Posts tagged ‘principles’

October 2, 2008

Principles II – how to get to not having them

Last year the first Student Parliament of Belgrade University (SPBU) was formed, along with the first Student Parliaments in the faculties within the University. Although I was very active in my local Student Parliament at the time, I was wary of taking part in SPBU, basically for two reasons:

1) any body formed from representatives of lesser bodies which are not working properly will almost certainly not work properly, Being already very busy, I wouldn’t be able to dedicate enough time to it to make a difference, and in any case I would be prevented by the second reason:

2) this is an important body, and is thus something which attracts a certain kind of person that I loathe; “politikants”.

A “politikant” is a politician who is in politics only for the power and the money. It’s interesting that we have such a word in Serbian, since everyone here has a very bad opinion for most, if not all, of our politicians i.e. we think they’re all politikants.

Watching the Parliament sessions on TV, I always wondered how those people became so shamelessly unprincipled, hypocritical and vulgar, how they could so shamelessly waste so much time arguing among themselves, just so they can humiliate their opponents. Well, after my experience with the SPBU, it all became so very clear.

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September 28, 2008

principles

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.

Alfred Adler

People seem to forget this all the time. Most think that they will consistently stick to whatever they believe is right. This is, up to one point, true – it’s easy to stick to principles when they are not being tested. However, when life becomes complicated and throws you something unexpected which is, in a way, a test of how much you really believe in your principles, most people give in to the pressure – here in Serbia, for instance, we all know stories of cops trying to bribe a driver who passed the red light (instead of writing a big fine, he takes a smaller amount and doesn’t write the ticket), and we wail about the corruption of the police. But I know of an equal number of stories of drivers who initiate the bribe themselves, so as not to pay the larger fine. We complain about corruption, but when it’s our ass on the line, we often try to wiggle out of responsibility.

Of course, it’s never so black and white. There are some very gray situations, some laws are plain ridiculous… I’ll give a few examples, from student politics, in a future post. But still, I think that the overall picture would improve a lot if people decided where to draw the line and, no matter where that line is, stick to not crossing it.

If sticking to principles was easy, everyone would be doing it. Sticking to principles is hard.