On ‘noble’and ‘rude’ souls

On ‘noble’and ‘rude’ souls

My friend and Kathimerini commentator Takis Theodoropoulos has a point when he writes that “there is no racism in Greece, to the extent that the ‘noble souls’ want to present it.” Things are, in fact, even worse, if we look at the big picture.

But let’s start from the beginning. The “noble souls” – a term coined by Theodoropoulos in a previous opinion piece to describe anti-racists protesting over the vigilante violence against migrants in northern Greece – are not some kind of communist organization with a Stalinist homogeneity of thought. There are, of course, among them those who see racism everywhere and it’s a wonder that there hasn’t been a movement (yet) to depose prominent poet Kostis Palamas because he wrote “The Dodecalogue of the Gypsy” in 1907. The frequent vandalism of his statue in central Athens must be attributed to a mixture of ignorance and hooliganism, and not some kind of wokeness.

But there are also many worried people who see the country leaning toward a paranoid right-wing mentality with the same momentum that it once leaned toward an insane left-wing mentality. Finally, there are many “souls” who are “noble” if the public desires it. Several journalists, politicians, artists, and various kinds of intellectuals describe themselves as “leftist” and “anti-racist” for as long as someone is clapping for them.

The “rude souls,” as Theodoropoulos described himself, and more widely those who didn’t protest against creeping racism, are a varied sort as well. There are those who are simply worried about migration in general, there are those who believe that fences at the border will solve the problem, there are also racists who believe that the solution to migration is to “burn them,” as someone wrote on Facebook, below the now-infamous video posted by a vigilante who had illegally detained 13 migrants in the border region of Evros.

We do not have sufficient data to adequately describe each “camp.” Simple intuition builds straw man arguments. The straw man fallacy is a logical fallacy where a person distorts or exaggerates another person’s argument and then attacks the extreme distortion, which he can easily take down. The same fallacy prevails when we judge groups and collectives. Many people judge the “noble souls,” the ani-racists, by attacking a minority among them that advocates for open borders. Conversely, many people attack the “rude souls” by focusing solely on the dreadful videos posted by vigilantes in Evros.

In the same way, we cannot judge the levels of racism in Greece based on what anti-racism professionals say. But we can look at the full picture of a society that grew up with myths about a pure “Greek DNA” that does not “allow” Greeks to be racists. The rough image that is being formed is not flattering for a country that wants to be considered Western. Suppressed archaic notions about foreigners are springing up unhindered, now that the Left’s ideological dominance has collapsed.

This last point needs further explanation, which is why I will return to this issue at a later date.

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