(Below, a quick excerpt from an interview conducted by the Washington Policy Center with me, last year.)
Tell us about your home country and your family. What was a typical day like for you growing up in your home country? Did you ever live in fear?
I was born and raised in a Christian family. We lived in constant fear of being killed, because our faith was “illegal”. Romania was SO socialist that the Russians were thinking that our system is overly-abusive.
A regular day would began at 3 am with going to wait in line for bread and milk at the store until we had to go to work or school. We didn’t have running water all the time. Every Saturday we were given one hour of water in the afternoon. (We actually never turned off the water taps, because we wanted to make sure we know IF there is water.) So if it was a “water day”, mother was drawing water for bath whilst father was filling up bottles with water for drinking and cooking. I would bathe first, my elder brother would then bathe in my water, mother would bathe in it after, and lastly, father would bathe in the same water, because by the time we finished, the water was gone. We were washing quickly and try to save water in the bathtub for the next 3 days to do laundry, dishes and to flush the toilet. Between 6pm and 8pm every day, they would turn off the power in the entire city for mandatory power savings. Our flats were never heated, even in the peak of the winter. The most common cause of death was improvised propane heating systems that people would put together at home.
We didn’t have toys or games. There was no TV. There were no cartoons. I was 5-6 years old when I saw bananas and juice for the first time – and that was in Hungary, after the system fell. I was 12-ish when we started having access to fruit and veggies, 5-6 years after the system fell.
Our diet consisted of black-burned hard as rock bread, rice, jam, sugar, oil, very occasional milk and very rarely local fruit. Out of a chicken the size of a pigeon my mom would cook for an entire week for a family of 4.
Father had a good pay check, but there was nothing to buy. All the stores were empty all the time. On the rare occasions when there was something in the store you had a ratio book that told the sellers how much they were allowed to sell to your family.
Among my most frequent memories from childhood, I remember:
– dad coming home beat up by the secret police, called “securitate”; he was being beat up because he was wearing glasses, and the logic was, “if you’re wearing glasses, it’s because you’re reading a lot; if you’re reading a lot, it must be because you’re reading books against the system. So we’ll administer a disciplinary beating to you, just to be on the safe side that you don’t get any ideas.”
– parents constantly teaching us how to speak and what we can say to others and what not
– how trashed public property was
– trying to cross the border, our journey back and forth the borders of Romania
What was your reaction when you first came to the United States?
Before coming to the U.S. I have travelled across the world, so I wasn’t in any way blown away by the riches or by the luxury of life here; I came across it before in other western societies, and I actually lived in environments that were better off, financially speaking, than the U.S. There are a lot of other countries which might be poorer, but they are better managed, and that means that the overall atmosphere offers quality of life.
What was shocking though was just how post-modern America is. What I mean by that is that the absolute moral values have been abolished and everyone live based on a circumstantial morality. And that is a very dangerous game to play because the freedom that we have to speak, to live, to pursue our happiness is misused. A good character is not something that young people wish to develop anymore; they want money and power. It’s really sad.
People expect me to be blown away by the riches of this country, and I look around, and I know that people don’t know this, because nobody says this, but money come and go. What we are left with is our character. People just don’t realize how EASILY their houses and their money can be taken away.
What is the worst part of socialism? Good part?
The worst part of socialism is the lack of value of human life.
I know the pitch line for socialists in the U.S. is that socialism will make everyone equal, but that’s not because everyone will be respected and cherished and seen as valuable, as they try to make it sound. Everyone is equal only when they are all naked, powerless and defeated. That is the only way of making all individuals equal, because we are equal in death only: when you turn people to ashes emotionally, psychologically, mentally and physically. You cannot legalize moral behavior. Moral behavior needs to be rooted in something. When rooted in God’s principles, it won’t fail.
Good part of socialism?
People turn to God – or if not to God, at least to a form of belief or a code of ethics that they start adhering to. Most people, though, turn to God. It is a hard, painful, crushing process of turning to God, but there’s nothing that can turn people’s hearts to God like socialism. People remember their Bible, people start associating only with trustworthy people again, and those who live by circumstantial morality will be fewer and fewer because the need for absolute values will arise as a vital condition to stay alive. Pain cures people of selfishness. I would rather make an effort and work on myself and pay attention to my ways that going through socialism in order to go back to the basics.
I am a Christian, and I do want all people to encounter God on a personal level. However, when I am saying that this is the best part of socialism, I am not saying this as a Christian, I am saying this as a person who wants to live in a peaceful society that is glued together by social norms that we agree upon. My goal as a citizen of this country is not to see everyone converted to Christianity – that is my spiritual hope for the nation; but my goal as a citizen is to live in a society where every human being is respected as individual, a society in which all life is considered valuable and morality is hold dear. We need a moral code that we all adhere to.
Are there any differences between socialism vs. democratic socialism?
There are a lot of labels for different political systems, and to be honest, the easiest way to confuse people is to confuse them with labels. But when you boil them down, there are only 2 ways of making politics: risk avoidance or risk reduction.
Risk reduction: someone promises to be the defender of your rights if you give them the power to protect your right. When you give someone the power to protect your right you instantly give them the power to take away your right, these are 2 sides of the same coin. It doesn’t matter under what label they do this (as democrats, as socialists, as communists, as republicans, as Christians, as Muslims).
Risk avoidance is when people are telling the leaders: “It is not your place to defend or to take away my rights. My rights are mine to safeguard, my rights are mine to keep. Stop overreaching. This is the Constitution’s position.” This is what America is built on: a nation in which each individual takes personal responsibility for safeguarding their own rights.
What would happen if America became socialist?
I don’t know EXACTLY what would happen, but I have a general idea, based on the experience of the rest of the world. And I know what wouldn’t happen.
Everything that happened in every other country that became socialist would happen here as well, just on a way larger scale, with local cultural variations, nut definitely with a much larger impact on the globe. America is without doubt, one of the pillars of this world. Socialism in America would definitely lead to a time like we’ve never had or seen before in the history of human race.
What would not happen, is that people would not live the happy, utopic, care-free lives they imagine. People would not be allowed to exercise their freedoms. Provided that people’s definition of “freedom” nowadays is the same thing as “purchasing power”, probably most people wouldn’t even realize just how much of their rights have been taken away
Just look at the Healthcare system in America. People are not allowed to choose what doctor or what procedures they want to have done. They need to choose whatever the insurance companies allow them to choose. How is that even possible in a “free” society?
Why are young people in America attracted to it?
1. Young American people are attracted to socialism because they have been subjected to propaganda for decades now. But, I will need to mention this: just because one is subjected to propaganda, it doesn’t mean that their ability to assess risk is diminished or that they have no more responsibility to get informed. If America is becoming socialist, it is not because the American people are being lied to and are being lured into a trap; it is rather because the leaders of America are seducing the American people who WILLINGLY allow themselves to be seduced by a dream of “no work, free money”. American people are WILLING victims and they WANT to have no responsibility, only rights. America becoming socialist is a CONSPIRACY between the government and the people, like in all other cases where people became corrupted by their greed. Seduction beats persuasion. Every single one of us has the responsibility to make sure America doesn’t become socialist.
2. Young American people are attracted to socialism because the adults and the elderly American people are not teaching the younger generation the truth about what socialism is. Many Americans have traveled to Romania or to other countries that just got writ of socialism. They saw the consequences of it. They SHOULD speak. Why don’t they?
3. Young American people are attracted to socialism because they are not fully aware of what socialism is, and that is because they don’t read. Buy books for young people and put them in their arms!!
George Orwell – The Animal Farm, 1984
Anthony Burgess – A clockwork orange
Can you be a socialist and still be rich?
Of course. If you are the one holding the measure, yes. But in order to be the one holding the measure, you need to be the one holding the punishment as well. Are YOU capable of being the one hurting people who go against the system? Are YOU capable of forcing other people into becoming what the system needs them to become? Are YOU capable of going to the extremes that the Nazi policemen or guards went to?
The answer to all those questions is, YES. Even if you don’t think you are capable of all those things, yes, you are.
So the real question is, are you WILLING to become all that, in order to be rich? That’s the only true question in a Socialist society: how far are you WILLING to go to get what you want?
People who don’t agree with the system don’t hold the measure. People who refuse to endirse the system will become destroyed by the system. Read “The Animal Farm”.