Mart Kadastik: Feelings are real

Mart Kadastik
Mart Kadastik Source: ERR

Whatever different experts think about the sensibility of the second pillar of pension, for example, that is not what is splitting society. It hardly excites anyone. What is pitting people against each other concerns values that cannot be measured, Mart Kadastik writes.

Intimidation can be used to play people off against each other, Indrek Neivelt said on Vikerraadio's daily comment. A valid point. What is questionable is Neivelt's conclusion: "It is the latter practice [of amplifying odds] that makes us feel society is split. Actual conflicts in society might not be any bigger than they have always been."

All of Neivelt's examples of intimidation revolve around money: feared economic crisis, fiscal deficit, salary rally, pension reform. Indeed, whatever various experts think about the sensibility of the second pillar of pension, that is not what is splitting society. It hardly excites.

Be magnanimous

Society is coming undone elsewhere. That which is pitting people against one another more sharply than previously concerns values that cannot be measured. Poles pulling people apart into echo chambers and trenches are formed at the ends of such axes as morality-immorality, empathy-intolerance, openness-closeness, education-illiteracy, politeness-boorishness.

Emotions form a part of reality – probably the most important part in our media age. Emotions rather than objective considerations have also led to tragic clashes in the past, history tells us.

Indrek Neivelt is partly correct when he claims amplification of emotions and through them controversy is favored by the altered business model of media companies. "Partly" correct because we cannot talk about an altered business model in the case of social media but it functioning based on a simple algorithm from the first: the more negativity, the more attention (the negative travels faster and stays with people longer) – the more attention, the greater the revenue.

Boris Johnson said, after winning the U.K. parliamentary elections with a wide margin, that now is the time for national reconciliation and cooperation. While such calls are undoubtedly a component of crafty government rhetoric, even an insincere expression of good will is better than a sincere expression of malevolence.

"Good" authority has at least one quality that has endured throughout the centuries: not to exercise or demonstrate that authority every time it could. Being magnanimous in other words.

Key to cooperation

The key to cooperation is never in the back pocket of the defeated. The loser's bitterness is inevitable and understandable, while arrogance on the part of the victor is not. Had it not been beautiful had the Helme dynasty expressed itself with more dignity regarding the opposition just once since coming to power?

A naive desire. A few halfwits still linger there, Mart Helme said of the Reform Party that had and still does the support of 40 percent of the population…

Had it not been nice had PM Jüri Ratas apologized to Kaja Kallas when he said he would marry the men from the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) instead of Reform on Women's Day? A literal apology would perhaps have been peculiar and disingenuous, but I'm sure a gentleman would have found a way to mitigate tension.

His icy demeanor could have had a reason: Ratas was not feeling victorious (in truth, he was the biggest loser of the elections), why then should we expect him to demonstrate the magnanimity of a winner. Is the unbelievably robust steamroller the coalition uses to deliberate bills and pass legislation also a sign of weakness?

I wrote in the Eesti Naine magazine in January of 2019: "For as long as brute force, pettiness and anger continue to tower over mercy, magnanimity and compassion, there can be no peace. Only women, if they remain women when electing and exercising power, if they dare smile and defiantly wear a dress to cabinet meetings, can restore balance."

That's what happened… In Finland. In Estonia, patriarchal peristalsis will persist also in 2020.

P.S. I was about to finish writing this when I read that Mart Helme has declared a muddy winter war against Finland's new female prime minister. After that… I feel ashamed to be an older Estonian man.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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