In the Thunderous Sky of Greece a Lightning Bolt of Creative Destruction is about to Strike the Country

By Con George-Kotzabasis April 27, 2012
History has shown that at critical moments, in countries of advanced and high culture, men of stupendous ability, imagination, foresight, and fortitude, sprang, like phoenixes from the ashes, to salvage their countries from mortal threats. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from the barbarian Persian invasion, is one example, the other is Charles Martel, who at the battle of Poitiers stopped the barbarian Muslim invasion from conquering Europe. In our modern contemporaneous times, Greece, on the verge of being devoured and crashed by the ‘hungry fangs’ of default and economic poverty, is just as promptly to be saved by a modern-day Periclean statesman, Antonis Samaras.

In the early 1980’s, with the advent of Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government in power, which proved to be the destructive force that brought Greece to its present catastrophe, that immediately started implementing the serial economic crime of a policy of deficits, the country entered the vicious circle of government spending without economic development. By the early 90’s it was glaringly clear that the debt of the country was reaching astronomical heights that would lead it to the precipice of default and bankruptcy. In 1994, Constantinos Mitsotakis, the former prime minister of Greece, in a prophetic speech in Parliament, predicted that the economically crass and thoughtless policies of Pasok would send Greece as a mendicant to the International Monetary Fund to spare it from pauperism. Andreas Papandreou himself was shocked when at a sober moment glanced at the unfathomable debt that the country was in, as a result of his dirigisme economic policies. It was in his presence when his minister of finance Kostas Simitis remarked, in an accusatory and pungent phrase, that this was “the revenge of the economy.”

The false prosperity that had engulfed Greece turned a sizable part of its population to indulge in the charms and seductions of dolce vita at the expense of government largesse. A whole generation of Greeks had been spoiled and became kaloperasakides (the easy life of prodigally good-timers) under the perpetual munificence of the State. In such a social situation the New Democracy party, though imbued with the precepts of The Austrian School of economics versus Keynesianism, and realising, as its leader Constantinos Mitsotakis did, that the country was approaching in a rapid pace the edge of insolvency, had its hands politically manacled and could not implement decisively and with celerity, and with the necessary degree required, policies of economic restraint that would have prevented the transformation of Greece into a mendicant status, since there did not exist even a small constituency on the political landscape of Greece that would contemplate, least of all accept, policies of austerity. The Greeks had been ‘pathologically’ conditioned to the ‘benefits’ accruing from big government, introduced by Andreas Papandreou, and any attempt to small government by any party in power or any opposition propagating such an idea, could neither hold or win government. Who would give up the ‘free tans’ in sunny Greece that so profusely and generously the State was providing? And who would give up the cushy and loafing jobs in the public sector that the party boys and girls of Pasok and New Democracy were enjoying and relishing? This is the point from which the economic tragedy of Greece had started and would continue to its tragic end.

Thirty years of frivolous public spending brought debt-to-GDP ratio of 120%. Since October 2009 when the son of Andreas Papandreou, George, became prime minister and implemented measures of severe austerity as directed from Brussels in the first memorandum, debt reached 168% of GDP. With the continued recession of the country for the fifth year, Greece lost 16%–18% of its GDP since 2009.
From early 2010 the Opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, few months after his election as leader of the New Democracy party, was warning the Papandreou government of the danger that the austerity measures without economic recovery would lead the country into recession. But his was a lone voice in the wilderness. And for his bold and insightful decision to oppose and vote against the first memorandum replete with the leaden heaviness of austerity that would sink the Greek economy as it did, he was vehemently reprimanded both from within and outside the country. The Economist magazine severely criticised him for his stand against the memorandum but only to lament its critique two years later and concede that Samaras was right. Likewise, Chancellor Merkel and many European ministers with whom Samaras had quarrelled and pointed out to them that austerity measures without rekindling the economy would not resolve Greece’s problem but would make it more abstruse and harder to crack. It took two years for the top brains of Europe to realize that the austerity pills that they were forcing into Greece’s mouth to remedy its ills would have the effect of poisoning its body. (In two years of the severe austerity of the Memorandum, as we indicated above, Greece increased its debt to GDP by a great amount and lost a substantial part of its Gross Domestic Product as enterprises closed and unemployment ravaged the country.) And in turn, like The Economist, admitting that Samaras had won the argument, as all Europeans now are calling for economic recovery and development, supplemented by austerity measures that are necessary, as the way to restore a country’s economic strength.

The May 6 Elections of Greece Crucial for the Future of the Country

The impending election that has been called by the interim government of Lucas Papademos for May 6 is of momentous significance for the future course of the country. Greeks will be called to be partisans of the hard climb to the peak of Mt Olympus from where the sun of hope will rise once again over Greece or be partisans to a free fall in a long twilight of despair. The first is the thunderous call of the New Democracy Party under the Gulliverian and imaginative political leadership of Antonis Samaras, and the second is the deathlike mute call of a congeries of small parties from the left and the right led by Lilliputian politicians. These politically ‘pigmy’ parties, among which is the Communist Party, have no policies of rescuing Greece from its woes, except policies that would lead to the exiting from the European Union and return to the drachma that would lead in turn to the absolute poverty of the country, deliberately drop the curtain on all hope on Greece as their sole aim is to sordidly profit politically by their investment in hopelessness.

The socialist party, Pasok, the main opponent of New Democracy, although on the side of hope, even under the new leadership of Evangelos Venizelos, is totally discredited, as it has been the party that led Greece to its present catastrophe by a bout of unbelievable and unprecedented economic and political mistakes, that Venizelos himself was involved in and responsible, during the last two years that was in government. Moreover, the latest decision of the High Court of Greece to apprehend and charge a former luminary of Pasok and right-hand man of Andreas Papandreou, the founding father of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Akes Tsohatzopoulos, his wife and daughter, and some of his relatives, with bribery and corruption and with being the receiver and beneficiary of millions of dollars as paid commissions, during his tenure as minister of defence, from German and Russian companies to which he had authorized major assignments and projects of his department, has indelibly marked Pasok as venally corrupt; particularly when its present leader Venizelos, at the initial investigations of Tsohatzopoulos, with the stentorian voice of the lawyer, that he is, was defending and exculpating from any knave dealings, and with the usual catch-all alibi of the typical politician, that the “accusation against Tsohatzopoulos was politically motivated.” Hence, inconceivable political incompetence and culpability, and unfathomable corruption on the part of Pasok, will be two major themes that will dominate the elections and which will ineluctably lead to new lows in the polls for the socialists.

In this critical economic and political setting that the country is in and the looming threat of the breaking of social cohesion, Samaras is asking the Greek people to give New Democracy the “auto-dynamism,” by a majority of votes in the elections, so he can have his hands untied to govern the country with decisiveness and clear uncompromised policies that would put Greece on the trajectory of economic recovery and development. He argues cogently, that in the present political situation of Greece when consensus about the necessary economic policies among parties of how to regenerate the economy of the country is absent, a coalition government–which is the designated position of Pasok and according to the polls at this moment the desire of a majority of the electorate–will be politically impracticable, and more importantly, would not drag out the country from its peril but would further engulf it into profounder depths; as one could not govern effectively a country in a crisis and gradually bring it out of it by being compelled to make compromises to one’s political partners, but only by a well-defined plan and decisive and prompt action to implement it without compromises, by a leader who has a strong mandate from the electorate.

Samaras believes, and reasonably hopes with the confidence of a statesman, that during the electoral period and closer to election date, there will be a dramatic shift of voters toward polarized positions, once the crucial issues of the country are spelled out clearly and without lies to the people by New Democracy and by foreshadowing the practical economic policies backed by real numbers that would put Greece on the track of economic recovery, there is a great chance that the majority of Greeks will give New Democracy a strong mandate to govern on its own for the benefit of all Greeks and for the salvation of the country.

Samaras contended long ago, that only through a clear strong authorization given to him by a majority of the people he would be able to radically change Greece. For real economic development entails not only good policies and incentives but a transformation in the views and customs of people toward such development. He puts great emphasis on the value of human capital and entrepreneurship as the prerequisites for the economic recovery of the country. That is why he has promised to re-legitimize private enterprise and effort that for many years now has been delegitimized in the country by communist-led unions, to whom profit has been, as always, the devil-incarnate of the capitalist free market.

The present high unemployment of more than 20% Samaras contends, will not be reduced by mere lower labour costs which already have been decreased by 15% in the private sector while the tax burden on the latter has increased by 50% and energy costs by 450%. Even if Greeks worked for free no one would hire them with such high taxes and energy costs. Samaras in his Zappeio III speech few days ago declared that he would cut corporate tax to a flat rate of 15%, sharply cut pay-roll tax, lower personal income-tax to 32% maximum, and reduce taxes substantially on fuel and tourism. This would harden rampant tax evasion and would unleash the creativity of the private sector and hence commence the gradual reduction in unemployment. He also announced, that he would increase the lowest pensions to 700 euros per month–that were reduced drastically by the second Memorandum under the austerity measures–and would increase the endowment of families with many children which would not only correct an injustice inflicted upon these two weak sections of society but would also have favourable economic consequence as they would increase consumer demand, which is so important in rekindling the economy, as both recipients of this government assistance spend their money in consumer goods. He would do these two things without increasing public expenditure and hence worsening the deficit, but by cutting government wastage that is so massive and profligate in the State’s spending. Further, he will provide incentives to private enterprise in areas where Greece has almost unchallengeable comparative advantage, i.e., in the merchant marine sector, ship building, and tourism; and in the production and merchandise of olive oil and other agricultural goods by the local producers themselves, not by foreign ones as is the case presently, whose development in all the above sectors will vitally affect the resurgence of the economy. He also proposes to provide incentives to entrepreneurs to exploit the rich mineral resources of the country and to give priority to find and tap the vast natural gas deposits under the Aegean Sea, by declaring the Greek AOZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) that could transform the export dynamic of Greece. He intends further, to reverse the present dryness of liquidity in the country by proffering amnesty from any legal penalties to those who withdrew their cash holdings from Greek banks during the height of the crisis and deposited them overseas once they bring them back to the country; and also by immediately paying back the 6.5 billion euros that the government owes to domestic enterprises; these two measures would increase the liquidity of the banks and hence their ability to provide loans to the private sector, especially to small businesses, that are the backbone of the country’s economy. Moreover, the re-capitalization of the banks, Samaras argues, will enable them to borrow funds at low interest rates from the European Central Bank, that were set up by it last December, which would be used to put Greece on the track of recovery and economic development.

It is by this method of supply-side economics, as that wunderkind Alders Borg the Swedish Finance Minister illustrated for his own country that Greece’s economy will rise again. The necessary austerity measures stipulated in the new Memorandum that Greece has to implement must be accompanied by the rejuvenated “animal spirits” of private enterprise. Samaras, consistently has been saying for the last two years that “we need a recovery to jump-start the economy,” and in conditions of recession austerity measures cannot stimulate the economy but on the contrary sink it deeper into stagnation.

The vision and plan of Samaras is to plant radical changes on the whole landscape of Greece. In his Zappeio speech he adumbrates constitutional changes that would separate the three branches of government the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary and thus prevent a member of parliament from being a minister, which has been in the past a malignant link of political corruption and has bestowed ‘asylum’ to members of parliament for their malfeasances. He pledges to bring changes to educational institutions that would reclaim the proud heritage of Greece that tragically has been eroded by the cultural relativists of a left coterie of pseudo-intellectuals and led to the disconnection of many young Greeks from their great cultural origins. He also promises to take drastic measures against illegal migrants, whom he calls “unarmed invaders” of Greece that under the soft immigration policies of Pasok they have occupied the main centres of cities, and remove them to provincial hostels until their eventual expulsion. Another important commitment of Samaras is to transform the bon vivant ethos of many Greeks, which up till now its tab has been picked up by the government, into a creatively productive one. On the new green tree planted by New Democracy, the singing cicadas will be replaced by fecund working bees. As Samaras is fully aware that sustainable economic development cannot be accomplished without transformative changes in the thinking and the mores of the people, especially of the younger generation.

Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare. He is endowed charismatically both with a high intellect and remarkable moral strength along with the will and determination—all the stuff out of which statesmen are made–to change all things in Greece. But whether this lightning bolt of creative destruction will strike Greece or not depends on the strong mandate that he needs from the people. If Greeks do not fail, at this critical juncture, from fulfilling their historical duty to render to New Democracy a majority of seats in Parliament, then Antonis Samaras, in turn, will consummate the cultural political and economic Renaissance of Greece.

Hic Rhodus hic Salta

In Greece Political Midgets on High Wire Act

By Con George-Kotzabasis—November 02, 2011-11-02

Political midgets, a la Papandreou, have chosen to take the risk of the high wire act by this proposal of the referendum. Hoping that the people will vote for the lesser of two evils, i.e., accepting the debt deal as formulated in Brussels last week and rejecting default and departure from the euro zone. At a time when strong leadership is a prerequisite for diminishing the crisis that Greece is facing, Papandreou abdicates his own and passes it to the people through this future referendum. It’s as if the polloi had somehow a better knowledge and understanding of the critical dimensions of the economic situation and could provide a better solution to the crisis than the expertise of the economically and politically savvy.

Once again politicians, who are more concerned of holding power than of the future of their own country, are ready to prostrate themselves before and pay homage to the idol of the Demos. Papandreou facing in Parliament a no-confidence vote and the ousting of his government promptly announced a referendum that would decide the future of the country, hoping that this would allay the anger and opposition of the people against the austerity measures, imposed by the EU, and at the same time put an end to the disarray within his own government that itself stems from the revolt of the people. It’s clever politicking to avoid defeat and save for him the prime ministership. But he is doing this at the expense of the future well being of the country, as it would take years for Greece to recover from the shock of a default if the electorate voted for it, which is highly likely. This is no less than the revisiting of the ‘sinful’ genius of his pere who himself was the preeminent progenitor of the economic ills that Greece is presently plagued with. The fils merely continues , like father like son, the ‘sins’ of his sire in a more acute form and projects them into the future.

World Bank president, Robert Zoellick said that “if voters reject the plan, it’s going to be a mess.” Economists claim that the immediate effects of a default would probably be a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in domestic demand and a fall of 5 to 10 percent of domestic product. Evangelos Venizelos, the Finance Minister, and his deputy broke ranks and opposed the referendum, saying it would jeopardize Greek membership in the euro zone. Ilias Nicolakopoulos, professor of political science and close to the governing socialist party, stated that a “referendum would put the country in danger of blowing everything up.” In contrast, Henry Ergas writing in The Australian, on November 3, 2011, “Greek Vote a Banana Republic Moment,” praises Papandreou for having the “balls” to propose the referendum, and compares him to the gutsy warning of Paul Keating’s “Banana Republic.” He says, that “to call a referendum on the austerity program is hardly irrational. But he adds the caveat, “true, it is a gamble, and a risky one.” Nonetheless, “the best hope of what comes next must lie in securing a genuine popular mandate.”

Regrettably, however, Papandreou’s proposal of a referendum does not rise from his “balls” but from his impotence. Unable to lead and convince the country, as a weak leader, to accept the inevitable “scenario, Greece must face a lengthy period of austerity and structural reform,” Papandreou passes this leadership to the impassioned people to decide whether to accept or not this scenario. Professor Ergas’ quote of Sophocles, “truth is always the strongest argument,” though generally accurate, is misplaced in the context of a long corrupt electorate that the fiscal profligacy of past governments accustomed it to indulge in ‘free suntans’ in sunny Greece. In such circumstances, the only truth that this pampered electorate will accept is the continuation of these free suntans at public expense. And that is why they will vote NO to austerity measures and thus turn the referendum into an ogre for the future economy of Greece.

Fortunately the proposed referendum like the balloon it was fizzled out within twenty four hours. Under external and internal pressure Papandreou reneged his proposal and withdrew it. Tonight (November 4, 2011), he places his fate on the lap of the god, parliament, on a confidence vote. Even if he survives by the smallest margin his prime ministership is foreclosed.

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American Liberal Turns into a Nihilist

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It is the cackling of the nihilistic geese, like Kervick’s, embittered by the fact that their loquacious gaggle is persuading no one other than the mentally ‘scleroid’ and unimaginative, that makes them spit their bile over the great political, economic, and scientific achievements made in the image of unflappable rugged individual action of capitalist America imbued by the ethos of captain Ahab—who would strike the sun if it insulted him–and Atlas Shrugged. It is the complete and total failure of Kervick and his ilk to approach, and least of all to reach, the mountain tops of this ethos of unsurpassable individual success that turns them into irredeemable nihilists and whose cynicism attempts to belittle and blemish America, the best of all possible worlds.

Is it conceivable to Kervick, the student of David Hume, that cosmopolitan America would have accomplished all these great achievements in the field of politics, economics, and science, and having the greatest number of Nobel Laureates in its midst, if it was populated by “cretins?” (It is interesting that he uses Lenin’s word which reveals on whose lap he was sitting as a junior learning his politics.) It is clear that Vergil’s apophthegm Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito, is not Kervick’s motto.

The above piece emitted the following replies in The Washington Note

Kervick says,

On the topic of contemporary optimism and pessimism:

…Anyway, the scientific preeminence may not last long. The most intellectually backward elements of our society were once kept culturally marginalized  by an elite committed to the enlightened values that were transplanted from Europe to America in the American Revolution. But increasingly, Republicans have loosed the troglodytes from their enclaves and encouraged them to take over the leadership of our society. They now help write the textbooks and enact the reactionary educational requirements that will help consign their progeny to years of intellectual failure and increasing backwardness. America’s cultural shots are called by the good people of states that consistently rank at or near the bottom in every measure of intellectual and educational attainment. And liberals haven’t helped much either with their decadent postmodern ideas about the nature and purpose of education.

The great blindness of contemporary American political thought, on both the left and right, is its crude and debased understanding of freedom. This understanding teaches that civilizations don’t have to be built. They just happen. They “emerge” almost magically through the mere liberation of the avaricious impulses of free enterprise, and from the disorganized and incoherent pursuit of individual happiness. But simply allowing each man the freedom to follow his own wayward, blinkered path or to dominate his subordinates, without interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good and a virtuous social order, does not build civilization. Over time it degrades it.

This decadence and rot of American popular life, and its hideous, crass ugliness, are now on display for the whole world to see through our mass media. People everywhere can see the idiot sound and fury that comprise our political discourse, the infantile self-delusions self-aggrandizement of our “reality” programming, and the stupefying shallowness of the narcissistic individual greed that has taken hold of most of the places where civic virtues, social vision and ennobling values used to live.

You can’t refute this by pointing to GDP figures.

Posted by Don Bacon, Jul 29 2010, 11:46AM – Link

Kervick: “. . .regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good and a virtuous social order”

There you go again, dissing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The US government was established to safeguard our basic human rights, not to have a vision of the public good. The government should work for us, not the opposite. Your faith in government and your lack of faith in the citizenry is un-American,

“We’re just cretins: bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives, driven by rage and our multifarious addictions and grasping dependencies to defend and spread a way of life we actually hate and resent in our bones. In other words, we’re crazy people.”

Bullshit. You need to get out more.

 You started this discussion off by saying that American citizens are “cretins: bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives, driven by rage and our multifarious addictions and grasping dependencies to defend and spread a way of life we actually hate and resent in our bones. In other words, we’re crazy people” and so we need “interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good” which I claimed was un-American.

And now you flip-flop and say citizens have “the right to work together to build the kinds of communities they want.” Make up your mind, or is it impossible because of craziness.

Posted by Dan Kervick, Jul 29 2010, 9:35PM – Link

“And now you flip-flop and say citizens have “the right to work together to build the kinds of communities they want.”

Don’t cretins have the right to try to improve their lives? Even the Jersey Shore kids are entitled to work together to organize public investment in a better life for their children. And I would strongly recommend that Glenn Beck, John Hagee and Sarah Palin get on board with activist government as well – not that they would be disposed to listen to me.

Posted by kotzabasis, Jul 29 2010, 11:52PM – Link

Kervick adventitiously and foolishly with his “unconstitutional” governmental dirigisme, which Don Bacon correctly characterized as fascistic, has opened a pit of venomous snakes biting him.

Posted by Dan Kervick, Jul 30 2010, 1:34AM – Link

Kotzabasis,

You often sound like you are writing captions or fortune cookies, rather than making arguments.

I have never proposed a single policy that is unconstitutional. All of the activist policies I defend have been practiced in the past in the United States, in one form or another, have been brought before the Supreme Court, and have passed constitutional muster. Americans have broad constitutionally unimpeachable freedoms to build roads, canals and airports; appropriate and set aside public lands; regulate commerce; levy taxes on themselves and their fellow citizens; and to undertake whatever projects they desire in pursuit of the general welfare or common good as they see it, so long as those projects don’t run afoul of the fundamental liberties protected by the constitution.

It surely must be a sign of radical right individualistic decadence that the mere pursuit of the common good or public good, one of the central concepts in the western legal and political tradition, now strikes them as some sort of frightening communistic notion.

The founders, even the Madisonians and Jeffersonians, were classical republicans, and took it for granted that pursuit of the common good was one of the very purposes of government. And even more obviously, they took it for granted that pursuing the common good was at least a virtuous and good thing.

Kotzabasis says,

Kervick

No your policies, with one exception applying to this argument, are not unconstitutional, but your arguments in supporting them are intellectually unhinged and laughably incongruous and contradictory. In the present case, in your eagerness as ‘Sun King’, l’état c’est moi, to create the Versailles of the public good, you infuse rights into the American Constitution which does not have, as Don Bacon correctly pointed out. Under the constitution free men can dispose their own time, within a LEGAL FRAMEWORK, in pursuit of their aims and desires that in their opinion and subjective values will be beneficial to their material and spiritual well being. No one tells them what these pursuits should be. It is precisely this unfettered freedom of action, by which individuals achieve a better life and contribute toward, and enhance, the common good, since they live in the same community that the Constitution safeguards for the people. If your predilection is to read Plato, Hobbes, Hume, Russel…in your pursuit of spiritual happiness no government official, in a free society, compels you to read Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, or Milton Friedman that might discomfit your intellectual calmness and put an abrupt end to your spiritual happiness.

Yet in your proposal this is exactly what you suggest, i.e., the replacement of individual value judgments by the value judgments of an ‘Enlightened’ government, a social experiment that has already been buried under the debris of the Berlin Wall. You say, because we are “crazy people” we need “interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good,” which Don Bacon sharply rebukes you for being “un-American, if not fascistoid.

Realizing the weakness of your argument and your error that such government intervention would be incongruous to the spirit and letter of the constitution, as Don Bacon indicates, instead of correcting your mistake you unconsciously further enfeeble your argument by comically saying, “don’t cretins have a right to improve their lives?” Indeed they do! But by doing so they will get the politicians they deserve and in the annals of history will be recorded the establishment of the first Republic of Cretins. And Don Bacon again is asking you to make up your mind as to whether mad people can elect a sane government.

The fact is that under the American Constitution, imbued and replete with liberal principles, men in a realm of freedom can pursue their various individualistic interests and achieve their well being and happiness according to their own propensities, by working during the day, fishing in the evening, and writing and ‘practising’ poetry during the night, to paraphrase Karl Marx.

Sorry for the unkind cut. But you have inflicted it yourself.

Posted by Dan Kervick, Jul 30 2010, 10:53AM – Link

“Yet in your proposal this is exactly what you suggest, i.e., the replacement of individual value judgments by the value judgments of an ‘Enlightened’ government, a social experiment that has already been buried under the debris of the Berlin Wall. You say, because we are “crazy people” we need “interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good,” which Don Bacon sharply rebukes you for being “un-American, if not fascistoid.”

Kotz, I am very perplexed sometimes by the strange reading contemporary hard-right libertarian conservatives give to the word “government.” They seem use it in a way that is far removed from the founding traditions of American political thought.

When conservatives use the phrase “the government” these days, they seem to use it to refer to some kind of alien entity or foreign power, something separate and apart from the American people that lords it over them.

When I use the phrase, “the government”, I use it in a traditional American sense to refer to *us* – we the people. We the people have constituted a government as our instrument for organizing our own lives and advancing the common good. This conception of government is fully enshrined in the preamble to the US constitution. Government isn’t some external *thing*. It is what the citizens in a republic *do*.

The American conception of freedom is not at all limited to the idea that individuals have the right to live their private lives as they see fit: to read what they want, fish where they want, etc. It also embraces the notion that groups of people have the right to work together, in a cooperative fashion, to advance the common good or common weal. In fact, because they all agreed people had this inherent right, and that the very nature purpose of government was a cooperative compact to pursue the common good, the founders also agreed that the the people had the right to abolish their current system of government when they found it no longer suited their needs, and replace that system with something else.

And obviously, the right invoked in this case isn’t an individual right, but some kind of group or collective right. No one thought that Don Bacon had the right to abolish the government, or that Dan Kervick had the right to abolish government. But the whole people in the body politic had that right.

Posted by kotzabasis, Jul 30 2010, 11:40PM – Link

Kervick

You continue to be stuck to your intellectually rusty grooves. No reasonable person would be against “the ideal of the common good.” But the common good cannot be ENACTED, by government legislation as your argument suggests. It arises from the free and rational actions of people in a laissez faire economy that allows and gives the opportunity to everyone according to his ability, diligence, and mental and physical effort to better his human condition. The government’s function is to safeguard and protect this unfettered freedom of human action from which originates the common good.

The Iranian Election is Their Issue, Not Ours

The Iranian Election is Their Issue, Not Ours

By Steve Clemons

The Washington Note June 16, 2009

A short reply: By Con George-Kotzabasis

For a political animal like Steve Clemons his Pontius Pilate stand that the Iranian election is “not our business” is astonishingly amusing. But I suppose saying this with a grin on his face in his TV interview is because he has no answer to the argument that Bush’s hard policies might have influenced the educated classes of Iran in their revolt against Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

Even if Ahmadinejad won the election fairly, the fact remains that now as a result of the election the extant split prior to the election between the modernist forces and the antediluvian ones is exacerbated. What is imponderable, and lingers in the province of Nostradamus, is whether this fissure of Iran’s society between these two forces will bring an internal ‘modernist’ change or an open dictatorship of the Mullahs and the military, as their only way to survive from this tsunami of dissent against them.

As for Dan Kervick in his desire to present himself as an imaginative thinker he foolishly delves in ‘Rumsfeldian unknowns,’ which excellently illustrate the vaudevillian streak in him. His comment that there might be “anti-democratic” forces that would aim to “overturn” the democratic election is a laughable fiction. The forces that want to “overturn the result of the election” are doing so because of the perception that Ahmadinejad stole the election, not because they could be “anti-democratic.”

Iran Cannot Bring its Own Political Change

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In a world that moves with a glacial tempo, to be cautiously wise is a great virtue. Regrettably we don’t live in such a world but in a geopolitical one that moves with celestial speed. In a “brutal Theocracy” the ‘“internal dynamics” within a nation’ will take years to bear their fruit. And a “resort to dialogue” is unfortunately a hopeless “hope”. The EU has been doing this for years without being able to break the Iranian iceberg of intransigence.

Iran must be given an explicit warning that if it does not immediately cease its uranium enrichment it would be facing a first devastating strike with conventional weapons and if it retaliates against Israel or U.S. bases in the region, as a result of this strike, it will be facing a second strike with nuclear weapons. Only such a clear warning has a chance of replacing the Ahmadinejad regime with moderate oppositional forces.   

Who Has the Right to Declare War?

Reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:

Now to Say Never Again

By George Williams

On Line Opinion June 18, 2008

 Professor Williams with the typical lawyer’s chicanery and the arrogance of historical and political ignorance argues that Parliamentary approval should be the prerequisite for the declaration of war. To do so however is to deprive the sagacious right of statesmen to make the decision for war and give it instead to the “swirl”, to use Paul Keating’s word describing his colleagues in the Senate, of mediocre politicians.

War being an instrument of last resort is not made by a lightly populist decision, as Williams implies, but by a well –informed resolute and wise leadership that leads its people to war as an absolute necessity when a nation is threatened or attacked by a deadly irreconcilable enemy.

Williams’ proposal is neither intellectually and historically wise, nor does it have the depth, prudence, and firmness of statesmanship. It’s instead the proposal of an unreconstructed political wimp pontificating from his left-leaning academic chair and echoing the constant refrain of the illusionist pacifists of “No to War”, as if the world was and is a loving circle of holding hands.

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