Home Geopolitics The West’s demands on Russia are false. Let us turn to anthropology –...

The West’s demands on Russia are false. Let us turn to anthropology – Paul Tolmachev

What is an important feature of the linear paleo-human consciousness that has its roots in biology? It is that a person unencumbered by humanistic reflection evaluates another person or community according to his personal criteria. But in reality, these personal criteria are the evolutionary matrix of one’s own identity: one separates beautiful from ugly, good from bad, good from evil and uses other dichotomies to evaluate reality in accordance with one’s personal picture of the world and the knowledge, skills and experience that allow one to form this picture.

An illustrative example of this is the reaction of the “deep” Russian people to the strengthening and external aggression of the autocratic regime and the assessment of this reaction by the intellectual part of society, both Russian and global. Intellectuals demand from the root Russian population, living on the edge of poverty and outside large cities, qualities, evaluations, and skills inherent in themselves. But in reality, this is an aberration, a cognitive distortion, or, in other words, a false obviousness. Our personal and social profile is shaped by environment, heredity, and individual physiology. And this means that one cannot demand that a lemur be a chimpanzee and a chimp from the Congo be a chimp from Zimbabwe – these are either different biology, or different environments, or different skills, or different goals and different values.

How can one demand from an inhabitant of a typical depressed region of Russia (and there are most such regions), which is isolated from exportable natural resources, the reflexivity and causal analysis skills of a Harvard or Stanford graduate? How can one demand that people with limited social – consumer, educational, informational, and other – opportunities have identical goal-setting to people whose opportunities are higher or maximal? Such demands or expectations are contrary to common sense. To blame these people for everything that is happening today is, at the very least, unfair.

The “deep” man in Russia grew up in an environment where the growth of well-being comes from a higher domain – the state, the boss, etc., or from the ability to take the boss’s place. This is an environment where vertical hierarchy and the right of the strongest, the one who has power, is the norm and paradigm of social relations. Where values are shaped by the goals of survival, not development. Where hard is always more important than software. Where humanization, even religious humanization, is replaced by rituals and conventional dogmas that have nothing to do with real humanity. Where any otherness risks the destruction of domain power and social bonding, including at the level of minimal groups such as the family or the community. Where the conditions of existence dictate the rational choice to integrate into the majority versus individual decisions and actions. Where personal responsibility is more reasonably deconcentrated in a common mass of “national” interests and other de-garadic narratives and “staples”. Where, on the whole, the archaic nature of development is conditioned by the corresponding motivations and incentives, which are born by the pack essence of the social structure, assimilated and little changed over the centuries.

All this speaks to the level of human capital of the deep population in Russia, as well as to the vector which was and still is characteristic of socio-ethical development in this land territory. In this connection it can be argued that the intrinsic value of human capital in Russia is essentially identical to that of the human capital of Somali villages or tribes in Central Africa, as close as possible to archaic proto-societies.

But to judge or hold members of such communities responsible for their inhumane actions is the same as blaming the fox for strangling the hen in the henhouse. As the scorpion rightly said to the frog in the famous fairy tale: it is my nature, and it is not my fault that I bit you-you are to blame for believing me. In this connection, the public shouting from the tower of developed democracies toward Russian “barbarism” about “collective guilt” is nothing more than self-degradation and a descent into the very same, reprehensible archaism and ignorance.

It turns out that civilized society, in its demands for a socially and ethically archaic Russia, bypasses the variables that determine its condition and turns to the basic anthropocentric “moral” values of civilized humanist ethics, such as “killing is bad”, “one cannot support tyranny”, “natural rights and the individual domain are mandatory”, “inclusion is the priority of social development, and individual and personal self-determination is the basis of social order”.

But the fact is that such postulates are the basis only for white-collar societies, technologically and ethically developed communities, discounting environmental and evolutionary – national, cultural and historical – signs and conditions of development in the formation of national mentality. For archaic societies, however, this is not the basis. For them, it is the same variables as for more technologically and ethically developed societies, such as the regional structure and “mestizo” within depressed regions.

For archaic societies, the basics are more primitive and more biological. And if you want to change the behavior of archaic people, you need to start not from the basics of your civilization, but from the basics of their civilization. Then you can come up with motivations to condition the behavior of archaic people and their societies in your own, and perhaps in their potential interest as well.

Otherwise, by stretching your “developed” values and using them as a consensus point of reference to evaluate and stimulate the behavior of aggressive and archaic communities, you are doomed to failure, because you will be in different dimensions and trying to sell an iPhone to a forest dweller of Polynesia. 

The stimulation, creation of conditions and choice of tools of civilized countries in relation to Russian society in order to stop and stop the aggressive, anti-human and destructive performance should be as pragmatic as possible and have clear bio-anthropological grounds without illusions of ethical idealism, typical of Western society in recent decades. After all, when you train a primate to be predictable and predictable, you are not reading Hobbes or the Epistle of the Apostles to him. You are relating your methods for achieving your goals to the person in front of you, and to what is most effective in ordering, predicting, and controlling his behavior.

The closer an individual and a society are to a biological basis, the more adequate to these bases must be the policy toward such societies and their individuals. The inadequacy of measures and methods in relation to the perception and ability to assimilate them by those to whom they are applied always leads to ineffective results. The ineffectiveness of Western policies to force peace on the Russian side is vividly illustrated by this.

Seeing all people and all societies as equal is a pernicious illusion that represents a negative externalization of the humanization of Western ethics, at least now that these illusions are being destructively debunked by those who have been seen as equal.

It is time to face the truth. It is time to turn to biology.

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Paul Tolmachev is an Investment Manager, Economist and Political Analyst. He is Certified Professional in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE Program), Duke University. Paul is serving as a Portfolio Manager for BlackRock running $500 million assets under personal management. He also is a visiting research scholar at The Hoover Institution (Stanford University), where he researches political economy and social behavior, specializing in the analysis of macroeconomics, politics, and social processes. Paul is a columnist and contributor to a number of international think tanks and publications, including, Mises Institute, Eurasia Review, WallStreet Window, The Heritage Foundation, Investing.com, L'Indro, etc.