2.2. Forbidden questions in public politics of USA and Russia
2.2.1. The original sin of statehood
One of the forbidden subjects for public discussion in post-soviet Russia is the issue of its “original sin”. The matter here is that post-soviet statehood of Russian Federation as well as of the rest of post-soviet states on former USSR territory originated despite the will of people of USSA, who during 1991 referendum explicitly declared their desire to maintain the union and continue development of its culture and economy.
And consequently current statehood of RF is legislatively illegitimate, which both Putin and Medvedev are bound to understand as both have degrees in law.
And the “founding farther” of post-soviet Russia – Boris Nikolaevitch Yeltsin, often referred to as EBN by the people – one of the destroyers of the USSR despite the will of its people. But this is not all: liquidation of socialist regime and Soviet power with its own internal forces, dissection of the country, destruction of its military force and creation of the system of economical and ideological dependency of the country on outside world is clearly stated in the Directive of Department of Homeland Security of the USA 20/1 of 08. 18.1948 “The goals of the USA in Russia”. Therefore one cannot help but raise a question of treason of the people of USSR and RF by M. Gorbatchev, A. Yakovlev, B. Yeltsin and number of other politicians of the time (officially is a crime).
And fairly large part of ex-USSR population is convinced that Yeltsin was not at all the leader of democratic movement and founder of democratic (and in future prosperous) Russia. They believe that he was nothing but ambitious carrier bureaucrat of party-apparatus incompetent in any professional field, whose outlook and depth of worldview were clearly insufficient to lead a country not mentioning country in crisis. They are convinced that he was hypocrite and shameless villain who was tricked with ambitions to take the role of the “motherland savior” in order to, behind his back, first execute above mentioned DHS Directive 20/1 from 08.18.1948 and secondly “cut coupons” on the principle “money don’t smell, and if they do – they smell quite nicely”: what was primary objective of every participant of USSR destruction and of building bandit-oligarch’s capitalism in Russia of Yeltsin times – does not matter.
However on the contrary to this historical truth all representatives of Russian “elite” and mostly political “elite” in all their public speeches talk about Yeltsin as a man of exceptional good will, who work hard and honestly, risking his health and life (second presidential campaign continued despite his heart attack) for the good of humanity even though he made a lot of mistakes in the difficult business that he started. However for those mistakes he sincerely apologized in his address to the people of Russia on 12.31.1999, which showed his non-lust for power and an example of democracy. He also found very capable successor, under whose management Russia succeeded to solve many issues of nineties, which boosted his ratings higher than those of Yeltsin himself. And all in all for the total sum of his actions he deserves respect and therefore to preserve his memory his name should be given to many streets, libraries (inc. the Presidential Library in St. Petersburg), scholarships and educational institutions.
Opinions of those who stick to negative assessment of Yeltsin’s personality and his work are not discussed in Russian public politics, as if those opinions do not exist at all, or as if those are obvious nonsense and lies, as if there never was DHS’s Directive 20/1 of 08.18.1948, executed in its major propositions with active involvement of Yeltsin, who allegedly returned the country to the main route of the development after 70 years of deception and evil actions of Soviet forces.
The worst that Putin could allow himself to say in public speeches was admitting that fall of the USSR was the greatest tragedy for many people and for which he was reproached by whole liberal community both in Russia and abroad. In all other cases Putin publicly acknowledged his adherence to the following version: “Boris Yeltsin is the founding farther of democratic Russia and an outstanding politician whose grateful memory should be kept for centuries”, although as an employee of Special Agencies Putin is bound to know about DHS’s Directive 20/1 of 08.18.1948 and many other facts that do not conform to the cult liberal myth about establishment of post-soviet states on former USSR territory. And neither Putin nor any other public politician or journalist bothered to look into algorithmic of that catastrophe, using facts that do not fit into sweet-liberal version of Russian history.
United States of America also have an “original sin” of their own: USA started as slave-ship state and functioned in those conditions for not less than hundred of years before legislative abolishment of slavery as a result of the North victory over the South during civil was of 1861-1865.
It is well known that slaves were massively imported from Africa, they were black and even founding furthers who wrote American Constitution and Bill of Rights themselves owned slaves. Now black people in America (in the majority descendants of slaves) are called African-Americans and legislatively have the same rights as any white citizen of the US. But American historical past has such nature that US future is in many ways dependent on the question of whether or not their society can overcome “original sin” of American statehood, elaborating a common and uniting approach to the historic past of their country, which will be a sound foundation for building future America, free from flaws of the past and present one.
Barack Obama, who himself is not a descendent from African slaves (his farther immigrated from Kenia and his mother is Caucasian) freely deliberates on the problem of “original sin” of American statehood, focusing on the task of freeing society from its burden, in the way that he understands it. He is ready to dialogue with his opponents, but only if the talk is to the point, and not in some “abstract humanism” style deadly to people; and he does not hold grudge towards founding fathers of the US, who, although owned slaves, could however express ideals that can be supported by many millions, if not billions of people around the world. Barack Obama writes:
«I recognize the risks of talking this way, In an era of globalization and dizzying technological change, cutthroat politics and unremitting culture wars we don’t even seem to possess a shared language with which to discuss our ideals much less the tools to arrive to at some rough consensus about how, as a nation, we can work together to bring those ideals about. Most of us are wise to the ways of admen, pollsters, speechwriters and pundits. We know how high flying words can be deployed in the service of cynical aims, and how the noblest sentiments can be subverted in the name of power, expedience, greed, or intolerance. Even the standard high school history textbook notes the degree, to which, from its very inception, the reality of American life have strayed from its myths.” (p.8).
And never the less he insist on the truthfulness of ideals and necessity of bringing them about, despite all the mistakes and abuse of the past and despite the actions of those who make mistakes and abuse their power in present.
And this is precisely the key idea of the book, that gives an impression that Obama is not a talkative hypocrite, but sincere activist with good intentions, and then one can understand those Americans who trusted him with presidential power.
“ “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“
Those simple words are our starting point as Americans; they describe not only the foundation of our government but the substance of out common creed. Not every American may be able to recite them; few, if asked, could trace the genesis of the Declaration of Independence to its roots in eighteenth-century liberal and republican thought. But the essential idea behind the Declaration – that we are born into this world free, all of us; that each of us arrives with a bindle of rights that can’t be taken away by any person or any state without just cause; that through our own agency we can, and must, make of our lives what we will – is one that every American understands. It orients us, sets our course each and every day.
Indeed, the value of individual freedom is so deeply ingrained in us that we tend to take it for granted. It is easy to forget that at the time of our nation’s founding this idea was entirely radical in its implications, as radical as Martin Luther’s posting on the church door. It is an idea that some portion of the world still rejects – and for which an even larger portion of humanity finds scant evidence in their daily lives.” (p.53)
Of course every nation has their own Smerdyakovs and at times there are too many of them due to the particularities of historical development of events, but generally the majority of people will full heartedly agree with the above quoted words of Declaration of independence of the USA, because they would prefer to live in such society which will make those words reality.
However the problem is in the fact that the majority, including Americans, does not know how to bring those ideals about…
And therefore entire history of the USA is a consequence of their original sin: a gap, often abyss, between undoubtedly humanistic declarations and practical politics.
A bit further in the book Barack Obama looks in more details into Constitution of the USA and its role in life of the country throughout its entire history (obviously, talking about Constitution in a manner detached from life with its many realistic factors is nonsense):
In sum, the Constitution envisions a road map by which we marry passion to reason, the ideal of individual freedom to the demands of community. And the amazing thing is that it’s worked. Through the early days of the Union, through depressions and world wars, through the multiple transformations of the economy and Western expansion and the arrival of millions of immigrants to our shores, our democracy has not only survived but has thrived. It has been tested, of course, during times of was and fear, and it will no doubt be tested again in the future.
But only once has the conversation broken down completely, and that was over the one subject the Founders refused to talk about.
The Declaration of Independence may have been, in the words of historian Joseph Ellis, “a transformative moment in the world history, when all laws and human relationships dependent on coercion would be wept away forever”. But that spirit of liberty didn’t extend, in the minds of the Founders, to the slaves, who worked their fields, made their beds, and nursed their children.
The Constitution’s exquisite machinery would secure the rights of citizens; those deemed members of America’s political community. But it provided no protection to those outside to constitutional circle – the Native American whose treaties proved worthless before the court of the conqueror, or the black man Dred Scott, who would walk into the Supreme Court a free man and leave a slave.
There’s a school of thought that sees the Founding Fathers only as hypocrites and the Constitution only as a betrayal of the grand ideals set forth by the Declaration of Independence; that agrees with early abolitionists that the Great Compromise between North and South was a pact with the Devil. Others, representing the safer, more conventional wisdom, will insist that all the constitutional compromise on slavery – the omission of abolitionist sentiments from the original draft of the Declaration, the Three-fifths clause, the self-imposed gag rule that the Twenty-fourth Congress would place on all debate regarding the issue of slavery, the very structure of federalism and the Senate – was necessary, if unfortunate, requirement for the formation of the Union; that in their silence, the Founders only sought to postpone what they were certain would be slavery’s ultimate demise; that this single lapse cannot detract from the genius of the Constitution, which permitted the space for abolitionists to rally and the debate to proceed, and provided the framework by which, after the Civil Was had been fought the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments could be passed, and the Union finally perfected.
How can I, an American with the blood of Africa coursing though my veins, choose sides in such dispute? I can’t. I love America too much, am too invested in what this country has become, too committed to its institutions, its beauty and even its ugliness, to focus entirely on the circumstances of its birth. But neither can I brush aside the magnitude of the injustice done, or erase the ghosts of generations past, or ignore the open wound, the aching spirit that ails this country still.” (P.95-97)
In short, his position on the matter of the relationship between present and past is similar to the one of Russian historian V.O. Klutchevski: “We need to know the past not because it has happened, but because on its way out it could not hide its consequences”, which means that unacceptable consequences of the past must be eliminated.
Further on B. Obama concentrates on history of fight against slavery and names those – slaves, free, simple people, and state officials – who sacrificed their lives to the noble task of slavery elimination, and concludes:
“The blood of slaves reminds us that our pragmatism can sometimes be moral cowardice. Lincoln, and those buried at Gettysburg, reminds us that we should pursue our own absolute truths only if we acknowledge that there may be a terrible price to pay” (p. 98).
He also pays attention to the crimes of USA statehood towards both its own people and population of other countries, which throughout American history were a great many. And he clearly expresses his opinion getting to the heart of the matter.
In relation to the whole problematic mentioned in Obama’s book, he expresses a right – from managerial education point of view – position:
- It does not matter how the managed object (managed system) has come to one or the other situation
- It only matters to what extent this situation is adequately identified and its problematic is being diagnosed, what future goals are set, and what ways towards achieving those goals are suggested.
The goals themselves are unchangeable – bringing to life ideals, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, which includes the totality of: 1) objective ideals, 2) real goal-setting in politics, which is provided by objective and subjective factors of historical specifics, and 3) means to achieve the goals. The second and third, as history shows, can be deceiving, and keeping in mind possibility of mistakes, it is necessary to act in the direction of revealing and bringing those ideals about. To illustrate such example Obama brings up A. Lincoln:
“ I like to believe that for Lincoln, (…) it was a matter of maintaining within himself the balance between two contradictory ides – that we must talk and reach for common understandings, precisely because all of us are imperfect and can never act with the certainty that God is on our side; and yet at times we must act nonetheless, as if we are certain, protected from error only by providence.” (p. 98).
That last phrase would have been a more precise expression of the reality of life is it sounded like that: “we must act in the way for the providence to protect us from error”. But independently from the way you put it in words, this morally-ethical principle is in itself very well grounded in reality, provided that the subject will follow it sincerely, because God is not indifferent to what is happening on Earth, and religion – dialog with God through one’s inner world and flow of life circumstances.
From the systematic position of such sort of principles B. Obama concentrates not only on problematic of life of American society: possibility of personal growth and self-realization in given historical and cultural circumstances, real and desired policy of American statehood in relation to these circumstances; internal and external policies and other questions. He looks at those issues in in their mutual correlation, in specifics, not avoiding the facts, that are unpleasant for nice myths about USA, and thus confirming the principle mentioned in the beginning of his book:
“I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect…” (p. 10)
2.2.2. Fairness in the life of society: political ethics — mercenary or work
And another un-politically correct subjects in Russionia – theme of justice in the life of society, “elite’s” approach to “simple people” and of people’s approach to “elite”.
But before showing how the subject of social justice is given in “The Audacity of Truth” and in the public speeches of Russian political “elite”, we’ll focus on some specificities of socio-political life of the USA and Russia, that characterize each of the countries.
In general, comparing US life with ideals mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and in the Bill of Rights, than undoubtedly, the USA are progressing in the task of turning their cult ideals to life; racial inequality they have already overcome de jure, and are working on overcoming it de facto; many other problems were solved as well.
And the source of this progress is – public discussion of the real divergence between declared ideals and real life, which, although it is often clouded by lengthy speeches of the participants and although the truth often gets lost in those speeches, still is a notable part of socio-political life of the United States, and Obama’s book is very clear example of that. Of course in the US, as in any other country, there is also a non-public discussions of the issue, which in many ways form country’s politics and business actions, but this part is forced to react on the public part of the process.
But along with such progress the USA created many problems both locally and globally, and in the historically defined shape, they became a problem to the rest of the world, that need a solution. One of the main reasons for this is that in the public and non-public politics even as free speech is a cult – free thinking in the US is still limited by their specific culture, which is why US in their demands on the role of the global leader and a wheel of progress are constantly faced with objections, which can be responded to only by force, following wisdom of the unrighteous: “Out force will be the true law, because powerlessness proves to be useless” (The wisdom of Solomon 2:11) – but not many people in the States know these words, because “The wisdom of Solomon” is excluded from the Canon and is not in the standard Bible.
Russia is indeed not America. For the centuries of it’s historical past (starting at least from the “Words of Law and Prosperity” of Kiev’s metropolitan bishop Illarion, dated 1037-1050) its socio-political life is characterized by:
- In public politics the desired is often taken for the real
- In public politics the subject of power abuse and other problems are often left unspoken, as if they do not exist
- And when problems become critical, and force to be openly discussed, then
- Discussion of them is often far from the point (e.g. mass media discussion of the global financial crisis during the tenth meeting of “United Russia”)
- Or the discussion is substituted for by official declarations like “yes, there are some problems, but our father-tsar has already taken measures to solve then, and they might be already solved and the messengers have not yet reported on that…” (e.g. mass media coverage of the Tchernobul catastrophe and the first few days of rescue operation of the “Kursk” submarine sunk by NATO).
- And when some of the events move to the past, then an official myth is created, which in its content can be very far from the actual reality (e.g. official version of the establishment of post-soviet statehood of the RF or the official story on the “Kursk” submarine).
And overcoming development problems in Rus’ is taking place based on the non-public “underground-couloirs politics”, to which both the power and the opposition are equally adherent. In Rus’ everything is secretive, but nothing is secret, although along with non-secretive truth society has and spreads many rumors: that’s why everybody “knows” that Alexandr I officially publicly died in 1825 in Taganrog and was buried in Peretburg side by side with other emperors…. After what he spent few more decades incognito living as in Siberia, where he died very old.
And if in Rus’ official declarations the power says that
- Everything is fine, that they have achieved some goals in life and that many problems have been solved
- At the same time many people do not see any proved of that in their everyday life
― then the powers, on the background of public, knowingly hypocritical declarations of loyalty by unbelieving and despising it people, faces politically amateur actions of the people – as un-public as the actual politics.
All of it happens because direct appeals to the power on the issues and ways of solving them, are ignored by it, because those issues do not fit in the format of public policy of the state.
The question is in:
- How much time will it take the state power to commit suicide by not being able to handle the problems ignored by it?
- And how much time after that will it take the underground opposition to become legitimate de-facto state power?
- In such circumstances de jure legitimacy of power – is a question that means little to both sides – to power and its social opposition.
The key reason for such difference in public and non-public approaches of socio-political lifes in Rus’ and in the USA is because:
- Russian “elite” is shameless anti-nation egoistic corporation that only wants the people to admit that they are rednecks in whose presence the “elite” does not have to explain itself. Whether ‘elite’ takes this position consciously or unconsciously does not matter – it would have been just as comfortable in cast society: you belong to one group and therefore you have the right, if not –you don’t have the right, and all your talents and advantages worth nothing. It is almost impossible and very rare to work one’s way from the bottom to the top/ “elite’, because all the space in it has already been taken by representatives on historically formed “elite clans”, some of which manage to keep their status despite revolutions and counter-revolutions (e.g. clan of Mikhalkov). With the change of ‘elite’ after catastrophes, the process starts again (e.g. Yeltsin came from deep country, but where are his kids now – highly elite, but for what concrete talents or work? And besides Yelstin there were many other officials, whose children were ‘eliterized’..)
- And in the U.S. "elite", with all its flaws, prefers that people beleived that the "elite" responsible to him and is working in the general public interest, being an «avant-garde» of the people in their socio-historical development.
And ‘elite’ occupies this position as a corporation, knowingly or unconsciously - does not matter. In the American "elite" there is also a hereditarily-clan core (in particular it is widely known by its representatives such as Kennedy, Mc Cain, senior and junior Bush, Rockefeller, Ford), but a lot of those who withdrew from the American common people or the middle class (the most widely known, General Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice,- At different times were both U.S. Secretary of State; even B. Obama - elected president: all are black and would not have been able to make their career, have they been born at least 50 years earlier).And the influx of new mass flows of people into US "elite" has been going on throughout U.S. history in every generation, resulting in that "elite" of the US is more clever and more capable than hereditarily clans isolated from the rest of society "elites" of other countries, including Russia, and corporate discipline and lack of freedom (this is explained further in the case of B.Obama) in the USA "elite" are different.
Consequently, all political and ideological conflicts between the U.S. and Russia (except for the period starting from about 1930 to 1953) are - conflicts over good and civilized, refined ways to implement the "elitist" slavery on the basis of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights by the U.S. against the ancient unabashedly naked "elitist" slavery in Russia.
Now we can go back to the essence of justice in society and its implementation.
Notions of fairness and injustice in life of society if double-conditional:
- Firstly – from the Above, by humanity’s sole purpose (in atheist formulation – by genetic potential of personal development of all members of society, which it either allows to grow and realize in its full capacity or suppresses and limits it).
- Secondly – by historical facts – by what of the already predetermined from Above is already implemented, what needs to be implemented and to which implementation is blocked by greed of some or the others social groups, often supported in written and unwritten social laws influencing personal growth of people in this society.
Therefore notions of justice in social life are, firstly historically concrete and secondly are changing from age to age according to the character of social development of degradation.
Besides, in its cultural conditioning they are the consequence of the answer on the question about relationship between body physiology and biology of Homo Sapience species and a raison d’etre of humans and society. History knows only two answers to this question:
- Live to experience pleasure, including pleasure from food, sex, not necessarily aimed at reproduction.
Actually United States are programmed on it, and with more or less success are implementing it. This is a consequence of the fact that their cult Declaration of Independence and a Constitution, Bill of rights do not say anything about what objectively is dignity of a successful person, and even though the dignity is not defined, his pursuit of happiness can still be realized. Bus the USA do not know that. In Russia “elite” also lives but this principle.
- Eat and procreate to live: meaning to implement some higher plan.
In Russia the “Smerdyakovs” among common people as well as among the “elite” are more or less active in that direction.
And both principles are objectively and inevitably antagonistic to each other, in addition adepts of the first one are aggressive.
Then social life in civilization of technical-technological nature, where production is based on the organization and collective work, one of the aspects of justice is linked to an opportunity for a person to receive sufficient (in one of the above senses) part of the product, manufactured by collective work – whether directly (sharing the product in its natural state – when where is no monetary exchange) or in financial equivalent (when monetary exchange prevails products exchange).
Societies that have realized in themselves the meaning of human existence in all its fullness do not exist at the moment.
Now let us move to Obama’s statements on the questions of economical justice in social life.
In 1980, the average CEO made forty-two times what an average hourly worker took home. By 2005, the ratio was 262 to 1. Conservative outlets like the Wall street Journal editorial page try to justify outlandish salaries and stock options as necessary to attract top talent and suggest that the economy actually performs better when America’s corporate leaders are fat and happy. But the explosion in CEO pay has had little to do with improved performance. In fact, some of the country’s most highly compensated CEOs over the past decade have presided over huge drops in earnings, losses in shareholder value, massive layoffs, and the under funding of their workers pension funds.
What accounts for the change in CEO pay is not any market imperative. It’s cultural. At a time when average workers are experiencing little or no income growth, many of America’s CEOs have lost any sense of shame about grabbing whatever their pliant, handpicked corporate boards will allow. Americans understand the damage such an ethic of greed has on our collective lives, in a recent survey, they ranked corruption in government and business, and greed and materialism, as two of the three most important moral challenges facing the nation (“raising kids with the right values” ranked first). Conservatives may be right when they argue that the government should not try to determine executive pay packages. But conservatives should at lease be willing to speak out against unseemly behavior in corporate boardrooms with the same moral force, the same sense of outrage, that they direct against dirty rap lyrics.” (p.62)
Is there any Russian politician that has publicly brought up such questions? – No, there isn’t
Publicly discussing greedy ethics of ‘elite” of Russia and its basic flawed morality of praising itself and other hedonism – representatives of “elite” in Russia (inc. politicians) tend to avoid, although in doing that they can theatrically reproach so-called “social greed” – discontent of those who did not receive “elite” positions. So-called “social greed” in fact exists, because as it has been known or centuries, a large part of slaves are not dreaming about freedom, but about having their own slaves. However, reproach os social greed should not replace discussions of issues of justice and reproach of other forms of injustice, besides the “social greed”. In particular this concerns economic aspects:
Justice manifests in the fact that statistics of distribution of finances in executive level of sate and business should not be different from statistics of financial statistics in all other fields. Justice in this sense is really economically functional despite the Wall Street Journal’s opinion that effective management is army of “fat and nice” executives, and to make sure they are nice and fat their incomes must be many times the average salary.
Besides, there no biological or cultural objective reasons to lift top executives and their families according to their consumption above social statistics to the heights unreachable to the rest of the society.
However Russian political “elite” is fundamentally against public discussion of problem of social justice. Here is a recent example: Once a well-respected Russian newspaper “Vedomosti” published an article discussing injustice in relationship between bureaucracy and common people in conditions of crisis, it immediately received a warning “on necessity of strict obedience to the law of counteraction to extremism” from Federal Service on Supervision over the Legality in the Sphere of Mass Communications (http://www.newsru.com/russia/22nov2008/ved.html). It seems that for Russian political ‘elite’ it is rather easy and common practice to issue a law of extremism counteraction. But it is a lot harder to raise and discuss the matter of social justice and expressions of injustice of system of social relations, inherited from soviet times, on the congress of “United Russia” and then take real binding decisions and implement them in life – for the ‘elite’ and its ‘entourage’, from party mass gathered at the congress. In such conditions issuing orders on “necessity of obiding the law of counteracting extremism” means purposefully charge revolutionary situation. And therefore it is those people who issued this order who should be taken to court.
More to the point:
From purely managerial point of view, price of a good in conditions of somewhat free market is a measure of its defecit. This also concerns the price of qualified personnel in all industries.
In other words, if a society is ready to pay executives according to “the higher in hierarchy – the deeper is the gap between your salary and average one” principle, then such society is experiencing an acute deficit of effective managers. Sittuation is aggravated by the fact that various aferists, that neither are able to nor are willing to learn to do anything useful, can successfully penetrate managerial field driven by greed for high incomes and irresponsibility in the face of their employees and hard workers.
This is exactly the reason, according to Obama, why it was namely high-paid executives that made the worst mistakes in their company’s management
It is no surprise that Barack Obama noticed this – at least for those who are familiar with articles of Concept of Social Security. They described this phenomenon already back in 1994 in the paper of IP of USSR “Short course…” giving examples of USA, then GDR and Japan.
However such materials are only an obstacle for Russian bureaucrats and top executives crushed by their ethics of greed in their work of dividing the budget and obtaining gigantic salaries on the basis of the laws taken by themselves and in their task of extortion of bribes.
And we repeat:
Subject of justice in specifics of displayed injustice – is also a banned subject for public discussion amongst all representatives of “elite” (political, corporate, “intellectual”) in post-sovier Russia, including editors of mass media under their control.
And if in non-public circle of representatives of political “elite” they were forced to address the issue of injustice in its full, then instead of dialogue and talking to the point we would receive only cheap talk of the sort “those people deal with increased responsibility, and therefore to reward them for taking such burden we have to pay substantially higher salaries”
But when directly asked “which of those bearers of “enormous responsibility” has actually been called up on their mistakes? Which of them have actually paid for making mistakes of strategic gravity?“ those adepts of inflated salaries get stunned, often turning to hysterical remarks that “repeats of Stalinism must not be allowed”. And even less often some of them start mumbling something incoherent on “guilty conscience” and mistakes they have made (M. Gorbachev, B. Yeltsin, A. Yakovlev, A. Tchubais, E. Gaidar, B. Berezovsky and many others – those are just victims of their conscious???). But agree with us, please, that real victims and real tortures of guilty conscience are actually beneficial and priceless and therefore cannot be financially estimated and paid and therefore – super-incomes of top executives as compensation for “damages caused by guilty conscience” are inappropriate.
Besides, in such extent of income comparison of top executives and other people manifests deviation from God. In particular, Koran clearly expresses on the choice of leaders: “Follow those who do not ask you for reward and who is on the straight path!” (Sura 36:20) – in other wards managers should be as righteous as possible and do not ask for any consumption privileges from the rest of society.
From above arguments it is clear that in public discussion of the problems of social justice Obama, if necessary, can beat any Russian politician (Putin, Medvedev, Zuganov, etc) either because for them social justice is a banned topic because of their “elite’-corporate obligations and deeply rooted psychological blocks, or because their understanding of the problem is very vague because they see the world from the window of their corporate cars and luxury apartments and from behind the backs of bodyguards, living in the conditions that everything they need is already prepared for them and paid from state funds.
Only one politician could adequately and convincingly stand up to Barack Obama – Joseph Stalin:
“You have the point, Mr. Obama, but you do not go to the limits in your argumentation: in economy, that operates in best interest of workers, increase in production will inevitably involve decrease of prices, as peoples needs in certain products are being met, and the state objective is to manage the extremes of profitability in industries, based on price dynamic. But in your countries economy usury and stock speculations. However you are right in general: to make economy work for people, and not for small group of parasites, it is necessary to increase general culture and improve upbringing of children, as you put it “in right value systems””
Now in your (Russia) country’s economy the main obstacle for this is the ethic of greed of all generations of post-stalin ‘elite’, multiplied by impudent parasitism and stupidity of economic science, and add here indifference of the majority of population too involved in their routine business or slaving on several jobs at the same time to somehow provide for their families.
2.2.3. An individual and culture
The question of ‘right value systems’, which is essentially the question of ideals and ethics, that should be the key values of the society and in children’s upbringing are also taboo for Russian ‘elite’. Therefore in Russia there is not and cannot be public discussion on right values and culture that should normally form the foundation of child’s personality and which he should carry on in his life and express in his ethics, independently from his family, ancestors and chosen sphere of work.
When Russian ‘elite’ representatives, including politicians, talk about supporting cultural development, their speeches are restricted to:
- Issues of funding: realistic and possible
- However, support of development of culture itself, meaning “right value system’ in which kids should be brought up, is avoided, or expressed with meaningless phrases unrelated to reality – when this is a question of outmost importance for society.
In this topic, Barack Obama is more independent that any Russian ‘elite’ activist, ‘patriot’ and ‘mecenats’:
“ Dr. King once said: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also”
Sometimes we need both cultural transformation and government action – a change in values and a change in policy – to promote the king of society we want. The state of our inner-city schools is a case in point. All the money in the world won’t boost student achievement if parents make no effort to instill I their children the values of hard work and delayed gratification. But when we as a society pretend that poor children will fulfill their potential in dilapidated, unsafe schools with outdated equipment and teachers who aren’t trained in the subjects they teach, we are perpetrating a lie on these children, and on ourselves. We are betraying our values.
That is one of the things that makes me a Democrat, I suppose – this idea that our communal values, our sense of mutual responsibility and social solidarity, should express themselves not just in the church or the mosque or the synagogue; not just on the blocks where we live, in the places where we work, or within our own families; but also through our government. Like many conservatives, I believe in the power of culture to determine both individual success and social cohesion, and I believe we ignore cultural factors at our peril. But I also believe that own government can play a role in shaping that culture for the better – or for the worse.” (p. 63)
And on the first pages he talks about culture:
“I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP.” (p. 11)
And further he points out that key to solving all social problems is in proper upbringing of its children. (“instill values of hard work and delayed gratification..” ). If kids are brought up with right values they can do better job for the good of the society they live in. But only those parents that have right value system can instill it in their children. And if for some reason parents do not have such values – then it is a work of government to teach kids a love for work and patience through day-care, school and arts.
Can anyone recall Putin or any other Russian ‘elite’ politician raising the issue of “hard work and motivation for creative activities as critical factors of stability of social system and development of its culture and economy”? That’s right – it has never happened. And even so-called “fighter for the good of people”, Gennady Zuganov (now First secretary of Communist party of RF) avoids this topic.
And main reason for avoiding this subject is that talking about it will inevitably lead to discussion on what is fair and what is unfair in social life. And as we know, this is not their favorite topic. Because historical facts of life of civilization, whose economic prosperity is based on collective work, and not just some abstract hard-working and motivation, but very concrete motivation to work for the system of inner-social relationship of people. Therefore,
- If the workers find the system fair and satisfactory of their needs, then work motivation exist and their diligence is rewarded by the result of their work.
- If workers find the system unfair because all their lives it cannot satisfy their primary needs, then work motivation disappears and the less diligence, supporting the system, there is, the quicker it moves to full collapse. However, here some part of residual ambitions can be directed on destruction of current system and its substitution with another one, or on efforts in cleansing this system from its flaws.
In accordance wit this B. Obama many times turns to the subject of work ethics and personal initiative (entrepreneurship in its wider sense) which in the context of his books is strongly tied to the subject of fairness.
“I believe in the free market, competition and entrepreneurship, and think no small number of government programs don’t work as advertised. I wish the country had fewer lawyers and more engineers.” (p.10)
As long as individual men and women are free to pursue their won interests, society as a whole will prosper, Out system of self-government and our free-market economy depend on the majority of individual Americans adhering to these values. The legitimacy of our government and our economy depend on the degree to which these values are rewarded, which is why the values of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination compliment rather than impinge on our liberty”. (p/54)
Obama reproaches the situation when in the USA for many people “politics became business rather than mission”, and further down the text, talking about the role of money in his campaigns, he reminisces on some of his sponsors: “As a rule they were smart, interesting people, knowledgeable about public policy, liberal in their politics, expecting nothing more than a hearing of their opinions in exchange for their checks. But they reflected, almost uniformly, the perspectives of their class: the top 1% or so of the income scale that can afford to write a $2,000 check to a political candidate. They believed in the free market and an educational meritocracy; they found it hard to imagine that there might be any social ill that could not be cures by a nigh SAT score. They had no patience with protectionism, found unions troublesome, and were not particularly sympathetic to those whose lives were suspended by the movements of global capital.” (p. 114).
And further down he characterizes social consequences of such human behavior.
“…the Ownership Society doesn't even try to spread the risks and rewards of the new economy among all Americans. Instead, it simply magnifies the uneven risks and rewards of today's winner-take-all economy. If you are healthy or wealthy or just plain lucky, then you will become more so. If you are poor or sick or catch a bad break, you will have nobody to look to for help. That's not a recipe for sustained economic growth or the maintenance of the strong American middle class. It's certainly not a recipe for social cohesion. It runs counter to those values that say we have a stake in each other's success.
That is certainly not who we are as people”
However, let’s come back to the subject of how money influence politics. Further on, Obama describes his relationship with unions and their leaders, that also financially supported his campaigns through the course of his political career. Here is his conclusion:
«So I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don’t consider this corrupting in any way. I don’t mind dealing obligated toward home health-care workers who clean bedpans every day for little more than the minimum wage, or toward teachers in some of the toughest schools in the country, many of whom have to dip into their own pockets at the beginning of every school year to buy crayons and books for their students. I got into politics to fight for these folks and I’m glad a union is around to remind me of their struggles.
But I also understand that there will be times when these obligations collide with other obligations – the obligation to children not yet born whom we are saddling with debt.” (p.118).
So this is to say that problems of upbringing, teaching kids diligence and maintaining fairness are connected from the point of view of Barack Obama and his voters. And although these issues are broadly discussed in public, very little is done in real politics in order to enforce those values, which only brings problems both for Americans and the USA as a state. Obama writes that upon his initiative was passed a bill protecting Americans from loosing their jobs to immigrants, willing to work for smaller wages. And then he cites a part of conversation he had with one of his colleagues:
“ – My small business guys are still going to hire immigrants,” he said. :All your amendment does is make them pay more for their help.”
“But why would they hire immigrants over U.S. workers if they cost the same?” I asked him.
He smiled. “’Cause let’s face it, Barack. These Mexicans are just willing to work harder than Americans do.” (p. 266)
For Russian “elite” however, the question is different: “How can we make or trick people to work for our own prosperity in conditions when we deliberately impose injustice?” This problem has no solution and all attempts to solve it, as history shows, have only led to political suicide of some “elite” representative and of “elite” as a social class.