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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Does SYRIZA Reflect The Character Of All Greeks?

FinMin Yanis Varoufakis is quoted in Die Zeit. When asked if FinMin Wolfgang Schäuble is making mistakes in his analysis of Greece, Varoufakis answered: "Yes, his is. He is equating the previous Greek governments with the Greek people as though they had reflected the character of all Greeks".

Makes me wonder whether the implied conclusion is that SYRIZA is reflecting the character of all Greeks.


  1. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    By far does any political party express or reflect the character of all greeks. I would be as bold to say that only single digit percentages per party are true hardcore followers. Even below 5% per party. Greeks currently vote based on what they believe or who they believe may get us out of this mess, as soon as possible. This is easily visible in how fickle greeks are, shown in polls.

    Moreso in the past, people voted based on what they could personally gain out of an elected party. In general though most politicians are scorned and distrusted at, as in most countries.

    I personally do not follow any party, as all parties have pros and cons in what they would like to implement and open to all logical ideas. I am more pragmatic in my choices picking parties based on what i believe they can do. I do not listen to pre election rhetoric as it is total crap. As you can not want to maintain 70% of the people wanting to stay in the euro without upgrading or restructuring sectors of government as our creditors request. I support all governements in Greece regardless from which color they came from (and whether or not if i voted for them) as it is my duty to support my countrymen even if i disagree many times with them. Samaras made a huge mistake in the last elections in blurting out rhetoric rather than focus on the good their gorvenment created. And honestly and openly saying the mistakes they made. Had this form of prelection policy was used i believe they still would be in governement.
    I personally know many rightists who voted for the communist party out of protest. Golden Dawn is extreme and Anel are piece of old ND. They wouldn't vote for Potami nor Syriza as new ruling parties so they voted for KKE. Crazy?! Yes, but so are the so many changes and pains instilled on us. Are we at fault for being so behind. Yes. Do we need to be punished for this? To some extent yes but not tortured and especially (precrisis) poor people nor +70 senoir citizens.

    Alot of changes have happened in Greece in the last years whether people from other countries believe it or not. More changes are needed but at our own pace. Shock and awe is not good. I am for the changes requested by our counter parts but not to the extent that they request. These details can be discussed elsewhere. I have also expressed my views in many posts.

    I am hopeful for a agreement whether it is good or bad. I am almost certain though regardless of what type of agreement, i will be in economical pain (god willing only that) for many years. (I am sure some commenters will be happy with the pain to be inflicted on me/us.) I will endure though an i will continue no matter what to fight to contribute to my country/countrymen in all senses and aspects.



    1. I salute your stoic and patriotic attitude, V. There is little else that we can do, in the context of a very corrupted and foolish time for all of European society. Here in the UK, things are no better -- with oligarchs running everything and a fake democratic process, inequality widening every day, and sustained propaganda from those with financial and political power.

    2. Thanks Xenos,

      As you say we have nothing left. For me it is the people that will arise to fight this corrupt system. How I am quite not sure. Otherwise we are doomed to be molded into what they want for us. I try myself to enlighten people to change and mannerism regardless of what spectrum of political position.

      As for the UK system i have no understanding as to what is going on their. To be honest i have no time.

      For the Eu i have been frustrated for the whole system both greek politicians and other countries from the time of the boom years. Nothing made sense and for me, precrisis and crisis period, it was a nice entrapment of the whole people of europe. Ignorant yes, liable directly no.

      I am for 99% of the people of europe even when there are people spooing out hatred and racism as there is tons of disinformation and propoganda.

      And although the German politicians have a great control over the decision making especially in Greece, there are many truths and sound basis's to what some of them say. Ofcourse i do not like the games, but the German politicians are doing the best job out of everyone as they are looking out for their own interests. Whether it be for their industry, economy, banks and people to a lesser extent. (Because i a read yesterday german poverty has reach new record levels.) Their interests in Greece are for profit and to safeguard their economy.


  2. Extreme arrogance.

    In what way, and how much, he himself, Varoufakis, is Greek, as Greeks are, generally spoken? And what about the members of Syriza? I am sure the most do not recognize themselves in the characteristics of this movement. But Greeks believe(d) in them. Trust(ed) them. That is something else, however, than being the same. They, Greeks, searched for a glimmer of hope. It is proved to be a new fresh illusion.

    ~ Nikos Dimou (philosopher)
    Author of: “On the Misfortune of Being Greek”
    "“On the Misfortune of Being Greek” is painfully relevant to understanding the current crisis engulfing the country - and continent.
    Die Welt

    ~ Nikos Dimou's website:

    ~ Video with Nikos Dimou, analyzing Greeks (in English)

    After having read and listened, again the question: how far Varoufakis is Greek. Does he have fear? No. He is settled anyway. Also via his marriage with a rich Greek family.
    What he needs though, is psychotherapy. This will be understood when listening to the video with Dimou. Dimou speaks about psychotherapy for all Greeks.
    But, considering Varoufakis as not Greek, he is a huge need for psychotherapy for other reasons. Greeks need, to grow over their fear (Dimou speaks about it), reliable people. Varoufakis is NOT.
    Syriza is not.
    The inborn fear in Greeks is deepening.
    Thanks to the party with the name Syriza, and its directors Tsipras and Varoufakis.
    Psychotherapy for the entire party could create some insight for all to go on with their life, leaving the parliament behind them, and avoiding more damage to others in the future.

    1. I repeat a question I asked earlier: are there no psychiatrists in the area you reside in? Your comments are not typical anti-Greek attacks: they are personal attacks on individuals with some current political power.

      Of course, this could be a new ploy by German propaganda agencies, to populate the web with this sort of attack to try to discredit the Greek government. I do not rule that out: in which case, congratulations on your new job.

      In either case: your comments are insulting, ignorant and unhelpful. You do nothing for Europe and nothing for Greece with this repeated nonsense.

    2. @xenos

      You used to be picturesque in your generic leftist tirades against "German propaganda agencies" (lol), despite their ridiculous paranoia and typical holier-than-thou attitude (everybody else's fault but Greece's). Now you are simply tiring. So why don't you shut up when you have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation? Not everybody likes the burned-out faux communists of Syriza, especially anybody who still dares to have money in Greek banks (like me), surely it's not that hard to understand.

    3. @Jim: This is not about differing political views, although I do wonder what you find attractive about the failed policies of Pasok and ND which actually put Greece into its current situation. Syriza is not responsible for that.

      And I can assure you that the Germans are actively engaged in organised propaganda. The fact that you are ignorant of that does not entitle you to mock those with expert knowledge.

      And my addition to the conversation is to inform Mme Antoinette that her tirades are racist, offensive and make no contribution at all to anything. Except possibly herself.

    4. @Stranger(xenos)r: You are simply an arrogant communist and rude germanophobe as most of the members of Syriza.

    5. Ms. Antoinette,

      When i was a medical student many years ago, it had occurred a particularly shocking crime, because the victim was a little child and the perpetrators were unknown. The primary suspect, in absence of someone better, ended up being the mother, who though, was denying with passion any relation to the crime and was psychologically exhausted by the event. It was a mystery. TV transmissions were made, interrogations, public interviews of the mother to the tv journalists, yet nobody could swear who the perpetrator was.

      So it happened, that we asked our pshychiatrist-psychonalist professor of the time, his opinion. His reply, was disappointingly short: "No psychiatrist deserves such a title, if he claims he can can arrive to a conclusion by watching television and without individual analysis of a subject".

      Now, of course, you or Nikos Dimou, are more experts than those who believe they are experts, so you, as well as Nikos Dimoy, can advice whatever they want. Ignorance is a bliss. Maybe Nikos DImoy, before arriving to a conclusion of his mass psychanalysis of every Greeks, should spend a few hours of psychoanalyzing himself, because he does certain things for which he accuses "the Greeks" of and because, he joined a party, whose leader apparently hadn't psychoanalyzed well enough, despite being guest to his website for years, so he abbandoned the party in 20 days from joining.

      Ignorance, is a bliss. I can only say one thing. It's a big fortune, that doctors aren't trained as economists nor as philosophers, because the current graveyards wouldn't be enough. An axiom in medicine is "primum non nocere". Something the troika never heard of. A second one, is "there are no diseases, only patients" (each patient must be treated individually). Something philosophers have never heard about.

    6. @Anonymous 10:06
      Pointing out the flaws of a system does not make you a communist. Seeing truth for what it is, does not mean that you are a communist.

      If you believe there is still in existance a difference between the labels of the past stamped on the parties of today then you need a reality check.

      Modern society does not need the force fed ideologies of the past to guide humanity. Common sense does. Logic does. Constructive discussion due.
      Colinization failed, Feudalism failed, Communism failed, Capitalism failed. All systems have failed. Past systems have mutated into something new. Once we accept this we can move on as humanity onto a new system. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat cycles of the past.


    7. @xenos

      I find nothing attractive about the policies of Pasok and ND, and that includes ANY Pasok and ND government of the past 35 years (with the possible exception of the Mitsotakis government of the early 90's). This doesn't mean I should find the Syriza government likeable, especially as I am liable to lose money because of them. Should that happen, let's remind ourselves of the vast fortunes of some prominent Syriza MPs, many of whom have their money abroad.

    8. @ Anonymous 12:22...

      What a lovely post. Thank You for sharing.


    9. @Jim. I did not advise you to like the Syriza government: I merely commented that they are not responsible for the mess that Greece is currently in, whereas all other political parties (with the exception of KKE) are. So, your tirade against communists is entirely misplaced: it should be against state-centred capitalists, which really all Greek governments since 1974 have been.

      Of course, that does not mean that Syriza is good for Greece, of course. On the other hand, most of their failings to date resemble the past failings of Pasok and ND -- and seem to have little to do with ideology.

      As for the vast fortunes of some Syriza MPs, again I see no difference with Pasok and ND. Perhaps you are really complaining about Greek political culture.

  3. The article in Die Zeit provoked the following clarification by FinMin Varoufakis:

    At the same time, the NYT revealed yesterday that Varoufakis had told them that he had taped the Eurogroup meeting in Riga. Given today's technology, Varoufakis is undoubtedly not the first one who has taped confidential conversations. However, one is puzzled why he would publicly admit having done that. Normally, a politician who gets caught at something like that resigns the day it becomes public. And why would Varoufakis tape a Eurogroup meeting? I suppose he has learned from Tim Geithner that, after leaving office, one can make a lot of money writing books, particularly when such books contain juicy details about confidential conversations.

    1. Hi Mr. Kastner,

      Yes i read this as well and it is making news everywhere. To be honest i really do not believe anything anymore. Sorry but there is alot of mistranslations (proven), disinformation quotes taken completely out of context and propogandistic conclusions to questions. The media is completely out of control and guided. The siting of sources of hidden sources based on one "leaked" data by someone who does not want to divuldge his/her name is complete horse hocky. I do not belive anything anymore.

      Either there will be an agreement or not. Everything else is just a bad thertical shows to sway opinions. In truth we have no clue on what they are talking about behind closed doors. I read everything i have time to, as to try to find the truth behind every issue but it is now reached a point which i believe it is pointless. Agreement or not on whatever terms. Acceptance or not on whatever terms. In the end in either case, both average greek citizen and to a lesser extent eu average citizen will pay for all this cheap show. As i wrote before the elections and i still say now, we will be in pain for many years. What pain is the issue; to one day have a better day or complete collapsed economy.

      After so much reading and so much pain to me now it really doesn't matter to me anymore. I am immune. People outside of Greece have no understanding of the stress loaded on average Greeks. I have stopped fearing all these economical tools against the greater people. After so much time of so much pressure i truly do not care anymore. As for my family, I do not even fear for my children anymore which has now been used as tool.

      I only ask the few blogs which i follow to maintain a good consistancy. Such as yours. I greatly respect your opinion on subject and your analysis. The truth of your character has been event in your words and i depend on this character even when i disagree with you.

      As for the politicians within this crisis the one person whom has left a good impression on me is Mr. Junker. He is the only politician who has not flippy floppied his comments/assumptions. I would like to commend him. He is truly a respectable diplomat. Everyone else foreign and greek including all greek politicians of all sides piss me off. They are no more than pawns on a chess set expressing power that they think they have. They have none it has been awarded to them for being complient to their masters. The mainstream media is their tool.



    2. Varoufakis denied today that he ever admitted taping the discussions. Of course, this may just be a trick after the cloud of dust that went up on the air. At any rate, registrations of such meetings, according to journalists, are done by several politicians, because there are no official records kept and so they keep registrations so that they can debrief their own goverments once they return home.

    3. Well, I guess this means that unless the NYT reporter secretely taped his conversation with Varoufakis, we will never know the truth...

    4. The way things are proceeding in these days, in deed we will never know. There is a lot of money at stake and personal egos at stake.
      In both cases, the truth is the first victim.

      Who knows this time... I think that our good minister is perfectly capable of recording them. But what i think isn't proof enough.

    5. I doubt that any of you are right. At some point in the distant future, the tape by Varoufakis will appear in historical accounts of this time -- making it clear who are the liars and who are the honest negotiators. There is little doubt in my mind how this period will go down in history. (Hint: the Germans will look as good as they did in the last century.)

    6. @ Xenos
      I admire your unshakable belief and trust! There is a saying in German that if you lie once, you are not going to believed the next time even if you speak the truth. Varoufakis blatently lied about the finger and never retracted that lie. In fact, he even confirmed it. Now, after the NYT quotes him from an interview, he calls that 'fairy tales'. What does that mean? The NYT is lying? You take your pick.

    7. I do not see this as "trust". I have no reason to express personal confidence in Varoufakis: it is a matter of logic and probability. I find it very likely that he did record the meeting, as it seems in character. I also find it in character that he has both revealed the fact of the recording and failed to produce it. Why? - because the revelation puts pressure on the politicians in the meeting; whereas producing the actual recording would probably result in his being dismissed as minister.

      On the finger issue, since everyone lied in that incident (and it related to his personal position before entering politics) I do not think it relevant. He responded to rather unpleasant political attacks in the way he thought best. We can disagree whether it was the best response, but that was a decision for him to make.

    8. I wouldn't want his job.

    9. V,

      "Everything else is just a bad thertical shows to sway opinions."

      1. Jim Rogers often say,s if you listen to the government you are going to go broke. He shorted the pound at the end of it's currency peg to the German currency.

      2. I had a macroeconomic class where the professor talked about depreciation of money {my term} expectations. Expectations was given much more emphasis than the actual amount change in purchasing power. Which leads to creating those expectations which leads to a goal of misleading.

      3. Some one on the internet way back claimed the the bank of Japan was going to to x and because it said they would do x. It sounded counter cultural for Japan to do. It was a few years later and the I found out the opposite happened. If one acted on that, one would have lost their kimono (shirt). Maybe, to the bank of Japan.

  4. @ V
    "Colinization failed, Feudalism failed, Communism failed, Capitalism failed". Oops. Capitalism failed?

    If you argued that the Eurozone failed, I could agree with you but capitalism? Wherever and whenever capitalism produced undesireable results, it was/is because the sovereign failed to establish clear rules of the game which would reign in the negative forces of capitalism. But despite all of its warts, capitalism (i. e. the forces of free enterprise and free consumer choice) has been an unbelievable wealth-generating system over the last couple of centuries throughout the world. Even the Castro's of Cuba have come around to understanding this. I wouldn't be surprised if Cuba became a booming place in the next years now that the Castro's have opened the doors a bit.

    1. " ... wouldn't be surprised if Cuba became a booming place in the next years now that the Castro's have opened the doors a bit."

      I totally agree. Greece ruled by Syria (grecozuela), sadly to say is heading in the opposite direction. They are closing doors.

    2. Well, Klaus, capitalism is currently failing. I would not yet say that it has failed, mainly because it cannot fail when there is no alternative to take its place.

      It is failing for a number of reasons -- the primary one being that the last century saw the rise of democratic systems that set legal and political parameters in order to control the avarice of those with real power (market, information, political, military etc) and prioritise society over the individual, and actual outcomes over profits and money-making. The neoliberal agenda set to reverse those structural features, and was successfully promoted by Thatcher and Reagan.

      We are still there, in the Thatcher mentality -- this time, with the German accountants' mentality being imposed on the eurozone, and the UK conservatives continuing the neoliberal agenda. Income and wealth distribution are now so bad that we are regressing to the early capitalist period, with such massive inequality as inspired Karl Marx to write what he did.

      Of course, this is not to say that democratic capitalism can be rediscovered and reinvented -- but the chances look poor at this time. The corruption of politicians across Europe and the USA is now so great, and caught up in abuse of power for the pursuit of personal profit -- usually, cleverly delayed until such individuals have quit politics (to be employed on vast salaries by banks, multinationals and foreign governments).

      If this is not failure, it is well on the road to it.

    3. Dear Mr. Kastner,

      In my rebuttle to your comment to capitalism. Ok re-phrase, capitalism is the best ofthe failed systems listed. yes it created growth and prosperity and brought many new things. All systems have their pros and cons in theory but it is the human nature which dissolves these systems.

      Lets take the USA for example. 40% of the population is on welfare and foodstamps. 40% of the population is lower middel class squweaking by from pay check to paycheck. 15% of the population is middle/ middle upper class and the 5% is truely enjoying capitalism. Capitalism is successful for the few. Not for the gerneral public.

      You have to big to fail bank system, an uncontrolled stock market which makes no sense. A new boom after a financial crisis and what is produced in the USA is very little. Ok it is a commercialized country but they make nothing other than weapons and some automobiles.

      On the other hand they have (IMO) the best educational system and universisties and the best medical treament, even if you have to pay out alot.

      Leaving the USA after 17-18 years, only after leaving i realized what a great potential this nation has/had. It has frailed and it hurts me to see my 2nd homeland in the condition it is. Only after i left i truely read the USA constituation which was truely inspiring. One of the best constitution on the planet.

      USA would be a beackon of light if as you say proper rules were in place. The only rules they have only suit the few.

      And is why i consider capitalism a failure.

      For me the EU was a new possible beackon and regardless of what happens to greece, i am hopeful that the politicians of the eu understand the necessity of the value of the eu. I believe they have these feelings.

      I have come to a few conclusions these days but i will not express them now.

      Thanks always for your ellaboration. Your prospective always puts things rightly.


    4. V said, "Lets take the USA for example. 40% of the population is on welfare and foodstamps."

      This statement is false and easy for you to check. Just use a little creativity of figuring out how to check it. Then you will see how obviously false it is.

      Why is that BS continuously repeated and who repeats it?

  5. @ Xenos
    I suggest you follow and read this link:

    It's an extract ("The psychology of modern leftism") of a long paper on the woes of the industrial state. Obviously not written by a capitalist. The author is sort of between genius and madness. He graduated from Harvard (IQ 165) and later got a PhD in mathematics. Then he went sort of mad, anarchist and violent.

    Whenever I hear or read arguments like the ones you make I have to think of the above extract and marvel how perceptive the author was!

    1. Klaus: are you denying the accuracy of my comments? If so, I suggest that you are biased by your environment and personal lifestyle. The economic data are already available to support the analysis (as Piketty has done for income distribution), but are being actively distorted by governments and politicians the world over.

      I do not think that socio-psychological analyses of character types and their role in society are very important other than to explain why some people fail to notice certain things while others do so and note their importance.

      In my early career, I received references from senior academic collaborators commenting that I was able to predict the actions of policy-makers before they themselves knew what they were going to do. Repeatedly, conventional academics were shocked and baffled by this, and asked me to explain. That article you linked to is one sort of explanation: what is more interesting, because not personal to me, is that neither academia nor policy-makers appreciate this "predictive" skill. Most of the world is quite content to carry on muddling through and pretending that there are not determinative structures and forces which severely circumscribe our actions both as individuals and as political actors.

      So, your view of the world is likely to be rather egocentric. You may claim that for mine, but I suspect that it is not.

  6. @ Xenos: 1 of 2
    Allow me to comment on your dialectic (perhaps for the benefit of other readers) because it is a dialectic which is often trained, particularly by leftists in training.

    The principal issue is “premise” vs. “conclusions”. The conclusions are convincing based on a certain premise. If the premise is mentioned only in passing but the conclusion emphasized, most people are likely to agree with the conclusion without even questioning whether the premise was right. “A” might comment to his boss, with reference to his colleague “B”, that it is not acceptable when colleagues lie. The boss is likely to agree without asking whether the premise, i. e. that “B” lied, is correct. A few examples.

    You state that you base your conclusions on logic and probability, and that certainly gives credibility to your conclusions. Only few will ask whether your premise is really logic or probability (or paranoia).

    You very often state that “I am an expert” and, of course, the opinion of an expert has got to be respected. One tends to overlook the question whether you are really an expert (frankly, whenever I met great experts, they didn’t call themselves experts; they let others come to that conclusion; or not).

    You downplay the importance of Varoufakis’ lying in connection with the fingergate by stating the premise that everyone had lied. That, of course, makes Varoufakis’ lying quite palatable. However, the correct premise would have been that no one lied other than Varoufakis. I think it’s worth elaborating on that a bit because, on that issue, Varoufakis displayed his brilliance at dialectic (as I have argued in a post about the subject, the issue of the finger per se is irrelevant. Instead, the issue is about lying).

    A short video (excerpt of a long speech) was shown where Varoufakis extended his finger. In response he made what he called ‘a simple point’: “That video was doctored! I never gave the finger. I’ve never given the finger ever. This was doctored, and I feel ashamed that I am part of a program which shows a video, I’m sure you didn’t know that, but let me assure you that I never pointed the finger. It was a doctored video.” At that point, most viewers – myself included – probably wondered how incompetent the ARD could have been to be tricked by a doctored video.

    To reinforce his simple point, Varoufakis, the next day, posted the full version of the video/speech assuring that “here is the 'undoctored' by the unscrupulous media's video”. Except that the full version included the same excerpt with the finger and the excerpt was continuous, i. e. no ‘doctoring’. Most everyone wondered whether he still had his marbles in place.

    A couple of days later, a German satirist claimed to have doctored the video and showed how he had inserted the finger which, in truth, had never been there. It was totally convincing. What most everyone – including myself – overlooked was that, at the end, the satirist said that his video was a satire. Varoufakis immediately jumped the gun and posted “Any apology in the offing @GuentherJauch65? For having used a doctored video to silence a conciliatory Greek voice?” And that was the last thing we heard from that conciliatory Greek voice about this issue. He did not have the greatness to say something like “I made a mistake” or “I was wrong when I claimed to have never given the finger”. He had no qualms called for an unjustified apology but was not prepared to make a justified apology He preferred the role of a proven liar on the assumption that people would forget, anyway (correct assumption, by the way).

  7. @ Xenos: 2 of 2
    Unless the NYT reporter lied, Varoufakis had told her that he had taped the Riga meeting. Given today’s technology, he most probably is not the first one to have done something like that. What is unique, though, is that someone in that position is so foolish as to reveal that to the public. Normally, such a person would resign that very same day. Instead, he gave a wishy-washy explanation that no one respects confidentiality more than he does (says someone who states in interviews all the time how all the others are ganging up on him during these meeting). One journalist tried to corner him on this question and Varoufakis reverted to ‘creative ambiguity’ by simply saying “fairy tales; just fairy tales”. Again, people will forget that but what remains is the image of the toughest Finance Minister in the world who, when it comes to personal things, has no civil courage.

    Varoufakis publishes an essay where he solemnly states that “it is time that both sides begin to negotiate seriously”. Now that really hit the nerve because it implied that, so far, the Eurogroup had been telling him stories instead of negotiating. The correct premise, however, is that 18 out of 19 Finance Minister have, for 4 months, literally begged that Greece should start negotiating instead of telling stories.

    You, instead of specifically responding to one of my comments, return by asking me whether I deny the accuracy of YOUR comments! Just think about the arrogance which is behind that dialectic! “A” makes an argument and if “B” does not deny its accuracy, “A” claims to be right. Even in the ‘exact’ mathematical sciences, people are still testing the accuracy of Einstein’s formulae (and some may even try to deny their accuracy). And you claim that the alleged social sciences can be objectively proven and/or denied? My best friend in Thessaloniki describes himself as a Marxist because he thinks Marx’s theory about social evolution (he does not talk about his economics) was right. When we argue, I see that some of his arguments are quite convincing. But to prove that Marx was right? One thing seems certain: perhaps, or even probably, unwittingly, Marx unleashed an ideology which, among others, lead to unparalled humanitarian crimes in many parts or the world, humanitarian crimes which make even Hitler look a bit pale in comparison (with active support of ‘useful idiots’ from the West)*. Piketty, whose book I have not read, apparently presented economic data covering the last two millennia (just think of that premise as a premise!) supporting the arguments which many people then put into his mouth. And, of late, I have read several times that Piketty himself said that some of these arguments should not be read into his data.

    *) the paper which I linked and which you didn’t care to comment on describes this very aptly as follows: “They (the ‘modern leftists’) SAY they object to the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures, the leftist finds excuses for them, or at best he GRUDGINGLY admits that they exist; whereas he ENTHUSIASTICALLY points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in Western civilization.”

    What I never see discussed by modern leftists is the issue of liberty of the individual. Sometimes I get the feeling that modern leftists don’t trust the individual; that, instead, they want to force him into the collective so that he can be steered and/or controlled the way they think is right. Well, you are certainly entitled to cherish Marx and Piketty; just like I am entitled to cherish Friedrich von Hayek, particularly his book “The Constitution of Liberty”.

    1. Very good points, Klaus. I fully agree, with the small exception that I am not sure whether people will totally forget all that the present Greek government does. And if not, then I see the risk that people will come to assume implicitly that SYRIZA reflects the character of all Greeks.

  8. Klaus: I find your above post very strange, indeed. I shall enumerate them point by point.
    (1) I rarely claim expertise, and indeed was brought up with the belief that you share, that others should attribute it. In recent years, I have come to understand that the younger generations claim ability and expertise for themselves and deny it to others. Occasionally, therefore, I assert expertise in areas where I know that others will not usually contest that. In neither of these two cases here did I claim expertise: therefore, your comment appears to be a personal attack rather than a logical position.

    (2) I do not know enough facts about the stupid nonsense with the finger video, and I do not care either. If I did, I would have done research on the issue. As far as I am concerned, it was dirt-digging by political interests, and Varoufakis handled it as a politician. The fact that he remains in power indicates that he is right, and you and I are wrong -- for I would not have reacted in the same way as he did. However, you make the serious error of associating a political management strategy with a character defect.
    (3) I do not know what you mean by "my dialectic". Nor do I consider it "leftist" to deal with things in a logical manner. The fact that you and many of the commenters here are from a banking background may explain your rather peculiar approach to rational discussion. You start with the conclusions you want to reach, and ensure that the arguments get there. You fail to understand people such as myself, who have no political affiliations, no political agenda and no real conclusions; instead, you have thrown the label "leftist" at everything I write, which is both offensive and incorrect. I am not leftist, centrist or rightist. I deal with facts and make arguments within a range of frameworks, most of which are more informed by Plato than any other philosophical approach.
    (4) I did read and respond to the article you linked to. I did not find this article to be very helpful, and said why. When I asked if you disagreed with my analysis, this was to ask a very simple question: what exactly do you disagree with. I now know the answer: you dislike the conclusions, regardless of the merit of the argumentation or the accuracy of any claimed facts.
    (5) I am absolutely baffled by the nonsense that you have written at the end, attributing to me disinterest in the liberty of the individual in order to attain collective interests. I have never stated or implied such things. However, it is true that individualism versus collectivism can be seen as a crude summary of neoliberalism versus socialism. The problem with this childish simplification is that empirical realities are very different from the theory and propaganda. Specifically, neoliberal practice has damaged the rights of the individual very badly, almost as badly as some of the repressive state socialism systems. At the same time, I observe that the individual rights of the wealthy are indeed much greater under the current regimes in Europe and North America. Clearly, under democratic socialism those rights (= power) would be much reduced. Equally, under previous democratic socialist regimes in Europe, one can claim that the individual rights of the majority were somewhat greater than they are today. I would not make that claim for the rich, though. So, I interpret your position on this as being group interest: you represent a group (I will not say class) that has identified politically where its interests are best promoted. You are quite entitled to do that, but please do not pretend that you have a better grip on reality than those who are not promoting any group interests and actually do worry about the overall state of society, polity and economy.