Why Dimitrov is wrong about his “right side of history” blather
Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov is fond of repeating, ad nauseum, that he and the Government of Zoran Zaev/Ali Ahmeti is on “the right side of history” (plenty of other progressives repeat the banal phrase as well). I’m not sure he actually has any idea as to how ignorant he sounds, as we all know he is merely parroting an empty phrase given to him by his friends in the US State Department. In this I’m reminded of English author, poet, and philosopher G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) who said such people were “still glowing with the memory of tomorrow,” which is found in a chapter entitled “The Fear of the Past” from his book “What’s Wrong with the World” (1910). Chesterton writes, “The modern man no longer preserves the memoirs of his great-grandfather; but he is engaged in writing a detailed and authoritative biography of his great-grandson.” It appears that Dimitrov, “still glowing with the memory of tomorrow,” is attempting to do the same.
So, what’s wrong with that phrase, the “right side of history?” Plenty, as it turns out.
To begin with it is intellectual bullying; it is a call for those who disagree with you and your policies to stop opposing them and get out of their way. It is an admission that “I cannot persuade you that my policies and this course of action is correct, so I’ll simply resort to bland phrases that invoke a future that has not been written since you cannot prove the future in the present.” It is also lazy for the same reasons and, again, an admission that one has failed to persuade. Let’s be honest: if changing Macedonia’s name, identity, history, heritage, culture, and much more really was a good and fine thing, then why did so few people support it? Why did so many actively oppose it? Why do (present tense) so few people support it? Why do (present tense) so many actively oppose it? Why did Nikola Dimitrov and the Government of Zoran Zaev/Ali Ahmeti fail to persuade the majority of Macedonians that it was a good thing? The reason: because it isn’t a good thing and in fact, it is a very bad thing for a plethora of reasons.
In another way, this phrase of his is tyrannical. Chesterton said that the “new tyrants will invoke the future.” Dimitrov not only shuns the past, but he also believes that the past — especially Macedonia’s past — is filled with evil and great sin. And while every country and people have wrongs and sins in their past, there is also much good in every country and people. In Macedonia’s case, it was the men and women who, for generations, fought, sacrificed, bled, and died for an independent Macedonia, not an independent fill-in-your-directional-adjective-here Macedonia. Dimitrov, and his so-called “Prespa agreement” which stipulates that Macedonia’s history begins on September 8, 1991, throws all of this away as he rushes to embrace the future, a future he cannot prove will be the one he envisions so he papers over that wide gulf with his “right side of history” statements. I would be remiss if I did not quote Chesterton’s most famous quote from his most famous book “Orthodoxy,” (1908) in which he writes about the “democracy of the dead,” stating “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.” In other words: we owe our present and our future to those who came before us. In Macedonia’s case, this means honoring those who sacrificed, fought, bled and died for an independent Macedonia — not something else.
And finally, put another way and to borrow the language of youth and progressives of today, this phrase of his is simply a way for Dimitrov to show that he is “woke.”
Speaking of the past and the debt we owe to those who came before us, Stevo Pendarovski, the presidential candidate of the ruling SDSM/DUI, Zaev/Ahmeti coalition was recently quoted as stating that his campaign for president is based on the so-called “colorful revolutionaries” that worked to install Zaev and Ahmeti and bring about the change of Macedonia’s name, identity and much more. The “colorful revolution” that Macedonia experienced in 2015/2016 was based on tearing down Macedonia’s past and history and replacing it with something new, in Macedonia’s case, a “new name” and “new identity” and “new history” and much more. But another “revolution” is not needed in Macedonia. What’s needed is restoration; not just a restoration of Macedonia’s rightful and rightfully chosen name, but a restoration through a renewed pride in and understanding of Macedonia’s identity, history, heritage, culture and much more.
Macedonian identity — and thus the Macedonian state, the Republic of Macedonia — cannot be strengthened by diluting that identity. Diluting that identity thus dilutes and weakens the Macedonian state which, in turn, invites instability in Macedonia and then regional instability. This is the odd thing about those preening on and on about the so-called “Prespa agreement” and how it should now be a model for the region: it will not bring about peace, but perpetual conflict.
We can expect to hear Dimitrov talk about being on the “right side of history” many more times this year as both he, and his Western elite handlers, create more opportunities to showcase both him and the so-called “Prespa agreement.” After all, Dimitrov is slick, urbane, and cultured in the same ways in which the Western elites are and they admire him because he’s one of them; they’ve got plans for him in the future when he is out of government. Zoran Zaev, on the other hand, with his “Stevo Pendarovski you are the anchor that will pull us forward” comments, is going nowhere; he is the village idiot.