The human person is a vast and toothy creature, with enough complexity and contradiction to keep the most advanced super computer fully at bay. Our history has been short by comparison to other forms of life, but quite long when compared to our favorite analog: ourselves. We’ve invented and reinvented each other across time and place and are likely to have forgotten more than we remember. None of this scares me as a man, a Catholic, or a human person, nor should it scare you—and I am getting sick and tired of hearing why it should.
The merits of the argument for gay marriage, such as they are, are obscured by the movement’s immense rhetorical shallowness. Advocates seem to think that progress is inevitable, that history only turns one way. But accusing someone of being on the wrong side of history says nothing about whether he is on the right side of the argument. It is a mere threat, and a somewhat hollow one, for history is an arbitrary enforcer.
Some of that Fairtrade premium is meant to be spent on public goods in those areas. Which is just absolutely great, assuming (as in the case described, it isn’t) that the public good is actually available to those it is supposed to benefit. But even then we come back to the same old problem. They might now be poor peasants with free toilets. But they’re still poor peasants, free toilets or no. And this is something that hateful neoliberals like me have been saying for a long time now. Fairtrade is simply a vastly inefficient method of making the lives of the poorest people in the world better.
Pope Francis is very concerned for the poor, but I’m worried whether he has a very good theory for how you get the poor out of poverty. I mean, I don’t think the aim should be to keep the poor poor and feel sorry for them and give them alms; I think the hope for the poor is to help them to break the chains of poverty and become independent people of initiative and energy on their own, and I don’t see the Pope there yet.
Russia’s rise as an anti-Western power is seen by the European extreme right as an amazing example of national sovereignty and self-determination. These ideas are most prominent in today’s Eurosceptic rhetoric of the extreme right parties based in the EU, ‘a technocratic monster that only serves the interests of bankers’ (Le Pen), from which, according to Geert Wilders of the Dutch far right Partij voor de Vrijheid, European nation-states should ‘liberate’ themselves. Forza Nuova even calls upon Putin to destroy ‘the Europe of technocrats.’ European neutrality, which verges on national isolationism as the logical consequence of self-determination driven to extremity, is also a popular idea among the European extreme right. It serves as a euphemistic argument in favour of ‘Fortress Europe’ and justifies non-interference in international matters outside Europe.
Contrary to the claim of transparency advocates who insist that it is possible to reconcile the demand for the opening of government with the protection of citizens’ privacy, I contend that wholly transparent government denotes a wholly transparent citizen. We can’t make the government fully transparent without sacrificing our privacy. In contrast to those advocates who believe that a politics of full disclosure improves the quality of public debate, I think that injections of huge flows of information make public conversation more complicated, shifting the focus away from the moral competence of the citizen to his expertise in one or another area. Contrary to the expectations of the transparency movement that full disclosure of government information will make public discourse more rational and less paranoid, my argument is that a focus on transparency will only fuel conspiracy theories. There is nothing more suspicious than the claim of absolute transparency. And nobody can honestly say that when our governments have become more transparent our debates have become less paranoid. The rise of the transparency movement has the potential to remake democratic politics, but we should be sure we are in agreement as to the direction of the change. Is the transparency movement capable of restoring trust in democratic institutions, or is it, alternatively, going to make “mistrust” the official idiom of democracy?
Leta 2012 je aktivnejši del frakcije Vsi Na Ulice! dejansko šel na ulice in več mesecev zahteval odstop vseh politikov. Med njimi sem bil tudi sam, nezadovoljen in željan sprememb. Ure in ure sem se pogovarjal z najrazličnejšimi aktivisti, številni izmed njih so mi predstavili zelo konkretne zamisli o tem, kako vpeljati več neposrednega odločanja in pravičnejšo razdelitev dobrin. Ko pa so ti ljudje spremembe poskusili vnesti v lokalne skupnosti, institucije in politiko, smo jim obrnili hrbet in jih označili za izdajalce. Ker z vstopom v sistem baje daješ legitimnost sistemu … Kot da bi nasprotoval umivanju, ker s tem daješ legitimnost umazaniji. Imamo vse možnosti, da podpremo drugačne pobude in spremenimo sistem, pa tega ne storimo. Zato se nehajmo pretvarjati, da se bo zdaj zdaj pojavilo kaj boljšega, kar nas bo nagovorilo k participaciji. Boljše ideje in ljudje so že tu, potrebujejo le še nas.
Današnji odnos do neprecenljive dediščine, ki je preživela več stoletij, je res porazen. Zgodovina, ki se je zgodila pred prvo in drugo svetovno vojno, nas ne zanima kaj preveč. O gradovih bi se bili verjetno sposobni res glasno pogovarjati samo, če bi šlo za pripisovanje krivde za propad po drugi svetovni vojni, med našim pričkanjem pa bi se srednjeveške stavbe še naprej spreminjale v razvaline. Zato je kar luštno, da se bomo z zgodovino ukvarjali vsaj na referendumu o arhivih.
Kot Primorec se sprašujem, kako to, da je celo na svetovljanskem Primorskem zmanjkalo idej, kako naprej; kako to, da za našo prihodnost nimamo boljšega navdiha od Titove (dvomljive, pa tudi krvave) dediščine? Kako je mogoče, da nekatere Tito navdihuje bolj kot kakšni pravi primorski junaki in velikani, ki so bili tudi demokrati: bazoviške žrtve, tigrovci, Stanko Vuk, čedermaci, Janko Premrl – Vojko, Stanko Premrl, Srečko Kosovel, Alojz Gradnik, Simon Gregorčič, Boris Pahor, Lojze Spacal, Zoran Mušič?