The Greek economic crisis that began in 2009 revealed the nakedness of the politics of corruption and cronyism that dominated the country following the restoration of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s. Society implodes under the weight of an enormous international debt and austerity measures demanded by Greece’s lenders. Worse, the political elites have weaved a very successful narrative according to which Greece’s lenders are the “bad guys” and keeping Greek statism intact is the “way forward”. The result: more than 1.3 million unemployed – all from the private sector – , hundreds of thousands business foreclosed, massive appropriation of private property and unbearable taxes that make the communist regimes of the Cold War Era seem like liberal paradises. Greece is in desperate need for a new vision. And yet, owing to the dominant narrative touted systematically from the crony-owned Greek media, the current debate in the country is stifled by statism as a given, a sacred cow worshipped by every party in the Greek Parliament, whether they are thuggish neo-nazis, die-hard communists or the milder varieties of social democrats that include (so-called) conservatives and socialists.
The “Essays” are an alternative, libertarian vision for Greece, and for Europe. It is therefore a minority worldview, a message in a bottle floating in a vast and hostile ocean. They should be read as such and with an open mind. The Essays ideological starting point is that civilisation and humanism can only be upheld by a free people. When freedom is curtailed or lost, civilisation is curtailed and lost too.
The Essays claim that social democracy and the grand vision of “United Europe” have failed in Greece, the weakest link of Europe. Greece is thus the “canary in the mine”, a harbinger of what the toxicity of crony capitalism can do to economies, societies and individuals. The welfare state will ultimately fail across all of Europe because of demographics but also because it has created generations of people dependent on the state. It is only a matter of time before this social contract breaks down. History will move on after that, regardless of the haphazard efforts by statist European elites to “save Europe”, the euro and the European welfare system.
Alarmingly, the rise of nazis in Greece, the resistance of the country’s political elites to reform, and the political apraxia of a demoralised populace, are too familiar historical symptoms of social democracy decaying into totalitarianism. It would be unfitting for a proud people who shed their blood for freedom to regress into slavery. Another way, beyond social democracy and totalitarianism, must be found; this way must be credible, workable, based on democratic principles, and liberating.
The Essays claim that for Greeks to discover a new way for their future they must first look at the past and at their true identity, by challenging the dominant historical narrative that claims direct continuity from classical, even archaic, Hellas. Greeks must (re)discover their true historical heritage which connects them to four major historical transformations of the Greek-speaking peoples under the influence of: the ecoumenisation of classical Greece following Alexander’s conquests; Christianity in its Greek-Orthodox version; the political ideology of later Byzantium vis-à-vis the Rise of the West; and the Ottoman period. Understanding and accepting modern Greece’s true historical heritage informs of the true political values and culture of the modern Greeks; and must therefore inform their vision for their future.
Based on historical analysis, the Essays explore the establishment of a federal state based on minarchist, self-governing cantons, that compete with one another for better government in order to attract the best and more productive of citizens. It is claimed that such a system of governance not only befits the character and political culture of Greeks, but resolves many inherent problems of parliamentary democracy. A liberal, minarchist, cantonised Greece, where citizens can opt-out and select the canton that suits them better, would thrive in a loose free trade union of European states, a European Confederation of States.
The “Essays” are a work in continuous progress as the author continues to learn, debate, doubt, and refine his political views.
Interested readers may download a .pdf file with the Essays (in Greek only) from here.
The file is free to use and distribute under a Creative Commons License.
Αυτή η εργασία χορηγείται με άδεια Creative Commons Αναφορά Δημιουργού-Μη Εμπορική Χρήση-Όχι Παράγωγα Έργα 3.0 Ελλάδα .