It is clear that Ramūnas Karbauskis, who initiated the declaration, successfully demonstrated his power. While the opposition grumbled about populism, 91 members of Seimas voted for a proposal with no basis in history.
R. Karbauskis succeeded with such a move because he has successfully grasped the public logic, which dictates that a respected individual must be venerated. If A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas is viewed as a hero and you propose a positive move in regard to him, no one will be able to oppose you, regardless of how overblown or artificial your proposed respect is.
That’s how it worked out. Gabrielius Landsbergis initially still tried to say that such a proposal from R. Karbauskis sounds suspicious, but soon all suspicions vanished somewhere despite historians publically and based on some accounts – in the Seimas commission, stating in unison that the Seimas declaration lacks factual justification.
Thus, R. Karbauskis once again made the Seimas dance, once again earned his undeserved “points” and grew his power a little more. It is unfortunate that we must experience our weaknesses in such an unpleasant manner. But perhaps this could encourage us to evaluate those weaknesses more accurately and begin resolving them?
The problem can be formulated as follows: we, Lithuanians, do not think it is enough, what a person has actually done, what they accomplished in their life. This is because in our opinion, a person’s value is created not by their work or results, but by other people’s opinion.
It doesn’t matter that A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas started from a band of partisans and became the leader of the entire armed resistance. What matters more is that he was “forgotten” and must now be “remembered.”
It does not suffice for us to express normal respect befitting of his status. It was done during the funeral, but as mentioned before, that’s not enough. We must think up such and so many titles for them to demonstrate the entire range of heroism ascribed to him. Because A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas is worthy of all that we have to say about him.
In principle, this way we discard any internal, inherent value of the individual and his achievements. And this is important not only in remembering and honouring people. This weakness has a practical expression in the economy and influences our daily lives.
We do not believe that quality exists independent of people’s opinions. That an item or service can be of good quality because of its traits, regardless of its image. Since we do not believe it, we end up not buying quality.
Quite recently, we sought those responsible for the quality of the same products being lower in Lithuania than other EU countries. It doesn’t matter who is responsible. What matters more is that Lithuanian buyers are not worth selling higher quality goods because they buy lower quality just fine.
According to research, people in Lithuania judge quality based on their gut feeling, opinions and emotions related to the goods. In such an economy, even advertising does not need to be high quality.
Due to our peculiar convictions, we do not buy products, we buy illusions. It is good that we are finally starting to comprehend this. But we should not expect to resolve this problem any time soon. For now, it appears that we are not even intent to turn to its real source – ourselves.
It is frightening to even think how many of us probably feel inside. If we only hold an individual’s value to be in accolades and titles, then how do we view ourselves? What is our self-worth? After all, Seimas cannot declare us all factual heads of state.
Though in reality, living in a democratic republic, we all are just that.