Immaterial values

The creation of the Greek state was the result of an irrational decision. In spite of the system created in the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Greeks rebelled and, in 1821, the country was pillaged but a new state entity emerged. The irrational decision made back then is today commemorated as the Greeks? main national holiday.

The other national holiday marks the decision of dictator Ioannis Metaxas on October 28, 1940 to reject Mussolini?s ultimatum. Again, Greece was destroyed by the forces of the Axis powers but also by the civil war that followed after the communists refused to put down their weapons, which had been provided by Churchill?s Britain, for different reasons of course.

Both times, Greece put immaterial values before instant material good or common sense. As a result, our understanding and, in fact, the very existence of the Greek state were constructed on the basis of immaterial values. But because the nature of the nation is emotional, anarchic and fluid, it is useful to remember here the devastating consequences of the confrontation between King Otto and guarantor power Great Britain from the moment he took over in 1835 until his dethronement in 1862.

It is interesting that the leaders of the three parties involved in provisional Premier Lucas Papademos?s administration decided to operate rationally.

We herald the supposedly mature stance of the political system, which will likely vote for the troika?s program — with the temporary suspension of some measures which will be adopted a few months later.

The question is whether the country has a political class that can manage the social upheaval. The last opinion poll for Kathimerini and Skai TV shows that PASOK has sunk to 8 percent. At 31 percent, New Democracy has retained something less than the hard core of right-wing supporters. It remains to be seen whether the momentum will remain after the new measures have been passed. More striking, rather, is the 42.5 percent garnered by the country?s three Marxist parties.

If the figures accurately depict reality, the big alliance between ND and PASOK that some people would like to see has little chance of materializing. Hence the suggestions to extend Papademos?s tenure, a move which will only succeed in pushing more voters to the extremes both on the left and the right.

On a political level, things appear to have reached a deadlock. Turning against the European Union will also result in a deadlock. The nation is heading to catastrophe with the wind in its sails. But we have to keep the spirit. Optimism is an immaterial value.