Uncompromising positions

It is natural that as we plow through this crisis, extremist political parties will gain popularity on the strength of their absolute denial of reality. All societies, when pressed hard enough, are capable of producing extremists who will take over and determine where the country heads next. In our case, though, the monsters were not born suddenly because of the collapse of the political and economic order — the dynamics that foster extremist behavior were in place before the crisis. Now, the extremes of left and right are gaining in strength while the center shrinks.

Among the leading factors of destruction and self-destruction is a culture of conflict, of ?no compromise.? We are excited by action, by protests, attacks, self-sacrifice. It is a matter of pride to reject reality, while compromise and the effort to deal with problems is viewed as defeatist. In this, we have been carried away by two powerful currents. One is our history, which is full of heroic sacrifices at times when it was dangerous but also an obligation to stand up against reality. The other current is fed by the first but, in effect, it undermines it, because it works against survival. It is the ideology of getting by with the least effort, of denying reality. It is what dominated the past few decades. In the peace and prosperity provided by EU accession, many wanted to mimic the heroes of the glorious past — but this time without danger to life and freedom.

In conditions of security and tolerance, we could demand the maximum, without encountering rejection, without having to consider that our extreme demands might be met at another?s cost. The borrowed funds, the client-patron political system and the widespread lawlessness created the illusion that everyone could have whatever he wanted. It became an obligation to press for the maximum. Worse, though, is the fact that we did not learn how to function in the real world — the one that demands persistence, hard work and the need to deal with others as equals.

Today we are deprived not only of money and a sense of security, but also of the weapons with which to handle the difficult forces developing in our society. From the illusion that we were masters of our fate we drift between our creditors? demands, the fear of ?centrist? political parties and the ?heroic rage? of the rest. As if it is not our duty to find solutions — solutions which lie somewhere in the center, in the space between conflict and passivity.

To get out of the crisis we will have to understand that that which traps us in self-destructive conflict is our inability to see honorable compromise as a precious tool of survival — not as defeat.