. Hypocritical Conservatism. Carnival conservative nationalists, protectionists and supporters of voluntary and involuntary political performances. They create political simulacra caricatures of a standard conservatism. Supposedly, their function involves marginalization of political trends undesirable for the government: real conservatism and grassroots nationalism. In much the same way, Ivan Okhlobystin in his Doctrine 77 successfully marginalized the imperial idea, and then started to make a mockery of Orthodoxy, telling the world about his celibacy. It is the same "super-systemic" opposition as the Eurasian Doctrine (predictable confrontation with national conservatives is the attestation of direct political competition).
7. Conservative Intellectuals are enwrapped in the theory of conservatism but are nowhere near political practice.
8. Religious and Pseudoreligious Conservatives. They believe that Russian Orthodox Church is responsible for the conservation of the national tradition and not only of the internal church tradition. Moreover, Orthodoxy is not only the main Russian faith, but also the foundation of Russian public ethics, like the Protestant ethic in Europe and the United States. However, the capacities of religious conservatism are limited because the Russian Orthodox Church is separated ‘de jure’ from the state and has no right to form political organizations. Moreover, priests cannot be selected for public posts. Russia has not developed its own understanding of secularism that the United States, for example, has already acquired.
This typology contains an unpleasant pattern. Each of these groups are either not involved in real politics or hide different political content under the guise of conservatism.
The latter is particularly well observed when investigating liberal conservatives (‘de facto’ "conservatives" under liberals). Quotation marks are not accidental here. Liberal conservatism is a nonsense for Russia. Namely for Russia. However, it is a fundamental form of neoconservatism in today’s USA.
To understand why is this so, we need a short economic excursus.
Dual Paradigm of Global Politics
In general, global economy involves the concepts of core and peripheral countries. Capital flows from the periphery to the core, that is, from the third world countries to first world countries. Any government acts as a supervisor of such flows.
Under these conditions, Western liberals strengthen their economies as receiving subjects by defending the status quo.
Modern Russia empirically belongs to the world’s periphery. Liberal principles in Russia also take part in the preserving this model, but in Russia this does not mean acquisition but rather emission, the export of materials and capital and the loss of domestic market captured by import. All this upsets the material wealth of the country.
Therefore, a western liberal – for example, an American one is namely a conservative in his function: he stabilizes the system useful for his society. The Russian liberal takes place on the opposite side of "import-export" system and is socially destructive, despite the fact that he supports the same views. In his actions, he follows the communists: he expropriates (here's the humorous folk formula "Chubais is today’s Trotsky" is applicable).
The left-wing idea is revolutionary and destructive in the western context. In Russia, as in any third world country, the left-wing (solidarist or moderately socialist) idea is conservative inasmuch as the revolutionist is the government itself.
For that very reason, the Russian equivalent of a European conservative is a mentally fit Pochvennik rather than a Westerner. Moreover, a Russian socialist is the equivalent of a Western-designed liberal.
This political inversion is called a mirror effect of the global system or the "dual" paradigm law. The "core-peripheral" system operates this way.
In view of this specific feature of the modern world, we need to verify the number of provisions considered inviolable before the era of financial feudalism or global capitalism.
The following question must be raised: which position on the Russian political stage is considered objectively conservative and which position cannot claim to be conservative, even if it relies on conservative symbols?
Unfortunately, this topic is not discussed in the Russian public space. The question of real and objective attitudes of certain Russian politicians to conservatism, within the global context rather than in vitro, has not yet been raised. Moreover, both systemic leftists and systemic "conservatives" bound with political consensus obviously shrink from raising the question of relationship between conservatism and left-wing ideas.
Today it is one of the key patterns dissembled in Russian politics. However, the political structure covered by it becomes less stable. The destruction of the Russian political myth in this sphere is going to happen in the near future. However, any of today’s average man is still sure that a conservative is the one who has a plate with the inscription "Conservative" on his breast.
The present situation is quite satisfactory for those who love to argue with publicists-westerners, angrily comment on the statements of the US State Department and play a political show called "Opposition to external influences." Separate statements of such politicians can be quite sensible. For example, the denial of the juvenile justice system. But that's not a reason to abandon the system analysis and take an exception to the rule. This is just the case when exception proves the rule.
Relativistic juggling of political concepts looks naive too. This is a reply taken from a typical political debate, "You think that I'm a liberal. And Mr. Krasovsky thinks I’m a conservative. There are many points of view."
This is demagoguery. There are many value judgments and only few criteria of political affiliation. Chief among them is connected with the answer to the question: What is the relationship between the economy and ideology.
Conservatism and the left idea: Vanishing Point
Today, the everyday man does not have the political sphere on their mind, where real conservatives would take fill this void. Instead, we are witnessing a continuous substitution of concepts. The news media calls conservatives "systemic liberals" as well as statists and statesmen.
But authentic conservatism is a loyalty to tradition and not to power. The unity with power can occur only when the power protects and develops tradition.
At the present moment the country exists in a regime of liberalism policy: the liberal economic bloc in the government is permanent and it ultimately determines the political format. Before, this policy digested the raw materials sector and remnants of Soviet industry. Today, the liberal reformation’s blow is directed against the social sphere (education, science, medicine) and gets to the basic elements of society: family values (through the juvenile justice system), religion and the Church (the struggle with temple construction, the proposal to abolish the patriarch, the idea of the discriminatory "Religious Code"), personal information, and standards of morality. Thus, the de facto recognized the high degree of "capitalization" of the above-mentioned. Other policies tend to explain these occurrences as random historical zigzag, saying "Russia is just that kind of country."
But we would want to abstain from historical and political mystification. Actual people create history and policies, along with the fact that the actions of certain people are susceptible to systemic laws.
To reiterate: in third-world countries, the power objectively stands against the society and does not protect it. It is not a conservative, but a revolutionary element (remember the Pushkin phrase ‘All of you Romanovs are revolutionaries.") And any guardian in this occasion will be a guardian of revolution.
The main question is in what corner of the political ground will the authentic conservative appear (assuming that it really exists), as opposed to a sort-of "disguised" one?
Obviously, it is the authentic conservatives, and not the carriers of beautiful labels like the authentic leftists, who are driven out of boundaries of real politics. Both these and others are anti-systemic elements, they are taken out of the game.
What part of the current liberal course can they oppose?
First: the demand to return the norms of traditional morality. Second: social demands. The important thing to note is that these requirements will inevitably coincide, although perhaps not on a universal scale. But it is definite in the current, past and future of the Russian situation.
The vanishing point is a consequence of the same "double" paradigm of economics, politics and ideology. Its emergence is inevitable in this system’s set of laws.
The two areas that appear in the same niche and begin to link up, influence each other, and are aware of the historical fact of mutual influence. That is, this convergence between the two are not predetermined not only situationally, but also historically.
What does this look like?
For example, it is well known that Christianity (in the traditional sense, not secularly-oriented) excludes the social-Darwinist thought of total competition, i.e. natural selection in society. But it is not possible to sit in two chairs, to be anti-Darwin in theological matters and pro-Darwin in social situations. How does this cross over to reality? The conservative value duplicates the left-wing demand for social justice. More concrete is a historical example: grass-roots socialism of the Russian serf community joining with the community of the Church, which had been repeatedly stressed by Slavophile philosophers.
Nowadays society is beginning to understand that the resettling of conservative values and ideas of socialism (not of the majority, but the conservative) belong to different political camps is a false, unnatural situation. Chances are this is one of the techniques of political control. But I repeat that this is true above all for Russia and Third-world countries and on a slightly smaller scale for European rogues, like present-day Greece or Germany in the early 20th Century. The artificiality of the split of conservatism and left-wing ideas is so obvious that partisan pollsters have to spend a great deal of effort to solve one single problem: how not to disengage "communism" and "socialism", once merged into one Soviet and post-Soviet agitprop, in the minds of the everyday man. After all, as soon as the concept of "socialism" would be "free" (i.e., become autonomous), it immediately starts to drift in the field of conservative ideology.
As long as it retains this movement it will succeed, albeit with difficulty.
Exit from the Dead End
In this deep-seated contradiction lies a hint for the conservative who has difficulty with self-identification.
What kind of agenda must he present to society? Supporting the social demands of the majority is crucial due to the fact that they agree with the requirements of public morality. The combination of social demands and moral values is the only way to for Russian conservatism to get out of the historical dead end in which it did not enter of its own accord.
Breaking the cycle of historical obtrusiveness and stopping the liberal-sovereign pendulum is part of the task of conservative politics. It is time for nations to establish themselves in the progressive historical movement. But for this the consensus of the national majority is needed. And such a consensus can only be social-conservative.
Progress has been observed in a few left-wing parties’ rhetoric, addressing the values of tradition, including religious and family. A few party leaders have learned how to say the word "nation" next to the word "people." In certain parts of the conservative camp interest has drifted to leftist politics. The words of social justice are increasingly heard from Church representatives.
Collegiality and Russian Civil Society
The current line of thought associated with the merger between conservative and socialist ideals has a serious history.
Social conservative leaders and parties have always been present in Russia and not only amount to a moderate part of Social Revolutionaries. The principle of conservative socialism was announced, for example, by Archpriest Valentin Sventsitskii. In his article Christians and the Upcoming Elections (1912), he wrote that within the elections for the State Duma one should vote for the "candidates of the left-wing parties" (Social Revolutionaries), because only they are able to "show the people its enemies" .
Konstantin Leontiev, the famous one can say, the title – conservative, even alluded to monarchical socialism. In the 1880’s he wrote: "Sometimes I have a feeling that the Russian Tsar will head the socialist movement and organize it the way that Konstantin contributed to the development of Christianity ..." [1, Ñ. 94]
However, the origins of social conservatism should certainly be looked at from the Slavophiles’ perspective and their understanding of collegiality. A. Khomiakov and his adherers partially derived church-like notions from previous contexts and transferred it to society as a whole, implying a special (familial and communal) type of communication between its members. Slavophiles interpreted the collegiality as a communal ideal and linked it with the ideal of collective salvation typical in Russian Orthodoxy. With the development of Russian philosophy, the concept of collegiality obtained synonyms. For example, N. Trubetskoi mentioned the principle of collegiality as "metaphysical socialism," while S. Frank designated it as "We-Philosophy". Georgii Florovskii considered "commune enthusiasm" as "the subconscious lust for collegiality". Nikolai Berdiaev compared collegiality as a universal salvation with a "cruel" (in his opinion) doctrine with Thomas Aquinas (for their blessedness in paradise the righteous are indebted to the tortures of the sinners in hell).
These are the idea’s stages of development, its main point stressing to bring together the peasant community and the church community through the idea of "collective salvation".
However, the problem was in fact much broader and resided in the creation of a new social contract, which would unite all parts of the Russian society directed by Orthodox moral values rather than by religion itself.
The main ideas of the self-determination of the peasant "world" primarily represented fair land ownership and mutual assistance. Of course, the supporters of these postulates (the peasants) could be out of step with the "correct" opinions of the Orthodox Church. However, the course of social construction planned by K. Aksakov and A. Khomiakov precisely laid out the gradual convergence of these two movements. This is where the growth point of Russian civil society began. Unfortunately, the maturation of this society faced political difficulties: the direct opposition (divorcing of peasants from their land, artificial destruction of the peasant community and the unlimited power of the "bread oligarchy") and the revolution turning into a new enslavement. Historical cataclysms struck the peasant community before it became able to resist them.
This way, another interruption of traditions and rewriting of national identity in the 20th century has considerably wiped away the efforts of the builders of Russian civil society.
The concepts of "collegiality", "community" and "collective salvation" cannot be narrowed down to the "peasant case" and church issues.
The principles of the peasant community and the church collegiality influenced Russian life as a whole. This influence can be easily traced in archival documents and works of Russian classics (N. Leskov, F. Dostoevsky, L. Tolstoy, V. Rozanov et al.). There is ample evidence of this influence. It is no coincidence that any socially significant event in peasant Russia was perceived in the religious and ascetic sense.
For example, revolutionist Vera Figner wrote that "people of the nation" uniquely defined even actions among the people: they believed that the cause of populists’ actions is salvation. A lot of people perceived the religious meaning in attempts to set the serfs free. Even Yemelyan Pugachev drafted serfs into his army and promised to "grant the land, the cross and the beard", that is to bring back the old Truth in addition to the land. No matter how we treat the personality of this impostor, he (and later – the populists) appealed to the principle of collective salvation.
The joining of Church and domestic social practices was inevitable and in the long term, contrary to the populace’s "revolting moods from time to time, would lead to the formation of a Christian nation the civil society of its time if the process is not again derailed as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The question of serfdom and its religious roots remains an uncomfortable theme for liberal and "official sovereign" historiographers and therefore is rarely discussed. But it is time to abandon the illusion and destroy the ridiculous myth that this question was thought up by publicists and historians of Orthodox faith, only because this analogy is already seen in the works of Western scholars. For example, Spanish sociologist Emanuel Sarkisyanz was inclined to think that "serving the people" of the right and left populace in Russia including their public penance was a type of social austerity. And this austerity could be compared with the Anglo-Saxon Protestant ideology (Sarkyaznz E. Russia and Messianism. To the Russian Idea of N.A. Berdyaev, St Petersburg, 2005. P. 104).
Of course, the difference between Protestant and Orthodox ideals is important (that can be saved for another article) but rather the acknowledgement of the fact that conciliar, religious and communal conscious was characteristic of not only serfs and serf leaders, but of their "liberators" from amongst the intelligentsia, even if the liberators thought of themselves as atheists.
In other words, the religious-communal consciousness is inherent not only to the Russian peasantry, but to the Russian intellectual. And this deep devoutness frequently manifests itself in spite of the superficial, rationally reflected beliefs of its carriers. This is an important reason that even after the undoing of the serf community, the collegiality in Russia during the Bolshevik times did not disappear. This is the genotype of the nation, which the Bolsheviks with their historical materialism did not understand.
But how can this genotype’s existence be explained? What is its deep source?
Socialization of Religion
We have arrived to the most important point. Let us examine the classical sociologist Max Weber and his work Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weber proposed that the formation of any nation’s economic and social structures are influenced by deep religious ethics, which continues to determine the identity of the secular nation even after reforms, and in the absence of ecclesiastical institutions or independent of them.
Thus, Protestant ethics with its "laborious penance" and "rational bureaucracy" determined, according to Weber, the social basis of the majority of European nations. In this way, Weber was not an evolutionist, mondialist, and culturally-chauvinistic. He did not believe that Protestant Ethic and its socio-economic organism was a model that must agree with all the nations of the world. One example he gave was Confucius’ ethical code infused in the Chinese nation.
Today, Weber's statement is an axiom in social sciences. What has since been determined from it? All social ethics have religious roots. If connection with these roots is disrupted, the religious ethics still remain in the subconscious of the nation. It is possible to reconstruct using methods of humanitarian studies, as seen firsthand in times of crisis and major turning points. At such moments, it departs from the "subtext" of public life and unexpectedly yet clearly reveals its presence.
In other words, social dispensation and the "spirit of the law" (in the definition given by Saint Simon) are directly dependent on the "cult" which society professes or has professed. Conversely, every religion will sooner or later cease to be only a religion and become the basis of all social ethics, including secular ethics.
The Protestant Ethic implies asceticism, individualism, hoarding, and laborious penance. All of this is characteristic not only for the parishioners of different Protestant churches but also of the European and American societies at large. The Protestant Ethic, separated from religion, gave rise to a particular type of political relations and special economic model classical capitalism. Socialization of religion has occurred.
Our task is to understand at what stage is the socialization of religion in Russia.
At the heart of Russian society lays its own model of civilization: the Orthodox Ethic and spirit of solidarity. Orthodox Ethic includes solidarity, partial egalitarianism, and a combination of traditional morality and justice. This complex harks back to the already mentioned ideas of communalism and the "collective salvation", characteristic of Orthodoxy in general and in particular Russian Orthodoxy.
For the past few centuries, the formation of the social ethic (that is, the socialization of Orthodoxy) has occurred in Russia with difficulties, failures and stops. Gradually, as it should be, it has spread to all parts of society.
This point is conveyed much clearer if we compare it with the Protestant world. Just like its Orthodox counterpart, the Protestant Ethic encompasses both religious and social ethics. Essentially, the expansion of the Slavophiles’ concepts of "communalism" and "community" had about the same effect as that of Luther's translation of the Bible, in which Beruf concepts started to denote inner-saving penance (both "profession" and "higher calling").
But this analogy, of course, is incomplete. It includes one glaring difference: the socialization of religion in Russia was not accompanied by a religious reformation. Nor could it be accompanied by a view where conditions for "religious wars" and burgher beliefs are absent. Our situation in this sense was simpler: it was a "Christianization" of social relations. The Orthodox Catechism did not change as long as the process kept moving away from the Church and to the rest of society, not vice versa (the "culturalization" of Catholicism is a similar phenomenon).
Wrong are those who see signs of religious reformation in the works of Slavophiles. The wrongful will claim that the expanding understanding of collegiality was coined by Slavophiles out of thin air. Equally questionable is the opinion that the new collegiality reflected the people's submission to autocracy, a slave consciousness, etc.
The collegiality principle took root in Russian secular tradition long before the autocracy and Slavophiles. The latter only emphasized the connection between the church and secular content. For example, academic M.V. Shakhmatov found articles pointing to the origins of collegiality in the annals of the pre-Mongol period (see: Shakhmatov M.V. Experiences on the History of Ancient Russian Political Ideas. Prague, 1927. Vol.1. C.1).
In other words, collegiality and the Orthodox Ethic do not belong to the empirical idea, but the folk one.
Relatively speaking, the Orthodox Ethic began to penetrate the secular society’s subconscious and determine social relations long ago, which was large aided by the Slavophile philosophy.
Unfortunately, the socialization of religion and the formation of Orthodox Ethic aggressively put the brakes on many stages in Russian history (The Time of Troubles, Raskol (Church Schism), the reforms of Peter I, the coup of 1917, new colonization after 1991). But in spite of this deceleration, the socialization of religion and the formation of a national ethic became irreversible. It can only end united with the nation.
Along with this, it is perfectly clear that a nation cannot exist on a contractual basis, as claimed by classical liberalism. Furthermore, a nation cannot exist as a kind of political "project" (neo-liberal doctrine). Without traditional ethics, the puzzle does not come together as a prosperous political system. The government either falls or lives off the oppression of its own people. The task of conservatives is to change this scenario. That is why traditional ethics must be the basis of Russian neo-conservatism. It is an important and necessary element of the social-conservative political concept.
Many historians and sociologists associate an annoying stereotype to collegiality, Christian ethics, and conservative socialism. These are oftentimes considered as purely historical archaic, deeply-soil Russian phenomena, evidenced by backwardness and the "Asiatic" way.
A reproach is quite reasonable. The conservative principle of socialism is not specific to Russia. Nor is it any more archaic than morality homo homini lupus est, the inherent adherents of market fundamentalism.
The most important factor is that Europe has and always had its own collegiality.
For example, Social-Conservatism in Germany is tied with the Gemeinschaft ideals of "community and society."
Obviously collegiality is in the German language when we turn to encyclopedia compilers.
The term Gemeinschaft is usually translated as "community," as opposed to Gesellschaft, or "society" ("association"). Society, which is characterized by Gemeinschaft, is a relationship, homogeneous, largely based on kinship and organic relationships and differs from moral solidarity, which is often based on a common religious feeling. This relationship is destroyed in the division of labor, the growth of individualism and competition, i.e. in the development process of Gesellschaft. If Gemeinschaft is viewed by F. Tennisom as an expression of a genuine, organized life (Toennies, 1887), then Gesellschaft is an artificial social order based on conflict of egotistical selfishness.
A comprehensive definition. When looking at the difference between the two comparable Russian and German ideals and traditions, it is easy to see that conservative socialism is not an exclusively Russian invention. Nor is it only the "Russian way" that the concept of community can fill the political categories of conservatism.
Similar processes in the minds of the Russian and German nations run parallel but are not dependent on one another. They are absolutely on equal footing.
This fact gives us the exact formula of Europeanism, incomprehensible to Russian Westerners. Something similar could be seen in other nations’ developments, but there cannot be a deliberate imitation. Where there is no similarity (i.e. something in Germany does not resemble in England), there is no need to invent it. Otherwise, we will get the output of the very "pseudomorphs', of which Oswald Spengler wrote.
It is remarkable that as acute as it is in Russia, the "rural Brotherhood" and its loss was experienced especially in Germany, a country that Europe perceived as a kind of stepchild of the Western world.
It seems that the more ‘peripheral’ a country is, not just geographically, but politically, the more distinctive the convergence in political poles becomes.
The notion of Gemeinschaft in Germany became relevant again between World War I and World War II, in the wake of the so-called "conservative revolution" that sought to pull the German nation from the grip of the Anglo-American bourgeois civilization. At this time, Gemeinschaft had been applied to the relationships among former soldiers. Fans of German social-conservatism had already spoken about the military brotherhood, which once and for all, even in peacetime, superseded any caste walls. In 1919, Oswald Spengler called these ideas "the cries of hatred" in his book Prussianism and Socialism. But it also gave rise to a movement which developed a unity of conservatism and socialism. And the Gemeinsshaft used here in opposition to liberalism and that "domestic England" (Spengler’s term) that led to Germany’s defeat in World War I
The ideas of the German "conservative revolution" were popularized by both average writers such as Ernst Jünger and future classics by Thomas Mann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Incidentally, the first concepts of the "conservative revolution" were used by Thomas Mann in his introduction to the anthology of Russian writers in 1921, borrowing it from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Diary of a Writer. Mann believed that the term "conservative revolution" emerged in the context of Slavophile thought and completely belonged to Dostoyevsky. Interestingly enough, the Russian writer recognized social conservatism as ideologically akin to German social conservatism in its blooming phase.
In the article Reflections of the Apolitical, Mann quotes Dostoevsky, reflecting on the union of Germany and Russia against the Anglo-Saxon world of utilitarianism and asks "Do we not have our own Slavophiles and Westerners?" Answering this question in the affirmative, Mann admits that deutsche Sapadniki wished for a total change in the national character of Germans. And writing in English: "The world is rapidly becoming English."
This story is familiar to every Russian using Russian history as an example.
In Germany, just like in Russian, the genesis of left-wing conservatism came from two sides. The oncoming traffic from the social-democrats’ side was quite evident. Publicist Armen Moller noted that amongst the representatives of the conservative revolution were "leftists from the right," and also "rightists from the left." And uniting them was their rejection not only of liberalism, but of "old" conservatism. These new conservatives did not suffer from a special nostalgia for the monarchy and Kaiser. Class prejudices were also alien to them after being eliminated the brotherhood of the frontline (see. more info: Rutkiewicz AM Conservatives of the Twentieth Century. Moscow: Publishing House of People's Friendship University, 2006). The connection of socialist and conservative ideas can be observed in right-wing Social Democrats, the political vector described in Johann Plenge’s book 1789 and 1914: The Symbolic Years in the History of the Political Mind.
The development of the left-conservative ideas is easily found in the works of Max Scheler and Werner Zombart. Scheler’s article Christian Socialism as Anti-Capitalism discusses "anti-capitalist politics, proletariat nations and "Anglo-American capitalism."
After World War II, the problem of the left-wing conservative alliance was not solved. In the 1960s, liberalism was criticized from both the right and left, in particular by the representatives of the Frankfurt school. Frankfurt Neo-Marxists wrote scandalous articles about the collapse of the "Enlightenment project" and made it clear that the Enlightenment’s ideology itself was the essence of a religious utopia but rational in form. (see .: M. Horkheimer, Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment T. M.: Yuventa, 1997). Liberalism was once again caught between two fires.
But this was only the echo of a previous triumph.
The conservative movement in Germany was halted by the Nazis’ rise to power. The National Socialists tried to establish a dialogue with the Conservatives, but the latter flatly rejected this possibility and were accused of "decadence" (in particular, The Decline of the West was deemed a "decadent" and harmful book in 1930s Germany).
This story in particular resembles the Russia’s situation: In Russia the conservative socialism tradition was destroyed ideologically and physically by the Bolsheviks.
What remains to reflect upon is who today prevents the left-wing conservative consensus into society. It is neither Nazis nor Bolsheviks, but liberals and faithful Communists. In many situations they surprisingly find a common tongue.
Nowadays the conservative ideal is not depleted. It will inevitably replace monetary feudalism, which degenerated into classical capitalism described by Karl Marx. The ideology that clothed the spirit of this system can be called market fundamentalism. And so an adequate response to it can only be given by left-wing conservatism. Especially since the neoliberal format in turn is trying to adapt to the changes of the near future and admits a conservative rhetoric in safe doses, similar to a vaccination.
This process could possibly follow the example of American neo-conservatism, reflecting the interests of the global energy lobbyists (the financial sector is traditionally supported by Democrats)
The concept of "Integrated conservatism" is not new (see Remizov M. Conservatism Today: An Analytical Overview // www.apn.ru/publications/article1748.htm), but it is important to fill it with appropriate content. The basis of this content, as has been said, are as follows: Russian neo-conservatism holds a moderate socialist sense. It will have to incorporate both traditional moral values and the idea of social justice. The inevitability of such a merger is dictated by internal and external factors: the Russian tradition and political logic of the last few decades.
The formation of the left-wing conservative idea is possible on the basis of a national social-ethics model that is described by the formula "the Orthodox Ethic and the spirit of social solidarity."
Clearly two tasks stand in front of social-conservatives. First, to return to the idea of social justice, which remains a monopoly in the hands of Communists. Second, seize the semantic power of the liberals and presence in the media.
Solving the first task is much easier than the second one.
How quickly the program will be put into practice, only the near future will say.