As a professional translator, most of what I translate got in one ear and out of the other. Rarely does it stick.
The job I have been doing for the last week for the trade unions did. It is basically a 90-page jeremiad on how the organized working class has been (and in my mind will continue to be) squeezed out of the relatively privileged socio-economic position it enjoyed in much of European society until the mid-80s. It has left me pretty depressed, the depression compounded by the present Greek financial crisis, which I am following like a thriller series.
What distresses me is not so much on the actual situation of European policymaking that the text describes rather one-sidedly, but a ghastly feeling that the European structure (‘Brussels’) as presented to us citizens contains too much intellectual dishonesty, with high-sounding principles being used to mask power (the contours of which are often far from clear), and a pseudo-religious tone covering a void of meaning.
I do not much like the Russian system, which is often of blatant power, of dubious legitimacy other than ‘Macht ist Recht’ (might is right). But at least it has the virtue of being obvious. The European system is weasel-worded, fine words rather than real spiritual or moral content, faked legitimacy and a refusal many times to look hard facts in the face, including what our much vaunted democracy is and is not, can and cannot do.