Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | January 26, 2014

Democracy Now — Greece is Lost

Ancient Athens, when seen across the hill from Acropolis, is but a small piece of barren land. Yet this exactly, is the miracle to behold. A miraculous achievement of a little city governed by a Free and determined People, as head of a Commonwealth of free city states, that spawned the arts, sciences, and all the wondrous achievements and inventions at the start of our Western World.

25 hundred years ago it was a heady time of synthesis and creation, based on a simple political innovation called democracy. And it took root in the Hill across from Acropolis. A hill named Pnyx.

Government by the people, for the people, and from the people is still called by it’s Greek name – Democracy – in all the Free States governed by Free Peoples across the world. This innovation married with simple rules led to the emergence and creation of our Western Civilization and it was simple in and of itself enough, to fulfill the requirements of creating this miracle.

But what are the ingredients or prerequisites of democracy?

The Anatomy of Democracy leads me to see 3 simple rules that absolutely need to be followed. 3 things that are unalterable if a Democratic republic can be successful as a Democracy or a failed state as modern Greece now appears to be.

3 Absolute Rules that need to be always followed: Justice, legal equality, and meritocracy. These three simple qualities alone suffice. But we should follow them as cardinal rules in order to succeed.

Let’s take it one by one.

Justice is represented best by the collective efforts of a Democratic People in a society that is collective and individual at the same time. And the just Demos allows for just contributions towards all according to their need and capacity. Justice is the highest form of Democracy. It is a just and almost religious ethic, and it all adds up to a well functioning Democratic state and a winsome Republic. Collective effort means that every citizen is expected to participate with all his strength, yet, this does not mean that everyone has the same opportunities nor carries the same burden. If citizen A has twice the power of citizen B — he must lift double weight to the collective effort. If the opposite happens, there is no justice. This applies to taxation, representation and the same applies to penalties, which must always be proportionate to the offense and applied judiciously to the offenders, not to punish and exact revenge, but to educate and reform.

Equality in front of the law is the simple glue of Democracy. Cleisthenes the father of Democracy spoke thus, and it has to be so because according to Pericles, who really put Democracy on steroids and produced the Golden Era of this Public Administration — it is the key ingredient. He says regarding equality: In a democracy all citizens are equal before the law and the first to have to obey the law are the rulers. All citizens have to respect the laws, not by fear, but out of respect.

Meritocracy is the rising up of the Individual which means that any office or position shall be filled by the ablest person, because only then the best public and private citizens serve the needs of the community. Nepotism, and political climbing, regardless of their personal value do not fit in democratic societies. Furthermore, there is no democracy without merit, which is the basic feature of any democratic state.

Given the principles of justice, fairness and equality in the eyes of the law, and meritocracy, we can see now how these simple rules created the miracle of Athenian democracy. Democracy, was the idea that the Athenian citizens never abstained from their duty to run for office, expose themselves to fighting elections, and always voting, as well as polling in every opportunity. They talked about politics and leaving matters to their leaders was unthinkable because it would mean leaving the fate of their country in the hands of an oligarchy. At the same time, according to Aristotle, a well-governed democratic state and demagoguery are mutually incompatible concepts and where demagogues exist — law and justice are not the supreme authority.

We conclude therefore that the glory and prosperity of the Athenian state attributed to democracy, was only achieved because justice, equality in front of the law, and meritocracy, were the rule of the day. This and eventually the maximum level of civic participation as an act of responsibility, propelled Democracy to the forefront as the crowning achievement of the Human Spirit, that led rise to all other traits of our Civilization today.

Let us now see if and how the above applies to the current Greek democracy.

Sadly we look and can’t find any of the three rules functioning.

And yet this is a good exercise because we looked hard, only to find the reasons that led us to the present day COLLAPSE.

In the context of justice: Guilty Citizens prosecuted for crimes or sentenced to imprisonment for several years are seen free sitting around drinking their coffee in expensive Athenian haunts undisturbed. Famous drug dealers acquitted in bought courts, when small time debtors and entrepreneurs who owe small amounts to the unyielding state are imprisoned as Victorian era debtors, in the last remaining debtors prison in Europe today.

In the area of ​​tax justice, the weak bear the burden of “the crisis” and the rich and powerful having enjoyed the benefits of their tax evasion — carry no burden whatsoever. The tax code justifies anything the corrupt tax men and tax women can swindle. The whole tax effort is not comprehensive and each citizen is trying, with whatever means available to escape the injustice this unjust system hurls in all directions.

The hope is that if there was a just tax system administering justice, each of the Greek Citizens in a common effort to exit from the crisis — would have lifted the weight he deserved in unison.

As regards meritocracy, leaders don’t emerge depending on their abilities, where there is nepotism. Where the meritocracy gets shattered we have idiots ruling because thus it befits the money and client state elites, leading to the offices of state being occupied by people mostly incompetent, not ambitious problem solvers, and folks prone to corruption. This is damaging and unsafe for the State and the Civil Service, because inadequate executives always choose ‘poorer’ inferiors, to cover up their own inadequacies and thus bankrupt the whole sector and government in an interminable vicious circle leading on an ever accelerating downward spiral. Thus the contribution to society is poor and the goal of development – and much more welfare – becomes an elusive dream. And if somewhere someone competent evades the Lilliputian system, they take the appropriate care to smear, slander, isolate, devalue his contribution, sack the project, and ultimately drive him out — thus justifying the removal of this ‘systemic risk.’

As for demagogy, this has become a national pastime, being the prevailing false political speech, exaggerations, and meaningless promises. So, according to Aristotle, democracy has given way to populism, which ally propaganda influences, and guides the electorate in the wrong for the public benefit options of a Democracy gone to the dogs.

Therefore, what we call democracy deficit is lack of political, social, and fiscal justice, a meritocracy deficit, and strong demagoguery. And the larger the deficit of democracy, as that is proven by the catalyzed institutions and violated laws — it increases the power, the influence, and the abundance of the oligarchy.

If these three values, justice, legal equality, and meritocracy were present, we would have had a real democracy and abstaining from the common practices would be a crime for any citizen. But today people largely believe that their vote is ineffective, and from being the highest expression of Democracy it turns into a liability act as it is seen as an endorsement of the practice of the corrupt political parties. This is reasonable assumption since the political parties rule as oligarchs, despite the apparent conflicts, contradictions and disagreements, because they have agreed to jointly manage an oligarchic regime, where the state wealth is the loot to be gained as the spoils of power. The thinking citizens rightfully say that current politicians hurry democracy and that the citizen’s vote in favour of rapists and pillagers of institutions and laws is not an act of responsibility.

Instead, they believe that abstinence is an act of respect for institutions manipulated by demagogues who aim to preserve a rogue rampant injustice, cronyism, lawlessness and demagoguery. Others, again, react even more strongly, supporting with their vote those extreme forces, who seek to destabilize, destroy institutions rather than focus on indirect and gradual cures of the political ills of Democracy. Sort of like the old remedy of when head hurts – you cut head…

The conclusion reached is that the current crisis is a crisis of Justice, legal equality, meritocracy, institutions, values, and vision. The current crisis is political, cultural, social and economic.

This is a national crisis – and as such it should be treated with the utmost of care.

To even have a hope of recovery and to overcome this national crisis requires a national plan, the guardian of which should be a new citizen entity. A vector will appear soon, if not tomorrow, and will give reason national, social, patriotic, capable of enlisting all healthy democratic forces in a common national goal.

I presume that JUSTICE is just such a goal.

This newfangled citizen led non-political organization will be moving in two arcs. Firstly, it should support a welfare state that provides quality health services, education, welfare and safety, and security — free to all citizens residing in the country, workers or unemployed nationals or foreigners, legal or otherwise, without distinction. The most important feature, however is the establishment of a democratic arc where the values ​​and institutions of justice, fairness, merit and participation, will be placed as top priority, and will embody the foundation on which we can built this national recovery plan to get the country out of the crisis. Because if we could serve the fundamental principles of democracy described above and if we restored the raped and pillaged institutions, the exit from the economic crisis will be swift.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

But who will undertake to lead this effort?

Surely, there are remarkable people who have what it takes.

But they are hiding behind the curtains fearing the coming Armageddon.

Reality is we know of some folks who have what it takes, because they have the right stuff, the personal quality, the diligence, the focus in honesty, democratic action, and understand the political path to get us out of the impasse and the morass.

Let us summon the courage and their virtues for all of us.

You can join them and be one of them at the organization site http://www.AJ4JD.org


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