“You are known by the company you keep” – EU election campaign

“You are known by the company you keep” – EU election campaign by Claudio Grass

With the EU elections fast approaching, this article, written by my dear and long-time friend Natalie Vein, offers a very different perspective. It focuses not on the choices on the ballot, but on the EU voting campaign itself. Most people are fixed on the political show at the front-end of the upcoming election, yet it’s much more enlightening and relevant to look at the actions taken backstage, by the show organizers themselves. 
The article reveals in no uncertain terms the fact that “divide and conquer” lies at the heart of today’s political strategies. It also highlights the irony of the current political messaging line. On the one hand, there are strict limits on what one is allowed to say and to think, restricting conservative viewpoints, as well as the peaceful, democratic debate and criticism of progressive ideas. On the other hand, the very same political authorities that set those limits are partnering up and financially supporting, with taxpayer money, organizations that are promoting radical, divisive and hateful ideas and even openly advocating violence. 
It took a very long time and countless sacrifices to establish respect for human dignity and for the individual human life as the cornerstone of our societies. Embracing repugnant rhetoric and poisonous ideas like the ones recounted in the article is not only morally reprehensible, but also an affront to a civilization that went through the Enlightenment approximately 200 years ago. 
As will become clear from the article, this toxic strategy, aimed at sowing division and mistrust between different groups in society, is not only reckless but highly dangerous too. Separating people into warring factions fuelled by collectivist group-think destroys any chance of having a much needed, civilized and open dialogue on the issues that truly matter. Instead of thinking for themselves and questioning narratives critically as individuals, people are busy defending their own tribe or attacking another. Distracted by these pointless and hollow conflicts, they fail to see the common enemy, the initial aggressor and instigator of this social and political disharmony: the state. 
For me, the most important take-away from this article is that one must be very careful when choosing a side. Instead of getting drawn in by the appeal of belonging to one group or another, it is much wiser to see the bigger picture first and to understand who really benefits from a society that rips itself apart.
Claudio Grass, April 2019

by Nat Vein

“You are known by the company you keep” – EU election campaign

You might not be aware of it, but the EU elections are less than a month away. But even if you knew, judging by the steadily declining voter turnout, it is statistically likely that you don’t care. For the last 20 years, less than half of all European citizens bothered to vote. As the majority did not participate, the real electoral champion has steadily been apathy, with a solid, 2-decade-long winning streak that any normal political party would surely covet.

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