By Saker´s Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade for The Saker Blog

Would Rudolf Steiner be a Vučić troll?

I doubt it. But it was good of Zoran to take time off his busy schedule to comment on my reporting from Belgrade. I am sorry that my dispatches fall short of Australian journalistic standards. Serbian political language is probably more robust than anything that Zoran experienced down under. I suspect that returning to Serbia must have been quite a culture shock. I cannot imagine that in Australia it would occur to anyone to refer to the Queen and her dysfunctional family in the robust terms that I routinely employ with reference to Vučić. There are, nevertheless, equally piquant descriptors that could be applied to some of the British royals who have been in the news lately. Some of the same attributes would also fit Vučić quite nicely.

Zoran is upset by the epithets that I use. There is visual evidence that Vučić is keenly aware of the disrepute in which he is generally held and of the trashy nicknames that, long before me, the Serbian people pinned on him:

He does not seem to be bothered by it, or at least he puts up a brave front and pretends not to be. If Vučić says he is OK with it, why should it perturb Zoran so much?

My descriptions of Vučić as a “tyrant” and “psychopath” are not complimentary but more relevantly I would suggest that they are accurate, just as it would be completely accurate, for example, to describe Prince Andrew as a pervert. In Black’s Law Dictionary, the term “tyrant” is defined thus: “The chief magistrate of the state, whether legitimate or otherwise, who violates the constitution to act arbitrarily contrary to justice”. The Cambridge dictionary defines “tyrant” as “a ruler who has unlimited power over other people, and uses it unfairly and cruelly,” a definition that is essentially identical. This is a precise description of Serbia’s form of government under Vučić. As President, formally he has limited and largely ceremonial powers, not unlike the President of Switzerland or the Queen of England (and Australia). However, it is he in fact who makes all important decisions in the country and micro-manages everything, as every person in Serbia who is not on cannabis is perfectly aware. To judge whether he perceives himself within the constitutional framework, watch his own ludicrous boasting of the things he has supposedly done which, whether actually done or not, constitutionally do not pertain at all to the office of the President:

More seriously, as everyone living in Serbia knows, major government institutions are empty shells, ministers, judges, and other officials are his puppets and party appointees, they sit at his pleasure, and do not make independent decisions. Arbitrary, personal rule is the salient feature of Serbia’s political system under Vučić. I submit that saying so publicly, far from being an insult or in bad taste, is simply a true statement within the legal and political definition of the term “tyrant,” as I use it. Nobody in Serbia today would seriously challenge that, not even trolls, in private at least.

As for my other uncomplimentary description of Vučić, that he is a “psychopath,” the impression that Vučić has serious mental health issues is widespread in Serbia. But I do not make that assertion lightly. As a layman, I defer to the diagnosis put forward by a competent professional, Prof. Mila Alečković, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Sorbonne and has taught and practiced in France for many years. In her considered professional judgment, without reference to what the common people might be whispering in the cafes, Alexander Vučić is in fact a psychopathic personality. Take a watch at what Prof. Alečković has to say on the subject:

The utility of Prof. Alečković’s exceedingly well-argued presentation is that even in layman’s terms it provides reasonable grounds to conclude that both of the descriptions of Vučić that Zoran objects to, not just that of “psychopath,” but based on the visual evidence that she provides also “tyrant,” are accurate. If so, that is very bad news indeed for the country that such an individual happens to be running.

It is a pity that other than regard for good journalistic practices, not much else seems to have rubbed off on Zoran in Australia. One of the things he might have learned there is to support the right of citizens to present their grievances and to voice their views publicly without getting their heads smashed. Minimizing the number of protesters and denigrating their concerns is a rather disingenuous strategy of avoidance to express human solidarity, even with those whose views we may not share. I wonder how Zoran would have reacted in Germany in 1942 if told of the students who were members of the White Rose Society and of what they had done. Would he have dismissed them as insignificant because they were just a handful? In retrospect, who does he think was morally superior and ultimately victorious in that controversy, the outnumbered students or the regime they were protesting against?

He should give the matter some deep thought for his own sake now that he is back in Serbia, as he observes the dominant trends. It is always useful to repeat Pastor Bonhoeffer’s admonition concerning the fate of the fence-sitter who refuses to speak up when morally he ought to. After silently watching those he wanted nothing to do with being taken away, when his turn comes will anyone be left to stand up in his defense?

I sympathise with commentators who are so defensive about their country that they confuse it with the ruling regime, though it is bringing ruin upon the country they cherish. Saint Paul speaks in the Gospel of that sort of phenomenon as “zeal not according to reason.” But no government should ever enjoy the immunity from criticism to which one’s country is properly entitled.

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