No? Then you have a lot to learn from Peter Hitchens, who clearly prefers Russia’s “masculine society” to our effeminate one.
For years now Mr Hitchens has been one of Putin’s most faithful and courageous trolls.
The courageous part is evident from the pundit’s mournful admission that there’s a price tag attached to his shilling for Russian kleptofascism: “I have made many enemies by refusing to join in the anti-Russian frenzy.”
Sorry, I stand corrected. “Refusing to join in the anti-Russian frenzy” is obviously the right way to describe what I unkindly call ‘trolling’ or ‘shilling’. Anyway, whatever you call Mr Hitchens’s stance, I’m sorry many people have become his enemies as a result.
I’m certainly not one of them, in the same sense in which I’m not an enemy to the neighbourhood dog who yesterday relieved himself on my newly washed car. I simply recognise that some of God’s creatures are programmed to act in a certain way, and this setting may override, in humans, such things as free will, reason and moral sense.
It’s in that spirit of compassionate understanding and genuine concern for his mental health that I read Mr Hitchens’s Yuletide offering, in which he compares favourably the Russian aviation business to ours.
Building on his vast personal knowledge of the country, he writes: “On ferociously freezing days when any Western airline would have given up, Russian internal flights took off without hesitation, and arrived on time.”
‘Took off without hesitation’, definitely. ‘Arrived on time’ or indeed at all, well, not always.
Once I’ve finished applauding my former countrymen’s intrepid disdain for the elements, I can’t help juxtaposing Mr Hitchens’s statement with another one, in WorldAtlas:
“In 2011, Russia was considered the most dangerous country to fly from. In that year, the country experienced nine commercial airline accidents, a number so high that it required an investigation into its air-safety practices. The investigation found that the commercial flights were being flown by insufficiently trained pilots who were following inefficient and outdated safety regulations and procedures.”
It’s not just 2011. Historically, only the US has had marginally more airline deaths than Russia, but from a vastly greater volume of traffic. So let’s just say that ‘masculine’ disdain for safety isn’t without its downside.
In fact, some may confuse such masculinity with contempt for human life in general, and not just in the area of civil aviation. But Mr Hitchens forges on undeterred: “Russia… is still a… society, in which the influence of lawyers and social workers is minimal.”
That is undeniably true. Lawyers, and law in general, have next to no influence in Putin’s Russia. Their principal activity is to pass on the sentences pre-determined either in the Kremlin or at a lower governmental level.
That’s why detainees are routinely beaten up, tortured or even killed in Russian police stations and prisons. Anyone who follows Russia in good faith could cite a long list of such outrages, from the highly publicised Magnitsky case to the more obscure ones, such as a man raped to death with a champagne bottle.
In fact, the influence of lawyers – or rather laws – is so minimal that the whole Russian economy is criminalised from top to bottom, with protection rackets and money laundering its principal industry. Nor can laws prevent a spate of gangland and political murders Putin’s lads commit both at home and abroad.
It’s also true that Russian social workers indeed aren’t overburdened with work. That may be partly why at least 20 million Russians starve – that is, live below the poverty line of £200 a month. That’s quite impressive in a country whose population is 140 million, or, if one believes some sociologists, even lower.
“I rather think,” continues Mr Hitchens, “that if anyone was fool enough to fly a drone over one of Moscow’s major airports today, two things would happen within about half an hour. The drone would be shot out of the sky, and the person involved would be in the slammer, contemplating a lengthy spell in Siberia. If the airport ever had closed (which I doubt), it would soon be opened again.”
He’s as right in his guess as he’s wrong in his moral judgement. “The person involved” would indeed be in the slammer, having been beaten, tortured and then sentenced by a kangaroo court. And yes, the airport would stay open throughout – it’s that understated respect for human life again.
Mr Hitchens is full of contempt, this time fully justified, for our “ludicrous MI5”, “MI6” and “the so-called ‘British FBI’, the National Crime Agency”, which he groups together under the rubric of “our own burgeoning KGB-type organisations”.
What isn’t justified is the unspoken but clearly audible refrain of the original KGB being much preferable to those insufficiently masculine outfits. This goes beyond simple ignorance and idiocy, penetrating instead the domain of psychiatry.
True, all those British organisations are ineffectual and frequently incompetent. But, the last time I checked my facts, none of them is responsible for murdering millions of their countrymen and enslaving the rest – activities that are still continuing in Russia, if so far on a smaller scale.
I’d suggest that any man capable of referring to any Western security service as a “KGB-style organisation” should be sectioned or at least have his mental health carefully investigated. And then he ought to be passed on to the care of the social services, busy as they lamentably are in Britain.