''The rage with which they defend the principle of tolerance makes me think that there’s big money in that''

Denis Dragunsky tells about the roots of consumer madness, women who have experienced violence, and violation of religious beliefs

''The rage with which they defend the principle of tolerance makes me think that there’s big money in that'' Photo: Andrew Rushailo-Arno (facebook.com/denis.dragunsky)

We continue our conversation with writer and philosopher Denis Dragunsky about tolerance and political correctness. In the second part of the interview to Realnoe Vremya, he tells about the aggressive stance of people who advocate tolerance and what happens to societies that consider themselves ''bastions of the truth''.

''The cult of childhood and youth was created by business''

How do all these changes affect our language? After all, not to offend someone inadvertently, one needs to find more or less neutral words, for example, the mentally retarted person cannot be called an idiot today, though it is a scientific term…

It turned out such an interesting situation. Some people aspire to maximum inclusion, that is, to actual secrecy of identity. They say: do not call an invalid an invalid, call him a person with limited abilities. Do not call a person with a psychiatric diagnosis crazy, call him an alternatively thinking person. This, by the way, is very confusing: after all, a visitor from a remote village or a foreigner is also a ''person with limited abilities'' (in this case — social), and a great mathematician or philosopher is also an ''alternatively thinking'' person! In general, they try to convince us: ''They are the same as we are.'' But homosexuals, on the contrary, love their identity: ''No, we are not like everyone else, we are special, we are better.'' I know an LGBT activist. Once in a company there was a conversation about whether it is good to give for adoption children to homosexual families. Someone said that it is not very good, someone — that is completely wrong. I tried to reconcile different points of view: they say, since heterosexual families are very different, let's say: foster children in homosexual families on average live in the same way as in conventional foster families. But my friend attacked me with rage: ''No, not the same, but better than in an ordinary family with mother and father! Because homosexuals or lesbians take better care of him, because they are more intelligent, spiritual, rich.'' It was an aggressive insistence that they are not just the same as everyone else, but better.

Again, you should always keep in mind that all this controversy at best concerns 10% of the population, especially public figures. On the other hand, it is very important because history is made in palaces, parliaments and general staffs. Decisions are made there.

''Consumer madness began through youth fashion. Then it moved to the car market. Tens of thousands of cars are destroyed because new ones come out, and no one buy old ones because we are used to that everything that is older than a year sucks.'' Photo: Roman Khasaev

And only then all these ideas affect other people.

Yes, through advertising, through leaders of public opinion, through bright public figures whose point of view is sometimes much more influential than the opinion of some even the most profound philosopher. Activists of all kinds, feminist organizations, LGBT people have a special influence, because they act at the grassroots level, from ear to ear and from door to door. Let us also remember Karl Marx. I have written about it many times, and it is my sacred belief that the cult of childhood and youth was created by business when the crisis of consumption came in the post-war times. People who went through the war in the '60s became the main buyers in the market. But they were people, as a rule, very modest, accustomed to save, to darn socks and so on. Then there was a crisis of consumption. Therefore, there was a ''youth'' or ''children'' fashion. The natural desire of even the most economical parents — to give children the best. All people want their children to live better than they do. And then it began a terrible pandemonium with bright little things of poor quality, which break in a month or do not live until the next season. Children instead of parents entered the consumer market, they began to pay for these things with parents' money. And then it moved to the adult market. As far as I remember, there was no concept of the spring or autumn collection before the war. There were Pierre Cardin, Coco Chanel, fashion shows were held, but Paris dandy dressed in specially aged costumes, it used to be indecent to buy brand-new things. But today new collections come out constantly. Things are of awful quality: horrible fabric, horrible fit, horrible stitch, horrible paint. All this is done to make the young man to wear a shirt and to tell after two days, ''Oh, mom, the shirt tore… what I'm wearing, it sucks, I need to buy new one.'' Consumer madness began through youth fashion. Then it moved to the car market. Tens of thousands of cars are destroyed because new ones come out, and no one buy old ones because we are used to that everything that is older than a year sucks.

It's all become big business. I think the LGBT culture has also become a business and a fashion. Not the homosexuality, but everything to do with clothes, manner. The rage with which some people defend the principle of tolerance makes me think that there is a lot of money in that. I've heard the craziest conspiracy theories about someone wanting to destroy European culture and hiring human rights activists to do so. I don't really believe that. However, when suddenly it turns out that the US deputy finance minister was a Soviet agent, you realize that everything is possible…

''Any winning subculture is usually very aggressive''

People who advocate tolerance and equality are often not ready to accept an opinion that contradicts their opinion about the same universal equality. It turns out a contradiction that seems difficult not to notice.

Any winning subculture is usually very aggressive. The winning Communists were aggressive towards the bourgeois or aristocratic culture. The victory of the liberals in the '90s was violent to the Communists and nationalists. The current culture (I call them conditionally ''loyalists'' who tell that it is good as it is, as it happened) is very aggressive towards the losing liberals. It is a natural pendulum of public favour and disfavour. There's nothing we can do about it. We must understand that when we say that it is better for a child not to wipe his ass in a close compartment, but to go to the toilet for this — this is not hatred for children.

For example, the issue of rape. It's a separate feminist song. I believe that a man who raped a woman has no excuse at all. Even if she was tipsy, flaunting herself. Just like you can't rob a man because he was walking down the street and there was a fat wallet in his back pocket. Or it was a helpless old man with a big wad of dollars. Robbing them is still a crime. But at the same time, I have the right to tell the relatives of this old man: ''You do not let your grandfather go out with dollars, he will be robbed.'' Or a man with a fat wallet: ''Put it the other place, it can be stolen.'' If you will tell a raped woman: ''He is a criminal, villain, I will shoot him with my own hands, but you, the fool, what have you done?'' And in response you will hear: ''You justify him! No, I will still wear a tight T-shirt in any dangerous areas, because I have the right, and they have no right.'' You know, a traffic police officer once said me: ''Even there is a pedestrian crossing, you should look around. Well, the offender will be jailed, but you'll be dead.'' Okay, he's a criminal, but you'll be raped, watch out. But for some reason, and I really wonder, even a very intelligent woman perceives these simple tips do not walk alone in dangerous places aggressively. Yes, it is forbidden to knock down or rape people. But the person who goes out on the road has to look around because suddenly there can be a person in the car with broken brakes and drunk. Would it be easier for you to be in the morgue because you're right and he broke the rules?

''Now the Church plays the role like under tsarist times — the main ideological department. And this is a selective law enforcement, because you can offend not only the feeling of believers, but also of atheists. After all, we live in a secular state.'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The human thought is binary. Yes or no, black or white. Therefore, no matter how we call people: special, alternatively thinking — people always understand what we are talking about. We understand that old is different from young, smart from stupid, genius from mediocrity, homosexual from straight. Whatever they call it, the essence is still the same. Therefore, all renames will only mean what they mean. We will not retrain people to think.

How does this topic of tolerance related to the law on violation of religious beliefs?

This is clearly a repressive law, which is aimed at suppressing protest sentiments. Now the Church plays the role like under tsarist times — the main ideological department. It is a selective law enforcement, because you can offend not only the feeling of believers, but also of atheists. After all, we live in a secular state. And it is also a wrong thing: you cannot offend feelings, you can offend a person. In court, it must be revealed: exactly how a person was offended, what expletive vocabulary was used and so on. We have a new insult of feelings in Moscow today. In the Lenin Library they staged a fashion show with a photo shoot. Everyone laughs: Pussy Riot insulted the feelings of believers in the temple, and now their followers offend the feelings of library visitors, the feelings of smart people. It's all some kind of nonsense, I don't like it. Although, of course, all feelings should be treated well.

I can understand the violation of religious beliefs by insulting what they believe. For example, if I put posters in front of the Church ''Religion — opium for people'' or ''Priests are robbers'', it will be bad. But if I organize an exhibition with anti-religious engravings in a small museum, it is not a violation of religious beliefs. An attempt to establish total censorship is some kind of strange narrow-mindedness or Soviet heritage.

Famous philosopher and priest Pavel Florensky wrote in his autobiography a remarkable phrase: ''People who have made tolerance their principle are extremely intolerant to those who do not share this principle.'' It's a funny paradox, and the people who preach tolerance have absolutely no tolerance for those who want to smooth things over so that this phenomenon has entered the common culture.

Famous philosopher and priest Pavel Florensky wrote in his autobiography a remarkable phrase: ''People who have made tolerance their principle are extremely intolerant to those who do not share this principle.'' Photo: humus.livejournal.com

In your opinion, how will the public sentiment change in the near future?

There may be swaying in one direction and the other. Tolerance to immigrants in Europe can lead to an advent of harsh nationalism or even racism.

As for the harassment issue. Now the woman accuses the man of that he raped her ten, twenty, thirty years ago or seduced, and it is discussed in the press and is considered in court. But it had already happened in narrow psychoanalytic circles at the beginning of the 20th century. Then psychoanalysts thought that female neuroses were associated with ''father's seduction''. Women on the couch of a psychoanalyst talked about how it was. Then the doctors themselves admitted that this is a kind of erotic fantasies. It's gone. Now – it appeared again. And I foresee that after a while this will be called false memories again, and these women will be morally judged for something like slander. These are cultural waves.

By Natalia Fedorova