Three political decisions in Switzerland and the European Union, at first glance unrelated, are an occasion to reflect once again on the direction to which our states, which all call themselves liberal democracies, are actually being steered. And what the alternative could be. A pointed contribution to the discussion.
“Marriage for All”, organ donation and EU chat control
A few weeks ago, Swiss voters approved “Marriage for All”. In doing so, they not only followed the Swiss parliament, but also a general trend in many Western countries. “Marriage for All” is an important piece in a comprehensive transformation programme that promises people more “freedom” and “equality”. Last but not least, the vote for “Marriage for All” serves to consolidate a movement that decades ago called itself “sexual liberation” with the goal to judge all possible forms of sexual practices as equal and of equal value. People are supposed to be “free”, “autonomous” and “self-determined” when it comes to their sexual orientation. Just as they are supposed to be “free” with all their consumption ... and also when it comes to their “values”.
But no longer when it comes to their own internal organs. Now Switzerland, too, wants to turn the current regulation upside down with a planned change in the law. The current law stipulates that everyone who wants to do so has to expressly declare that he or she will make their organs available for transplantation in the event of their brain death and before these organs die. In future, this “making available” is to be obligatory – unless it was previously expressly declared that one does not agree to this (“objection rule”, see also box below). Basically speaking: The previously fundamental and human right to be able to dispose of one’s own body would be undermined in favour of a potential state power of disposal.
The third example: In the EU countries, there is currently a very controversial, but also very late discussion of a draft regulation of the EU Commission, according to which all providers of e-mail services, chat rooms and “social networks” are to be compulsorily obliged to scan and store all internet communication of all users, even without a concrete base for suspicion, and to make it available to the investigating authorities in the case of (unclearly defined) “conspicuous features”. The EU Commission and the supporters of such an EU regulation claim that this would improve the prosecution of internet paedophilia. But experts like the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection doubt this. The criminal activities in question have long since migrated to the hardly accessible “darknet”. What remains is comprehensive access to the private internet communication of all internet users. An FDP member of the EU Parliament commented critically: “All messages on WhatsApp etc. of all citizens would be continuously monitored. The digital privacy of correspondence would de facto be dead”.
At the same time more libertinage and less freedom
These three current examples are only a small selection of what can be observed in many areas: Increasing libertinage (“anything goes”) on the one hand is contrasted by increasing state access, surveillance, controls, and sanctions. In case of the “Cancel Culture” phenomenon, more and more voices are already recognising this: Here, in the name of “freedom” and “equality”, restrictions and discrimination are spreading. However, broadening the perspective and making the connection between libertinage and an actual increase in un-freedom the topic is not yet done often.
This would involve taking a closer look at the essence of libertinage. Is it really about more freedom and equality? Or is it not rather about a targeted and comprehensive deconstruction seeking to destroy everything that should be remembered not only traditionally but also in terms of natural law and anthropology as the “conditio humana” and that makes freedom possible in the first place?
Bolshevism and National Socialism
In his speech at this year’s Valdai Discussion Club (cf. Current Concerns No. 24 of 11 November), Russian President Vladimir Putin drew attention to the fact that Russia knows “modern” Western libertinage from its history: as a component of Bolshevik ideology and politics. Already one of the ideological pioneers of Bolshevism, Friedrich Engels, had criticised the bourgeois family as a historically conditioned and ultimately obsolete institution of the capitalist system in his 1884 paper “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”. Numerous Bolshevik attempts to create a “new Man” in the Soviet Union followed this and other ideological themes.
One can add that German National Socialism also had similar ideological offsets. The following quotation from Adolf Hitler is well known: “In my order castles a youth will grow up, to scare the world. I want a violent, domineering, intrepid, cruel youth. Youth must all that be. It has to bear pain. There must be nothing weak and affectionate in it. The free, marvellous predator must flash again out of their eyes. Strong and beautiful I want my youth. I will allow training them in all physical education. I want an athletic youth. That is the first and most important. That is how I will eradicate thousands of years of human domestication. In this way, I have the pure, noble material of nature before me. This is how I will create the new. I do not want an intellectual education. With knowledge I spoil my youth. I would prefer to let them learn only what they, following their play instinct, freely and willingly acquire. But they must learn control. They should learn to defeat the fear from death in the most difficult tests. This is the stage of heroic youth. From it grows the stage of the free man, man who is the measure and centre of the world, the creative man, the God-man. In my order castles, the beautiful, self-commanding God-man will stand as a cultic image and prepare the youth for the coming stage of masculine maturity [...]”. (Emphasis km)
An attack on all natural and evolved human relationships …
More generally speaking, systems of unfreedom must, to build up and maintain their power, undermine and destroy all natural and evolved personal relationships and bonds that make real personality building and personality development possible in the first place, and turn the atomised people into mentally weakened subjects who follow the will of power.
… and the war course
What is the point of all this? Probably the most important building block should be pointed out here. “Americans and the world benefit when pragmatists and cool-headed power politicians from the Machiavelli school are in charge in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department.” This quote does not come from an extremist corner, but from a guest commentary in the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 8 November 2021. The subject of the article was the increasing confrontation of the “West” with China. The author is a long-time NZZ correspondent in various East Asian states. And indeed, the question is justified: how much freedom and democracy can governments on a war course allow? And what are these governments aiming at with their course of war?
Just a Russian alternative concept?
The Russian President has formulated an alternative concept: “The second point I would like to draw your attention to is the scale of change that forces us to act extremely cautiously, if only for reasons of self-preservation. The state and society must not respond radically to qualitative shifts in technology, dramatic environmental changes or the destruction of traditional systems. It is easier to destroy than to create, as we all know. [...] Revolutions are not a way to settle a crisis but a way to aggravate it. No revolution was worth the damage it did to the human potential. [...] The importance of a solid support in the sphere of morals, ethics and values is increasing dramatically in the modern fragile world. [...] Now, when the world is going through a structural disruption, the importance of reasonable conservatism as the foundation for a political course has skyrocketed – precisely because of the multiplying risks and dangers, and the fragility of the reality around us. [...] This conservative approach is not about an ignorant traditionalism, a fear of change or a restraining game, much less about withdrawing into our own shell. It is primarily about reliance on a time-tested tradition, the preservation and growth of the population, a realistic assessment of oneself and others, a precise alignment of priorities, a correlation of necessity and possibility, a prudent formulation of goals, and a fundamental rejection of extremism as a method. And frankly, in the impending period of global reconstruction, which may take quite long, with its final design being uncertain, moderate conservatism is the most reasonable line of conduct, as far as I see it. It will inevitably change at some point, but so far, do no harm – the guiding principle in medicine – seems to be the most rational one. Noli nocere [do no harm], as they say.”
Vladimir Putin has spoken about his country as Russian President. But wouldn’t it also be worth thinking seriously about these passages in our countries? – And about the question of what freedom means in view of the social nature of human beings, their unique individuality, their ability to reason and their emotionality. •
mw. On 1 October 2021, the Swiss Parliament amended the Transplantation Act (on the Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells) according to a “objection rule” [The objection rule refers to a rule according to which consent to a decision is deemed to have been given if the person concerned does not explicitly object]. A referendum has been launched against the revision of the act by various parties and citizens’ groups under the title “No to organ donation without explicit consent”. The referendum deadline is 20 January 2022, and signatures must be submitted by 5 January. You can find the signature sheets (in German) under: https://polit-plattform.ch/project/referendum-nein-zur-organspende-ohne-explizite-zustimmung/
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