(Published on January 25, 2019)
A system that primarily serves the elite is in place in Slovenia. The self-selected, self-proclaimed elite. First class. They use all means to maintain authority, their status and privileges. One of the most catastrophic consequences of this system in the long run is the erosion of human capital and basic elements of Slovenian statehood.
The system defends the privileges of the elite and prevents the natural competition of talent in society. Therefore, thousands of gifted individuals and entrepreneurs leave Slovenia every year. Those remaining, second-class, do not have equal opportunities for success in life. Approximately the same number of foreigners arrive, categorized as a combination of low-skilled laborers and social fund users. Anyone who is only slightly able to look under the everyday virtual reality of regime media, is aware that from the perspective of values, the situation today in Slovenia is extremely serious and that we are sinking towards a turning point. There are two possible outcomes.
Despite the favorable external environment, Slovenia has not reduced enough or at all its lag behind the developed world for a decade. Because of the exclusionary policy of the first-class and the consequent slower development, the vast majority of the population or all of the “second-class” are forced to pay higher taxes and contributions and are forced to live with significantly lower wages and pensions than are realistic in terms of their inputs and the development potential of Slovenia.
In each country where negative elitism becomes dominant and systemically protected, there are serious delays in its functioning. The basic criterion for the success of an individual in a society is no longer their ability, it is their given social position. The situation can be aggravated to the point where a crisis of legitimacy occurs. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between the countries where the elites have formed organically, on the basis of more or less free competition and meritocracy or competitions in entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge, and among those countries where the elites have established themselves with revolutionary bayonets and the physical liquidation of the “old elite”. In his studies a decade ago, Dr Frane Adam found that in Slovenia’s case, the elites were mostly recycled. It is no coincidence that a member of this self-proclaimed Slovenian elite feels extremely homely in the company of an elite comrade from Moscow or even Tehran, while more or less avoiding capable managers from the West.
The first defensive line of negative elitism is bureaucracy. In a country with two million inhabitants, over 20,000 laws and government regulations are currently in force. Many procedures are prescribed contradictorily. Much so that they are difficult to implement in practice. Most of the rules are unnecessary for a normal life in a democratic country. We had four times less when we rounded up our own statehood in a practical fashion in 1996. After three decades, we have returned back full circle to the days of the last heartbeats of the SFRY. It was then considered that only what is explicitly prescribed is permitted. Upon independence and after the introduction of the Slovenian Constitution, its writers assured us that from now on freedom includes everything that is not explicitly prohibited. Today, the bureaucratic ring is more robust and at times even more anachronistic than in 1989. A number of acts prescribe an exponential number of new penalties for newly fabricated offenses that can also be disproportionately high for non-dangerous violations of traffic regulations. This can go to the absurd, when a farmer is punished with a high financial penalty when a cow grazes on the neighbors’ meadows. The first-class then pays this money to the illegal migrant who unlawfully entered the country and applied for asylum.
Many mistakenly think that we have all this bureaucratic clutter on our shoulders due to the inability of our rulers or because of the interests of a self-proclaimed elite, which fills its pockets by fabricating and charging various car stickers or by making registering old mopeds mandatory. In reality, the first-class ayatollahs use an impenetrable bureaucratic swamp to create the impression of their own necessity and, above all, as an instrument to control the second-class. People must live in constant fear, feeling that something is wrong. Who could know and follow at least a tenth of over 20,000 applicable regulations? What kind of entrepreneur can get around the contradictory and illogical tax acts? In order to be obedient, the second-class people must live with a constant sense of guilt and occasionally feel joy when one of the first-class members bends the rules for them. In a similar way, it also serves the ayatollahs that there are long waiting periods in healthcare as well as delays in justice. The bureaucracy or the administration in Slovenia has thus changed into its opposite. Instead of creating order, equity and fairness, it is used by the first-class as an instrument of disorder or chaos. For a systemic factory of guilt. We have a situation described by Marcus Tullius Cicero, thousands of years ago: “Summum ius summa iniuria – the more there are laws, the less are the rights”. Members of the first-class know that basic order is the first need of every human society and that freedom and justice (the lethal enemy of every natural elite) can only be established where there is such an order. The nervousness of the first class was obvious during Dr Jordan Peterson’s visit in 2018 in Slovenia. Peterson, in an understandable, “populist” way, defends exactly that normality and those logical, natural, common sense world views, which the offensive of cultural Marxism is trying to exterminate through “political correctness”.
A person always spontaneously feels injustice, although it is more difficult to reflect it outwardly if it is not publicly recognized. That is why one’s spontaneous subconscious resistance against an unnatural flow of things, or the direct injustice, is also reflected in not participating in the elections. The self-proclaimed elite actively promotes this kind of reaction among the second-class (most often with the help of auto-suggestive expressions found in diner talk: they are all the same, nothing can be changed, there is no choice, my vote is irrelevant…) and this way, paradoxically, with purposefully causing injustice, they build their power.
Today, the basic ideological instrument for the maintenance of power by the self-proclaimed elite is identified by the adjective “public”. In the new Slovenian sayings, this adjective has become in many places synonymous with monopoly. The first generation of the first-class still recognizes in this term the word “social”. For them, it meant the same as the word “ours”, meaning “theirs”. Since they, as the self-proclaimed avant-garde, had at their disposal all that was labeled as social without limits. Members of the first-class or self-proclaimed elite are today most easily recognized by the hectic vocal advocacy of everything that is supposed to be public. Public health, public education, public finances, public housing… public toilets. In reality, they strive for such an organization of social subsystems in which the self-proclaimed elite maintains its influence and power without much effort. If necessary, by overpayments (you may recall the four times overpaid vein stents that went into the payrolls of the owners of the weekly magazine Mladina), by financing other monopolies, and by employing their own members. In order to keep this hidden from the people, there should be no competition in these sectors, which would allow comparisons of rationality and efficiency. Sometimes, absurd situations come up. There are children in private schools who become the biggest advocates for the ‘public’ argument. There are members of the first-class lobby who work for the “Public Health Movement” and nevertheless get first-rate operations at private clinics in Switzerland or Austria. When Danilo Türk and Milan Kučan were discovered there, the contradiction was justified by a stupid and cynical excuse, that they were there in the framework of “public service”, or at the expense of the health insurance institution, just like any ordinary citizen.
The mistrust of free private initiative anywhere, including the economy, is put in the political cradle of the first-class. Due to the European framework and the rules of the common market, they are forced to tolerate it, but have never given up control, which can now be arbitrarily upgraded to an extent that makes unwanted entrepreneurs easy to get rid of. The key instrument of general restraint of an entrepreneurial initiative is taxation, the individual ones are: bureaucratic obstacles, discriminatory treatment of individuals by a politicized tax administration, non-payment of subcontracting services in state or city projects, and arbitrary lengthy court proceedings in commercial disputes. Thousands of capable Slovenian entrepreneurs, who essentially form the backbone of the Slovenian economy and state, avoid public appearances and try to stay under the radar of the first-class. As soon as they are perceived as successful, tax inspection usually follows, as well as work inspectors etc., tips on desirable sponsorships of the “right” organizations, in particular the ZZB (the Associations of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia, TN), invitations to support political candidates, etc. The behavior of “supervisors” is more pleasant, as a rule, if the entrepreneurs are susceptible to the hints of the first-class. If an entrepreneur directly opposes or is deaf to the “tips”, an unannounced house search usually follows, with the mandatory presence of well-informed POP TV cameras and a few days of media destruction of the entrepreneur and his company.
Today, Slovenia is the only country, considered as democratic, in which the economy has a third-rate impact on social developments. While the entire government stands peacefully during even minor disorders caused by the public sector’s trade unions, with the demands of the economy, as a rule, a deputy of the coalition’s extreme left proclaims them as parasites, threatens nationalization if necessary, and sends them calmly to the corner. Slovenia is probably also the only “democratic Republic” where the first-class forbid private companies to donate limited resources to political parties, thus further limiting the possibility of the indirect influence of second-class economists in creating favorable conditions for the economic development of companies and the state.
The exclusionist policy of the self-proclaimed elite has catastrophic consequences for the well-being of the people. There are countless cases everywhere, not just in the economy. In the beginning of 2019, the case of the top-level, internationally renowned expert Dr Mark Noč and his team gained attention. Noč made an important research program, however anonymous “evaluators” took his funds and disabled his right to appeal. He had experienced all kinds of attacks and personal discreditation even before this incident. Ever since he drew public attention to the chaos in health care and especially the theft worth 100 million of patients’ money through overpriced vein stents. Since this partially endangered the criminal feud, which was directly administered by the supreme ayatollahs of the first-class for decades, the reaction was merciless.
The biggest victim group of the first-class and their exclusion policy are young people. During the presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Council in 2008, several hundred young educated Slovenians of all profiles were trained. They monitored the work of governments and ministries across EU Member States and studied good practices in various fields. A great wealth of the EU is a rich set of good practices. While there is no country in the EU where everything works perfectly, we find virtually everywhere extremely good experiences. Well-ordered health care in the Netherlands, de-bureaucratized administration in Great Britain, regulated social dialogue in Germany, efficient public procurement in Austria… A large basket of extremely useful practical skills was available, with the possibility of direct consultations from any EU member state. Despite the upcoming crisis, in the 2008-2012 term of office, with the help of this basket, Slovenia could be transformed into a country of completed transition with an open, inclusive system that would provide ongoing problem solving, development and equity. In short, that prosperity, which is the constitutional objective of the Slovenian state.
The administration of the Slovenian state, tested through the reforms necessary for joining the EU, NATO, the EMU and the Schengen system, as well as the EU leadership, was then able to carry out this feat; with the help of a rational investment of substantial funds from the EU that were available. What about today? We can only weep.
The abuse of the rule of law was launched, it was called Patria. The new socialist government threw away the basket with the knowledge gathered during the EU presidency with disgust. I have not met one of the hundreds of young experts deliberately delegated to the EU to gather good practices in Slovenia, because they had to find jobs in Brussels, Madrid, The Hague, Vienna, London… They were considered a threat to the system at home. There are probably some exceptions, which, however, are due to their family or political connections to the elite.
In 2009, the socialist government increased public spending by almost a tenth instead of making reforms. While there was also a record decline in GDP. Everything that followed was just another consequence. Slovenia fell from a 91 percent EU average in purchasing power per capita in 2008 to 83 percent of the EU average a few years later. Public debt grew from 22 percent of GDP to almost 90 percent. With the same financial crisis across the EU. For interest only, we paid nearly 8 billion euros to foreign financial funds in ten years.
A huge price has been paid to maintain a system that serves to preserve the power of the self-proclaimed elite. Because of this “tribute” there is no third development axis, there are no funds for the modernization of health care, there is no second Karavanke tunnel, there are no bypasses around many Slovenian cities and towns, there is no new Divača–Koper railway connection or ‘second track’, and there is none of the required modernization of the railways. The average salary or pension in Slovenia is at least 250 euros per month lower than it could have been.