Civilizational Racism and Reasonability of Historical Research Based on the Civilizational Approach
ABSTRACT: The article considers the influence of civilizational racism ideas on the universalist and civilizational approaches to historical studies. According to the author, the Anglo-American hegemony in the sphere of culture, politics and science serves to devalue both approaches and disagrees with the requirements of pure science. Civilizational racism is viewed as the result of the secular transformation of Anglo-Saxon Protestantism and its interaction with colonial practices. According to the logic of the article, the Anglo-Saxon version of racism is seen as a model for the entire Western society. It is distinguished by the myths of civilizational superiority, the principle of extraterritorial cratocracy, sacred violence with the sacred sacrifice chosen from among ‘non-conventional subjects’, the principle of ‘economy of effort’ and the idea of civilizing mission. Civilizational racism is seen as a cultural metanarrative and ‘a privileged entity’. The future will see the inevitable decline of Anglo-American hegemony and the loss of historic resources by the social models based on the racist ideology. Simultaneously, we are going to witness the increasing importance of the civilizational approach in connection with the trend involving the macroregionalization of world processes.
KEY WORDS: hegemony, colonialism, cultural and historical subject, macroregionalization, metanarrative, non-conventional subject, neocolonialism, Pan-Americanism, Pan- Anglicism, Protestantism, sacred violence, civilizational racism, extraterritorial cratocracy
Intercultural and intercivilizational relations have always provoked discussion. Claims to the knowledge of the universal laws of society development and the exact location of the ‘right side of history’ are bound to generate a counter reaction in the face of demands for cultural and historical pluralism and respect for the right to individually interpret the historical process and the ways of progress. The two points of view seem to balance each other.
‘Conflict’, ‘cooperation’, ‘dialogue’. Common modalities in the understanding of civilizational and intercultural relations, they still harbor certain stereotypes and taboo topics. The concepts of ‘discrimination’ and ‘violation of rights’, for example, tend to pertain to national, ethnic and religious subjects, but not to cultural and historical ones. There are also complications arising from the reluctance to formalize the concept of ‘civilization’, a desire to marginalize the topic and the denial of a number of important problems, such as the problem of civilizational racism, which is to be discussed later.
Here, a number of problems arise from the fact that certain areas of modernist sociology seem to possess unjustified theoretical privileges. The standard they set either declared cultural and historical problems as patriarchal and outdated, or, in the true constructivist spirit, denied the ontological character of cultural and historical subjects by presenting them as artificially constructed ‘imaginary communities’.
The state of socio-humanitarian knowledge, however, is inevitably affected, by the onset of the disintegration of the dominant neo-liberal ideology. Thus, a state of temporary, but in its own way rewarding, theoretical confusion is created.
A shift of both ideological and theoretical paradigm is therefore only a matter of time, not of principle. This suggests a new agenda in particular, the growing public and scientific interest in civilizational or macro-regional (not to be confused with regionalist) discourse. The interest, of course, is connected with the demise of the unipolar world, the coming cultural, national, political and economic regionalization, and with the inevitable appearance in the future world order of several monetary, economic and technological zones with distinct traditions of production, consumption, values and way of life. In the context of de-globalization, the historical boundaries of cultural areas or macro-regions are gaining in importance. Compared to both mondialist and local regionalist projects, this factor is achieving greater significance.
The coming time of ‘big regions’ or macro-regions raises the importance of civilizational problems.
Within this framework, we cannot overlook the issue of cultural and (or) civilizational racism, considered to be the most radical form of hegemony and dependency in the modern world.
Meanwhile, the cultural and civilizational relations discourse still follows an outdated scheme, ignoring sharp angles and inconvenient issues, including the question of civilizational (cultural) racism. Yet this is the situation that will inevitably change in the interests of present and future research.
Let us accept as the working definition of a cultural and historical subject that such a subject is determined by the sum of stable components (to use A.M. Panchenko’s term, topoi) that constitute a people’s picture of the world (since we are talking about the cultural and linguistic picture of the world, the conceptual sphere of the language of this people is of great significance). These components express themselves differently in various historical contexts and periods (compare sobornost (collegiality), community and the spontaneous Soviet collectivism, the hidden religiosity of the Russian community and the chiliastic nature of the system of values of the Russian intelligentsia), while cultural topoi remain constant, and only their historical forms change.
This definition does not reject the understanding of history as a single global process. Yet it is only possible to discuss it seriously and to productively search for its driving forces and generating factors if none of the cultures dominates others by playing the cultural hegemon with ‘ready answers’ to ideological questions, or tries to present its vision of the historical process and its conceptual framework as universal.
Yet, the state of the intellectual community is still naturally far from this ideal and does not allow us to take a position of pure analysis in relation to history and society. In some cases, this fact is honestly recognized, in others it is carefully hushed up.
Even while defining the culture that he himself belonged to with the famous formula of ‘Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism,’ Max Weber thereby stressed that he was not talking about some kind of abstract and generalized evolution of social institutions in a certain general human dimension, but of a quite specific, cultural and historical situation.
Ever since, the liberal-capitalist system has been diligently presented as a kind of ‘gold standard’ for social and historical development. Along with the associated mythology, this utopia could easily be supported in the mass consciousness, so to speak, by contrast, against the background of the existing alternative the Soviet model. With that option gone, the neo-liberal universalist doctrine was increasingly questioned.
All civilizations have equal rights and each has its own laws of development. And yet, due to political, economic and cultural dependence that exists in the modern world, the development of some is hampered by the accelerated development of others. As the twentieth century proved, including peripheral economies in the existing system of the world division of labor serves to preserve their backwardness. Here, the potential of different cultures is kept in check by the unifying influence of the global model created in the interests of Anglo-American culture.
It would be interesting to trace how this has manifested at the level of ideology, especially in recent decades.
As a rule, the culture insisting on the universalist interpretation of history is the one having the upper hand at the given historical moment.
In the 1960s, the civilizational approach was more characteristic for the Western liberalism discourse. It was strongly criticized by Soviet historians as extremely reactionary. In the 1990s, the situation changed: liberal universalism gave rise to the idea of the end of history, and Nikolai Danilevsky and Oswald Spengler ‘returned’ to the everyday life of social science in Russia. This short period, however, ended with an unexpected change of position.
After the promised ‘end of history’ failed to take place, the idea was replaced by the concept of ‘conflict of civilizations’ created by Samuel Huntington [Huntington, 2014]. Thus the priority of civilizational characteristics was recognized in a purely negative form as a basis for conflict and superiority, rather than for mutual respect and equality.
This turn had served to mark a certain shift a departure from enlightened humanism and the search for new symbolic domination means which would either support the modernist project or help to dismantle it in a way that would be more beneficial to the dominant political groups.
The scientific community faced the partial rehabilitation of civilizational socio-historical approach with contradictory reactions. As the Russian philosopher A. S. Panarin justly wrote, "a different – not ideological, but civilizational essence of the global conflict, which used to be ideologically stylized, came to be exposed... The civilizational paradigm prevailed, opening the way for the Western civilization to exclusively appropriate the concepts of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘civil society’ as their only authentic interpreter and carrier. The democratic rejection of totalitarianism resulted in the rejection of non-Western civilizations as suspicious in their very nature," [Panarin, 2003, 13-15].
While the civilizational approach may prove most relevant in the context of medium-term social change, its confrontational and racist format must be strongly opposed. Nevertheless, there are empirical grounds for the civilizational or cultural-historical direction of thought.
The world economy is highly likely to break into economic and monetary zones. It is hard to maintain cultural hegemony in this situation. Hence the desire of the political and ideological establishment to retreat to a prepared position, having cast off all liability for previous doctrines, to ‘jump out’ of the educational universalism paradigm and to shed the burden of responsibility.
This path will inevitably generate a new level of confrontation hence the multiplying ethnic and religious conflicts, successful (Ukraine) and failed (Turkey, Russia) coups d'état and civil wars initiated by external players.
There is a fairly clear understanding today that in the ideological space of the West, we are not dealing with ‘universal values’ as such, but with a certain (Atlanticist) interpretation of them. And this interpretation serves as the starting point of cultural hegemony.
The so-called modern universalism takes its origins in the Anglo-American version of Protestant culture, which assumes the role of the carrier of ‘universal’ definitions and insists on the knowledge of historical logic and universal values. In some respects, this position represents a classic case of ‘language theft’ described by Roland Barthes. A part impersonating a whole this is how the persistent Luciferian Atlanticism motive runs. This principle is concealed under a cloud of imaginary evidence generated by a set of cultural idioms.
The apparent universalism and superiority of the Anglo-American model of liberal capitalism still act as a metanarrative or, to use the terminology of the philosopher Jacques Derrida, as the ‘privileged signifier’ of the modern culture. Although the process of worship is increasingly gaining inertia, there are still symptoms of quasi-religious worship of the ‘titular’ culture in the politics of many countries.
Left-wing Western criticism often links Anglo-American hegemony with the ‘Roman’ style of thinking, which considers the dominant culture identical to culture as such, as, so to speak, the ‘cosmos’ of culture, and places those forms of human organization that do not fit into it into the sphere of cultural ‘chaos’, viewing them as manifestations of barbarism. This barbarism can be directly described with the racist vocabulary, including ‘Asian barbarians’, ‘Untermenschen’ and ‘flawed nations’. In other cases, the discriminating paradigm camouflages itself with a system of euphemisms, appealing to the authority of pure science, rationality, natural law, objective public good, and even some abstract ‘morality’. Then we hear talk of ‘tyranny’, ‘authoritarianism’, ‘immaturity of democratic institutions’, ‘hereditary slavery’ and ‘underdeveloped civil society’. Though tinted with the scientific style and (or) anti-tyranny 19th century romance, this terminology nevertheless performs the same function as the first set of lexical units.
The ultimate goal of both kinds of discourse is to legitimize the idea of domination, to justify the situation where one, supposedly more developed culture, can dictate its will to others, supposedly less developed, on the grounds of possessing higher ideals and being on the ‘right side of history’ (Barack Obama), etc. Naturally it is only one of the parties the dominant one that possesses the right to issue criteria for assessing the historical situation.
By discriminating against other cultural and historical actors, this situation devalues their cultural values and historical experience. This brings us to the cultural-racist complex of ideas, associated with Anglo-American messianism, and the ideas of global leadership and cultural and civilizational superiority.
The adherents of civilizational racism could still be reminded that the world history has seen Arab-centered and Spanish-centered eras, and that during the heyday of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, Europe used to be a de facto province of the Christian world. They may also consider the fate of the ‘first’ Rome. Yet every case of hegemony includes a psychological immortality complex: in their voluntary blindness they consider themselves eternal.
The source of modern racist mythology in general and civilizational racism in particular can be traced to certain features of the 17th century English Puritan mentality. It was at this time that the British began to develop the complex of exclusivity (let us not confuse the concept of civilizational exclusivity and civilizational uniqueness: all are unique in equal measure, and exclusivity implies superiority). As you can guess, this Puritan idea was directly related to the Calvinist doctrine of ‘saving the elect’ [Adamova, 2015, 62]. And yet, on the English ground this motif received a completely unique orchestration, in particular, the idea of the "‘exceptional’ role of England and the English people in the history of the Church" [Adamova, 2015, 106]. The interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon Puritans as the ‘new chosen people’ and America as the new ‘promised land’ continued the development of this idea in 1610-1620. Thus, it can be stated that the growth of messianism and ideas of religious superiority in the English consciousness was accompanied by a certain regression of religious thought, the strengthening of the old Testament motives and interpretations, a kind of hebraization.
New England 17th century historians (E. Johnson, W. Hubbard, C. Mather, and others) portrayed the colonists as ‘pious 'saints' who had by the will of God made their 'exodus' from England to save the true religion from the Antichrist.’
It is interesting that Puritans did not see the idea of ‘the second chosen people’ as either absurd or parodic. And yet it was the combination of the motif of ‘newly elected’ with the usual Christian ideological complex which allowed the idea of exclusivity and the special British mission in the Christian world to flourish on the British soil. At first, the mission was designated as the purification of Christianity from the influence of the Antichrist’s ideas. The Puritans frequently tended to liken their religious opponents with Satan.
More radical than regular Puritans, separatists emphasized the unity of the ‘true reformed churches’, seeking to separate themselves and their children from the ‘false churches’.
Strangely enough, the motives of ‘exodus’, ‘the promised land’ and ‘the city on the hill’, were used directly as a basis for the appropriation of the Indian lands and at the same time as a metaphor for the internal ‘way to salvation’.
The 17th century Puritans believed that the Lord had signed a ‘Covenant’ with the British people, thereby distinguishing the English among the European peoples as His favorites. This ‘exclusivity’, along with God-given power, was simultaneously interpreted as a burden of responsibility before other nations. It is hard to refrain from drawing parallels with the 20th century American radical Protestantism, in particular, with the Dispensationalist movement, which again gave the Anglo-American Protestants the status of the ‘second chosen people’, and to America the idea of ‘Manifest Destiny’.
Strictly speaking, after the ‘exodus’ to America, the English way of thinking becomes the Anglo-American way of thinking.
Around the same time, we see the appearance of the first signs of the secularization of the Puritan doctrine. For example, the historian J. Bancroft, the founder of the ‘romantic’ school of American historiography, described Puritanism in the 17th century as ‘the forerunner of democracy’, since it was based not on the clergy, but on the ‘Christian people’, which ultimately placed political sovereignty as the highest religious value [Adamova, 2015, 53], even though it was linked it with the old Testament social ideal. Meanwhile, an expansionist attitude was forming. As historians of the 17th-18th centuries used to joke, ‘a Puritan who does not meddle in other people's affairs is an oxymoron’.
Gradually, the British principles of thinking based on the myths of superiority, messianism, social Darwinism and progressive universalism, became a common ideological background and the environment in which the European and American public and political consciousness came to be formed. This is especially evident in the context of colonialist policy.
Materials from the well-known book by Manuel Sarkisyants, The English Roots of German Fascism: from the British to the Austro-Bavarian Master Race [Sarkisyants, 2003], allow us to discuss racism as a phenomenon that, having had British roots, went on to become a synthetic phenomenon of the Western culture in general.
As early as in the Kaiser's Germany, policies already came to imitate British strategies. And it did not only apply to administrative and military measures in the colonies the impact was much deeper, it was about multi-dimensional racist thinking. As Karl Peters, one of the first German statesmen in charge of the colonial policy in Africa, stated: "I have always referred to British colonial policy as the most important factor" [Sarkisyants, 2003, 30]. He admired the fact that "many hundreds of thousands of people in England can enjoy their leisure time, because they have millions of representatives of other races working for them" <...> "what is happening in the British Empire is always of the primary interest to us: they are... our mentors..." – sums up Karl Peters. According to his words, his very outlook had formed during his sojourn in England that had helped him to become a major politician: "Every day of my stay in the city of London... gave me a new concrete lesson in colonial policy." [Sarkisyants, 2003, 30].
According to M. Sarkisyants, Adolf Hitler was ready to admit that his policy had been built on English models. As he said in 1935, "Only I, like the British, have enough brutality to get things done" ... "Our goal is not Danzig, he said on May 23, 1939. – Our goal is to expand the living space in the East", which he called The German India, adding: "I admire the English people. They have done unbelievable things in the sphere of colonization". [Sarkisyants, 2003, 32].
Note that the Hitler military-political coalition included more than 20 states, most of them European. As for the confrontation between England and the United States on the one hand and Germany on the other in World War II, it is obvious that it had been situational and not ideological, and had only been retroactively framed as allegedly ideological after the collapse of the Reich in 1945 for propaganda purposes, in the interests of a new information war and to counter the Soviet influence.
Among the British elites, the national and racial superiority idea possesses very clear and unambiguous social content. In this regard, M. Sarkisyants mentions the semantic bridge between ethnic and social racism. He notes that back in 1850, "Edinburgh professor of anatomy Robert Knox... began to attribute to the Irish a number of qualities incompatible with the features of the middle class", thereby defining the Irish (and Celts in a wider sense) as an economically inadequate race. According to Knox, the Celtic race of Ireland was the source of all the country’s problems... This race should have been banished from the land... they had to go. This had to be done for the safety of England.
The racist model of ideology has thus since the nineteenth century been a two-element structure, consisting of the British invariant and a pan-European set of variations on a common ideological theme. And we do not discuss any separate say, national-ethnic kind of racism, which Germany specialized in in the 1930-40s, but multidimensional, combined, integral racism, including cultural and civilizational varieties.
The image of the world and a person within an Atlanticist type ideology is easily recognizable. The Atlanticist social doctrine consists of several components:
• utilitarianism, declaring the public good to come from self-interested competition;
• positivism, believing that things ‘explain themselves’;
• progressivism, believing in the total universal Progress and ‘progress in general’;
• the Protestant idea of being the ones chosen for salvation, turned in the secular form into a cult of hoarding and justification of inequality;
• social Darwinism and malthusianism, asserting the benefits of natural selection in society and the useless character of ‘redundant’ people;
• gnosticism of technocracy, believing in secret knowledge possessed by a narrow circle of priests, experts, technocrats;
• the principle of status consumption, forming the ‘ego machine’ or ‘desire factory’ personality type.
Together, this basic set of ideas gives the Atlanticist technocratic elite a sacred sanction to unlimited socio-political violence. The French philosopher Rene Girard drew attention to this phenomenon back in the 1970s, calling it ‘sacred violence’. His motivic complex includes the ‘sacred victim’ figure, usually chosen from the enemies of the ruling world order who have committed actual or imaginary ‘crimes against humanity’ Milosevic, Gaddafi, Hussein, sometimes whole nations (Serbian or Russian), and sometimes single people guilty of having harmed the interests of Atlanticism, like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
The sacred victim must suffer damage, serving the good of others in this way. Hence the racist complex of ideas displayed by the dispatchers of the Atlanticist project.
The Atlanticist discourse contains a racist matrix (‘civilized’ and ‘uncivilized’ parts of the world), and this matrix is reproduced many times in the process of cultural communication. Its historical forms change, but the content remains unchanged.
It should be noted that in the moral and ethical sense, this phenomenon is a complete 'opposite' of Christian morality. Not only does it have little in common with Christianity (like Eastern religions), it deliberately opposes it on contradictio in contrarium principle, referring to neo-pagan antiquity, which classifies it as post-Christian.
One of the notable features of the Anglo-Saxon mentality and culture is the Protestant ideal of ‘saving effort’. This ideal is a form of socialization that belonged to English Protestantism. In its later development, this phenomenon gave rise to some peculiar forms of civil religion, which used the Christian set of symbols, but were very far from Christian values. According to the spirit of this mytho-religious phenomenon, grace spreads along with investment, and the rise and fall of stock exchange and economic conjuncture, including the proverbial ‘invisible hand of the market’ act as a substitute for Providence.
This mypho-religious complex became superimposed by educational messianism, understood as the need to civilize the savages, regardless of their faith (‘white person's burden’). The result of the synthesis of this utilitarian quasi-religiousity and enlightening messianism was somewhat expected.
The ‘effort saving’ (economic austerity) principle came to be perceived by the elites in the most comfortable and cost-effective sense of shifting these efforts onto the representatives of the uncivilized part of humanity, the barbarians. Their true service to God, so to speak, was in freeing the white person from his burdens. The colonialist ideal thus came to be realized in its most perfect and developed form in the course of the history of Anglo-Saxon Protestantism.
Colonization under the guise of catechism was the next step in the transformation of European religiosity. The decisive role in this substitution was played by a parody form of the Old Testament motif of the chosen people.
It was within the framework of this semantics, that the superiority myths, which marked the European form of the Roman disease colonialism and racism in all forms civilizational, cultural, religious, social and, finally, national-ethnic (with the idea of the ‘master race’), were formed.
As Alexander Panarin wrote on the topic, "they had replaced the noble openness of the Enlightenment with the esotericism of 'democratic' racism, associated with the belief that democracy had its own type of mentality that characterized the European 'white person' [Panarin, 2003, 15]
It is still, in fact, a big question whether the ‘noble openness of Enlightenment’ had existed in actual social practices, apart from philosophical writings and political declarations. In any case, colonial expansion coexists very poorly not only with Christian morality, but even with the spirit of the philosophy of Enlightenment, which declares the kingdom of reason, ‘freedom, equality and brotherhood’.
This complex of ideas equates ‘Christianity’ to the ancient idea of a ‘higher civilization’, which spawns the ‘Roman disease’ of the West and widens the gap with its own inherent Christian tradition.
Civilizational racism is linked to colonialist discourse. In the conditions of Anglo-Protestant domination, the colonialist model of a divided society is the most important cultural code.
During the period of romantic British imperialism, the colonialist discourse was based on the idea of the civilizing mission of ‘educating the peoples’. It was assumed that European domination, external control and interference in the life of the colonies ultimately performed a beneficial, ‘civilizing’ and educational role.
The concept of terra nullius (‘no man's land’), which opened the possibility for Britain and other European countries to appropriate the lands of non-Christian peoples on a ‘legal’ basis, should be considered the legal formalization of colonialist policy, especially since there was a direct semantic and logical substitution of concepts: colonization came to replace catechism. It is interesting that even in the course of the notorious legal processes in the United States in the twentieth century, plaintiffs from Indian tribes failed to achieve the abolition of this principle and the recognition of the fact that their lands had been seized illegally.
‘Workhouses’, described by the English classics, and the enclosing policy of Henry VIII, which had led to ruin and hunger among the peasants, can be considered compact local versions of social slavery. More striking examples of racist policies are the suppression of the Sepoy uprising in India and the opium wars in China. Civilizers sincerely believed Indian, Native American, Chinese and black people to be inferior in terms of rights and interests. In certain situations, however, the role of sacred victims could be assigned even to their Irish neighbors, who could be sold into slavery during the religious wars in the 17th century.
The colonialism ideology changed during the Boer war. It became necessary to gradate the actual colonialist practices Boer and British into ‘bad’ and ‘good’. It was for this very purpose that the natural law regulation (‘protection of rights and freedoms’) discourse came to be used for the first time to defend a territorial war, waged with not only purely military but also punitive measures. It was in the Boer war that the British introduced the practice of concentration camps, subsequently borrowed from them by the Germans and Austrian-Hungarians in World War I, and then by the Bolsheviks and national socialists.
At the next stage of European history, the colonialist code took the form of Nazi ‘human material’ gradation on a racial and ethnic basis. While colonialist policies became imbued with Nazi ideas, including the ‘Eastern problem’, racial war and ethnic cleansing, some European peoples came to find themselves in the position previously reserved to peoples of the world's periphery.
The forms of racism that have been gaining momentum over the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century (the late modernity or post-modernity era), are cultural and civilizational. The place of the former ‘biologically inferior peoples’ has now been taken by ‘enemies of the world democracy’, ‘closed totalitarian societies’ and peoples who are supposedly ‘defective’ in civil-political terms. This trend was clearly manifested in the Ukrainian policy towards the Russian minority, supported by the Anglo-American political class.
This phenomenon appears to be somewhat similar to the ideology of the first stage of colonization, except that it now involves other methods. The role of the main objects of neo-colonialist practices is here fulfilled by the kind of non-conventional subjects we have already mentioned so-called ‘enemies of the world democracy’ that are unable to reproduce the political and legal standards prescribed by the hegemon, and profess ‘totalitarian values’.
It is equally obvious that the social ideology, tailored to British models, is largely at odds with social reality.
The anti-totalitarian rhetoric of today, for example, is in itself totalitarian both in style and objectives. It is used in particular to abolish the social guarantees in society and for the purposes of social control and military-political expansion.
The main feature of the racist model of ideology may be the fundamental difference between the liberal concepts and concrete historical practice. For instance, the Englishman John Locke, one of the key figures of Enlightenment, the philosophy of freedom classic and the civil society and lawful democratic state theorist, justified the colonists seizing land from North American Indians, and personally engaged in the slave trade.
This chapter in the history of British thought serves to show that from the outset, the Anglo-Saxon concept of society and state had admitted the possibility and even the necessity to pass the burden of non-freedom and injustice on to someone else within the framework of the ‘philosophy of freedom’, to include in the draft a sacrificial victim, permissible to use in this capacity in accordance to the ‘economy of effort’ principle.
The right to this action is initially justified in a Messianic way: colonization is presented as the right to ‘civilize’, the possibility for development and the need to pay for it. In a paradoxical image of ‘Worldwide University of Freedom’, the tuition fee appears to be paid in freedom itself, the smaller imperfect here-and-now kind of freedom, but real freedom nonetheless.
It therefore becomes necessary to justify the permissibility of the paradoxical principle within this logic coercion (non-freedom) for the sake of freedom (cf. ‘coercion for peace’, ‘humanitarian bombing’, etc.).
As a rule, it is argued with fatalistic discourse about the natural prerequisites and ‘inevitability’ of the existing order of things, certain subject’s unwillingness to receive equal status and the need for inequality for the sake of the subject’s development. Finally, as the most radical option, there’s the need to prevent the ‘threat’ to the world order, coming from a potential sacred victim (residents of the former USSR, the former Yugoslavia, the former New Russia, Muslims, Christians, the so-called ‘populists’ and supporters of ‘immature’ democracy, xenophobes, ‘deplorants’ and so on.). Another interesting way to justify global scale inequality is to divide societies into ‘open’ and ‘closed’. This idea belongs to Karl Popper, one of the key figures of the English analytical philosophy. De facto, the ‘open’ ones had the right to use the resources of the ‘closed’ ones and actively exploited it.
At this stage, the racist myth is already easily discerned in the Atlanticism apologists’ semantics. Studying this discourse, it is necessary to analyze the Atlanticist interpretation of freedom as a controversial concept that requires an apophatic approach. It is otherwise impossible to understand how it combines a universal character with different degrees of freedom for different actors (the racist attitude). This line of analysis reveals to us an interesting phenomenon of the splitting of the Atlanticist consciousness, and the mechanisms for masking the fact of this splitting.
Although it is psychologically difficult to admit, objectively this situation turns the bearers of the dominant culture into the beneficiaries of a racist project that makes use of the civilizational rent extraction mechanism.
The functioning of this mechanism requires inter-cultural and inter-civilizational relations, built on the principle of interaction between the educator and the pupil, vassal and master, ‘savage’ and ‘civilizer’. In other words, the victim is required to voluntarily consent to the role.
Economically, this kind of agreement translates as a willingness to take a place at the very bottom of the goods exchange and production chains, consent to carry out unequal exchange and to occupy an unprofitable niche in the global division of labor, along with a willingness to serve as a raw material appendage or a computer ‘assembly shop’. These are the goals of anti-protectionist policy and the export of capital, which in the dependent countries becomes invested in the securities of the dominant subjects, instead of national science, education and industry.
Naturally, the civilizational rent mechanism includes myths of the cultural, civilizational, social, religious and ethnic superiority of the Atlanticist project. The system will not work without this lever. This ideology relies on the infantilization of dependent societies, by laying on them the burden of ‘historical guilt’ for some past events, for example. The feeling of collective guilt paralyzes their ability to generate their own historical meanings. Without such ideological dependency, the extraction of rent becomes prohibitively expensive, calling for such measures as, for example, long-term military occupation. This is an equally possible and frequently practiced scenario. But in such cases, as a rule, the project loses its profitability for one side and psychological attractiveness for the other.
An important feature of political models based on pan-Anglism and pan-Americanism is the principle of extraterritorial cratocracy, or the application of the laws and regulations, (legal, political, and so on) of the dominant country outside the territory of this country.
The principles of Anglo-American extraterritorial cratocracy are there for everyone to see in open discourse, reflected in the ideas and principles of the military-political strategy of American elites, such as ‘global domination’ or ‘global control’.
The Atlanticist criteria prevail in the interpretation of the concepts of ‘standards of democracy’ and ‘human rights’. In the same way, the priorities of the professional human rights defenders from other countries always ‘happen’ to coincide with the position of the US and UK foreign ministries.
The continental Europe and the Anglo-American world differ significantly in terms of civilization. This is manifested at the level of thinking, philosophical traditions, jurisprudence peculiarities and linguistic concepts and schools.
For a philologist, the deep philosophical differences between, for example, European structuralism and the Anglo-American logical analysis of language, the theory of speech acts, are obvious. Where the French studied semantic resources of the language, semiotics, the British logical positivism called to formalize natural languages with the help of logic. It was for this purpose that the method of protocol sentences and ‘overcoming metaphysics by means of the philosophy of language’ were proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein and Rudolf Carnap respectively. What this English way actually meant was a mathematical transformation of the language, turning it from an instrument of the human mind into an instrument of artificial intelligence.
At the same time, the winning worldwide social management idea of a ‘digital society’ is but another version of the artificial intelligence idea, which does not provide for serious scientific verification.
This comparison makes it clear how deeply the ideas of the Atlanticist world order and attitude to a person have penetrated into the cultural space of continental Europe and the rest of the world. Since ‘language is the house of being’ (Martin Heidegger) and a social institution, it reflects the ways of structuring of the collective consciousness, including the state of other social institutions. Thus, we can state that the carriers of the Anglo-American cultural and linguistic picture of the world had succeeded at imposing it on the rest of the world at the level of management practices.
That, for example, is the reason why the importance of scientific texts is determined on the basis of their citation index in English sources.
It is easy to trace the forced borrowing of socially significant English idioms in the mass media. In keeping with the traditions of Anglo-American culture, the term ‘technocrat’, for example, is used without adjustment for cultural differences, as something unconditionally positive as opposed to neutral and has no alternative in the form of an equally neutral antonym (‘pneumocrat’, ‘sensocrat’ etc.).
The number of such idioms, irrelevant in the context of Russian culture and socio-institutional environment and reflecting the Anglo-American socio-cultural experience, is growing. The situation with English idioms and terminology is reminiscent of the one described by George Orwell in his famous novel 1984, where a special totalitarian language – Ingsoc – serves as the conductor of repressive cultural practices. There is historic irony in the fact that it is actually English, or rather the idioms and specialized vocabulary of the ‘digital age’ English, that now fulfills the role of such a language.
The inadequacy of this stillborn phenomenon is palpable even for the layman. It is obvious that its expansion into everyday speech generates a serious failure in the national cultural genesis, as it serves to reflect the semantics of the global rather than the national cultural space.
The neo-colonialism phenomenon should be considered as a separate aspect of civilizational racism in the 20th-21st centuries. It has economic, political and cultural forms. The ways in which this ideology is manifested in the sphere of the world economy have been accurately described by the representatives of the school of world-system analysis (WSA), in the framework of the ‘centre-periphery’, ‘unequal exchange’, ‘unequal specialization’, and ‘hierarchy of goods exchange’ concepts [Wallerstein, 2008].
We should also mention the ‘paternalistic colonialism’ phenomenon that had emerged earlier in the 19th century as ideological replacement for military intervention, since the latter hindered the economic activity in the dependent countries and reduced the size of colonial rent and had thus in some cases lost profitability for economic center countries.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, this phenomenon began to develop in the neo-colonialist format. This gave rise to orientalist cultural discourse, presenting a distorted image of the world periphery, in particular, exaggerated forms of ‘patriarchy’ on the one hand, and Westernization on the other, which the political elites imposed not only on the Western culture, but also on the periphery itself. As a rule, these images are meant to displace ideas pertaining to the internal, immanent evolution of peripheral countries and their ‘own way of modernization’.
All this ensures trouble-free extraction of civilizational rent and the export of capital and resources. Assimilation, therefore, should neither stop nor reach a logical conclusion.
The Anglo-Saxon version of civilizational racism should be considered a model for the entire modern era Western society. In some way or other, this invariant of ideology was included and reproduced in different variations in almost all modernist origin ideologies of the 19th-20th centuries.
The racist idea of exclusivity and superiority has existed through several periods: the religious one (17th century), overlapped with the colonialism period (despite the collapse of the colonial system, colonialism as an ideology has survived to the twenty-first century), then Nazism (the first half of the twentieth century, beginning with the Austro-Hungarian and Ukrainian genocide of Ruthenians and ending with the German Nazism of the ‘third Reich’), and finally, cultural and civilizational racism, the dominant form during the period of the Cold War, the end of the 20th and especially in the beginning of the 21st century.
One of the most pressing issues in the near future is going to be repentance for colonialism, in particular since the regimes associated with liberal capitalism and European patronage were established by ethnic cleansing, and in some cases genocide. There is a number of important modern historiography topics, which have not been sufficiently explored, including the history of Opium wars in China (anti-British uprisings due to the opium trade enforced by the Empire), the genocide of Orthodox Ruthenians in Austria-Hungary, the revival of slavery and the use of Osten (immigrants from the Eastern territories) slave labor in Nazi Germany, as well as the Anglo-German ideological continuity. So far, these and similar topics have been largely tabooed.
The over-formal and largely feigned condemnation of Nazism, the superficial and historically reversible practice of ‘denazification’ (former Reich officials, especially military ones, were known to hold office in new European administrative structures, and such uncomfortable topics as, for example, the use of slave labor of the Slavs in Hitler's Germany, were simply hushed up) are explained by the fact that they were carried out by political circles ideologically close to Nazism and only under the pressure of local historical circumstances the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War.
After the collapse of the socialist project, the need to condemn the national racist ideology had virtually ceased to exist. This has predictably led to the radicalization of culture-racist ideology, as well as the revival and rehabilitation of the Nazi one in the early 21st century.
We may also mention the growing popularity of Nazism in Eastern Europe, for example, in Latvia with its transition first to a policy of cultural, linguistic and legal discrimination (the introduction of ‘non-citizens’ status for ‘non-indigenous nationality’), and then to a policy of direct political repression and military genocide, closely connected with the Ukrainian events. In the similar way, the Kiev authorities and the Patriarch of Constantinople have now succeeded in their joint effort to spread the latter trend into the sphere of religion.
It is imperative to understand that cultural and historical equality is the basic condition for discussing the possibility of historical universalism. And though the need for this dialogue is constantly growing, this condition remains unfulfilled.
Different cultural and historical subjects, or actors, are still placed in different ‘weight categories’, according to their ideological and cultural influence. This situation cannot be considered normal either within the framework of science or in terms of world stability, and it is extremely unfavorable for dialogue and for solving inter-civilizational problems. During the current transition period, the prognostic task of the research approach is to anticipate the coming events and to model both possible development options and attractive processes within the framework of the new, closest to us on the timeline, social reality.
The weakening of pan-Anglism and pan-Americanism, along with the decline of Anglo-American cultural hegemony and the recognition that the racist ideology-based social models have lost their historical resource, seem inevitable in the medium historic term. This will be followed by the Western society’s painful but necessary repentance of colonialism and racism.
Until very recently, the concept of ‘cultural paradigm’ was largely associated with the idea of changing historical eras and with the features and style of each era, for example, ‘the paradigm of Enlightenment’, ‘the paradigm of the medieval world’ and ‘the paradigm of modernity’. The main aspect of the concept was the temporal one. It corresponded to the several hundred years’ analysis horizon of the historical process. Under this conceptual approach, the gap line between the epochs turned out to be fundamentally more important than the line of succession. This was the way in which historical isolationism, which had actually become the hallmark of the modernist image of history, was supported. Having received a terminological status, the concept of ‘modernity’ centered its historical consciousness on the conflict with tradition, ‘traditional society’ and ‘dark Middle Ages’ and introduced a paradoxical category of the ‘future in the present’ (the kind of future, which has already arrived and lasts continuously).
Both the concept of ‘cultural paradigm’ and our understanding of cultural dynamics come to receive inevitable changes of meaning under the new historical and social situation. ‘Cultural paradigm’ now refers more to the type of culture located within a particular cultural and historical space (area) and to its constants, and less to the current state of ‘culture in general' or Western culture. For example, the Turkic, Arab, Confucian, Anglo-American and Russian-Byzantine cultural paradigms. There comes a distinct semantic shift. As the time semantics shifts into the zone of uncertainty, the semantics of space moves into the zone of immutability and constitutivity. Thus, the actual concept of ‘historical time’ is given a commensurate conceptual pair ‘cultural and historical space’, where chronos yields the initiative to locus (‘locus’ – ‘space’, lat.), the cultural space.
The concept of ‘cultural paradigm’ begins to be perceived accordingly, primarily in its spatial meaning. Here, of course, we are primarily talking about cultural and linguistic spaces, and not about specific state borders.
In this new perspective, the cultural paradigm boundaries will certainly require to become more objective and concrete. After all, a lot still depends on the position of the determinant. For example, a Russian person living in the Russian world (the space of historical Rus') may be indifferent to the world of the British. An Englishman, on the contrary, sees the multi-continental British world as relevant. In the developing structure of this kind of paradigm, the continuity modus naturally comes to be more significant and essential than the modus of discontinuity, as this shows how a paradigm shift entails a change in syntagmatics.
In this way, the logic of long-term rather than medium-term historical periods, giving a different vision of world events, comes into force. We find ourselves looking back to reassess the value of history. In a sense, we now have to re-pose the questions that society had already answered in the 16th – 18th centuries, and the new answers we get are different from the previous ones.
There comes, for example, a re-awareness of the obvious fact that the human self is not universal, but culturally specific. The 'self' of a German and a Japanese person are two different 'selves'. Since cultural specificity is inherent in societies, which are in themselves formed by collective selves, they pass it on to individuals. There is no such thing as a ‘sterile’ society. Every sociality bears the imprint of certain features of a particular culture. This kind of view of the nature of society has the advantage of rendering the ideology of civilizational and cultural superiority first redundant and then ultimately discarded. Conversely, the history of the 18th-20th centuries serves to show that the use of social abstractions is an attribute of colonialist and racist thinking that frequently contributes to discrimination, diminishes the rights for cultural and historical subjectivity and leads to a policy of cultural hegemony, subordination and assimilation.
Primary Sources and Russian Translations
Wallerstein 2008 I. Wallerstein. Historical capitalism. Capitalist civilization. Ì.: Tovariscshestvo nauchnykh izdaniy KMK, 2008 (Wallerstein I. Historical capitalism. Capitalist civilization. Russian translation).
Huntington 2014 S. Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations. Ì.: AST Publishers, 2014 (Huntington S. The Clash of Civilizations. Russian translation).
References in Russian
Adamova 2015 N. E. Adamova, ‘Exclusivity’ Ideas in the Views of English Puritans and Separatists on the Eve of Emigration to New England (the First Third of the 17th Century.): Candidate of Historical Sciences Thesis: 07.00.03 / Adamova Nina Eduardovna; [St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, 2015. 251 p.]
Kotkin web – S. Kotkin, The USSR Lost the Great Patriotic War Half a Century Later, According to American Historian. // https://aurora.network/articles/163-zajavlenija/66611-amerikanskiy-istorik-sssr-proigral-velikuju-otechestvennuju-polveka-spustja?fbclid=IwAR0-wnTEe5JziG5XxCUg0h0jqZHM-v0v6x1KibLyC6cifo9p4pyYuhdZmaU
Panarin 2003 A.C. Panarin, Orthodox Civilization in the Global World. Ì.: Eksmo, 2003.
Sarkisyants 2003 M. Sarkisyants, English Roots of German Fascism: from the British to the Austro-Bavarian 'Master Race'. A course of lectures given at Heidelberg University. SPb.: Akademichesky proekt, 2003
SHCHIPKOV Aleksandr Vladimirovich is a Doctor of Political Science, Professor of Religion Philosophy and Religious Studies department at the Philosophy faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Advisor to the Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.