By: Gašper Blažič
An anecdote that you will also find in the latest issue of the printed Demokracija magazine: Since the legendary French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert no longer knew what kind of tax to prescribe to help the empty state coffers, a philosopher suggested that he prescribe a smart tax. “Everybody will be happy to pay it, so as not to be considered a fool,” assured the philosopher. “Great!” was enthusiastic Colbert. “I promise you will not have to pay it!”
The old saying goes you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours. Which means a chain reaction of mutual favours. But when such structural sinfulness also covers law enforcement agencies, things become extremely serious.
Let’s look at an example. For several days in a row, the police have been calling for potential victims of sexual offenses to come forward in the case of the notorious FotoPub at Tivolska Street 44, which is one of the many shelters for the so-called alternative arts (there are quite a few such “nests” in Ljubljana). Since there are probably no reports of crimes, the police cannot act by law – this is what many spin doctors convince us. Of course, not a word is said about the fact that the police should conduct an investigation ex officio on the basis of suspicions. And if there is no report, there is no crime. In other words: the statements published on Instagram are therefore supposed to be a simple bluff and perhaps even a secretly created SDS project aimed at discrediting the Levica party if we understand the various public opinion influencers correctly. And so, we got to the point that the real victim of this happening is Luka Mesec and his party. And that normal people should therefore support his intention to file criminal charges and compensation claims against the media, which supposedly spread lies about him.
Is it really so? Let’s look more closely. Last weekend, when the affair was barely coming to light and the shocking news about Roman Uranjek’s suicide came to the public (which is, of course, proof that the matters were not innocent), Luka Mesec somewhat bluntly rejected the accusations, saying that he had nothing to do with Dušan Smodej – as if he had never met him and that he had never been around Tivolska Street 44. Of course, the other possible friends – as long as they did not remain silent – resorted to claims that they did not know this man. These statements then accumulated quite a bit until Monday morning, even before the rooster crowed for the second time. And when a recording was leaked to the public that Luka Mesec was not so “far” from FotoPub after all, he had to retract his original statement. And of course, further reinforce his threats with criminal prosecutions against the unruly, so-called “SDS’ media”. With which he actually said between the lines how terribly nervous he is lately, and even more nervous are his whisperers, who until recently hoped that the government would introduce new taxes and then distribute the money to selected NGOs.
But it is certainly interesting to observe the reactions to the scandal, especially on social networks. After the panicked wiping of traces and the first shock, the familiar tactic that attack is the best defence followed. So, Janez Janša is to blame for the “radiator” affair with the abuse of young girls, these girls were in fact abused by Janša’s supporters and then they framed their opponents. Of course, in the meantime, everyone who wants to defend the “Mesec’s supporters” from a potential tsunami of public opinion also made sure that the profile where the girls’ testimonies were published was blocked and is no longer accessible. Which is another example of censorship and an attempt to make the storm pass as soon as possible and then continue with the “business as usual”. Nothing new – we witnessed such attempts already twelve years ago in the then very infamous Baričevič affair. And we know from experience that a wounded beast is dangerous, so threats of accusations and lawsuits should be taken as a sure sign of fear of disappearing into political anonymity.
But since the transition in Slovenia is not over even after more than three decades and the spiritual and financial dynasty of the Maček’ cubs continue, it is not surprising that Katarina Kresal returned to the public as a TV star after the political debacle. Meanwhile, Gregor Golobič came to terms with the fact that the role of frontman does not suit him too well and therefore moved among the uncles from the background. The core of transitional predation continues to remain the same, which means that the results of social science research from more than two decades ago (for example, regarding the media, which was researched and reported by the Institute for the Revitalisation of Civil Society, or elites, which was actively dealt with by Prof. Dr Frane Adam) have not aged a bit. The only difference is that new generations of clients have come to the fore, from Jaša Jenull to Nika Kovač.
That is why it is necessary to place the new terrible scandal, which is not even a surprise to many, in the wider context of the Slovenian transition story, where, according to the belief of the predators, there is no God (which does not mean that gods do not exist) and therefore everything is permitted. Well, of course, everything is allowed, as the ancient Romans would say, only to Jupiter, but not to cattle (that is, to us, the “stupid rest”), who, according to the idea of these predators, are included in the list of those on the “wrong side of history”. Of course, we must consider an acknowledgment that the development of the scandal is not over yet and that the main one is yet to come, and that perhaps this is the opportunity for the bubble of retro transition to finally burst.
Moreover – all of us taxpayers will have to ask ourselves a key question: to what extent did we fall for the supposed moral stance of all those left-wing luminaries who staged cycling and other burkas in front of the parliament during the last Janša’s government? Can such a Brambian attitude to preserve the “gains of the revolution” be considered as an expression of genuine active citizenship? If the current state of affairs makes the majority of citizens indifferent again, then perhaps the only remedy is what is suggested in the opening anecdote: introduce a smart tax. Luka Mesec would definitely know how to do it.