George Soros, Romania, and the end of reason

If the first two weeks of campaigning ahead of Romania’s parliamentary election on December 11th have proven anything, it is that the country is heading towards utter disaster. Unless there is a far higher turnout than currently expected, then the country is about to vote itself into an abyss in which reason, critical thinking and objectivity do not exist.

Last night on national television the Mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, said that any future prime minister of Romania should be somebody who has ‘not been paid, sponsored or financed by foreign organisations.’ (She made no mention of those who have made millions stealing from the state, nor those who have rigged elections, such as the leader of her party. So we assume she is fine with them, as long as they didn’t study abroad).

That’s the level of debate ahead of this election.

Earlier today the disgraced former prime minister of Romania Victor Ponta (who loves Romania so much that he flies to Turkey for medical treatment) posted this on Facebook:

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That’s the level of debate ahead of this election. Poverty, homelessness, corruption, a health system in meltdown and creaking infrastructure are not getting a look in. Nope: it’s all about George Soros and his attempt to turn Romania into a colony.

Ponta’s post (and note that Ponta spelt Soros incorrectly: there is no umlaut) came in response to the leader of the USR, Nicusor Dan, suing the former PM for libel. Dan wants 500,000 lei in damages for Ponta’s ‘repeated claims that the USR is financed by George Soros.’

We find it disappointing that Dan has taken this step. He should ignore Ponta or – even better – simply shrug it off and say that people can believe what they like. After all, what exactly is so awful about George Soros? Can any of those lunatics who blame him for everything that goes wrong in Romania actually point to one thing he has done to the detriment of this country? (No. In fact, by offering thousands of young people the chance to study abroad – amongst much else – Soros has done far more for Romania than just about every Romanian who curses the day he was born. How many scholarships to elite universities has the PSD offered underprivileged Romanians?)

We have no idea exactly when it happened, but it is now not exaggerating to state that total Soros hysteria has swept Romania. Spurred on by the nationalist gutter press (which is most of it, not least the television channels Antena 3, RTV and Realitatea) politicians from across the spectrum have adopted an anti-foreigner discourse that threatens to drag the country backwards.

Soros, Baron Rothschild, the Illuminati, the Masons, global corporations, the EU, zombies, migrants and even the Devil himself have all got their greedy eyes on Romania. These people want to turn Romania into a colony in which millions of slaves work for their foreign (and probably gay) masters, grateful for any scraps that might be thrown back at them. Indeed, according to some, this state of affairs already exists. Only the PSD (and its ilk: ALDE, PRU, ANR) can save the country from evil foreigners and make Romania great again. (It also needs to be said that both the PMP and PNL have of late not been shy in playing the nationalist card).

What’s most depressing of course is that this kind of rhetoric has an audience. There are people who genuinely take this kind of thing seriously. A look at the comments under a Victor Ponta Facebook post is evidence enough of that.

So who exactly are these people who have lost all touch with reason?

Lazily, the usual description of the PSD’s electorate is reduced to being ‘pensioners and those on benefits.’ This is far from true, else the PSD would be polling at 20 per cent, not 40 per cent.

No, besides the elderly (and it would be wrong to tar all of Romania’s pensioners with the same brush. There are many with a capacity for reason in this country) the PSD draws its support from three other of sectors of society.

1. Civil Servants

Tens of thousands of Romanian civil servants occupy what could be described as ‘non-jobs’. Think of the post office, the tax office, council offices: these are full of people who do very, very little in exchange for salaries guaranteed every month by the Romanian state. They are not unemployed, but they are certainly under-employed. Fearful of any real reform which would do away with their jobs at a stroke, they vote (quite naturally) with the party that will best serve their interests: that is the PSD, which remains as uninterested in reform today as it did 25 years ago.

2. The Functionally Illiterate

More than 40 per cent of Romanians are what is known as ‘functionally illiterate.’ They can read, write and carry out every day tasks but very often do not understand what they are reading. These are the kind of people far too easily swayed by conspiracy theories that do the rounds on Facebook, and by the populist talk of politicians. It was the UK’s equivalent of this group that swung the EU referendum in June: people who simply didn’t realise (until it was too late) exactly what they were voting for.

3. The Far-Right

We have often been told that there are no far-right political parties in Romania. This is total rubbish. Of those contesting the forthcoming election at least two warrant the label ‘far-right’: PRU and ANR. These two extremist parties are competing for the electorate that once voted for the Greater Romania Party (PRM) of Corneliu Vadim Tudor, who died last year. The most deluded group in Romanian society these are people who will tell you that Dacians built the pyramids and/or discovered America. They will tell you that they are Christians and convinced anti-communists shortly before proposing many of the same policies as, ahem, the communists (such as preventing foreigners from buying property). The PSD is not (yet) part of this nasty little group, but it is not a million miles away, and it is actively courting the PRM’s voters with its anti-foreigner message.

Like it or not the PSD, supported by pensioners and by the three groups we described, will win this election. What remains to be seen is the margin of victory. The latest opinion poll shows the PSD and ALDE dangerously close to a majority.

Will Soros still be to blame when they fail to lead us all into the land of milk and honey?

Meantime, those of us with foreign names (and we have both English and Hungarian surnames: the labour camps await!) might do well to batten down the hatches.

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52 thoughts on “George Soros, Romania, and the end of reason

  1. Why not have more empathy for the average Romanian voter? No one has a monopoly on “reason.” There’s a reason why, especially in an underdeveloped country, tribal and religious discourse resonates with people.

    There seems to be a severe culture clash in Romania between national-conservative and liberal-internationalist sections of the populations. Democratic elections play on the symbols of these subcultures in a simplistic way, which seems inevitable in a lowest-common-denominator mass TV democracy. You get similar urban-rural splits among voters in Western countries.

    The national-conservatives are right to be in a certain “panic” given that, in the medium-term, their values are likely to be annihilated by the liberal-internationalists, as has happened across the West since the 1960s. (Hence the effort to lock in heterosexual marriage before the homosexual normalization advocates become dominant, as they have in U.S. and Western Europe.) Actually, things may be changing, as even the Western countries are finally beginning to turn away from liberal-internationalism (see: Trump, Brexit, AfD . . .).

    That one’s national politicians not be on the payroll of foreign powers is not such a small thing. Hillary Clinton was financed by the Israel Lobby, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, massive conflicts of interest which seriously undermined her claims to be representing U.S. interests and the “peace process” in the Middle East. I suspect would liberal-internationalists would criticize any Romanian politician on the payroll of Russians oligarchs for example.

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  2. We don’t hate all foreigners.

    We certainly don’t hate Englishmen. In fact we like Englishmen and we feel somewhat sorry for them, as they had to leave their great country because immigrants destroyed it.

    What we hate is Germans.

    We also hate Frenchies, Dutch, Swedes, Austrians, Belgians (of all colors) and Norwegians. Sometimes we hate Americans too, but not all of them.

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  3. Soros provided funding for Scoala BBC in Bucharest. I worked there as a radio trainer. We enhanced the skills of scores of young Romanian journalists, working together on real news to real deadlines. That changed Romania’s media, hopefully for the better. It changed lives, certainly. Bravo, George.

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    1. There’s so much bullshit in Romanian media, from Digi 24 to Lucian Mandruta, that I was actually beginning to wonder where it came from. Now that answers my question…

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      1. What a joke. You are definitely a psd/alde voter (or employee/member). Do you have any proof or is it enough to just say lies and expect people to believe them?

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      2. One couldn’t possibly get more proof on what a bullshit of a journalist Lucian Mandruta is.

        How do you recognize bullshit? It stinks!

        In the same way, Lucian Mandruta is proving himself day in and day out.

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  4. Best comment here, it’s indeed a case of clashing ideologies and everybody thinks they are the only ones who are right. This is also a part of a bigger picture where liberal-internationalists fight for globalization while nationalists oppose it. It seems that national-conservatives are not going down without a fight and they are still the majority in most of the countries so democracy is on their side. What i personally fear is the aspect of liberal-globalists in which they label democracy as “failing” just because it doesn’t swing their way.

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      1. Right and wrong are pretty abstract concepts in this case but everybody should just back their point of view and just let the wave of democratic elections decide the direction. Just for the record i am also a “liberal-internationalist” voter because from my point of view this is the direction the world should be heading too, but it doesn’t mean i’m right or that if a very competent person with “national-conservative” views would run for president/be appointed prim-minister in my country i wouldn’t support him/her.

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      2. I agree that for some people they are abstract concepts: it explains why so many useful idiots are mourning the death of Fidel Castro this morning, and celebrating his ‘achievements’ nstead of celebrating and calling him waht he was: a murdering, torturing scumbag.

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      3. So what’s the ideea with Singapore if nationalism is wrong? You have strong oppinions about what is wrong and right … Soros is a pain in the back .. because of the political message that comes with his money. Develop your ideea don’t just put a label. From what i understand you are concerned this party will harm the people and the country … probably.But not cos they are nationalistic but rather cos they are incompetent. Nationalism, either wrong or right will always be part of our politics. For the lower class it’s motivational .And liberalism motivates the upper class obviously. Not because liberalism is ‘true’ … because it eliminates certain obligations of an upper class, an elite. An international elite that noticed just how international they are … vastly different social mobility at the bottom vs top. As he said, the most competent and determined wins, no matter what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. If the people are determined, hard working, can form an union, try to convice the liberal elites, stop or reverse brain drain .. yep. It’s like that chairs game … somebody has to come out a loser in this liberal game and we must make sure it’s not us, so a healthy amount of nationalism is needed but at the end it’s still about competent people

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      4. Brain drain going to be stopped or reversed? The only way I see that happening would be more than one Western country kicking immigrants out. And, honestly, a lot of these brains do deserve to stay there instead of living here in misery, lack of recognition and intolerance if not cruel jealousy.

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      5. I’m not sure it makes to pathologize this ideology, which stems from tribalism (a human instinct as natural and inevitable as the sex drive). Though obviously tribalism taken to excess is bad, many great men of the past were nationalists: the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, De Gaulle..

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      6. ” It’s right and wrong. Nationalism is an illness. ”

        Oh, grow up, you sound like a 16 year old.

        Right and wrong? There is no universal measure of right and wrong.

        What’s considered right and wrong, depends on person, time and place.

        A lot of people hold different political and social opinions to me. Its not a question that I am right and that they are wrong. We have different priorities, hold different world views.

        What would do you propose for those of us who are nationalists – imprison us in lunatic asylums or labour camps for re-education?

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  5. There is no serious liberal-internationalist current in Romania. The absolute majority of the population is nationalist to the bone.

    The only liberal-internationalists in this country are a bunch of crazy youth working for corporations.

    Yeah, they’re loud, they make things look like they were much many than they actually are, but we could throw them off buildings in a single night if we ever decide to take them seriously.

    The anti-homosexual initiative raised 3 million signatures in a few weeks. The pro-homosexual march from last week barely raised 500 people. That says enough about the proportion between nationalists and internationalists in Romania.

    If they didn’t make us to change our minds in 26 years, they never will. Never ever.

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    1. Most sorry sacks of shit boast about how they could just murder the opposition. Big hairy deal. Your mind is your territory, it is your duty to think things over and lay off that cheap nationalistic testosterone. And you have pretty much failed at that.

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    2. “The only liberal-internationalists in this country are a bunch of crazy youth working for corporations.” No, call me crazy, but not all of us liberal-internationalist “hipsters” are corporate slaves that are somehow “inferior” or “superior” to you, all of us are human beings (throwing us off buildings? You murdered already the humanity in you!) and we, just like you, are allowed in democracy to take a stand, no matter how few and unrepresented by politicians we are.
      Nobody paid me to attend the march, I did it for my LGBT friends who still want or have to live in this country in which too few want to be allies for marginalized social groups. Of course, there are always more important issues in Romania, politicians don’t address those either…

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  6. Dear Sir, the example you gave above (“They will tell you that they are Christians and convinced
    anti-communists shortly before proposing many of the same policies as,
    ahem, the communists (such as preventing foreigners from buying
    property)”) is wrong. There IS a difference between patriotism and xenophobia, by the way. As for the quoted example, Romania’s CONSTITUTION of 1923, at article 18, forbids foreigners to posses rural property (i.e. land), establishing their rights only for the VALUE of this property. Do you seriously suspect the ROYAL Constitution of being Communist? 😉 Being presented the option to choose between internationalist politics (represented by Soros in this discussion) and the Constitution drafted during the reign of HM King Ferdinad “The Unifier”, any sane minded native Romanian will have only one option. I won’t tell you which one. 🙂

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      1. HM King Ferdinand WAS German – so, not a Romanian ethnic. Later, he got the nickname “The Loyal” when declaring war on his own native country, Germany, because Romania’s national interests so dictated (pro-British, pro-France).

        TODAY, many of us have no doubts that RESTORING MONARCHY is the right way to go (and the ONLY correct one in today’s political situation). And, AGAIN, patriotic sentiment don’t equal xenophobia (Romanians have the same right of being patriotic and nationalist as British, Americans, Germans, French and others do)!

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      2. Razvan Sandu: no sarcasm intended, your post above is correct – also thank you for a rare civilized entry in the crappy world of online discussions.
        Alex Tudorica:
        Did I miss something, is Soros seeking election? Did I suggest we should elect him?? Am I the person in this conversation who suggests restoring monarchy? Did I write anything about Soros? Did I touch some painful nerve? 🙂

        By the way, no matter how much mud you throw on Soros, his contribution to building an open society worldwide is a fact. So are his morally questionable business practices. But hey, everyone is complicated, except those who are simple(tons).
        Meanwhile I think you missed the sarcasm of opposing some of our most patriotic leaders (our royals, who were not ethnically Romanian – which is also the case of Carmen Silva, Carol and Mihai) with our present leaders, who are without doubt Romanians (unfortunately).
        And who, by the way, are mostly regular thieves, by their actions, not by some imaginary connection to the illuminati, the martians or the “international masonry or jewry”.

        As Razvan Sandu pointed out, Romania’s King, who was born in Germany, has declared war on… Germany. Our undoubtedly Romanian leaders aren’t even capable to decide in the Nation’s favor when a petty sum of money is concerned – it’s their family and friends FIRST and Romania LAST. So yes, it is moronic to introduce categories like ethnicity when judging patriotism. Most probably George Soros is a bigger Romanian patriot than most people standing for elections in Romania (just to rattle your cage a bit).

        But don’t worry, I have this opinion and you can stick to yours while you vote Romania back into the mud age. I left a while ago and have other daily problems and political responsibilities now.

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  7. Well, having visited Romania several times, and, evidently supporting reform, I think it is patronizing to label a percentage of thsoe who voted for Brexit ‘functionally illiterate’ or as Clinton labelled half of Trump supporters ‘deplorables’. The large contingent who continually vote for PSD cannot compare with rust belt voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia and people in the UK northern regions. Not a very insightful or intelligent comparison. Actually, quite patronizing.

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    1. We got used to being patronized and defamed. Actually we had begun to hate the ones who do it. It’s a vicious hatred that will only disappear in the grave.

      Many of us are voting PSD and the neo-nationalist parties only because we hate progressives. And we don’t even need to listen to them anymore because we know that once they pronounce “tolerance” or “inclusion”, they’re progressives and we oppose them out of sheer instinct.

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  8. I don’t like your article ! Is tendentios and insulting for roamanian people ! And, yes, foreign organizations from Iluminati destroied Romania and will continue, cause we had and still have a huge wealthy country , and this is also the reason thay orchestated the Romanian Revolution and killed Ceausescu who wanted to be independent from all of them. The only thing I agree with you, is that indeed we don’t have real patriots who may fight with all the evils from outside. All politicians are corrupted, and unfortunatelly money rules all over the world . You can not see all the struggles from everywhere for The New World Globalization ???

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      1. Which foreigners are you talking about? You might have wished to write Năstase, Tăriceanu, Ponta, etc., but guess what, they are your friends!

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  9. Speak for yourself, bigot. „We” is you.
    Romanians are one of the most open nations in Europe and they most certainly don’t share your map of hatred.

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    1. It’s not just me, it’s millions of other Romanians.

      Don’t you think we should hate Germans after Merkel flooded us with refugees?

      Austrians after Schweihoffer and Kronospann destroyed our forests?

      Frenchies after they increased the price of water in Bucharest and we’re paying more than Parisians are paying for water?

      Dutch after they refused us into Schengen (actually this was good for us, but still…)?

      Norwegians after taking away the children of Romanian families?

      We’re gonna hate them for generations to come. Never ending hate!

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      1. “Flooded with refugees”? More like flooded by propaganda! You may fight corporations and rightfully criticize governments, but don’t pick on any one nationality or ethnic group as scapegoat. As a general rule of thumb, not in particular for Romanians.

        I am born and raised in Romania, I still live here because I am too poor to move elsewhere. Personally, I don’t mind moderate nationalists (except everyone has been going far right lately, with many decent friends of mine ranting about P.C. and identity politics that they hardly know anything about except from “unfiltered” news sites which are proved already to be financed by „frații noștri de la Răsărit”…), but I refuse to believe in any “us versus them” situation.
        I’m an old-fashioned cosmopolitan who would prefer more places on the earth to have better legislation if not cultural opening, but can do without some excesses of globalism. Sadly, so many people on the globe (including Romania) are so close-minded (as in effectively thinking the world is going to hell just because of the possibility of same-sex marriages and other things that are bashed with anti-secular fury) and traditionalist they might actually pull everybody down (except the rulers, they always win, even if most of the world’s population will die).
        Just ten years ago, there was so much euro-optimism in the media, now everyone is obnoxiously euro-skeptical. If flirting with the E.U. was “bad”, wait and see what comes next… oh wait, maybe you’re fine with Ceau the second as long as you kick “Soros’ people” out. That is wrong on so many levels…

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  10. Who are you talking about? We don’t hate any of the above. Which emigrants destroyed the UK? They are doing much better than getting into the EU, statistics say something completely different than what you just said. If you have objective proof, do say.

    The same about Romania: our economy was destroyed by the local corruption (remember Ponta, Năstase, Tăriceanu, etc.?). Yes, those were the guys who destroyed it, not some foreign guy.

    You should turn off the TV or at least change it from A3/RTV, they are messing with your judgement.

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  11. In a way, I really hope that PSD-ALDE-PRU would form a coalition government.

    So I can finally leave this shitty country and work for “the evil foreigners” on a salary about 5 times greater than the medium income in Romania and see the looks on those muttering idiots that thought such a government would bring “milk and honey” :)))))

    4 more years of poverty and kleptocracy, folks! 😉

    Unless….. #GoCiolos !

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  12. And the liberal-internationalists are right too to be in a panic to see even their most decent common-sensical reforms (and I’m not talking here about “trivial” P.C. quirks) endangered by far-right politicians. That Donald Tower wants to de-fund anything climate-related (even NASA research) and set full throttle to fossil fuel industry should worry everyone, not just the “greens”. Yet all common sense was lost. Instead of the discussion being about the abuses of neoliberalism and of the corporations, people are too busy scapegoating and preparing another Holocaust without blinking. And there’s the dangerous confusion between laws and cultural values. The total disconnection of political status quo in the West from the progressive part of the culture will come with bigger social costs and lots of victims, situation that could have been avoided. It’s not just “Soros-paid NGO” people who are going to take a stand in this unrest. Far-left/far-right polarization is ultimately dangerous for everyone.

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  13. Foreigners have been attempting to dodge national hate by creating so-called ‘diasporas’ of working people and offering them ‘jobs’.

    But could one not hate them, when the jobs that they offer to ‘diasporas’ are the lowest level jobs in the country?!

    And they keep the best paid jobs for themselves and they forbid access to them.

    Of course we hate foreigners! Take their money, survive. But hate them to the grave! For destroying your country, for treating your people as slaves in their countries! Hate them forever! Pass the hate from generation to generation!

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