As Romania prepares to vote on enshrining into its constitution the definition of marriage as an act between a man and a woman, it is wise for all those involved to understand the context of their reality and the consequences of their actions. An article I published some time ago for SFPPR News and Analysis seems quite relevant in this case:
While Euro skeptics try to hold on to national sovereignty and Europhiles attempt to convince the world that harmonization and uniformity are the way to the future, there is a sad reality which is plaguing certain countries, that is, the idea that the rest of the world has everything figured out, that everything will be better once they follow the example of wealthier nations, once they are all the same in mentality and social realities.
This is especially true of former communist countries, and in particular, Romania. Most Western countries are better off economically than Romania. This is a fact. But it is not as if economic stability also equals social tranquility and happy, purposeful lives. In fact, many such societies suffer from the lack of such characteristics and the level of social stress is higher than one might expect of prosperous nations.
In its attempt to bring together countries of different backgrounds, cultures, languages and mentalities, the EU is trying to develop the concept of European identity. And while the idea of a united Europe is a noble one, the way in which the current establishment is trying to make this a reality might not be the best, as former London mayor Boris Johnson states there is “no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe [and] there is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void.”
While claiming to “celebrate diversity,” the EU is actually reaching for supra-nationalist powers and looking to create uniformity. This has been made obvious by, among other issues, the obligatory refugee quotas, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel has forced on the governments of Europe with little to no concern for the will of the people. Some are even arguing for the imposition of a fine to be levied on those nations refusing to host migrants. Such talks have sparked conflicts across the continent.
Debates about whether or not the EU is overstepping its authority and aggressively pushing for dominance over a land grown weary of pseudo-federalism have become more heated by the day, especially when subjects come up such as the Union trying to “overcome Euroscepticism” by teaching kids in schools a more “positive” outlook on the EU, thus effectively attempting to take control of school curricula.
And, yet, many Romanians perpetuate the mentality accentuated under communist rule by material deprivation that the West knows better, that the West can do no wrong. Obviously, there are no perfect societies. So, perhaps the true mark of totalitarianism left on the Romanian people is that of believing that ideal nations or forms of government do in fact exist.
The fault does not lay with those who seek a better material future. The West has much to offer in terms of financial gain and societal organization. It is known as a place where seriousness and hard work are the governing rules.
Unfortunately, many equate this general prosperity with infallibility. By doing so, they overlook the gravity of the West’s current struggles, and, instead of learning from their mistakes they are quick to embrace them as a necessary step in their development. Sadly, the mistakes made so far by Western society have not yet had their final word, and the jury is still out on whether or not they will be overcome and learned from or will lead to destructive consequences. One thing is certain though, many of these mistakes have led to dangerous situations, with which Romania, a Christian Orthodox country, is unfamiliar.
Looking to Western Europe and inspecting some of its issues more closely might provide a different perspective on the West’s perceived stability.
First, Europe’s massive immigration wave, which has brought on to the continent people from completely different cultural backgrounds, especially those from Muslim theocracies, has led to dangerous segregations in society. And, if European natives are to be replaced by other cultures as the ruling majority, as it is predicted might happen since not only is European population aging but it is also not having enough children to sustain itself, who is to say that ruling majority will want to live by democratic values? Most already vehemently oppose certain democratic ideals since they clash with their culture or religion. Indeed, ironically, in a secular Europe, Islam is the fastest growing religion.
Second, since the debate in Europe is no longer based on “outdated” Christian morality, the question of ethics becomes quite relativistic, as people try to figure out which template of right and wrong to follow.
Even the Anglo-Saxon West reveals heated deliberation around subjects of morality. In the United Kingdom and the United States children are being taught at an early age about homosexuality and gender fluidity, which changes over time. Interestingly, such ideas on gender identity has even prompted the Obama administration to ask that all schools allow for girls and boys to use the bathroom of the sex with which they identify, that is a girl may use a boy’s bathroom and a boy may use a girls’ bathroom, if this makes them feel more “gender appropriate.”
There are many such disputes to be talked about in the West, such as the argument made in the States for taking down the Ten Commandments from courthouses as it would be discriminative of other faiths to keep them there. Yet, there seems to be no issue with unveiling a statue of Satan.
What is moral? What is right? The Christian view is mostly seen as reminiscent of a discriminative patristic society in the West, so we are left with relativism. Unfortunately, this relies mostly on individual perception. And one person’s need to have sexual intercourse with minors might not seem right in the eyes of others, just as another’s need to go to church might seem obsolete to many.
For now, Romanian society is unfamiliar with such issues, but things are, nonetheless, heading in that direction. Why, I wonder, can we not educate ourselves on the good and the bad of the West? Why can’t we learn from their mistakes, when witnessing the tragically ridiculous situations which have been brought on by blindly following the “fight anything traditional” attitude?
In the end, Romania needs to see itself for what is, a blending of East and West, a traditional Christian Orthodox society, which has a strong national identity and a rich, beautiful history. Instead of following the examples of those who honor relativism because it is the only thing left, why not grow on the foundation of history and tradition towards a better understanding of the human condition and psyche?
This article was originally published for SFPPR News and Analysis.