Icons, old and new - (pages 15 - 16)
Well, you know what a man’s nature is: first he thinks about himself, so he cannot imagine the connection between his work, his money and all the other things concerned. He cannot see how all liberals exploit him for their own benefit, because they do not own anything and they do not know anything useful. An ordinary man trusts only what the newspapers write about and these are printed on credit in Jewish printing houses. So the poor bewildered man votes for the honorable people suggested by the press. This is the way to make a Liberal Chamber.
Now the profiteers’ gang on Dealul Mitropoliei (Metropolitan Hill) are going to judge everyone. First of all, they declare that every person in the former government was at least a thief, whether he was a minister or a mere clerk.
So they all must be brought to court and the present staff must be fired. If you cannot find any fault with somebody or if that person is too skilled for his job than he is expected to be, well, for the moment you can at least supress his job, because some public money must be saved. Then you can re-establish his job when your country is rich again. So just "accidentally" it is the moment for you to appoint your own protegé instead.
In the sessions preliminary to elections, mayors are told to spare from agricultural work those pople who support the government, as well as the ministers’ and prefects’ relatives. As for the others, they have to be checked by requisitions, searching or verbal dispositions, so the peasants to be prevented from tilling their land. To this purpose they abolish the agreement law, so that those who pay farmers should not find agricultural labourers. Nevertheless, those who do not pay a mere penny could hire them for nothing. The latter can take advantage of legal stipulations. Later a liberal sub-prefect would judge while the accused farmer is away, thus forcing the peasant to pay his last penny to the Liberal leaseholder.
Some ultra-liberal families also got used to this manner. They draw lots just to see which of them should be ‘conservative’ and that one will do favours to the others, when the Conservatives are in power. The rest of them would return the favors when the Liberals are governing.
This way, thousands of people in our country are craving to get fortune and honours by using state institutions, or at least to squeeze a good living out of them. In any other country, liberty means one’s right of not being prevented from working, so to produce consumer goods. By a baneful interpretation of "liberty", the Romanian Liberals have reached a positive interpretation: liberty is to give them food, shoes, luxury and everything they like. What about the working class? Well, what "about" it? "Aprés nous, le deluge". In fact, we are not to live forever, are we? But as long as we live, there must be an earthly heaven for us. After our passing away, God is certainly going to make amends for the social classes we have impoverished and exploited.
This is liberalism in our country. A nobody can represent only nothing. If they have nothing, they set up a joint-stock company, then they figure out some county committees (a sort of subsidiaries) provided with precise lists of state properties and available jobs. They found journals in which the "endangered nation" is made aware that liberty is in jeopardy. They allure people always fighting a tough life. They make people think that Liberals are the only ones capable to save the society. They have elections and when they accede to power – well, it’s their time then!
From one end of the country to the other, they pervert every pure feeling, every honest man. Here you can see one thrown right out into the street with his numerous family, which he used to feed only from his meagre wages, from hand to mouth. In his place, they appoint another person who knows as much as he did or even less. There you can see how a leaseholder is fired from a state property, because - although he invested an entire fortune in crops – he did not pay in time. That is because by all means a member of Parliament wants to buy that land for half the price and to turn to good account the other one’s crops, at the same time. This is going to last "ad infinitum".
For many years, Conservatives have tried to set in order an institution built on a wrong basis. I saw them frightened of the embezzlement of public funds and by Liberal forgeries. On this reason, they denounced crimes as simply misdemeanours. So they came to the law courts, where the judges were people with a really bad conscience, burdened with those crimes. They wanted to limit the prefect’s offices number. They limited the number of village Mayor’s Houses, so to be able to have a better control upon mayors, notaries and tax collectors’ activity. They were about to found technic and vocational schools, where this corrupted generation’s sons could attend and learn how to earn an honest living. But there was no way to fulfil their purpose! The very next day after Liberals had taken political power, they smashed everything to pieces, as if it had never been.
Every time one shows them their mistakes they will say: "Actually we ruled for a very short time". But, gentlemen, a palace built in ten years can be destroyed in only two days. So, if one morning you were able to pass the sponge over all the historical development of the country, all the more you will be able to reach your goals as you have nothing to wreck, but the repairs made by the Conservatives with so much difficulty.
V. SOME INFORMATION FROM THE ECONOMIC PRIMER
Every time a fellow starts writing something to illuminate people - they say the press is the real light -, he goes to the bookshelf. He takes out a German or a French book and he files it until he gets what he needs.