OPINION

Resisting the madness

Some supposedly serious people wonder how come the country?s political dialogue has been poisoned to such an extent. When society is put to such a harsh test it is only normal for conspiracy theories, extremism and paranoia to abound.

There is fertile ground, given all the anger and the great sense of insecurity. The problem begins when paranoia and craziness become a major component of the political dialogue, when the quaint and the extreme become mainstream. Clearly this does not include the point of view of the left or those who justify their pro-drachma stance. This is about the extreme, fanatical discourse of those who see treason and conspiracies all around.

It?s not hard to understand how things reached this point. A glance at certain morning and late-night TV shows or the Internet is enough to comprehend just how widespread these opinions are.

In a society which believes in no one and nothing and questions everything and everyone, lies and extremism become easy to digest. It is obviously much harder to listen to the truth regarding the criminal mistakes committed by successive Greek governments under the pressure of (our) populism, instead of attributing today?s sad state of affairs to international loan sharks, credit default swaps, geopolitical conspiracies and so on. The simple truth can be tedious at times and those who are able to understand and scientifically analyze it can be even more boring to listen to. On the other hand, all those who put on airs selling suspense, conspiracy theories and alternative solutions attract far more attention.

And let?s not make this about allowing the other side to be heard. Let?s be serious. Anyone promoting television as a spectacle is after high ratings and keeping their clients happy.

Respecting your opponent?s opinion and generating debate is quite the opposite of promoting nonsense and near-fascist extremism.

I hate to think what would happen one day if all these troupes were called to handle a major national crisis or a delicate, intricate matter.

Besides, our past and recent history is ripe with landmark accidents due to the predominance of irrational passions and uncontrollable populism at pivotal moments.

In the coming months Greece will experience the largest redistribution of wealth and power since the Second World War. Banks, media companies and businesses will change hands or cease to operate. It will be a merciless game, with no rules or boundaries, with the broader media sector at the epicenter.

Those who wish to see Greece exiting the eurozone and the European Union will carry on fighting their own, stubborn, raging battle. All of us will have to be more suspicious and faster to question. The conspiracy and paranoia seed has been planted, possibly because the country?s serious people are either keeping a distance from public dialogue or are afraid to speak openly. They are prisoners of a middle-class or some other kind of propriety, qualities which are seen as major disadvantages in this country at this point in time. It is during these times, however, that Greece needs a ruling class which will fight for the country?s values, its Western orientation, entrepreneurship and crack down on crime.

One thing is certain. This country will not make any progress unless Greek society realizes what went wrong in the last 30 years, on the one hand, and unless we change the way we publicly discuss today?s major issues, on the other. The media have done great damage to the country because when everything was going well they were busy generating lifestyle stories and when things got tough they turned analysis and explanation into a variety show.