Thursday, October 25, 2012

Greece: a Coming Civil War?

Or, Who's Worse?

These two reports from Greece, by the BBC's Paul Mason, speak by themselves. It is all about ignorance, misery and unapologetic beastliness. And it is about what the European political, financial and bureaucratic elites have unleashed upon their countries and humanity, more generally:

I imagine, or at least I hope, most of my readers, regardless of ideology, class, race, religion, age, gender, income, wealth and nationality, would be genuinely appalled by that video.

However, I'll submit that seemingly ordinary, respectable people, people we may know personally, or with whom we regularly interact over the net, are capable of behaviour worse, in a sense, because of their deep dishonesty.

Probably these people, for some reason, have never themselves done the things we saw in the video. Whatever has stopped them, so far, probably lies on a continuous scale ranging from the simple lack of opportunity, to the fear of losing their peers' respect.

In any case, you won't see them slapping old women's faces in front of TV cameras, harassing foreigners in the street or calling openly for an ethnically motivated civil war. Imagine! They are above that.

Unlike those unapologetically thuggish characters in the video, these people, our "friends", try hard to appear reasonable: their middle-class peers value moderation, reasonableness. And because they are "moderates", "centrists", "realists", they are quick to condemn extremes (including their shamelessly animalistic brethren).

But you can guess their true feelings by their eagerness to defend the obviously indefensible, or to at least find attenuating circumstances for it.

Take, for instance, these two comments, copied verbatim from a somewhat left-leaning site, on a The Guardian story (which I strongly urge you to read before the comments):
First Poster said...
"Re Nazis, that Guardian article said that 'if they come they will be met by leftists who have said they will beat them up with clubs'. Since Hitler used street violence, is it the political left or the political right who are Nazis?
"The same thing has happened in Britain: we've had members of left wing groups arrested for street violence.
"Hitler used to kill the authors and film producers he didn't like. Muslims do likewise, so Muslims are Nazis?
"The Nazi jibe is a strong indicator that the person using the jibe has run out of arguments". (September 29, 2012 8:22 PM)
I hope to be making a storm in a cup of tea, so I won't name either poster or facilitate their identification. If they read this, they know who they are. The other readers, I am afraid, will have to take my word for it: those are real comments.

The comment above, for instance, comes from a "progressive" blogger and commentator fairly well-known and popular in the lefty blogs I visit daily.

The other one, which if anything is worse, is from a self-described economics student, who once was critical of mainstream economics, but who saw the light in the road to Damascus and now frequently criticizes radical and heterodox economists (and anything left, really):
Second Poster said...
"What 'First Poster' has noticed is an odd asymmetry in the way that left and right wing extremists are treated.
"Right wing extremists provoke much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the coming Nazi-pocolypse. They must be always and everywhere defeated and crushed under foot.
"Left wing extremists are completely normal. They should be placated with concessions and other shiny things to mitigate their wholly legitimate grievances". (September 30, 2012 1:39 AM)
I won't pretend that I am reasonable, impartial, or moderate: I wouldn't fool anyone if I tried. Neither am I middle-class or respectable: I am working-class, poor and no one gives a shit about me.

I won't go into a discussion over the First Poster's childish attempt (Godwin Law) to spin what are neo-Nazis into something less poisonous: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then, it probably is a duck.

Neither will I accept the Second Poster's "denunciations" of double standards: it's not that left wing "extremists" wrongly perceive the situation in an asymmetric manner, the situation is asymmetric. His side (that in his view should not be crushed under foot) is actually using violence against the defenceless; the left wing "extremists" are threatening to use violence in defence of the defenceless and are paying a price for that, at the hands of the Greek police.

More briefly and to the point: you both can take your "arguments" and shove them up your reasonable, moderate, centrist, realist, impartial asses.

And, just so you both know, the contempt is mutual.


I'd advice a good dose of skepticism, when dealing with "reasonable", "moderate", "centrist" people: extremists speak their mind more clearly. It's easier to judge what they say.

In this, these "moderates" are worse than the Golden Dawn.

20-10-2012. Mason has another post on the similarity between Greece and the Weimar Republic. He traces the history of the last 3 Weimar federal elections and the post is interesting, even if Mason is confused in some points.

It's not accurate to say, like Mason does, that "right wing general Kurt Von Schleicher was appointed chancellor, and tried to form a government with everybody from the left wing of the Nazis to the socialist trade unions".

For starters, he did not try to form a government with the Communists, as they were totally unacceptable to him and the German plutocrats he represented (neither, I believe, would the Communists have accepted).

Second, for Schleicher (plus Hindenburg and their gang) the Nazis were an slightly less bad an alternative than the Communists, because they thought they could outmaneuver them. After all, they were the aristocracy and elite of Germany, by definition the smartest, most capable, people in Germany, in their own appreciation.

Schleicher's goal was to become a military dictator himself, very much like Engelbert Dollfuss, in Austria. As it happens, Schleicher badly miscalculated and paid the ultimate price for that, just like Dollfuss did. And I, for one, find little reason to lament their personal fates.

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