Icons, old and new - (pages 11 - 12)
Most of these highly appreciated young people are the scions of Greeks and Bulgarians who settled in this country. They became Romanians by the usual channels: one takes a young Bulgarian and sends him to Paris. The chemical result will be called a "Romanian".
In 1840 Eliad (by then he had not called himself Heliade Radulesco, which means Paris had not dazzled him yet) wrote to the great ban M. Ghica: "I am a family man and I cannot afford to raise my children elsewhere than in the country. Even if I could, I should not intend to indulge them in a foreign education and then expect them to live like Romanians. I want them to be Romanians, to be familiar with Romanian laws and customs". The real scoundrels, both fathers and sons were especially raised for "another century" and "another country". Later, they lived indeed in "another century" and "another country".
We shall indicate more precisely what these people lack, the ones calling themselves Romanians on geographical and personal grounds. They lack a "historical sense"; they belong to Romanian nation only because they are born on a specific patch of land, not because of their mother tongue, customs or outlooks.
Therefore, they come back to this country with the strangest ideas borrowed from French café, from Saint-Simon and other insane writers' works. The products of these twisted minds believing that absolute truth exists in this world and what is good for France is also good for us feature our daily life. When they arrived at the frontiers, old people welcomed them with laid table and lit candles. Poor old people, they had no idea what was to come and what trouble was expecting for them. They were happy to see so many young, beautiful, elegant and educated young men!
But guess what? Instead of kissing old people's hands and thanking them, the young men turned their backs and started speaking about liberty, equality, fraternity and sovereignty, so that the old men were lost. Young men kept beating about the bush. So the old men got really confused. Then the young people started looking for nicknames fit to the old men: vampires, retrogrades and so on, till the old people were no longer considered Romanians. Only the young men were Romanians, as they knew Saint-Simon by heart. Yet, the old people had been nothing but Romanians, so it was impossible for them to understand what they were accused of. Like their forefathers, they had been living in this country and knew no other language but Romanian, which they venerated. When they heard that language mixed with French words, they must have said to themselves: "Well, such great fools we have been! We believed that reading the Bible, polishing, toiling, breeding cattle and making money was knowledge enough. But according to them, we do not know anything, even our Romanian language."
Instead of teaching the young ones a lesson, they said: "well, dears, it might be as you are saying. We might be ignorant, but from now on you will rule the world just as you consider best." And taking their leave from the green forest, they passed away, happier than we are, because our destiny is to live in these corrupt days, when our country's minds and money are given away and everybody pretends to be proud of being a Romanian, even if only pretending. The elders preferred to keep silence and retire from public life - noiselessly, peacefully and serenely. The reasons for their attitude might have been the amazing power of words. On the other hand, it might have been because most of the liberals were their own children, waiting for them to die, in order to spend their money. They may have given in to their conviction that these educated young men were more useful to the country than they were. They proved again their patriotism, often tested during the last five centuries.
Liberals fooled them just like Mavrocordat had done a century and a half before. That cunning voivode could not impose heavy taxes on peasants as they were bondsmen and did not have much left after paying the tribute to the Sublime Porte. We do not know for sure what serfdom meant then, but it seems to have been a measure taken by rulers in difficult times of invasion, so that people could settle somewhere. If it had been bad, the chronicles would have mentioned it, for they used to criticize any measure impoverishing people. If liberals call the landlords "vampires" and other such names, Mavrocordat used to call them slave owners and tyrants, repeatedly accusing them. So, one day they gathered and abolished the serfdom law. They swore then that they would never enforce that law again. That was precisely what Mavrocordat wanted.
Since people did not belong to landlords anymore, they belonged to nobody, so Mavrocordat levied heavy taxes from them. These taxes multiplied every few years.
Just like at the beginning of last century, the result of their trust was disastrous. The old people had a wolf's mouth, but a lamb's heart. Then came liberals who had a lamb's mouth, full of deceiving words, but a wolf's heart. We are meant to see further what they actually did.
IV. EXAMPLE OF ADMINISTRATION
It goes without saying that public opinion started harassing the liberals, after they had fought the landlords who had ruled the country before them.
At that time, nobody could understand that the real basis of a state is work, not legislation. They are just beginning to see it now, sometimes. Meanwhile, there hardly was anybody understanding that the actual wealth of a country is not determined by money, but by work.
Money "means" only the result of work; it does not represent work as a matter of fact. So, if one bring plenty of money to a country lacking work, one day you could pay a napoleon for a working day, or five napoleons for a pair of boots. And now comes that old story again: you will remain as poor as before. For instance, we could think of South America countries, where plenty of gold mines are. This is the case of the one earning 10 and spending 11, as opposed to the one earning 2 and spending 1. The last is rich, while the first is poor. Another wrong opinion (which is still quite widespread) was our country is tremendously rich, so you could spend as much as you wished, while nation covered your expenses. Nobody could understand that richness neither floats in the air, nor it is buried in the ground, but consists of the labor force. So, where the labor force or the production quality are lacking, there cannot be a rich country.
It is a poor country where we wish to implement all the Western civilisation forms just like they are.
Schools were needed here. How could somebody found them? As we have already said, the solution for this is work. As few as they were then, our schools should have been at the highest possible standards, as they had already started to take the necessary steps at the time when Mr. Laurian, M. Kogalniceanu and some others were just secondary school teachers. They were the right men for this task, indeed. The next generation would have improved further the schools, so that in our days we could have had quite a number of good schools, besides a responsible and motivated generation that could have thought clearly. They also could have written down at least a few wise words.