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Moral Lepers and Moral Heroes
read in Macedonian


In early June at the United Macedonian Diaspora Global Conference in Washington, DC, US Assistant Secretary of State Tom Countryman told the gathering that the so-called name issue “seems unfair.” How different is that statement from the following:  Last week in New York City a young boy was murdered.  The murderer, fortunately, was caught and confessed.  But in his confession he said “I understand this may be wrong….” May be wrong? 

We often hear the statement that “life is unfair,” when referring to some situation that is, well, unfair.  And we hear that statement because it happens to be true.  We can admit that life is unfair, because life is unfair.  Only death and taxes are guarantees in life we say.  We may not be able to do anything about life being unfair, but we admit the truth even as we try to right the many wrongs out there.  But Countryman can’t even admit that this situation is unfair.  “Seems unfair?” Tom, it bloody well is unfair.  So say it.   

The reason that Tom and others at the State Department and within the EU and NATO say that the situation “seems unfair” is because of one of two possible reasons.  First, most of them have a flawed worldview.  Their worldview subscribes to a belief in moral equivalency, meaning that they see both sides (Greece and Macedonia) as being equally at fault.  The second possible reason is that because they are afraid of how Greece will react.  Either way, to not acknowledge the truth and instead cast blame on both parties makes you a moral leper.   

Now contrast what Tom said with what Sally McNamara, Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs at the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, said at that same conference: “This is about right and wrong.”  For this Sally McNamara is a moral hero. 

US President Ronald Reagan famously called what was right, right and what was wrong, wrong.  He was able to distinguish between good and evil because he had a worldview that subscribed to the belief that there is right and wrong and good and evil in the world.  He called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” because it was.  He was not afraid of how the Soviets would react because he called them this.  He was not afraid of hurting their feelings because he called them this.  And Ronald Reagan certainly did not subscribe to the belief that all sides are equally culpable.   

In March of 1983 President Reagan gave a speech to a group of church leaders in Orlando, Florida who were discussing whether or not to push for a US unilateral nuclear freeze proposal which would have put the US in a dangerous position.  Reagan said in part: “So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware of the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.” 

And yet almost 30 years later we have elected and unelected leaders who either cannot acknowledge the truth or who actually believe that both sides are at fault in the Macedonia/Greece example.  And when you are not willing to condemn what is wrong, or when you are willing to call what is right, wrong, then you begin to create conditions where the very foundations of your society and culture are at risk of falling apart.  This is very dangerous when leaders – elected and especially the unelected since they are not accountable to the voters – engage in this type of behavior.  When this begins to happen, the very destruction of that society is not far away. 

And we see this manifested in other ways as well.  All you have to do is open the paper, turn on the news on the TV or radio or read it on the internet to know that countries and communities around the world – but especially the cultural and political West – are decaying because there is little desire to call right, right, and wrong, wrong.   

Reagan knew who was right and who was wrong in the US/Soviet example.  If he were alive today, he would know – and say – who is right and who is wrong in the Macedonia/Greece issue.  Today, I hope our elected and unelected leaders know who is right and who is wrong in the Macedonia/Greece issue and I hope and pray they can yet still have the backbone to say this publicly.  Yes, Macedonia may have made some mistakes along the way.  But it is Greece that started this whole issue by attempting to deny a people their most basic human right – that of their name and identity.  For this, Greece is dead wrong.

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Jason Miko
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