Sunday, June 05, 2005

Off Topic: The Art of Being Against 

This post is a free translation (with some additions) of a column in Die Presse from Matthias Horx: Die Kunst des Dagegenseins.

We (my generation and younger) should not protest too much against the politicians @home and in Brussels. We should not forget that these politicians are exactly the prototypes of our generation, and the prototype of these prototypes is Joschka Fischer, but there are others: e.g. Gerhard Schröder in Germany or Alfred Gusenbauer (head of the socialist party in Austria, who in the '60s touched ground in Moskow kissing the soil like the pope).

We want freedom, liberty, democracy, open borders and a secure job.

When I was young, say in 1968, we where against everything: capitalism (without "turbo" yet), the government, the parents, the teachers and primarily against the bourgeois. In addition we where also against the pressure to perform, authoritarian behaviour and especially against uniforms (everybody had to wear jeans). We had no idea yet about globalisation, (there was still the Cold War going on), but of course we where against imperialism and showing solitarity with Vietnam and Nicaragua.

At the same time we where not choosy regarding the goodies of life, in addition to "better red than dead" we chanted "better red wine that dead" (Lieber Rotwein als tod sein). Sex, Drugs and Rock'n Roll rolled over (Western) Europe. We had parties, cinema, coffeehouses, arts, scholarship and cars for everybody.

The older we got, the more we liked to be against and to protest, because it was very profitable. Because you could in the name of protest occupy establishment posts and launch easily political (sic!) and academic carriers. And go out for dinner at night. So we got anarchical civil servants, antipedagogic teachers, radical gourmets and system critical connaisseurs.

Today pursuing a radical and critical lifestyle is not the priviledge of a minority. In most letters to the editor of any newspaper you read the words "system", "exploitation", "manipulation" and and always verbal suspicions against the ones "up there". The same you hear on all regulars' tables across Europe, from Rovaniemi down to Gibraltar and from Lisbon to Vienna. Now this rants will be extended also to the bazars in Istanbul.

The globalisation allows us to have mobile phones nearly for free and affordable flat-screen TV-sets. We have cheap food from all over the world and fashion in real-time. We make vacations in the US, on the Sychelles, Bali and participate in the ultra-marathon in Mongolia.

But we are also political very correct: we demand that "somebody" must help the poor, fast AND of course environmentally acceptable, the "somebodys" being most suitable the capitalists, these locusts, they shall do something, e.g. drop the loans.

We have sorted out the world in a comfortable and an evil part. The comfortable part we want to keep exclusively for ourselves. The other part we push away, castigate it as "neo-liberal". That our prosperity is based on the fact that we lived for 50 years on the sunny side of the street of globalisation, being able to export cars like world-champions, had peace - who cares?

That people in Bosnia or Rumania long for to have an EU-prosperity perspective also - not so important.

We want freedom, liberaty, democracy, open borders,but also a secure job plus an account in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

The French celebrated the "Being Against" drinking frenetically red wine. Then the Dutch, getting suddenly uncanny with ther super-liberalism, cheered.

Quote (assigned to nearly any politician starting with Bismarck)
Anyone who is not a revolutionary with 20 has no heart,
anyone who is still a revolutionary with 40 has no brains.
And with 60?

Just one example: Austria is currently celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the 2nd republic, and so are also the political parties, founded in the last days of the 2nd World War in Europe in March 1945. Austrian TV of course reports on these events e.g. the celebration of the socialist party. What was shown first were some video clips from these days, showing a completely destroyed city of Vienna, the burned out St. Stephens cathedral and the opera house, deranged people rambling between the ruins and climbing over the remains of the destroyed bridges to reach the city. Cut. The next scene showed the aforementioned Alfred Gusenbauer, head of the party in the middle of his speech, ranting how bad the situation is currently in Austria (mainly because the socialist party is at the moment not partizipating in the government). He did not mention the huge success of the socialist government in Germany ;-)

At some time in the past, we must have decided not to get more clever and to use our brains, we decided to get better in optimzing.

Any hope our kids will do better?

Even if one does not believe it, our kids are watching us intensely, learning and finally will get better then we are - in optimizing.

They want to have everything, do not give back anything and complain fiercely.

They are of course our kids.

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