Yesterday’s two panels on world affairs at this year’s Moscow Economic Forum raised issues that are well outside the permitted mainstream discourse in the West. As a German colleague remarked, “only here I meet people who are not focused on the disjointed, piecemeal fragments of reality, who have no doubt that the Chinese or Persian civilization will exist a century from now—but are well aware that our own is in mortal peril, and dare ask why is this so.”
Oskar Freysinger, vice-president of the Swiss People’s Party, provided a masterful summary of the problem. It amounted to an informal manifesto, to which all of us gathered in the Russian capital over the past few days could attach our signatures.
“During our whole live we live on the brink of death,” he says, “on the razor’s edge between emptiness and fulfillment . . . but also between past and future, as every moment dies in the moment of his birth.” We therefore long for security, we are searching to give a lasting sense to our lives, we look for depth beyond the surface, for steadiness and stability in confrontation with the frantic pace of changing impulses. This goal eludes us in a world based on movement. “Shall we cut ourselves from our past, to enter the competition with this runaway world, or shall we preserve the gleaming link between us and our history?” Freysinger asks. “Shall we preserve the link to the emotional landscape of our childhood, to our roots, family, to those everlasting links which show us the way, give our lives a sense and a balance, and allow us to be part of a world which is not dominated by greed, search of power and competition?”
The real conflict of our time, in his view, is not between right or left, between socialism and capitalism, between one superpower and another. It is between harmony and chaos, between sense and absurdity, between the slavery to deracinated materiality and the freedom which links us to our fathers, to the one place on Earth where we were born and which we call our homeland. Luckily we are not gods, the Swiss politician says, because then everything would already be achieved in ourselves and the process of inner growth would be useless:
Nowadays globalists try to create a world without any borders, limits or frontiers. They promise us a world of absolute liberty—here and now—but doing so, they limit us with the material reality they declare absolute. Imposing on us a new moral dogma, they want us to become an obedient flock of sheep they can abuse for their own interests. They instill a violence and a hatred in your minds to prepare you for the wars they want you to fight for them. Pretending to free us, they want to cut our roots, well aware of the fact that, like trees, uprooted men dry out and die. Accusing us of immobility, backwardness and nationalism, they want us to be open and tolerant for a future whose design makes me think of Huxley’s “brave new world.”
But we don’t want to recreate the past, Freysinger insists. We only want to honor the fruits of our forefathers by assuming our duty and eventually passing this burden on to our children. We don’t want to be nomads without bonds to any tradition. We don’t want to be lost souls in the void of ever-changing, insubstantial forms. We want a modernity respectful for the past upon which it has been built. Tradition, culture, values, structure, responsibility and self-discipline are not concepts of the past, they are of universal reach. Life has a sense and therefore becomes a destiny. Our life is not only the result of chance, coincidence, accident or hazard. We must have the will to listen to the mysterious voice we can hear in the silence of our soul, and to transcend the material reality. Not refuse or negate it, but transcend it, to read the signs in the outer world and in our soul, and create a harmony between them:
That’s why our heritage is important. That’s why a historically grown community is important. Because it is a trace of the human spirit, because it’s composed of all the voices of the people who lived before us and will live after us. Because it’s made of as many different experiences as there have been human beings. Diversity is indispensable to us, because it allows us to make a choice. To have a choice makes us free. But there is no choice without limits, frontiers, which protect everyone’s identity and the richness of the cultures coexisting on this planet.
What globalism is proposing instead is a life with no choices, Freysinger warns, because the aim is to subject us us to centralism, technocracy and standardization. The will to impose the same happiness for all doesn’t create a paradise, but hell. They want to destroy all borders because they want us to be transparent and predictable in a single, controlled, standardized world which has firmly shut the doors of heaven:
Heidegger’s Gestell, a perfect construct born in the mad brain of man-gods, is trying to replace the organic growth of life, thus dehumanizing our civilization. But who will set limits to the human brain if man is behaving like he was god himself? If man does not submit to the unwritten, invisible laws of Antigone, if he is the master of his own law, then barbarism returns, because he won’t resist the temptation to do everything he wants just because it’s possible.
The theory of Gender is such an abstract construction, Freysinger concludes. The submission to money. The creation of weapons of mass destruction. The use of nanoparticles and microchips to obtain the global control of everybody’s lives, the digitalizing of all financial transactions, the removal of all remnants of our privacy and freedom. A human being devoid of outer or inner limits is a slave in an invisible labyrinth. Deprived of the compass of spirituality, he is a stranger to himself, like a withered leaf confusing his last dance in the wind with the movement of life. If we don’t want to be withered leaves lost in the void, we have to preserve our culture and our identity which link us to our true nature and the infinity of the universe.
Dixit. It was a pleasure and a privilege to share three crispy spring days in Moscow with people like this. There is hope.