Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tragedy or comedy?

The traditional view of the public sphere, including the political activity, is based on some assumptions. They are often not stated explicitly. They are often silently assumed to hold. The analysis of all things political is certainly deeply influenced by them.

One set of frequently used assumptions is borrowed from the political culture of mature democracies, e.g. the British and the American one. Unfortunately, the application of the Anglo-Saxon model and other, mostly western European, models is quite limited in interpreting political action in other countries, even if they are also located in Europe, such as the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In this part of the world the same words may have very different meanings. There are many reasons for this, of which the devastating wars of the last century and the even more devastating reign of communist terror are the most important ones.

Errors in assessing the political situation in Central and Eastern Europe have been made long time ago. Some falsified the reality consciously and willingly, others have done it because they wanted to see something which was not there. There are probably also other reasons for this deception.

The communist and post-communist regimes have put a lot of effort into creating virtual reality and fooling perception. The line separating the tragedy from comedy can be quite thin or more subtle than many people are aware of. The communists have frequently presented tragedy as comedy and vice versa, comedy was sold as tragedy. The West has been unprepared perceptually for dealing with these tricks.