Posted tagged ‘government’

Democracy Being a Free Good Endangers its Existence

September 10, 2016

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Breathing democratic freedom is neither easy nor free; it entails both rights and obligations and most importantly knowledge of current fundamental issues. But in most democracies their constituents tend to uphold and demand more their rights than their obligations, and more deplorably, a sizable number of them exercise their rights in a state of ignorance. This imbalance, however, between rights and obligations, as well as lack of knowledge of the real issues, puts in jeopardy the functioning of a politically just and economically productive democracy, and indeed endangers its existence as a form of government.

Moreover, it makes its voters who are uninformed of the points at issue captive to populist slogans and to that everlasting traducer of democracy, identified by Aristotle, demagogy, that appeals to the hopes and fears of the electors and by propagandistic lies and false promises opens the doors of power to demagogues. This is exemplified by two recent political events in our times: Alexis Tsipras and his party of Syriza winning the elections in Greece on a wave of populism and unprecedented lies and false promises in the political history of the country, and of the plebiscite of the UK, whose two leaders of Brexit, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, with a farrago of lies and dire fictions were able to hoodwink a major part of the populace to vote for the exit of Britain from the European Union. On a smaller scale this also has happened in the Australian elections, when the Labor Party by its scare campaign that the Liberal Coalition would privatize Medicare, succeeded in convincing a large part of the electorate of this fictitious threat with the result of Liberals losing so many seats that brought the country on the edge of a hang parliament.

How can one remedy the weaknesses of democracy and protect its constituents from becoming victims to populism and to demagogy with catastrophic results to the well-being of society and to its continued economic prosperity? Some people believe that the answer lies in bringing cultural and ethical changes among the people that would make them immune to this toxic virus of populist-demagogy; and thus leading gradually to the cashiering and inexorable dismissal of all demagogic and populist leaders from the domain of politics. The difficulty and danger of such a solution however is that cultural change is a slow process and during its gestation and vicissitudes in a long run may in the meantime unhinge democracy from its door of freedom, by the actions of feckless, inept, and irresponsible politicians, and incarcerate it within the dungeon of dictatorship. A safer and faster solution would be to enact radical changes to the electoral voting system by suspending in certain circumstances temporarily parts of the electorate from voting.

On what principle could one suggest such an unequal voting system that would discriminate so deliberately between social groups in the ambience of democracy, and which group would be the unequal part in the democratic process? The guiding principle of the first part of the question must explicitly aim to the continued viability and stability of a democratic system, in the context of which, the economic well-being of society depends and guarantees the further expansion of wealth that renders to the people a wide choice where to employ their talents and skills that would push their living standard onto higher plateaus and make their lives congenial to their desires. The second part, i.e., the social group that would be unequally treated, would be identified as that part that depends on welfare for its living and as a ‘debtor’ client of the government easily succumbs to populist slogans and rabble rousing; also, due to its low educational level and lack of interest in important matters, it deprives it from having adequate knowledge of the issues involved and hence is completely unqualified to make a sober judgment on these issues. It is mainly this social group that brings to power demagogues and millenarian ideologues that imperil the stability of the polity and its economic system. And, indeed, ironically pits this same social group into absolute poverty, and in turn destabilizes democracy itself, as it has happened with the political rise of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela; where its people after a contrived false prosperity are presently hunting dogs and cats to feed themselves. The same has happened with the Marxist Alexis Tsipras in Greece, where the pauperization of many of its ordinary people is exacerbated every day and has reached unprecedented high levels under his totally inept, ideologically barren and irresponsible government.

The enactment of this radical legislation would specifically suspend from the right to vote any person who had been on social welfare or unemployed for more than a year, and only with his/her ceasing on being on welfare or unemployed his/her right to vote would be restored. Such legislation would not only strengthen and secure the viability of democracy and the prosperity of its economic system, but would also deprive populist demagogues and political parties of a constituency upon whose existence they depend. Moreover, it would substantially reduce the spending of the welfare state and make it less precarious to the fiscal policy of the state and hence to the well-being of the country. This radical enactment takes a leaf from the cradle of democracy in classical Greece, Athenian democracy. The latter disenfranchised and suspended from voting citizens who had failed to pay a debt to the polis. Likewise, in a modern democracy people who were in debt for their living to the government, that is on welfare, would be suspended from casting a vote.

Needless to say, such a radical proposal, to occur in the ambit of the ‘spoils’ of the welfare state that has spoiled at least two generations of people by our carefree and stand at ease democracy, will not be easy to implement as it will rouse all the wrath and opposition of the ‘progressive’ bien pensants and the ‘good fellows’ of the dole. It will require extraordinarily strong and sagacious political leadership tha will unite parliamentary opposition parties into a gigantic wave that relentlessly will sweep away this ‘progressivist’ praetorian guard of the human rights, without responsibilities, of the dole takers, and throw this defiance of the sanctimonious goody-goodies into the dust bin of history.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

turn now

 

 

 

 

 

Greece: A Government of Contrived Smiles behind which Attempts to Hide Incompetence

February 10, 2015

By Con George-Kotzabasis–January 02, 2015

Not only the ideologically antiquated and totally irresponsible and hasty announcements of the ministers of the new government, that led to the collapse of the Greek stock exchange and the stratospheric rise of interest rates, but also their body language, as shown in their performance before TV cameras, exposed with ridicule their witless incompetence. The Minister of State, Nikos Pappas, interviewed on Mega TV, was trying in despair to evade and not to answer the questions of the two interviewers and to cover the poverty of his arguments behind endless contrived smiles.

More gravely, but also more comically, the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, in the press conference held in Athens last Friday with the head of the European Union (EU) Jeroen Dijssebloem, with tongue-in-cheek and with supercilious righteousness was elaborating with complacent fabricated smiles the ‘perfectly remedial’ counter proposals of the Tsipras Government that would end the crisis to the presumably destructive austerity program of the EU that according to the government was exacerbating it. A program however that aimed, and apparently was succeeding, as indeed did in Ireland and Portugal, in pulling Greece out of the crisis, as recent economic statistics were indicating and serious international commentators were averring. Varoufakis in his last answer to the question of a journalist, in a bravura theatrical performance, described the Troika, the representatives of the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank, as being “rotten in its foundations” and the Greek Government would not negotiate with it but only directly with the heads of these three institutions. Dijssebloem sitting next to the Greek minister listening to the translation from Greek to English had a look on his face as if he couldn’t believe his ears. Varoufakis on the other hand had lost all his pompous confidence and showed in his movements and facial expression that he was unsure whether he had said the right thing or not. Totally riveted in his self-doubt and diffidence he seemed like a little child that had lost its way. But the crown of thorns that was placed by Dijssebloem on the head of Varoufakis came when the latter proferred his hand to the former and receiving a contemptuous cold handshake and hearing in bafflement at the same time the head of the EU whispering to him that what he said “was a big mistake.” At the end of this grandiloquent thespian performance by the minister of finance, just before the curtains fell, Varoufakis’ body language showed the depth of his confusion and perplexity and his attempt to hide them behind contrived artificial smiles.

It is by such stuff and political buffoonery that the Tsipras Government will remedy all the ills that the ‘evil’ Troika brought to Greece. This government of a medley of Marxists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists posit a great danger to the country as it plans to implement the by now defunct nostrums of its ideology, such as the expansion of the public sector, the nationalization of banks, airlines, ports, and electric and water services, the unbridled extension of the State, a highly regulated business sector, hence, replanting all the poisonous seeds into the soil of Greece that brought a blighted crop of economic bankruptcy.

As to Syrizas’ stand toward to the EU and the IMF, it will either stiffen it and thus lead the country to tactless insolvency and back to the drachma, or it will blink before the sharp sighted Europeans and will be forced to renege, and reverse, all the bombastic promises it made to the people before the elections. Indeed, Syriza will pour so much water in its wine and make it so tasteless that will turn all the people, who so frivolously believed its false promises and lies and voted for it, into teetotallers.

When Syrizas’ charge of the light brigade against the European Union, ‘armoured’ with its chimerical infeasible proposals will be made ‘mincemeat’ by the descendants of the Knights of the North, the romantic riders of Syrizas’ leadership will be compelled to dismount their wistful ideological hobbyhorses for the sake of holding on to power. But the latter also will be an illusion. As the Tsipras Government has failed to convince the EU of the correctness and feasibility of its economic proposals, likewise it will fail to have the support of the Greek people for policies, which preordain, as the collapse of communism, the destruction of Greece.

Recruiting Muslims to Team Austalia Harder than Recruiting them to Terrorism

August 11, 2014

By Con George-Kotzabasis August 10, 2014

Reply to ‘Recruiting Muslims to Team Australia’ by Waleed Aly

The Age, August 8, 2014

 

Waleed Aly, since his acquisition of celebrity status by his prominence, but not cerebral pre-eminence, on the screens of the ABC and the pages of The Age, has prudently hidden his past implicit, if not explicit, support and justification of Muslim terrorism, although in his above piece on the Fairfax press could not as prudently conceal his crypto justification of the holy warriors of Jihad. In his attempt to turn the “short bow” of the government’s new counter-terror laws into a ‘long bow’ of the connection between section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and counter-terrorism—despite the fact that the government ultimately dropped its amendments, unwisely in my opinion, to section 18C on the false assumption that they would be communally and nationally divisive—he exposed himself, not only to a fallacious argument by not taking in consideration that in the long fight against terror one also has to be able freely to criticize the religion, as interpreted by its radical imams, from which the ideology of jihadism emanates, but also revealed himself as an insidious espouser of Jihad by trying to conceal the connection of 18C and counter-terrorism.

The defeat of terrorism is ineluctably twofold, since it is an engagement both in the field of battle and in the realm of ideas, of criticism and counter-criticism. Hence, free expression is an indispensable and necessary ‘weapon” against the devotees of terror. The dumping, therefore, by the Abbot government, of the amendments to section 18C of the Act in the name of the interests of ‘national unity’, is an action of shallow thinking whose unwitting egregious constrain of free expression is a serious error that will gravely weaken the government’s fight against terrorism.

Waleed Aly with his tinsel pop idol status is not squeamish and has no reservations in entering and delving in the abstruse rarefied affairs of philosophy. He insists, that ‘to draw a…connection between 18C and counter-terrorism requires a long bow. But the…attempt to do so (by the government) has intriguing philosophical consequences’ (M.E.). He claims that by this connection, ‘the government is implicitly accepting the social dimensions of terrorism.’ The latter, ‘gathers around feelings of alienation and social exclusion; that intelligence flows best from communities that feel valued and included rather than surveilled and interrogated. This…accords with the best research we have on the psychology of radicalisation and effective counter-terrorism policing.’ But what are these real ‘social dimensions,’ and not the fabricated ones, of Waleed Aly, that are endeavouring to put the blame for terrorism on Western societies whose discriminatory conduct toward Muslims is the cause of their alienation and exclusion, according to Aly? Why this same “discriminatory conduct” to other migrants, such as Chinese, Hindus, and southern Europeans, has not alienated them to the same degree and induced them to become terrorists? Aly in his studious endeavour to shift the blame oddly disregards, or rather hides, the fact, that this ‘alienation’ and ‘social exclusion’ on the part of most Muslims is voluntary and is an outcome of their culture and religion, which according to them is by far superior to Western culture and Christianity, and therefore makes them repugnant to adopt the principles of Western culture or integrate into it; as such assimilation would entail for them the replacement of their superior culture with an inferior one. He also ignores and overlooks the fact that a great number of the perpetrators of terror come from well-to-do families and are mostly well educated. The leader of the suicidal squad of 9/11 was the son of an Egyptian teacher and was educated in a Western university, and the terrorist, who had failed to blow-up Heathrow airport in London, was a medical doctor, who, when he was arrested called Allahu Akbar, God is Great, not to mention others. These people were hardly alienated and excluded by Western societies as all of them received their degrees from western universities. What recruited them to terrorism was their deep hate of Western societies and its Great Devil, America, a hate that was incubated in Mosques and Muslim schools by fanatical imams and teachers, respectively. These are the roots of terrorism, and not the specious psychology of Waleed Aly that connects the “radicalisation’ of Muslims to discriminatory exclusion and alienation by Western societies, as a result of his poverty of thought or his sinister and clandestine espousing of terrorism.

It is also erroneous on his part to believe ‘that intelligence flows best from communities that feel valued and included rather than surveilled, suspected and interrogated.’ The truth is that in free societies all communities are ‘valued and included,’ and Muslims are no exception to this principle and there is hardly any evidence of discrimination against them. The surveillance and interrogation is an outcome of past and imminent terrorist actions as broadcasted by terrorists themselves. It would be gigantically foolish to take these ominous threats not seriously. The government has a huge responsibility to protect its citizens from the fanatical death squads of Islamist terror. It must take relentless and most severe measures to protect Australians from future actions of terror that could kill thousands of them in shopping malls and football grounds. The threat of Muslim fanatics to kill in the future thousands of Australians is an act of war. It is therefore incumbent on the government to enact emergency legislation, as in war, to deprive the right of all Australian jihadists, who had fought in Syria and Northern Iraq to establish a caliphate, to return back to Australia by annulling their passports. As a return of these fanatics back to Australia will incalculably pose a menacing threat to the country and to the lives of its citizens. It would be fanciful and inane to think that once these fanatics return to Australia they will be remorseful and repent about the atrocities they committed on their adversaries in Syria and Iraq and declare their mea culpas for the beheadings on which their rudimentary Caliphate was established.

The Abbot government is beholden therefore to reconsider its withdrawal of the amendments to section 18C if it is prepared to seriously confront the future threats of terror on its soil, because, as I have argued above, free expression is a decisive weapon in the government’s arsenal against terror. This it must do even if the chances of these amendments to pass the Senate are slight. And if the Greens and the Labour Opposition chose to oppose these amendments they will reveal themselves as being derelicts of their duty to protect Australia and playing havoc with the security of the country and the lives of its citizens. The palmy days of Team Australia and its complacency are rapidly ending, as Islamist fanatics are recruiting to terrorism.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now.