Zmagovalca volitev imamo. Izvolili so ga tisti, ki si ne želijo soočenja z realnostjo. To odmaknjenost si lahko privoščijo volivci, to si lahko privošči kandidat na volitvah, celo si lahko to privošči kandidat za mandatarja, ko sestavlja koalicijsko pogodbo, ne more pa si tega privoščiti predsednik vlade Republike Slovenije.
Pred Cerarjem je zato težka naloga. Volilno podporo mora pretvoriti v operativen program in dejanja. Za katera pa na volitvah od svojih volivcev ni dobil mandata. Prav zanimivo bi bilo od zunaj gledati ta eksperiment. Od znotraj, iz Slovenije, zna biti pa precej neprijetno.
Like Christians enduring similar violence in Iraq, Palestinian Christian communities are historically rooted and unique, and they are tied to areas with spiritual significance in the Christian tradition: nonetheless, their status appears to be of little interest to rightwing partisans. This is not because of defects in particular people, but because of defects in the partisan model of rendering intelligible political realities. If political action must take place along party lines, then even the most straightforward commitments are difficult to maintain when their coherence would interfere with the party line. Since the right wing must support Israel and tends to maintain anti-Muslim animus, rallying for Christians besieged by ISIS is convenient, while rallying for those endangered by Israel is untenable. Partisan commitments truncate good impulses, like the one to protect threatened Christian communities abroad, by measuring qualification for support by amenability to internal agendas rather than objective need. In other words, they hobble virtue by calibrating it against their own interests rather than a shared or sharable standard.
But you’ve changed. You’re always like “Oh no, thousands of missiles are being fired at our cities” and “Let me tell you about those death squads who infiltrated through underground tunnels to attack our farms.”
I think you’ve lost all perspective. Most of those missiles miss and you’ve stopped most of those infiltrators. But it is still all about how your people have to go into bomb shelters and how your farmers are worried about being massacred.
For the first time in decades, Israel is defending itself against an army that has penetrated the 1967 borders, by means of tunnels and naval incursions. Hamas rockets produced in Gaza can now reach all of Israel’s largest cities, including Haifa, and it has rocket-equipped drones. It was able to shut down Israel’s main airport for two days. Israelis who live near Gaza have left their homes and are scared to go back since the IDF says that there are probably still tunnels it doesn’t know about. Rockets from Gaza kept Israelis returning to shelters day after day, demonstrating the IDF’s inability to deal with the threat. The war is estimated to have cost the country billions of dollars.
The greatest costs, of course, have been borne by Gaza’s civilians, who make up the vast majority of the more than 1600 lives lost by the time of the ceasefire announced and quickly broken on 1 August. The war has wiped out entire families, devastated neighbourhoods, destroyed homes, cut off all electricity and greatly limited access to water. It will take years for Gaza to recover, if indeed it ever does.
While the actions of Russian propaganda have not delivered any significant results in the West so far, the situation is unfortunately different in Ukraine. For a long time, the majority of Ukrainians treated Kiselyov (and others) as rather comical characters, the heroes of numerous parodies of internet and comedy shows. Nevertheless, many took the propaganda voiced by such “Kiselyovs” very seriously. Many dormant pro-Russian inhabitants of eastern Ukraine, bombarded by anti-Maidan (de-facto anti-European) propaganda during the revolutionary events of November 2013–February 2014, have become intolerant of any other point of view. After the triumph of the Maidan, most of the Ukrainian media have changed their focus to favour the new authorities, undermining their credibility in the eyes of Donbas residents.
Therefore, during the separatist meetings, assurance of uninterrupted broadcasting of Russian TV was always named among the top demands of the protesters (up to now TV remains the main source of information for many of the protesters). Russian TV channels, almost non-stop, report on the horrors that the post-Maidan authorities would bring to Donbas: forcible Ukrainianisation, shutting down mines (a large employment sector), forced gay marriages and neo-Nazis that would butcher all Russian speakers. As a result, an ordinary peaceful resident of Donbas, whose right to speak his mother tongue, preserve his culture and honour his heroes has taken up arms to the barricades to “defend against the invasion of the Right Sector”. As a consequence of this, Ukraine has lost hundreds of fellow citizens on both sides of the conflict.
Love is to choose to give ourselves to the other; it is to lay down our lives as a sacrificial offering for the beloved. It is inseparable from the Cross, which is the sacrificial signifier of the marriage of love and suffering. This traditional understanding of love differs drastically and radically from the modern understanding of “love,” which can be defined as that which makes us feel good, especially in terms of the erotic. As Kris Kristofferson tells us:
Feelin’ good was easy Lord, when Bobby sang the blues, Feelin’ good was good enough for me, Good enough for me and Bobby McGee.
I love you because you make me feel good. When you do not. make me feel good any longer I will nott love you any longer; I will find someone else who makes me feel good. This “feel good” love was epitomized by the hippy movement, by Lennon’s mantra “All You Need is Love,” and by the so-called “summer of love,” with its narcissism finding fulfillment in narcotic-induced oblivion. The fact is that feeling good is not good enough for me or for you, or even for Bobby McGee. True love is never about feeling good but about being good.
Does the racist deserve respect, Barro will ask? In reply, we may observe that those Americans who have done the most against racism have done so by treating even racists with respect.
Abraham Lincoln consistently denounced slavery as an institution without denouncing southerners for being slaveholders. On the contrary, he admonished his fellow northerners that they would be no better had they been raised in a slave-holding society. Lincoln reasoned with the South about the immorality of slavery. And when some southerners sought to dismember the Union, he reasoned with them about the illegality, injustice, and imprudence of secession, appealing to the “better angels” of their nature. Of course, his efforts at persuasion failed, and war came—a war that Lincoln was determined to wage with full force in pursuit of a just victory. Even in the midst of civil war, however, and even with the war won, he did not indulge a desire to denounce or vilify his opponents. The same was true, of course, of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the most effective leaders of the civil rights movement.
Civility is due not to a person’s opinions, but to the person himself. Such civility is right and just because, while we may be very convinced that our opponent is wrong, our opponent is still a person with dignity. The just response to error is, as Socrates pointed out long ago, not mockery but argument.
For more than 30 years, the Islamic Republic has been obsessively battling against sex. It is preoccupied by how and with whom its people are having it. Lawmakers and scholars devote hours to discussing sex, condemning sex and sentencing people for having sex. Mullahs on television and radio philosophise and advise about it, sometimes in surprisingly lascivious detail. Government posters warn of the link between immodest dress and dubious morals; find-a-fatwa websites warn of the perils of self-love (everything from psychological damage to wreaking havoc on the nervous system) and offer cures to masturbators (lots of prayer and fasting).
As with anything that is suppressed or banned – such as alcohol, which flows through homes the length and breadth of the city – people have learned to sidestep the restrictions. And they are hungrier than ever for that which is not allowed.
[Adam] Smith never can decide how one should feel about the pursuit of wealth. On the one hand, it keeps in motion the industry of mankind. On the other, it doesn’t make people very happy. So how is the individual character—after all, the subject of a treatise on ethical conduct—to treat wealth?
Smith resolves not to resolve on anything. He encourages his readers to take a “complex” view of wealth. While nature imposes on our sympathies and senses most of the time, we know what it is like not to be fooled. Smith urges us to remember those times of “splenetic humour”—illness, usually—when we fail to appreciate beauty, utility, “that accommodation which reigns in the palaces and oeconomy of the great.” In sickness, we “consider the real satisfaction which all these things are capable of affording” and find wealth “in the highest degree contemptible and trifling.”
This isn’t a prescription for lifelong malingering. It’s a reminder instead to maintain an attitude of ambiguity towards wealth even when one’s full sympathetic and aesthetic faculties are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Prav lahko si predstavljam brata, ki jima je oče kakih 50 let nazaj, ko je delal oporoko, zapustil parcele – enemu na levi, drugemu na desni in skupni dostop do njih. Logično, da samo z eno dovozno potjo – pot pač ne daje kruha. Da se ne dela škoda. Pa je skozi leta med bratoma in njunima družinama kdaj prišlo do kakega nesporazuma, ki so ga vestno pometli pod preprogo. Morda je kakšen od bratov celo drugemu “odščipnil” kje kakšen košček zemlje, kar je oni drugi odpustil, da bi se le razumela. Morda je celo ponesreči kdo od bratov odkosil kakšno travo ali posekal drevesce, ki je bilo prav gotovo na “našem”. V teku let se je takih drobnarij nekaj nabralo.
Ob prvem večjem sporu sta si vse to vrgla v obraz in – kot je navada – prenehala govoriti med seboj, se na smrt “skregala” in zanetila začetek bratskega sovraštva. V sporu se seveda nista znašla le onadva, pač pa kar celotni družini. Sovraštvo se namreč kaj rado prenese v naslednjo generacijo in se potegne še naprej v prihodnost. Danes nihče sploh več ne pozna pravih vzrokov spora, ne pozna dejstev, nihče ne ve za krivice, ki so se dogajale.
Bonus: izvrsten članek urednika Pogledov Boštjana Tadela o reformi slovenskega kulturnega modela, ki je bil po krivici spregledan v poplavi banalnosti pred in po državnozborskih volitvah. Še en dokaz, da so Pogledi po svojem bistvu konservativni trojanski konj v samem jedru slovenske kulturne javnosti:
Posledica skoraj izključno državnega financiranja kulture je bil nastanek močnega lobija »producentov«, kot jih je poimenoval minister. Ta je bil v času po osamosvojitvi praktično edini usmerjevalec kulturne politike. V tem seveda kultura ni bila izjema med javnofinančnimi področji – ki se vsa po vrsti sklicujejo na »brezmadežno stroko« nasproti »korumpirani politiki« – je pa tudi v kulturi zaradi tega prišlo do šibke odzivnosti na potrebe trga, se pravi bralcev, gledalcev, poslušalcev, prav tako pa do omenjenega stopnjevanja generacijskega konflikta.
Z drugimi besedami: raznovrstnosti ne smemo iskati v ponudbi posameznih producentov, nasprotno, ti morajo imeti jasno profilirano identiteto – raznovrstnost pa bo posledica večjega števila različnih in prepoznavnih ponudnikov čim bolj različnih vsebin in oblik.
Ko torej razmišljamo o interakciji med družbo in kulturo, je smiselno razmišljati o določitvi ciljev. Ali želimo, da v dveh opernih hišah zagotavljamo eksistenco okrog petsto glasbenikom in plesalcem – ali želimo mednarodno ugleden baletni ansambel, kakršen je Clugov v Mariboru? Ali mislimo, da je nujno prek Javne agencije za knjigo (JAK) letno zagotavljati izid več kot petsto naslovov, izmed katerih marsikateri ne dosega niti tehničnih založniških standardov, kaj šele vsebinskih – ali bi raje dostojno podprli nekaj res izstopajočih avtorjev, da leto, dve ali celo tri lahko v miru ustvarjajo. (O tem je pred časom govoril prvi direktor JAK, pisatelj, založnik in dolgoletni predsednik Društva slovenskih pisateljev Slavko Pregl.) V času, ko bo e-samozaložba vedno bolj enostavna, je to vprašanje še bolj aktualno kot doslej. Ali res potrebujemo toliko šol z umetniškimi vsebinami, ki bruhajo diplomante, med katerimi večina postane socialni problem – ali bi raje podpirali ciljane tečaje, kot so npr. tisti za kreativno pisanje, na nadebudne umetnike pa apelirali, da se v okviru javnega šolstva izšolajo za kaj, kar jim bo omogočilo eksistenco? Pedagoških delovnih mest bi bilo sicer manj, ampak pred meseci je Andraž Teršek pisal o odgovornosti države, ki razpisuje študijska mesta za poklice, po katerih ni povpraševanja – sliši se grdo, ampak tudi mlademu človeku vzeti več let življenja na račun nikomur potrebnega študija ni prav lepo.
Vrhunskost, raznovrstnost in dostopnost v kulturi so dosegljiva načela, če bo prišlo do razširitve virov financiranja, če bo kultura našla stik z zainteresirano in še posebej z novo javnostjo in če bo poskrbljeno za sistematično uvajanje novih generacij. Če bomo to storili, bo produkcija boljša, bližje bo številčnejšemu in bolj vpletenemu občinstvu ter manj obremenjujoča za javna sredstva – seveda pa bo to s seboj nedvomno prineslo tudi to, da si bodo nekateri dosedanji »producenti« morali poiskati drugo dejavnost. To se dogaja tudi v medijih in se je na marsikaterem drugem področju že zgodilo. Ni pa to nujno nekaj slabega, v kulturi in vrhunski umetnosti sploh ne. Celo obratno je – slab je status quo.