Life of Brian, Slovak style

Slovakia’s political opposition has been losing for years due to the "narcissism of small differences".

L-R: SaS' Richard Sulík and OĽaNO' Igor MatovičL-R: SaS' Richard Sulík and OĽaNO' Igor Matovič (Source: TASR)

“Life of Brian” is a film by the British comedy troupe Monty Python. It tells the satirical story of Brian, who was born in the barn next to Jesus, and his belief that the Rome’s occupation of his homeland, Judea, is illegitimate. He joins a rebel group called the “People’s Front of Judea” — because of a pretty girl — which is different than “Judean People’s Front” or the “Judean Popular People’s Front”. In the end, the failure of these similar groups to unite, despite sharing a common goal, guarantees that the Romans keep ruling Judea and Brian is condemned to death.

The movie is absurdly funny because it accurately reflects how people with very similar political concerns can be so badly organised. Sigmund Freud called this the “narcissism of small differences”, writing: “It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of hostility between them.” Slovakia’s political opposition has been losing based on this premise for years, and still is. Meanwhile, oligarchs, fascists and other dangerous actors who lack genuine political convictions — at least none they are not willing to sacrifice for greed, power and victory — form alliances of convenience.

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