Tuesday, May 8, 2012
At least we're not Greece
We have all heard about the terrible debt that Greece has incurred due to excessive borrowing, the drastic austerity measures that Greek leaders instigated to head off disaster, and the mass economic and socio-political ramifications of that austerity. Well, now there is one more thing that Greece has done that should make us all very thankful we live here. Namely, the recent elections brought several neo-Nazi and Communist candidates to power. Now, I believe that Communism has some potential as a social system. But Nazism? Really? Members of Greece's Golden Dawn party have been notorious for their views on immigration, which border on xenophobia (they've been quoted as saying they want to secure their borders with land mines). So, despite the public revolting against economic austerity, the swing has gone far in the opposite direction, and Greece has adopted extremist social policy as part and parcel of a popular economic one. Is this trade-off worth it? Are the people so desperate to avoid further cuts that they will elect neo-Nazi's? Apparently they are, but I don't think such a deal should have been made. And as bad as this is, America is experiencing a similar deal right now, albeit less extreme. The march of the GOP to the extreme right has been to the tune of incredibly conservative social policy. In order to appeal to this extreme group, Republicans have had to take on more and more conservative policies both economically an in particular socially. They have traded commonly agreed-to social positions for ideologically extreme social views as a way to gain support for their economic platforms. I respect moderate conservative views on taxation, spending, and business, but cannot understand or accept the extreme right-wing policies. I don't. Believe that we should give up on our values for the good of the economy. After all, dictatorships and oppressive regimes can be very productive. Will Greece be able to live with their decision?