“There is a great deal of ruin in a nation”
In my last column, Of woes and joys, (Маки и радости) I wrote how Macedonia had faced a great deal of “woes” as I called them, both from the outside, and self-inflicted, but that, also there could be a lot of “joys” in that — the fact of not just surviving, but in often succeeding. I also wrote how it is up to you — to Macedonians — to determine their own future and that history does not have sides and is not yet written, meaning anything can happen. Your fate — for good or for ill — is not predetermined. But it is up to you.
Macedonia continues facing such things, including the non-transparent talks the Macedonian Government is carrying on with Bulgaria — what are they hiding? Another in that latest round of injustices is that former prime minister Nikola Gruevski was targeted by the US Treasury Department, along with six other individuals from the Balkans. According to Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson (who must be important because he has a very long title), “The people designated today constitute a serious threat to regional stability, institutional trust, and the aspirations of those seeking democratic and judicious governance in the Western Balkans.” Whatever you may, or may not, think about Gruevski’s guilt or innocence, surely the previous statement either a) does not apply to Gruevski or b), if it does, it also applies to hundreds, if not thousands, of other people.
People like Ali Ahmeti — a man who started a war and boasts of profiting off of trafficking in weapons and drugs, goes free (and he and his associates have trafficked in much more including young girls and women). And not only free, but practically worshipped by the godless atheists in the Department of State. (Actions like this by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in my government (people who know nothing about reality) continue to cause me to despise them and wish them nothing but ill will).
But let me move on to something more positive which leads me to a quote by the father of economics, Adam Smith, as told by author, economist, and actor Ben Stein, regarding the American war of Independence: “In about 1777, a young British nobleman named Mr. Sinclair came to Adam Smith with the news of General Burgoyne’s surrender to the patriots of Saratoga or a fort near there. ‘This will be the ruin of the nation,’ said Mr. Sinclair. ‘Young man,’ said the Dean, Adam Smith, ‘there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.’” You see, the young Mr. Sinclair supposed that American independence would be the ruin of England. But the wise Mr. Smith knew that a nation as great as England would be able to weather the storm — whether or not their colonies in North America became independent states. And that is exactly what the great and learned Adam Smith meant: a nation can survive a great deal of ruinous events, both self-inflicted and inflicted by and from others if — if — the people of that nation keep trying, at the very least, to do what is right.
Stein writes in that same article, quoted above (and he was writing just before the 2016 presidential election in America in which he feared that Hillary Clinton would be elected) “We will get by. If we each do our parts as parents, spouses, friends, workers, soldiers, law enforcement, teachers, firefighters, lawyers, judges, loving children, we will get by. We have faced far worse challenges. We will get through this one as well.”
“We will get by. We will get through this one as well.” Macedonia, you will get by. You will get through these as well, but only if you pull together, and do you part, as parents, spouses, friends, workers, soldiers, law enforcement, teachers, firefighters, lawyers, judges, loving children and more.
Another comment on this same line of thinking is warranted. The late Englishman Sir Roger Scruton, writing in 1994 (nearly three decades ago), wrote this about the times he was living in and the decay, as he saw it, all around him. Scruton writes, “It is good to have been born in this time of decay. Our generation was granted a privilege that future generations may never know — a view of Western civilization in its totality, and a knowledge of its inner meaning. We were given the pure truths of the Christian religion, and the morality of sacrifice which turns renunciation into triumph and suffering into a secret joy. We also had the chance to see what will happen should we lose these gifts. . . . Of course it is hard to feel the full confidence that those teachings require. But they are addressed to each of us individually, and their validity is not affected by what others think or do. We have within ourselves the source of our salvation: all that is needed is to summon it, and to go out into the world.”
Scruton knew that decay and decline were setting in and taking their hold, at least on Western civilization (with the rest of the world following shortly). But notice how the verb tense changes in that quote — from past tense to present tense with which he ends on a high note. When he writes that the “source of our salvation” he does not mean this in a religious sense (for Scruton was a devout Christian) and does not mean that we can provide eternal salvation for ourselves in the hereafter. No, he means this in a very present tense, present day sense: we can overcome this decay and decline, at least for a little while longer, if we put our minds and our bodies to the task and just do it. Much like what Stein wrote, we simply must do our parts — if, that is, and in Macedonia’s case, we want to save Macedonia and not just save the country but make it a better place for our children and grandchildren and generations not yet born.
Will you do your part?