Lionel Shriver Lionel Shriver

How the West plays up to Putin’s caricature

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In an outstanding article in the New York Times, Roger Cohen recounted his experience of travelling across Russia for a full month, and hats off to the veteran journalist for risking a shared cell with the Wall Street Journal ‘spy’ Evan Gershkovich.

Cohen explains that Vladimir Putin is successfully flogging his war in Ukraine to the Russian people as a battle against the whole spiritually depraved West, no longer the home of ruthless capitalism but of ‘sex changes, the rampages of drag queens, barbaric gender debates and an LGBTQ takeover’. In a tirade last November, Putin lambasted the US and ‘other unfriendly foreign states’ for ‘selfishness, permissiveness, immorality, the denial of the ideals of patriotism’ and ‘destruction of the traditional family through the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations’.

This dementedly neutral anything-goes morality is extending well beyond sex

You must admit, he’s got a point.

Of course, most folks on our side of the re-erected Iron Curtain roundly deplore Russia’s criminal prosecution of homosexuals, but we went way beyond merely legalising same-sex relations long ago – so much farther that garden-variety gays and lesbians are passé. There’s a big difference, too, between simply allowing a practice and celebrating it or even, yes, promoting it, and in the past decade the West’s cultural obsession with the sexual Crayola 64 has gone manically overboard.

We’ve kept adding so many letters to that ‘LGB’ formulation that in Scrabble you’d earn 50 bonus points with a fraction of the erstwhile shorthand. One out of five Gen Zers say they’re not straight. A full 38 per cent of students at America’s Brown University claim they’re not straight, a proportion that’s doubled in ten years. Aberration is the new conformity.

‘Pride’ has expanded from one day to a whole month, during which garish rainbows adorn everything from corporate logos to crosswalks, in a showy embrace of every sexual proclivity under the sun other than the sort that reproduces the species.

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