It very rarely happens to find myself somewhat on the side of the establishment. Least of all on an international issue.
Last time I was on the side of the establishment neither the concept nor the disgusting real-life manifestations of luxury beliefs had not reached my country, yet.
Yet here we are, in 2022, as the establishment suddenly finds out that Ukraine exists, that Duginism is real (NPR link because in 2016 NPR readers were trolling me for talking about this) and that Germany is run by Putin’s useful idiots. All of these are topics that us, at Freedom Alternative Network (as well as our partners and friends in Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, the USA and, yes, Ukraine) have covered, shilled, explained and analyzed in great detail for years on end.
Just 56 days ago Facebook was banning me again for discussing Russian violence. Then 10 days later Russian violence commenced on a big scale and then Facebook said its kosher even to engage in sweeping generalizations against all Russians everywhere.
Suffice to say that I have a high interest in this conflict (which I’ve made known for years) in the direction of Ukraine eventually winning (or at least not losing).
With that said, this doesn’t change the fact that the so-called “Western culture” (a shell of its former self) approaches this in a way that not only seems crazy but it IS crazy. Luckily, Russian propaganda is not what it used to be. 2010-tier Russian propaganda would have a field day these weeks by simply repeating and mocking the myriad of absurdities done in or by the West since the commencement of the conflict.
When it’s “cool” to be pro-Ukraine
As it was the case with the pandemic (in which it became “cool” to behave like a fucking lunatic in public), it is now cool to behave, say and do things that no normal person would or should do.
The connection with the pandemic was also made by the establishment – of course, in Canada, the place run by Justin “I like China’s basic dictatorship” Trudeau where “studies have shown” that those who haven’t taken up the myocarditis-inducing experimental gene therapy clotshot are more likely to be putinists.
Under the eternal “we gotta do something” – a slew of stupidity in public was triggered allover the place.
Take the Waterloo Warbirds from Ontario, Canada. They could have organized an aviation show and donate some money for the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees. Or they could’ve encouraged people to enlist the Ukrainian Foreign Legion since Waterloo Warbirds surely attracts a lot of guys with military and combat experience – which is exactly the kind of people needed today.
What did they choose to do? Vandalize their own museum-worthy airplanes with the markings of the Ukrainian and Polish Air Force. Outstanding!
Surely Putin is going to surrender tonight! Or, at the very least, two Ukrainian refugees will be saved. Virtue signaling saves lives, dontcha know?
Or take Zürich Insurance Group Ltd. (ZURN) who could have made a good insurance offer to Ukrainian farmers (that would actually help not just the farmers, but many countries in the world!) since ZURN is one of the largest and best insurers of farmers in the world.
Or maybe they could’ve donated a sum of money for the relocation of the children evacuated from Mariupol. Or, why not, a sum of money to the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces.
Instead… their contribution is… removing the Z from their logo. I’m sure President Elenski [sic!] is now happier knowing that the whole might of the corporate power wielded by the Swiss insurer is put to the highly important use of purging a letter from their logo… What’s next? Banning the letter Z altogether?
Well, akchually, don’t underestimate Europe’s ability to be stupid in public. Two Bundesländer in Germany and Lithuania are doing just that: Banning Z in public. At least Lithuania is being consistent – since also displaying communist symbols in general is haram in Lithuania. But in Germany, Bolshevism is legal and praised. Heck, the president of the European Commission opens exhibitions dedicated to Marx in Germany, statues of Marx made by the CCP are unveiled in Germany and statues of Lenin are being unveiled as well. That’s just in the last 5 years. But somehow Z is the problem.
Germany is one of the countries that is at fault for the invasion (in fact I would argue that Germany is indeed equally at fault as Russia is – since German weapons have continued to flow into Russia even after 2014). So in these circumstances they could have sent a lot of weapons to Ukraine (I mean functional ones – not just dumping its expired stockpile inherited from the DDR). Or they could have send some money. There are Polish corporations that contributed financially for Ukraine more than the German government. I’m just saying.
Instead, Germany is busy policing the wrong kinds of Zs in public. Yeah, that will help 👌🏻- I’m sure Putin is drafting his unconditional surrender speech as we speak after he heard that Z is haram in some parts of Germany!
Recently-renovated buildings allover Europe are being
tagged vandalized with wrongly-written Cyrillic messages because surely the Ukrainian refugees in my hometown need to see wrongly written messages on clean buildings. Otherwise they would’ve never known that we really don’t like Putin.
The hundreds of volunteers available on the borders 24/7 and the hundreds of thousands of Romanians available in the support groups that offer quite literally anything to the refugees are not a good indication that Romanians are, by and large, being very friendly to our neighbors fleeing the horrors of war.
No, what we needed was graffiti about that!
And then there’s the relentless promotion of Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the point of selling Zelenskyy pillows (I wish I were joking) and turning the guy into a demigod.
Look, I won’t lie: I supported Petro Poroshenko in 2019 and I considered (and in fact I still do) that the Ukrainian people made a mistake voting not just with Zelenskyy, but with Sluha Nardonu party as well (a political party made up almost entirely out of amateurs). However, it is also clear (regardless of my opinion about Zelenskyy) that Volodymyr is living up to his position in a very honorable fashion (much better than anyone – including his own party – had expected).
With that said, the aggressive promotion of the guy everywhere is likely to turn against him at some point. Like all waves of emotion, this one shall pass too. And when it will (and it will!) – what will there be left? Because Zelenskyy needs the credibility and gravitas necessary after the war as well – when he will have to negotiate loans and investments and all sorts of arrangements that will be necessary for the reconstruction effort. But with all of the political capital spent now on needless promotion… this will be tricky.
Nobody will be swayed by your Ukrainian flag on your profile either. Least of all if you’re one of those people who demanded that those who don’t subject themselves to experimental medical treatments should have their fundamental rights revoked. And no, pointing out the hypocrisy of the people shouting “freedom for Ukraine” while the same people were shouting “lockdown the unvaccinated” doesn’t make one a Putinist either!
Heck, one of the many reasons I support Ukraine is precisely because it treated the pandemic the way it should’ve been treated: without panic, without mandates and without hysteria. During the pandemic I’ve been to the country four times precisely for this reason. And I will continue to avoid certain countries and intentionally patronize others for many years to come because of their pandemic policies.
Also, the war isn’t ending earlier if you shout “Slava Ukrayini” against anyone who asks questions about Ihor Kolomoyskyi, or is skeptical about some numbers concerning casualties. Heck, you should assume that the numbers thrown around are inaccurate at least because you can’t properly evaluate casualties during an active war scenario but also because wartime disinformation is part and parcel of any war.
Yes, the word disinformation is a loanword from Russian itself. But the practice predates the USSR and the KGB’s black propaganda/active measures department. Heck, the word propaganda comes from the Vatican in the 17th century. Anyone pointing this out isn’t a “putinist” or “a war criminal” or an “anti-western shill” or whatever.
Also, someone pointing out how this crisis is being used to normalize being stupid in public is also not a “putinist”.
Théâtre Orchestre Bienne Soleure from Switzerland banned the performance of Thaikovsky’s Mazeppa “due to the current situation in Ukraine“. Mazeppa is an opera whose plot takes place in Ukraine and is about Ivan Stepanovych Mazeppa, Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks (kinda like the founder of the modern Ukrainian nation) and Vasyl Leontiyovych Kochubey a very rich Ukrainian nobleman and statesman who bankrolled the school(s) of thought that the Ukrainian nation of today take as reference point.
And then there’s the ban on Russian cats (including Russian breeds that have never been in Russia and have non-Russian owners).
Now look, I love the Ukrainian people. And I have 7 years of content to prove it. But I also have 7 years of public content to prove just how much I love kittens. What did those kittens do? Meowed in Cyrillic?
And then there’s the issue of 16 and 17 year old Russian and Belarussian minors who will be banned from playing hockey in Canada. I’m sorry, these boys were aged 8 and 9 (or some even younger) when the decisions concerning Ukraine were made in the Kremlin. There’s no way you can convince anyone who is not a loon that punishing children has anything whatsoever with #StandWithUkraine.
This is the problem when a legitimate cause becomes a “cool” thing: all sorts of people who until this morning (in historical terms) had no idea where Ukraine is on the map end up making decisions trying to “do something” when nothing was asked from them in the first place, and in the process end up doing more harm than good.
So what’s the problem?
Okay, so many in the West are being stupid in public under the emotional moment – since war in Europe hadn’t happened this century. Well, even that is wrong since Russia has been at war with Ukraine for 8 years, but let’s put that, too, aside for a moment.
The problem, however, is that potentially good energy, as well as resources are being spent on futile endeavors. And in the process many innocents suffer.
This war will not end tomorrow. Maybe even not next month. But it will end at some point. And Ukraine as a country and the Ukrainian people (including and especially the displaced and the refugees) will need a lot of help then too. At this pace, however, by the time the war ends, a significant proportion of Western societies will end up being indifferent or even outright hostile – not because of Russian propaganda/disinformation, but precisely because they’ve been saturated with excessive messaging from their own.
It is not normal to open a news website from a country that is not Ukraine and to find on the first two, three or four pages only news from/about Ukraine or Russia. Just like it wasn’t normal between 2014 and 2021 to open a news website from the West and see NO piece of news from/about Ukraine at all. Some balance is badly needed! But who even has the credibility for that anymore?
During the pandemic multiple institutions (including and especially media institutions) have burned their trust capital by publishing disdainful nonsense and outright lies that now, rightfully so, enough citizens are having a hard time taking the media seriously on anything.
Heck, in Romania, two guys who voluntered to help the refugees were still not convinced that the war is real. So they went all the way to Kyiv to check it out for themselves. Well, they did find out and, to their credit, didn’t freak out either. The bien-pensants du jour laughed at them but I didn’t. It’s how I function as well. Heck, in 2020 I went to Sweden to check the mountains of dead bodies that the media guaranteed will be there because Sweden didn’t engage in sanitary fascism like Italy did. Of course, no mountains of dead bodies were found so I deemed the media’s stories to be what they were: utter nonsense.
The problem is that most people can’t and won’t function like that. Few people would risk going to Kyiv just to see whether the war is real. Just like few people in 2020 risked flying to Sweden in the middle of an allegedly deadly pandemic wave. The pandemic wave was real, it’s just that it was nowhere near as deadly as the media claimed.
So now, when the media IS much closer to the truth than it was during the pandemic, les bien pensants are shocked to learn there are people who just don’t believe it.
Yes, I agree it is terrible to see people who deny real suffering provoked by the Kremlin upon people who’ve done nothing wrong to the Kremlin – but we should keep in mind that calling those people “putinists” won’t solve the issue. And the issue is that the West is a shell of its former self. Its leaders are weak, its institutions are not trustworthy and its media has lied so blatantly for so long that it will take years to build back the lost trust. And Ukraine doesn’t have years. Not to mention that almost nobody in the West is even concerned with this issue.
It also doesn’t help that the loudest ones for “the Cause” are those with zero credibility on the topic. Pundits and “stars” with de facto zero knowledge about this now have strong opinions on the geopolitics of this region.
To these people the situation is just another trendy story. The mess will still have to be solved by people with beliefs and values more similar to mine, rather than similar to Patricia Arquette’s.
Yes, Ukraine needs help, and Putin must be defeated. And of course the war is real. And of course some sanctions are warranted.
But if the West doesn’t seriously clean up its room, it will all have been in vain.
The West’s main advantage over the last century has been precisely its ability to engage in open debate and tame the passions of the publics thus preventing mass hysteria from enacting hasted decisions that could bite the society in the ass later on. The West is losing that important advantage (if it hasn’t lost it already). And that vantage point must be recovered.
There is some good news too, though: Ukrainians are not like that. They’re proving it on the battlefield as we speak but it’s easy to see it if you just speak to more than 10 Ukrainians. As a people, they’re built from a different “material”. They just don’t give up.
And the harshness even before the war (and even more so now) has forged a nation that will not look kindly on Western political correctness. In Ukraine, even those with PC/leftist values have been in the trenches against Yanukovich and then against Russia. Multiple times. And still are. Hard times create strong men. The West has had too much good times for way too long. And it shows.
Just before the war the very same Western media, that now calls you a “putinist” for discussing Zelenskyy’s acting career, was itself broadcasting Russian disinformation about Ukraine focusing its attention on political parties that never exceeded 3% but almost never talking about the very real harm caused by the Kremlin continuously since 2014.
Men wiser than me say that time heals everything. Which is true. But sometimes healing comes through disappearance. The Byzantines are a good example.
So instead of turning onto your fellow citizens for failing to say the right things on this crisis (or the next one) – it is much more important to turn to our institutions and “important people” and tell them to either stop being stupid in public or fuck off outright.
That’s it. Now I’m off to prep the trip to Hungary. Lots to cover from there too.