The Greek Parliamentary Elections of 2009; a mirror-image of the present “Political Culture” of the country (Part B)

In the first part of our article, after observing the various “simulated” and “empty” political behavioral patterns of political personalities, of journalists, of political analysts, of gallop statisticians, of managers of the private and public media, as well as of state officials who oversee all processes related to registering and transmitting all voting results; what we mean , as we observed this ” tasteless theatrical performance” played out on Sunday night, October 4 2009, the set date for Greece’s Parliamentary Elections, we decided that it was “worth the effort” to examine “honestly” and “objectively” the degree of “political maturity” and “democratization” which exists within the context of Greece’s “modern political culture”.

At the same time, we mentioned that the term “political culture” was created by American Political Scientists after 1950, introducing a “theoretical political tool” which possessed a practical “ideological” and “scientific” laxness in order to legitimize the political and cultural expansionism of the United States of America throughout the world, and more especially within the developing and the underdeveloped countries. We recorded two “authoritative” definitions of the term “political culture”, so that we could have a more complete picture of its real meaning. The first definition emphasizes that the term “political culture” represents “…the sum of the fundamental values, sentiments and knowledge that give form and substance to political process…”.

The second analytical description states that the “political culture” of a country or of a society reflects “…the sum of the fundamental values, sentiments and knowledge that give form and substance to political process…”. As a consequence, since what concerns us is the “Modern Greek State” or the “Modern Greek Society”, this particular political term (political culture) is “flexible” enough, scientifically and ideologically, to permit us to describe the “hodge podge” of social, political and cultural “values” or “non-values” which “modern” Greeks seem to convey and practice in their social as well as in their private lives, as “modern citizens” of a “modern nation-state” which(not by chance) goes by the name Hellas. A state which “on paper” and in “loud public utterances” possesses a “democratic constitution”, a “modern welfare system”, a “developed economy”, a “progressive public education program”, but above all, citizens with a “deep” and “intense” national conscience and social communion. Basic focal points for all this “modern” socio-political structure which we Greeks call Hellas, are a “keen sense of honor”, “social tolerance”, “freedom of thought”, “freedom of expression” and “human creativity”, qualities and ideals which Modern Greeks have inherited from their Ancient Ancestors about whom they always “brag aimlessly”!!!

Modern Greeks “extol” and “identify” with the civilization of their ancient ancestors because they are “in constant contact” with the various components of this dynamic ancient culture through their country’s “public education” as well as through a “traditional family upbringing”. A “public education” which is directed and controlled by “honest” and “moral” black robed head clerics of the Greek Orthodox Church and a “traditional family upbringing” formulated by “values”, “customs” and “habits” which spring from the long and dark historical periods of Byzantine and Ottoman rule(more than 1,500 years) when a Greek person’s social status could be defined by the term “rayas”, a social designation initiated by the Ottomans( raya- turkish word for someone who has a servile attitude towards another). Which means a “subservient person” and not a “free person” , with everything that this entails. Suggesting all those human “distortions” and “perversities” which thrive from this “emaciated human condition” of the Greek Historical Past. Therefore looking at the present, we “modern Greeks” should not pretend and fool ourselves!!!

Since we are now talking about the present, I would like to quote a brief “political headline” and a brief “political commentary” which I read in a popular but reputable greek daily newspaper “Ethnos”( the Nation) in its Monday issue, May 31,2010. In this particular political article, there is a brief analysis related to the “Siemens Scandal” in Greece, after the Internal Revenue Service had made a first examination of “the black list” of illegal money recipients which this Service had confiscated from the central offices of Siemens in Athens. The list detailed “illegal payments” (briberies) made during the last 15 years to “Greek Citizens” who possessed the necessary social, political and financial clout to promote the products and the economico-political interests of this giant multinational German company within greek territory, but also elsewhere!!! The brief headline says the following:”…In these 300 pages are revealed more than 15,000 money transfers whose recipients are politicians, officials of the state administration, trade unionists and journalists…” The brief political commentary states that “…From a “first check”(of the black list), the Internal Revenue Service spotted the names of politicians, top civil servants of the state administration, employees and trade unionists of the State Communications Company (OTE) and quite a few journalists, who all had received “presents”(in kind or cash, this is now being investigated), which in some cases reached the amount of 100,000 euros…” (trans. from greek) (greek daily newspaper “Ethnos”, May 31,2010). It is estimated that this “black list” of Siemens Enterprise may represent 100 million euros in “bribery payments” to Greek Citizens, while officials of the Internal Revenue Department believe that this is just “the tip of the iceberg” relative to Greece’s “black economy” which involves the large majority of Greek Citizens. A “black economy”(real income not declared) which has “decimated” the future and the national integrity of this country which all Greeks seem to “rave about”, but in practical and substantial terms they ignore; tragically for themselves, for their children and all future generations of this “sacred land”!!!

All of Modern Greek Civilization, starting from the foundation of the Modern Greek State in 1830 until the present, represents a mosaic or a “political culture” which in its “virtual” or “iconic” description as presented by a large section of modern greek literature, modern greek history, modern greek political philosophy, modern greek education(material and human resources) and modern Greek Orthodox Theology, is identified with a “heroic”, “dynamic”, “harmonious” and “well integrated” socio-political structure, which thanks to the “inherent social sensitivities” and the “inherent democratic ideals” of its peoples, has been able to withstand all those “external” forces, real or metaphysical, which are constantly seeking to “undermine” and “dismantle” this nation. I personally believe that “the greek reality” is somewhat different, so it is up to us to unwind Ariadne’s ball of thread (greek mythology). We shall start with the creation of the Modern Greek State in the beginning of the 19th century, and utilizing genuine historical facts , authentic commentaries from authoritative and responsible personalities, as well as real social, political and economic events, not “myths”, we will try to present an “objective account” of who We really are. We will have to clarify “once and for all” who is Our Worst Enemy (as modern greeks), the “tyrant” from outside who wants to “subjugate” and “debase” us with dark “designs” and “schemes”, or is it the “tyrant” within us who is “omnipotent” because as “a peoples” and from a long, long time ago, we have stopped respecting and loving ourselves; we have stopped relating to the creative forces of life and nature which nourish us, and finally we have stopped living our own “unique personal reality” which is our “real signature” in “real life”!!!

About 4,000 years ago, various Greek tribes(based on language and religion) originating from Northern Europe, constructed a unique socio-cultural environment in various locations of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (Asia Minor, islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, Peloponnesus, Macedonia, Thrace, Epirus, Attica, etc.) which permitted and promoted the expression, the application and the development of a creative and dialectic thought process at all levels and involving all sectors of the “everyday life” of human beings. The geophysical characteristics of this particular territory(mild climate, rich in the basic food products, vast sea arteries for transportation), its geopolitical proximity to the first organized human civilizations like those of the Sumerians, the Egyptians and the Cretans, but also the temperament of these archaic peoples who were nomadic conquerors but who at the same time externalized a sophisticated perception of a socio-political and a religious collective participation , created the ideal social, economic and cultural preconditions for stimulating all human capabilities and abilities in all aspects of “everyday human existence”. The majority of the members of these Archaic Greek Tribes (information from the epic stories of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” composed by Homer) enjoyed the political rights, the social support and the multidimensional education which not only allowed them to become excellent fighting soldiers, but also excellent scientists, excellent artists, excellent writers and excellent philosophers. In comparison with all the other organised human communities or societies of that period on a world-wide basis, the Greek Archaic Tribes and Communities functioned as “open societies” as the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper(1902-1994) has explained. The “dogmatic” left political ideology many times has criticized and has even demonstrated a certain disdain towards the “creative miracle” of the Ancient Greek Civilization, pointing out the “historic fact” that in ancient Greek societies there was the established social institution of “slavery”. I personally believe that this position is “unscientific” because its criticism is based on “ethical values” and “social codes” which were defined much later on in human evolution, while at the same time it reminds me of the Judaeo-Christian concept of “human guilt” which was made popular by Saint Paul, but which means “absolutely nothing” in existential terms. I believe that all ancient peoples had “slaves” as “a means of production” , a serious ethical and social breach to human “dignity” and “personal freedom”, but always judging by today’s socio-political and moral standards, after thousands of years of human historical evolution. I believe that this “dogmatic leftist political attitude”, represents a “distorted” and a “dysfunctional” scientific analysis, because there is no “objective rationality” nor a “dialectic thought process”!!! Therefore, through this Ancient Greek Civilization, which was harsh, warlike and extreme, and most of the times undemocratic socio-politically as Greece is today, Humanity all the world over, came to understand that only under the proper socio-political and cultural conditions  which are reinforced with just laws and institutions, could “a human being” evolve, create and feel fulfilled, always as “an integral part of the whole”; of the community, of the society or of the state(the city-state in the case of the Greeks). These two particular socio-political institutions, this of the “member of a social community” and that of “the social community” itself, were integral social entities since the first “organized human communities” until the present. The “just social being” supports creatively the “social whole” (to which it belongs) through its social actions, social works and social practices, and the healthy and well balanced “social whole” which tends to and promotes the quality of life of all of its members, supports its every member through just institutions and laws, but also through its customs and traditions. This is the political position which Aristotle (384B.C.-322B.C.) tried to analyse and explain through his book “Politics”. It is a valuable “piece of knowledge” which most “educated modern Greeks” are fully ignorant about, as with the great works of so many Ancient Greek Philosophers, Ancient Greek Scientists and Ancient Greek Literary Writers, whom they say they admire but unfortunately know so very little about!!! This is also one of the “main reasons” why why Greece’s “modern political culture” is in such a “chaotic” and “stagnant” state.

From the creation of the “modern Greek state” in 1830, the social groups which have had the power and the influence, like the politicians, the landed gentry, the military, the academics, but especially the clerical leaders of the Greek Orthodox Christian Church, did not permit or allow the socio-cultural movement of “Enlightenment” to “take a foothold” in the country’s “political culture”, as it had occurred in all the other modern states of Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries!!!!!!

Here, we are going to quote a small piece from the teachings of Aristotle, as he himself recorded it down in his book “Politics”. This particular piece comes from the first unit of his book(A2,10), where he talks about “the birth of the city-state”. He says the following:”…Now, that man is more of a political animal than bees or any other gregarious animal is evident. Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vain, and man is the only animal whom she has endowed with the gift of speech. And whereas mere voice is but an indication of pleasure and pain, and is therefore found in other animals (for their nature attains to the perception of pleasure and pain and the intimation of them to one another, and no further), this power of speech is intended to set forth the expedient and inexpedient, and therefore likewise the just and unjust. And it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family(clan) and a state(city-state)(p.3.


May Aristotle be in our minds!!!