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The limits of tolerance

23/08/2010

Don’t get me wrong, I am a tolerant person.  I don’t criticize (although I might gossip about) someone’s sexual preference or behavior, I don’t resent other ethnicities (and how could I, a hodge-podge of Hungarian, Romanian and Jew, with some French vaudeville thrown in for good measure way up my family tree, and some stolid Saxon burghers up a different branch), and I keep my mouth mostly shut about religion, although I am pretty vehemently pro the Catholic church (in its Eastern incarnation).

So overall, you could say I am tolerant, in the sense of open to different ideas, interpretations, cultural experiences or people. But there are some things that break the limits of my tolerance, and Romania’s callous disregard of the good name of its citizens is one of the foremost.

In brief, I’ve had it with being ashamed of my national origins for no other reason than that we release a slew of uneducated, uncivilized, immoral people and set them loose upon other nations in bands, and when their lack of education, courtesy and morality inevitably leads to conflict, we step back and say: we are a poor country, freedom of circulation is a guaranteed right, these are the consequences of policies that have been imposed upon us and other BS.

From where  I am standing, a crime is a crime and a felony is a felony. If squatting on public land is a felony, it should be punished as such. If stealing is a crime, then it should so be sanctioned. The argument of hunger is pathetic (as in appealing to pathos) but logically invalid, as long as we preach the common good and not individual satisfaction. It is not to my benefit that someone steals from me, and it is not in the general interest to admit that the satisfaction of one’s needs is an extenuating circumstance. Or else we’ll end up with rapists excusing themselves on the basis of their irresistible urge. And I honestly do not care what are the ethnic origins of a felon. One skin color or another is no more of an extenuating circumstance than an urge is. In a tolerant, modern society, people should neither be encouraged nor excused on the basis of their ethnicity. To do that is to legitimize racism. And if this country does that, then I no longer tolerate it.

Romania is based upon an expired social contract, where the few compromise on their individual goals for the greater common good. Except that the good is no longer common, it’s proprietary and it belongs to those that make no compromises.

So here I sit, excusing myself for being a native of Romania to all of my acquaintances abroad, carefully differentiating myself from those that they now expel, from those that live in squalid camps, from those that stretch the social contract to no end, only to let it rebound upon the rest of us. Tight in my little country, I “benefit” from the slurs that others heap upon us, from the limited freedom of work in this EU we have so proudly joined, from their mistrust. And all the while, the government that I pay from my own pockets does and says nothing but a bunch of crock.

Call me intolerant, but I’ve had it.

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