Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We Are All Greeks Now

By Taki Theodoracopulos

As I write, the political situation in Britain has many of her citizens bewildered. Despite the staggering deficits and economic shocks, the good people of Britain voted with their hearts rather than their heads. Not being a medium, I will not try and predict what will happen. My advice to loyal Spectator readers is to go to Fitzdares and place some bets. (I sold my shares in Fitzdares with profit last year.) What I do know for certain is that Britain will soon be in the same boat as my birthplace if the three stooges don’t put the nation’s future ahead of their personal ambitions. Fat chance.

So here’s a brief history lesson how Greece got not only the whole of Europe in a mess, but is now threatening the U.S. and even Asia. People ask me about Greece, and how could a people with such a glorious past act as stupidly and irresponsibly as they did. Greek intellectuals and historians have generally blamed the 400-year Turkish occupation for the nation’s ills. And it is a fact that, where humiliation persists through several generations, the oppressed begin—in defense of their own dignity—to imitate their oppressors. The cruelty, vindictiveness, and harshness shown by warring political factions testify to this theory.

But this is not sufficient explanation. The volatility of the Greek character, probably the only remaining link with the glorious past of antiquity, is another. The highly individualistic Greek is too self-seeking to submit easily to the dictates of others. His unruliness has helped him survive throughout the centuries of oppression, as well as rise above adversity, economic or otherwise. But it has also made him unaware of the advantages of a communal spirit and true democratic attitudes. He will go to any length to attain his goals, not hesitating to lie and cheat in order to achieve them. This has—brutal though it may sound—created a climate where cheating is a way of life, and where the highest and the lowest of citizens do not hesitate to use dishonesty, especially where politics are concerned.

A direct result of this way of life has been the spoils system. Although not a Greek invention, nowhere has it been practiced more assiduously than in Greece. Succeeding governments have shamelessly brought in their favorites, returning favors and expecting new ones in the future, and changing laws to suit their purposes; thus encouraging resentment, divisiveness, and a “wait-until-my-turn-comes” way of thinking. No Greek government has ever come to power which truly tried to reconcile the people.

But going back yet again, while the Turks left the Greeks mostly on their own, many who came into conflict with the Turks took refuge in the craggy mountains which cover almost sixty percent of the country. These “Klepths” led a guerrilla existence for centuries, and their exploits caught the imagination of the people. The fiercely independent Greek spirit thus managed to survive, along with the inherent belief that taking the law into one’s own hands is not a crime, especially when the regime is an unpopular one. The irony is, of course, the present Greek government was recently elected by a great majority, the majority thinking it would act like previous regimes and give them more for working less. Once the cat was out of the bag, the Greeks decided they were victims, rather than partners with the crooks who have been in power the last thirty years.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. Good article.

    On the other hand, a nation that's too obedient can vote for Hitler once in a while.

    So, the "anarchy-led" spirit of Greeks has its good side as well.

    As we all know, if you give 1 inch to the government, it takes 1 mile by force. Or as we say in Greece, "if you encourage the villager, he'll eventually climb on your bed".