The dictionary defines obscurantism as either “opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge” or “deliberate obscurity or evasion of clarity.” In either case, it’s not a word prone to frequent occurrence in everyday conversation. It is the word, or at least the Russian equivalent thereof, Russian president Vladimir Putin recently chose in delineating Russia’s division with the West regarding the latter’s ongoing gender self-definition wars.
Putin made the comment in his annual year-end press conference, held this past Thursday. While one can safely imagine such events are far more akin to a Joe Biden presser tongue bath … er, conference than any given White House press corps versus #OrangeManBad — in terms of unfriendly or at least difficult questioning, interesting tidbits still came out to play. To wit:
“I adhere to that traditional approach that a woman is a woman and a man is a man. A mother is a mother, a father is a father. And I hope that our society has the internal moral protection dictated by the traditional religious denominations of the Russian Federation,” he said.
Later he added:
“If somebody thinks that a woman and a man are the same thing, they’re welcome to [their opinion], but a certain common sense should exist,” the head of state pointed out.
There’s a lot to mull over here.
Putin is a fascinating fusion of Russian old, middle, and new. A product of the Soviet Union’s strong-arm socialistic/communistic political era, unlike many products of his time he understands the value of traditional Russian culture. The most noticeable difference between Putin and his predecessors is his approach to the church.
While his personal beliefs are known only to himself and God, outwardly, Putin has utterly discarded the USSR era’s open disdain for, and none-too-subtle efforts to at least reduce, if not altogether eliminate, the church’s influence on Russian society. Instead, Putin has embraced the church and its insistence on traditional moral values.
Putin saw how Pope John Paul II laid to waste Stalin’s smirk about how many divisions does the Pope have. As it turned out, the heavenly hosts are armed to the teeth. The people of Eastern Europe and the USSR itself overthrew the Soviet regime and its puppets not through armed revolt but by lighting candles, saying prayers, and carrying out faith-emboldened quiet resistance against their oppressors.
Putin is both sharply intelligent and keenly aware of the times. While the West is doing everything it can to run the church out of town, what’s left of the church insists on emasculating itself via the abandonment of its own truths, Putin is reinforcing the church, confident that doing so will simultaneously strengthen his hand and raise his appeal to Western people growing ever wearier of weakness in the face of wokeism.
Putin unhesitatingly uses muscle to get what he wants. Examples include Russia’s territorial annexation from and open threats against Ukraine, and Putin’s Don Corleone-like moves regarding political opponents. This duly noted, he has also wisely set aside his predecessors’ belief that being an economic entity unto itself and military might alone are signs of national strength.
Putin has leveraged his country’s oil wealth to exert tremendous economic influence throughout Europe. He likely has a sign somewhere in his office proclaiming great thanks to the eco-freakos, for their irrationality and political might has made Russia’s willingness to drill, baby, drill all the more powerful. Meanwhile, Russia has played and continues to play Europe for the economic suckers they are. Congratulations, no nukes nitwits.
Strength respects strength, even when it is in partial or complete opposition. Putin respects Donald Trump. Similarly, he appreciates the Russian Orthodox Church’s power, for alignment with its values and teachings strengthens his hand while reinforcing his unshakable belief in Russian superiority over the West.
Putin does not respect Joe Biden. He views Biden as a senile career politico forever willing to talk the talk yet ready to roll over whenever so much as looked at cross-eyed. Putin knows economic threats by the US against Russia, should the proxy war it is waging against Ukraine suddenly turn red hot and direct, are meaningless. Any such action would result in America’s European allies’ already heavily burdened economies collapsing should Russia turn off its oil pipelines.
Therefore, it is utterly logical for Putin to come out against gender fluidity and self-definition’s inane insanity. Putin has set the table to richly reward himself from the West’s folly, as the West continues to stumble toward self-immolation. Effective leadership understands the power of enabling identification empowerment by saying to its constituents, “See? Told you we were better.”