A bit of optimism


I wonder why I’m feeling optimistic deep down inside. Maybe it’s because of how I was brought up, the belief of Greek and European culture that human behavior is guided by reason. Call me naive. Irrationalism is, after all, a powerful historical force, often irresistible even. It was not invented by today’s Greece nor by the prima donnas screeching about “sovereignty,” “dignity” and the “brotherless nation.” Therefore, my optimism does not stem from a sense of certainty that the Greek people will ultimately choose the wiser path.

What makes me optimistic is the fact that those who orchestrated this Sunday’s coup did so to hide their incompetence and cowardice, asking the people to take responsibility for a failure for which they are entirely responsible. It was not the people negotiating these past months. It was them and they failed on every front. Were they acting with guile? Was failure part of the plan? Perhaps. Did they achieve their goal? Perhaps. Though I do not think them capable or bold enough to have had a goal to begin with. It transpired along the way as the inevitable consequence of their failure.

Arrogance, cowardice and stupidity, just like artful fraud, never work in the long run. “You can’t fool all the people all the time,” US President Abraham Lincoln said. Aeschylus had also said as much centuries earlier when he wrote about Ate, a goddess who provoked irrational behavior in mortals, but whose effect was not permanent.

I suspect that Sunday’s referendum will end the same way as the mobilization of troops for the 1974 invasion of Cyprus. It will reveal the advanced decline of the state apparatus and expose those who called for the plebiscite. Without any goal that they seem willing to reveal, with the same level of organization of a high-school sit-in and with an electorate dizzied from queuing at ATMs, the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government is bracing for its next failure. If we add the “virtues” mentioned above and its overall cynicism, its alliance with the neo-Nazis over the referendum will become more concrete. They have failed in everything and I see no reason why they shouldn’t fail in their last move as well. The Greek people may be naive but I believe that they have the instinct of self-preservation and will not take responsibility for the failure. Unless…

I am optimistic because I still believe in the power of Europe. It is certainly greater than the power of the narcissuses and upstarts that are supposed to be threatening it. The Europeans know what they’re up against now. I assume that the Greek voters will also see the immorality of those who bet the country in a game of dice because they’re scared of governing, because they’re accustomed to being in politics without bearing any responsibility.