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Do not seek refuge in the false security of consensus. Embrace ideological conflict.



After the downfall of the communist regime in 1989 through a perhaps not so suitably called revolution, the people of Romania—dilapidated by almost a decade of austerity—witnessed the replacement of the former party. Its successor, the National Salvation Front (FSN), was conceived to transform its given name into an eponym. Yet, may the reader be careful in realising that this was simply a name change; its highest ranking officials, most notably Mr. (or Sir, considering his bulky closet of foreign awards) Ion Iliescu, were members of the former party. It may not be said that simply attending party meetings is a definitive measure of one’s convictions, especially seeing as being a member came with a natural and sometimes necessary vested interest. Nonetheless, the FSN’s reactionary attitude towards the series of protests, or “mineriads,” that ensued after the fall of the irreverent Ceausescu may have been a sign of the new party’s nostalgia for the olden days. Iliescu himself, who lay comfortably in the mist of criticism, followed up on the unnecessary violence by adhering to the categorical naming conventions of communist critique, asserting that the protesters were “fascists.”


On the contrary, through a self-asserted historical lineage, which may indeed not be argued against on the surface, the National Liberal Party (PNL) was reformed around the same time. Owing its existence to the brave actions of men with formal education, some of which were literary icons, it cannot be omitted that the party garnered its support from the wealthy bourgeoisie. Let it be mentioned that, just as throughout all societies with suffrage in the 19th century, voting was limited to male landowners. In this sense, because it was the opposition of the Conservative Party, voters simply rolled a two-faced die on voting day and then witnessed the societal progress that comes from having two right-wing parties control the political system. Although, let us not be sordid in our judgement; under the leadership of the PNL, Romania ascended the social and philosophical ladder, Bucharest itself being named “le petit Paris.” Just not for the jews. 


Presently, these two reconstructed parties, of two deeply incongruent ideological frameworks, come in the form of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and the PNL, which has kept its name. The reader has the volition to assume that the two enjoy a political rivalry much akin to the Republicans and the Democrats. However, much to the surprise of one’s common sense, the two are united under a coalition. It could be said that such an organisation may provide Romania with a more moderate, perhaps even less corrupt way of governance. Yet, to those of you with even the slightest knowledge of Romanian politics, this is nonsense. How could a “two-party turned one” system even remotely lead to moderation? We must remember that in a democratic system, the party is informed by the decisions of the people—the supporters of each respective party will seek to disassociate themselves with the other as much as possible. The most effortless way of differentiating from someone with a different ideology is extremising one’s beliefs to the point of no return. The latter point, namely that about decreased corruption, doesn’t require more than a sentence worth of debunking: if both control the system at the same time, both can take care of their own interests at the same time. Nevertheless, let the media continue justifying its own narratives and speculations.


We are free to dispute the existence of the coalition based on practical grounds all we like, but let us not forget that the first premise—that of uniting a right-wing form of quasi-liberalism with a more euphemistic form of democratic socialism—undermines the very existence of ideological conflict. There are those who fervently despise debate, seeing it as a way to apparently avoid having to agree on truth. They are free to hold that belief, as long as they can assert what the truth is. Yet, that is the issue itself; without ideological conflict we cannot decide whether to abandon or to embrace our current convictions. I dare say, with the slight risk of being contradicted, that it is up to no one to decide which idea holds supremacy over another. It was only eight score years ago that slavery was abolished in the country that has become synonymous with free debate. Had there not been a conflict between the idea of human property and that of emancipation, then subjugation to one’s masters would have remained normality. Dear reader, as much as you despise the ideas of those opposing you, remember that it is in your best interest to be contradicted. It is not only the right of your nemesis to speak, but your right, and duty, to listen. 


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