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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Human dignity and political power

By: Gašper Blažič

When the debate ever turns to human dignity as a person, many people wave their hands. As if to say, again some philosophical topic, i.e., too difficult for the average human brain. On top of all that, it is also very elusive – and what is happening in our society (not only Slovenian) confirms this.

On this occasion, I prefer to spare all possible theories and historical facts about how the idea of ​​human dignity spread from the Enlightenment until today. Nowadays, however, we still very much like to worship the period of the new century, which is supposed to mean a kind of exodus from the supposedly dark Middle Ages with all its attributes, from feudalism onwards. We forget, however, that even in the modern age frame of mind we experienced many unpleasant things – first absolutist monarchies, and then destructive revolutions. Of course, you will say that the French Revolution was a historic civilisational achievement with its values ​​of liberty, equality, and fraternity. But it left behind a mountain of corpses. Which is just more proof that human dignity as a person is not something to be taken for granted. Especially if we take God as the highest good out of the equation. Because if there is no God, everything is relative and everything is permitted if we borrow a famous saying from the literary legacy of Dostoyevsky. To derive the absoluteness of human dignity from man himself is a futile task. Even from a Christian perspective, it is quite difficult to understand that God became human and thereby elevated the dignity of man wounded by sin – and at the same time, Jesus allowed humanity to descend upon him as the worst criminal.

Many (including Slovenian) media recently took the news about the decision of the US Supreme Court, which is supposed to eliminate the right of women to have an artificial termination of pregnancy, with a knife. Well, at least that is how Slovenians should understand this decision – but the stereotypical addressing of news in this area is just the icing on the cake of the already proverbial weak reading culture, where in the menagerie of instant news it is enough to read the headline and we already know everything. And if the dogma established by modern feminism (at the expense of science) is added to it, saying that a child until it is born is nothing more than a part of a woman’s body, then it is understandable why such furious headlines. (Interlude: You can read about what really happened in the USA on the holiday of the Sacred Heart (June 24th) HERE). Many people will remember how, years ago, in the centre of the Slovenian capital, an interesting short film about how a person’s life is created and develops from fertilisation onward was continuously shown. No words about abortion or dignity, but pure science. And yet the film caused a terrible uproar from modern progressives, who saw in this film the dirty propaganda of “pro-life ideologues”.

However, today’s modern world largely fails to recognise the humanity of unborn children. For them, these are worthless foetuses. A piece of meat you can throw away. Perhaps the key to explaining such a relationship lies in the fact that we have to recognise a person by their face. The word “persona”, which we translate as a person, comes from the old Etruscan word for a theatrical mask, which in Greek was called “prosopon”, and the Latin word “persona” is actually its equivalent, which in its original meaning indicates “to sound through”. Of course, the mask here is only a medium for contact with the audience, but it actually represents a face and thus an identity. And today, if we want to publicly humiliate someone, we call him “a man without a face”, which is actually a much more fatal disqualification than we can imagine.

But in an age where various screamers lash out from the shelter of anonymity on social networks, you could say that being a faceless person is a fairly popular sport. In fact, by doing so, they themselves accepted the iron law of dehumanisation, which was implemented by totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century. In the parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus, Jesus already indicated this danger through the lines: the rich man has no name (!), but the poor man has one. And the rich man can actually be any of us who, by dehumanising someone from a lower class, actually dehumanises himself. Because he makes a person without a face, without an identity and without – dignity out of himself.

Of course, the victims of modern dehumanisation are not only unborn children, but also those who have been violently torn not only from the community of the living, but also from the community of persons. More than 40 years after the great interview with Edvard Kocbek in the Trieste magazine Zaliv, every now and then a new discovery is made of what the Slovenian soil hides – we are of course talking about post-war burial grounds, which could hardly be called “cemeteries”. Although we imagine that we have built an awareness of the dignity and sanctity of the dead since ancient Greece (we remember Antigone and her efforts to bury one of her brothers who had sinned against her own kind), the right to a dignified grave, mourning and compassion is clearly still limited. If the victims of the communist revolution are reconciled with God, seven decades after the bloody events, their living relatives still have to listen to and read grotesque comments about “throwing and counting bones” as well as threats that not enough were killed in 1945 and another, much worse bloody lesson will obviously be necessary. Which is another indication of how human dignity depends on decades of brainwashing.

Of course, this is not the only example from recent history. Many people may remember a similar media regime control of the masses in Serbia in the late 1980s, when it was considered a grave sin among Serbs to shed a single tear for any of the Albanians killed in Kosovo. Of course, this was merely an extension and modification of the then already established pattern of engineering human souls (which is also well known in Slovenia nowadays). So, is it surprising that such horrific and massive crimes took place in the territory of the former commonwealth in the 1990s? And finally, is it surprising that the territory of the former Soviet Union is also bleeding profusely again, and that when innocent people are dying, we are met with cold insensitivity from the Kremlin, which is supported (in addition to the majority of the left-wing population) by some individual right-wing individuals?

It is nice to shed crocodile tears and jump with rage, because on television, which is not under the control of the ruling nomenclature, some viewer said in an unusually sharp way what the heirs of the revolution are so afraid of – namely, that the revolution is eating its own children. The boomerang effect is the one that the bearers of the modern revolutionary paradigm fear so much: the echo of their shouts of “death to Janšism” has now flown to them from around the corner. Just as an echo for now. That is why I believe that pointing the finger at the director of Nova24tv is more of an attempt to use a preventive war to stop anyone who might loudly oppose the current authorities, and at the same time to divert attention from all the other strongly smelling pigeons “ShIT-s”. We already know the logic of preventive war from the period 2020-2022, when various non-government members attacked the government with the assistance of the media for something it did not do at all, but it attacked it anyway, saying that it is already bad, but if you dare to do what we think you will, it will be much worse!

But as history teaches us: the Romanian tyrant Ceauşescu was dragged away to gunpoint by those who were his close collaborators the day before. The physical removal of the dictator, however, was far from solving the problems. But it showed the reality of that well-known saying that even Jenulla’s political cyclists referred to: when injustice becomes a law, rebellion becomes a duty. Personally, I strongly doubt that the political opponents of the current government could afford roughly similar wild outbursts as the opponents of the previous government in the last two years. But when it comes to the defence of dignity, I am sure that those who were loudly cheering for freedom (Svoboda party) a few months ago and imagining that they can once again establish socialism according to the people will probably stand in the first rows. The problem will be that the authorities will only see the masses in these protests, which will first have to be dehumanised…

Gašper Blažič is a journalist for the weekly Demokracija, editor of the website Demokracija.si, and the portals Blagovest.si and Molitev.si.

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