11A127 And Cradle and All by Jim Davies, 10/1/2011    

Greece is said to be the "cradle of democracy", so justice will be poetic if it proves also to trigger its downfall. For sure, the economic winds are blowing hard enough right now to rock the cradle and perhaps to break the bough.

The idea was not wholly bad, and dates from the 6th Century BC (600 to 500) or 2,600 years ago. Human history prior to then had, since the discovery of fixed agriculture, been scarred by strong central governments but in Athens the power was distributed, and deliberately placed in the hands of many - the people. It was an improvement. It was also fatally marred; the designers rightly saw the dangers of government by one or a few, but failed to grasp that the fundamental problem lies not with the number or kind of people sharing the rule, but with the rule itself. Every human is a self-owner; therefore, nobody has the right to rule him. The same error prevails today among "limited government" advocates.

To rule others is so intoxicating that it took many centuries for other societies to follow the Greek example, but not long after it had taken hold - in 19th Century France, for instance - the major flaws of democracy got noticed. The politician Frédéric Bastiat famously defined democratic government as "the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else" and so enhanced the perception attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler that democracy "can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury."

That is precisely what today's Greeks have done, since joining the Eurozone. To curry support and votes, their government liberally handed out sinecure jobs and welfare, firstly at taxpayer expense but then, when Euro loans to governments became available, from that seemingly inexhaustible source. The government ran up debts 1.4 times the whole annual product of the country, and nobody believes they can ever be repaid. The democrats of Greece have arranged to vote themselves largess out of the (European) public treasury and now it remains for democracy there to collapse. To repay that debt the government would have to increase taxes (and/or reduce benefits) by around 28% even if the bleeding stopped at once, even if it were allowed ten years, and even if interest were cancelled. The people are not interested in a 28% burden; government employees have already rioted in the streets and are striking, and taxpayers will find a way to combat the vicious, current linking of prop-tax collection to the supply of electric power (which may provide a major business opportunity to vendors of home generators... though probably not on credit.)

So one way or another Greece will default; the only question is how well the EuroPols can disguise the fact. My guess is that the Euro will be devalued by the printing press, so as to impose in effect a tax on everyone else in the Zone, to make good the hole created by the Greeks. Probably Greece will be expelled from the currency union, and so will depart to operate on its Drachma, which will have a low exchange rate with the €. Provided social unrest settles down, it could be a cheap and fascinating place to take vacations during the next decade or so.

The interesting question is, whether this failure of democracy will be understood for what it is. We can be sure that nobody in government or its puppet media is going to teach that lesson. We can also be sure that students in The On Line Freedom Academy will see it clearly - and the number of those students grows exponentially. The Greek collapse will just add one more proof or illustration to them that everything it conveys is the plain truth.

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