I Can’t Read My New Book

by John Médaille on September 30, 2009 · 6 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Short

My new book is an anthology of writings on economic liberty. Unfortunately, I’m not actually able to read the published edition, since it is in Romanian. My co-editor, Dr. Ovidiu Hurdezeu, asked me to put this anthCoperta11 copyology together to introduce Distributism and other “front porch” ideas to the Romanian people, which should prove fertile ground for such ideas. Indeed, before the darkness of World War II and the communist occupation of Romanian, there was a vibrant peasants’ party in Romania, as Alan Carlson has noted in his Third Ways. Dr. Carlson has an essay in this collection. The title of the book translates as Economic Liberty: A Profound Romanian Renaissance.

Today, the Romanian economy is in shambles, with a government that is hostile to Romanian culture in the name of becoming “Europeans,” that is, subjecting the Romanian people to the bureaucrats in Brussels. Romanian (and everybody else in Europe) can do better.

I will be in Romania for 10 days at the end of November to promote the book and the ideas contained in it. Romanian readers of this blog are invited to contact me for details of the trip.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar joel October 4, 2009 at 1:46 am

My impression after having spend some years in Romania is that Romanians under communism were given caricatures of capitalism, cartoons with fat men on top of piles of money. It was a picture of pure greed without ethics, maybe closer to the truth now than in my grandfathers generation when ethics and serving a local community was still a goal in business. Once Romania freed herself of ‘the communists’ (they were always referred to as some other group that came and left the country) she became a full hog capitalist…just like the cartoon capitalists, no ethics just pure greed. After all capitalism won out in the cold war, it is superior and almost a moral mandate to go with your greed, it produces good economies right? I wish someone would translate Wendell Berry’s works into Romanian, before someone has to write ‘the Unsettling of Romania’. I think the good people of Romania want to hold onto local agriculture and neighborliness rather than be run out and sold out by the ‘capitalists who ran out the communists’.

avatar JS Bangs October 4, 2009 at 9:59 am

My impression after having married a Romanian and spending years with her family is that a significant minority, approaching a majority, think that things were better under Ceausescu. This despite the fact that some things were obviously worse under Ceausescu–there were chronic food shortages, not to mention brutal suppression of many forms of religious expression, both Orthodox and non. But while they’ve gained a little bit in material abundance, they’ve paid quite a bit it terms of their national soul, and feel it keenly.

avatar Marianne October 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Well, this seems to be Romania Week! I just posted a long comment on Mircea Platon’s article about my own experience with Romania. Translating the canon of Front Porchers and their ideological allies into Romanian seems like a terrific idea. “Localism” is an often still lived experience there, as it is in many countries. Perhaps America is, on the whole, lost, but there are places today where a Wendell Berry wouldn’t so quickly be dismissed as a “romantic radical” or whatever. Just maybe.

avatar Platon October 6, 2009 at 3:24 am

well, Hurduzeu could learn you something (but I’m not sure about that…)

avatar back yard kibbutz October 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

it would be extreamly difficult to avoid “critics” in Romania eager to picture distributism as a masked form of socialism.
plus, the apparent imminance of the eschaton in history (very strong current in nowdays orthodox-conservatorism in Romania) will throw a glimpse of hiliasm on such a long term perspective.

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