Emmanuel Carrère has written about the tyranny of subtle minds: “those people who think they are more informed and more intelligent than the average newspaper reader”. They have paradoxical visions, obsessed with what is politically correct. They tend towards conspiracy, that mixture of skepticism towards the conventional press and official data and extreme credulity towards fanciful explanations.
The extreme left and the extreme right are variants of that vision. His stance on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not surprising. A part of the left supports Putin, behind the mask of pacifism: “No to war”, they say, which may make Putin reconsider and withdraw his troops.
It is a paradox of our time that they combine an almost reflexive anti-Americanism with a fascination with their academic fads and cultural products. And it is also true that they define themselves as progressive and show indulgence or sympathy towards a regime that imprisons or murders dissidents, that persecutes homosexuality and feminism, that defends “Christian” values and an aggressive and expansionist nationalism. In their countries they oppose, at least rhetorically, watered-down versions of these ideas, but it seems that their contempt for the West is stronger. They claim national sovereignty in some places and the Russian sphere of influence in others.
George Orwell described them: “Most pacifists belong to obscure religious sects or have a humanitarian spirit that is opposed to taking a life and wants to go no further. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive seems to be a hatred of Western democracy and an admiration for totalitarianism. Anti-war propaganda is often summed up as saying that one side is just as bad as the other, but if you look closely at what young anti-war intellectuals write, you see that they are in no sense expressing impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against the United Kingdom and the United States”.
The position of a certain left, with a sentimental component, is not new. Russia represents the opposite of the capitalist West: they are like the grandmother of Goodbye, Lenin. It is more consistent that part of the extreme right feels close to a tyrant like Putin: at least they seem to know better the disgusting regime they defend. @gascondaniel
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