List Of Things Every European Country Is The “Worst” At – Slovakia: Lowest Voter Turnout

Won’t Vote

August 10, 2016

Allan Stevo

Some Slovaks are so adoringly pro-EU, fanatically so. It can be a challenge to get rationale reasons for EU adoration from such a person. The EU has naturally been positive in some ways and negative in others, with reasons differing based on individual perspective. That’s what I expect a reasonable person to have as the general groundwork of a discussion on the EU. If the person can’t utilize a framework like that, it is a good indication that the person is a pro-EU fanatic and that it’s best to turn to another topic.

At the same time, it is with great pride that I see Slovaks constantly ridiculing the European Union. The way this is done most effectively is in how Slovaks decide to use their time. “Talk is cheap” is an often used and generally accurate phrase. “Put your money where your mouth is” and “time is your most valuable commodity” are also often used and generally accurate in indicating money and time are more valuable ways of conveying personal preference.

So many popularly complain about McDonald’s, a chain I generally avoid, but the fact that it has $25.4 billion in annual worldwide revenue indicates that many people, as consumers, when forced to vote with their money show a strong preference for McDonald’s over the many other options for food. McDonald’s obviously does a superior job of giving the customer what the individual customer wants.

Many other popular to villainize entities are in the same situation. We wouldn’t even know their names if they weren’t so good at earning the popular support of their customer base.

Similarly, and with results in stark contrast we have an easy to gauge opinion poll of what Slovaks think of the EU Parliament: Slovakia has the lowest voter turnout in the EU.

On May 24, 2014, the most recent European Parliament election, only 13.05% of registered Slovaks voted according to the EU.

Some may denounce Slovak voters as apathetic and ungrateful for the opportunity to be a bigger part of European politics. It seems to me that unlike McDonald’s, the European Union has been unable to demonstrate why a Slovak should walk across the street to the nearest school and take four minutes to vote. That’s a pretty sad indicator of the influence of the legislative body of the EU.

Apathy is an important human function that gets almost mindlessly derided. With the limited resources we have as individuals we must prioritize some things over others. We must care about some things and not others. Determining what we will not care about helps us to identify those things we will care about. Those who have 17 priorities have no priorities. Apathy is key in creating an effective individual with focus on actionable topics important to that individual.

The European Parliament has not made its case to Slovaks on why they should care. I am willing to admit, Slovaks are a particularly tough group to convince to care about an entity like the European Parliament – for the last millennium of the Slovak nation, they have watched their political destiny shaped by far off governing bodies with little regard for the interest of individual Slovaks. Budapest, Vienna, Moscow, Prague. If one steps back and looks at that concept, Brussels/Strasbourg is minimally different. It’s almost a wonder so many Slovaks vote.

Can one blame Slovaks for culturally not caring all that much about these far off bodies and for long ago dismissing politicians as thieving buffoons who must be tolerated and financed less they throw hissy fits and cause trouble in the life of the average person, but since they must be tolerated, who can at least be laughed at as a source of entertainment. How can one honestly find fault with the brutal reality with which Slovaks view government.

All government, whether it be the “model” American democracy or the tyrant in some backwater, is so very ineffective at being the encourager of human excellence. Those who see politics and government as a messiah come to save and provide for us have a poor understanding of the limitations of that arena of life. There are many such people.

How comfortable it must be for such people to ridicule Slovaks for not taking an interest, preferring rather to put their energies into the many other areas of life that have long produced the most fruitful results throughout human history. Politics and government is simply not one of them and so many Slovaks intuitively understand that.

H/t Thrillist

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

Photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

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Comments

  • Eileen Backofen

    Aug 14th, 2016

    Hi Allan,
    I’m reading this in Bratislava where my husband and I are taking the SAS (Slovak Language and Culture) course at Comenius University. Last week one of my classmates attended a demonstration against corruption in politics/government. As we traveled around the country on a 3 day excursion, I saw billboards advertising what I loosely translated as a “protest against thieves in politics” being held around the country each weekend.
    As an American I can’t comment about the effect of the EU, but as we return here year after year, something is funding all the building and improvements around the country and especially in Bratislava. I was told that the EU was responsible for a lot of it. There was a strong security presence around the National Philharmonic building – something about Slovakia having the current EU presidency.

  • Hi Eileen Backofen, Bratislava area is not eligible for EU funding.

  • […] decision makers in remote capitals said that they would be changing the name. As is consistent with Slovak culture, regardless of what the “decision makers” said people should be doing, most people […]

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