The modernization philosophy declared by the President of Russia raises an issue concerning such concepts as progress ideology and conservatism
We have become accustomed to envisioning progress as a matter of course. So much so, in fact, that we have, in general, become afraid of the phrase «progress ideology». It is recognized that the progress concept is a characteristic feature of things, or an evolutionary process instilled in the «genesis spiral», widening in an almost unbiased manner. But if we look at this in terms of social or political science, we can see that it is neither more nor less than an episteme and paradigm providing for the features of social sophistication - in particular, from common to sophisticated or complex societies. In addition, it is a representative characteristic that common societies coexist with sophisticated communities.
The liberal model apprehends revolution as an opportunity to go back and embrace cyclicism, providing for the calm, progressive and slow development of society without revolutions or by means thereof.
The co-existence of common societies with complex communities may be illustrated by the Veda people in India and Sri Lanka or Australian aborigines and African pygmies. All of these are common societies which continue to exist in the 21st century. At the same time, we must relate with complex societies as well - for instance, modern American, Western society, or Japanese societies of a Western type. These coexist with common societies; i.e., common and sophisticated communities go together. Secondly, if we read carefully the papers written by structuralists, we can discover that such common societies exist inside sophisticated communities as well. This means that common societies exist together with complex communities as well as within them. Moreover, two sides of the existence of any common society inside a complex one should be noted. The first is related to ideas of phenomenological philosophy, meaning that, as a rule, a modern society existing inside a complex society makes reflexive actions only when engaged in research. Any mathematician, physicist, sociologist or economist thinks rationally, properly, and scientifically, and based upon a philosophical approach to his actions, only when engaged in research. Concerning any other issues outside his institution or department, he sinks into the surrounding environment, with the same myths, prejudices and non-reflective opinions as occur in any mythological, common society.
The second side consists in what Jung’s followers or other psychoanalysts said when revealing a common society. Freud, in particular, illustrated this through oedipism, as if we are brothers in a primordial drama of our father’s murder, sharing the wives of our deceased father. This oedipism illustration presupposes a certain historical, ancient event as one of the components of modern society. If we still account for the unconscious as expressed by Jung, Freud and Adler, as well as the ideas of Wittgenstein and Eugene Fink, we may see a pattern of a common, mythological society existing within a complex one.
The difference between common and complex societies, notwithstanding whether common societies exist within complex communities or coexist, consists in a differential component. This is identified phenomenologically as follows: there is a complex or sophisticated community and there is another common society. In the case of the latter, the differential component is immaterial, while being substantial in the complex society. The differential component is the bulk of differences between «here» and «there», «yes» and «no», «ins» and «outs», men and women, authorities and slaves, dark and bright. Further, humans and nature are separated technically, and this is a difference as well. These interfuse in common, poorly differentiated societies. Take, for instance, a tool. Marx said that a tool produces a human and exploitation, respectively. Obviously, it is much more complicated, since a tool in any common society is alive. The differentiated tool provides a clear dissociation between humans and nature. In order to make any tool (shovel, bow, rake or plow), a differentiated interface between subject and object differentiation must be provided.
Any tool itself, in any primitive society, is part of a family - being alive and spiritual. Cups, pots or spoons are members of the family as well as pigs or cows, by being part of a certain common society. Thus, it is much more complicated. On the contrary, any differentiated society provides differences between two or more things, up to logical systems having a high level of differentiation and a well-developed differential component, which serves as the basis of rational perception. Therefore, it is clear that there are societies with either a developed differential component or not. There are both common and sophisticated communities.
However, there is an approach saying that the transition from a common to a complex society is a time process, notwithstanding the fact that from a phenomenological point of view, we always see these two societies together (they either coexist, or one is inside the other). This is progress ideology, an idea providing for the transition from the common to the complicated as being somewhat historical in content. The idea of linear time arises, as a myth, concept or ideology stating that anything common ultimately aims for the complicated. This is a system complication, developed from primitive ideas that everything will be good for those providing for a certain teleology of system development or systematic teleology, a transition from poor differentiation to well-developed. This is precisely progress ideology. First of all, it is a statement that a historical process moves from the common to the complicated, notwithstanding the fact that there are a lot of situations, systems or social models claiming the opposite. Secondly, it provides a positive moral appraisal for the transition from a poorly differentiated society to a community with a high level of differentiation, assigning it a «plus» sign. In other words, any society with a high level of differentiation is better than that with a lower differential component. Moreover, according to progress ideology, we think, temporally speaking, about the historical irreversibility of linear time, designed to increase the differential component, if you will. Thus, historical time moves towards more differentiated systems. This is standard progress ideology.
The 20th century disassembled this ideology. There are two political ideologies most consistently related to the progress concept, providing for historical development as a social transition from the common to the complicated, establishing the moral background thereof, and assigning a complex society the status of being «good» or «better» than a community with a lower degree of differentiation.
The first political ideology, which is the most fundamental and sound, is Western liberalism, which emerged earlier than other ideologies and continues to exist. Thus, it makes sense to speak about it today as it is the most consistent ideology in terms of carrying out the idea from beginning to end of historical predeterminacy and the moral ascendancy of more differentiated societies over less differentiated communities, as its principal paradigm. Liberalism considers a more developed society to be historically more familiar, and thus provides for ideas on the modern age and is more reasoned in terms of morality.
The second political ideology associated with progress ideas is more forcible, but less durable. This is a communist ideology, and it was rather controversial.
We may see some sort of cyclicism in the latter ideology, which perhaps cost Marxism its historical positions. A Marxist model begins by repeating to a certain degree the turbinate model of Rousseau with its ideas on a common society and the «good savage». Rousseau said that the «good savage» is ad initium, representing the common, which is good and charitable. Then, society moved towards differentiation. Exploitation and various expropriations were generated. We should go back and release this «good savage» on the more complex dialectical level through the establishment of a society of direct democracy. Rousseau considers his model a return to a situation prior to differentiation. However, we cannot completely get rid of this differential component, so we should surpass it.
Marx creates another more complex dialectic concept. According to Marx, history began with «spelaean communism» and ends with «non-spelaean communism». The difference is that when moving from common communism (a positive feature) to the expropriation system of the capitalist society, we overcome differentiation by the denying of denial, surpassing the differential component within the global commune commonality. Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that progress ideas seem incidental to Marxism, it is not very accurate. The most consistent progress is liberal. Marxism has at its core a certain rottenness in relation to consistent progressivism, because it must deal with a differentiated society in some way, as Marxism is a society of expropriation. According to Marx, historical progress differentiated to its limit is considered from a negative point of view, as such would be a catastrophe for Marx. That is why Marxism, in terms of dialectics, is more complicated and was rejected. Concerning the ideology of national socialism, it makes no sense to discuss it due to its low scientific value and vulnerability.
Let’s see what liberalism is and why it is afraid of and dislikes revolutions.
It seems that liberalism treats revolution in terms of etymology, and sees in it the word, «revolver». In other words, revolution means rotation, transformation, and a return to the «good savage». The model of Rousseau is an exact reversal of liberalism. It is not a liberal theory at all. It is revolutionary democracy interlacing with liberal democracy, and directly opposes Marxism. It makes all the difference.
A true conservative resists racism of any kind one can imagine (temporary, cultural, civilized, system-based or structural).
The liberal model apprehends revolution as an opportunity to go back and embrace cyclicism, providing for the calm, progressive and slow development of society without revolutions or by means thereof. It is some sort of absolutism, the utmost way of bringing two totalitarian prerequisites (the historical and hierarchical) to their limits, stating that the complicated is better than the common, and that the former supersedes the latter. Thus, liberalism provides for various forms of genuine, underlying racism beyond a biological rationale. In comparison, Günther’s racism is nonsense, as liberal racism is much more serious. This is racism in which time and the present are always better than the past. It’s a new vision of racism that we will face tomorrow. It will cancel the present just by revoking it as a value. It is a racial concept of history when any subsequent moment becomes the master of any previous one, making the latter its slave. It is a wild aspiration for power embodied in historicism. The paradigm of historicism is an extreme form of racism when compared with biological racism of any kind. Any liberal is much more of a racist than any national socialist. Hitlerism is a childhood disease form of racism. Liberalism is the more genuine racism, since it says that the high level of a society’s technological development translates into its moral superiority over a less developed community. And on these grounds alone, any poorly differentiated and less developed society may be treated at will. Civilized racism arises, providing for the superiority of highly differentiated civilizations over less differentiated societies, so that the former are morally entitled to treat the latter at their own discretion (i.e., adjust them to a certain standard). We know how it happens. Take, for instance, the opium wars of Great Britain. Thus, liberal ideology gives rise to civilized, cultural, technological and historical racism. Liberal racism consists in misunderstanding the problems of others. The other is always in a hierarchical system, as a rule, either inferior or superior. There is no equilibrium under progressive liberal racism, being based upon such a treatment of differentiation. Accordingly, it is a society that is currently the absolute winner.
Currently, there is genuinely ordinary racism within human civilization, represented by liberal ideology which has developed worldwide. Currently, fashionable movements correspond to the highest mode of racism as previously described. And these movements are increasingly accelerating. Fashion is the racial destruction of any previous events. If anyone does not wear shoes of a certain brand this season, he is subject to discrimination and apartheid. We remember that The Devil Wears Prada. There is no other so fascist and racial thing as glamour, since the point at issue is that genuine skin is better than that manufactured by photographers for men and women using specific software. Based upon the standard that a non-existent archetype is always certainly better than the more fashionable or lustrous, any previous events are considered as something defective. The more aggressive fashion becomes, the more precipitously fashion varies.
Against the background of liberal ideology, conservatism is primarily a relativization of the understanding of progress. This is a negation of progress as an ideology in two key and fundamental aspects. Firstly, the historical process of development, from the common to the complicated, from a less differentiated society to a more differentiated community, is challenged. Conservatism insists upon the current day and the existence of more or less differentiated societies as a mosaic. Due to the fact that we currently see both the common and the complicated, we may claim that the idea of progress as a global historical trend leading to a development from the common to the complicated is simply inconclusive. That is why conservatism in this regard represents a relativization of the idea of progress in terms of a temporary process and historicism. Conservatism does not see any serious basis to believe that the present is better than the past, or that the future is better than the present. Conservatives just say that these terms are different, without paying attention to that difference as a global historical trend, as distinct from liberals and their idea of global progress.
Secondly, more differentiated societies are not acknowledged as better, more sound or advanced. Conservatives consider any more differentiated society as a statement of the circumstances. Perhaps, it is more complicated; however, this does not mean that it is better. One should look inside it to see its basis and the unconscious. Maybe it does not differ that much from any common society. Conservatism fails to anticipate any discrimination of the present or a negation thereof. It just maintains that there is the past, the present and the future, but there is no hierarchy among them. The past somewhere may be relatively better or worse, while the future, on the contrary, may develop from different points of view, along different trajectories or directions.
In particular, the most advanced time in terms of differentiation in Russia was the 18th century. If we look at the 19th century, we can notice that society became simpler (if it is recognized that the traditional sprouting of beards by men is some sort of primitive ethnocentrism, as the naive Slavs thought that a beard provided them with the power of the Sun). In the 18th century, Peter ordered that men must shave off their beards, and this was thought to exhibit high differentiation. Of course, anyone may have a beard, but it is better to shave it off. The Old Believers recoiled in horror and reforms moved towards differentiation. In the 19th century, there are noblemen with beards again. The process developed in retrograde. Conservatives say that history may march in any direction. Probably, tomorrow we will face a more or less differentiated society. This may be both good and horrible. Archaization and modernization represent two permanent opportunities. We may move towards archaism. This is a great and very challenging way. But at the same time, we may move towards cosmicality or noosphere, etc. There were a lot of various interesting ideas concerning the eventual development of society in Russian philosophy and science. That’s why a conservative is a person leaving these opportunities open. A true conservative resists racism of any kind one can imagine (temporary, cultural, civilized, system-based or structural). Conservatism by no means maintains that tomorrow we shall return to the past. Maybe we need not. A conservative simply does not see any simpler system in the past.
For instance, let’s take Orthodox Russian or Greek theology. In particular, the Sermon on Law and Grace by Metropolitan Hilarion displays such a high level of differentiation that currently it may be understood only by theologians, while being incomprehensible for most people. If we refer to Greek theology, it currently can be comprehended by only a few scientific, intellectual groups. Hence, there is not only the common in the past and the complicated in the future. There is both the common and the complicated in the past and the future. Conservatism makes it possible to choose between the two. Naturally, consciously and with no impostures. History does not become a line in a principal direction. It is a map. One can move, return or turn somewhere else using this map. In other words, one may travel through time, from the past to the future, falling within cyclic, ecstatic or floating time. And we may travel through time in such a way that we usually move over a distance. Conservatism offers this challenge.