Central Europe Review: politics,
society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 4
31 January 2000

Sam Vaknin A   B A L K A N   E N C O U N T E R:
The Author of this Article is a Racist

Sam Vaknin

Or, so say many of the readers who react vehemently - not to say minaciously - to my articles. They insist that I demonize, chastise, disparage, deride and hold in contempt groups of people simply and solely because they are born in a given geographical area or are of a given genetic stock. Few stop sufficiently long to notice that the above two accusations contradict each other. A territory as vast as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) cannot and is not inhabited by one "race." It is an historical cocktail of colours and origins and languages and bloodlines. Disregarding the pan-Slavic myth, a racist would find the CEE a very discouraging neighbourhood.

Am I a racist? If this is taken to mean "do I believe in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people (however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited) just because of their common origin or habitation" - then of course I am not. I am not an adherent of genetic predetermination and I think that there is very little point in discussing fictitious entities such as "pure races." That people are what they are made out to be by their up-bringing, society, history and by the reactions of other humans to them - is what I subscribe to.

Yet I do believe in the temporary inferiority, malevolence and impurity of groups of people who experienced and were subjected to prolonged corrupting and pathologizing influences. Historical processes exact an exorbitant toll. Ideologies, indoctrination, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, command economies, statism, militarism, malignant nationalism andnationalism and occupation - all carry a hefty price tag. And the currency is the mind of the people: their mental health, their socialization processes and, ultimately, the social fabric. Beneath a thin veneer of kultur - the masses are savaged, the individual crushed into a moral pulp.

I do believe in mass pathology: mass hysteria, mass personality disorders and mass psychoses. I do believe in common depravity, all-pervasive venality and inescapable subornation of whole societies and of each of the individuals who comprise them. I do believe in the osmosis of evil, in the diffusion of villainy, in the corruption of the soul.

In short: I do believe in terminally sick societies, whose prospects of recovery are nil. The only hope lies in their demise. Not in the abstract sense of the word - but in the actual death and decomposition of each and every individual until the whole "generation of the desert" is done with and a new, less contaminated one, emerges to take its place.

This is why I believe that the future of Africa, the Middle East and the countries of the CEE and the Newly Independant States (NIS) is, for the time being, behind them. Their horizon is dim and empty. They are looking forward to the past. They are the zombies of the international arena, the walking dead and it is in death that they multiply. Their growth is stunted, their speech is stifled, their leaders a vicious lot, the states that they inhabit are dens of barbarous criminality and lawlessness. Their institutions are a travesty, their parties nests of avarice and vileness. Their media prostituted and defiled. The farce of elections and the newspeak of democracy and human rights and the free market are props to hide the vast wilderness of moral bankruptcy.

These are Potemkin states run by Chicago mobs. Instruments of extortion and coercion no different from their predecessors - only they provide less security, both physical and economic. They know no different. They think no different. They swear by their malaise and by their malaise they shall die. And die they shall. The signs are auspicious. Biology, the West and international financial institutions all conspire to retire the beast.

New blood, new ideas, new hopes and aspirations are in evidence. Still overwhelmed by the abrupt and cruel exposure of their elders, still taken aback by the enormity of the project of rehabilitating the very psyche of their people, still torn between illegal self enrichment and service to their fellow citizens - but there they are, the young ones.

The battle is on. The consensus of the baksheesh and the political assassination is replaced, ever so gradually, by the dissension of the market place. Wars are fought with spreadsheets, experience imported from afar, new knowledge craved and corruption decried. It is a refreshing, gargantuan, change. And it will consume yet one more generation. But it has started and it is irreversible. And it is in the eyes of the youth, a flickering flame, so ephemeral, so vulnerable and yet, so irresistible.

This flame is called the future.

Dr Sam Vaknin, 24 January 2000

The author is General Manager of Capital Markets Institute Ltd, a consultancy firm with operations in Macedonia and Russia. He is an Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

DISCLAIMER: The views presented in this article represent only the personal opinions and judgements of the author.

Sam Vaknin's articles for Central Europe Review are archived here.

Sam Vaknin's Website is here.



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