Why many Greeks wanted to be part of the EU, and why they now fear losing their “European” identity

In addition to the standard liberal anxiety that the collapse of the monetary union will throw Europe back into antediluvian national and ethnic hatreds, Nicholas Sambanis writing in the New York Times provides a further reason why some Greeks in particular fear the end of the euro:

Some fear the social upheaval that a transition to the drachma would cause. Others worry that populist politicians would abandon all structural reforms without European oversight. But social psychology suggests that many Greeks might be desperately clinging to the last shreds of their European identity, because that gives them more self-esteem than the alternative—the Near Eastern or Balkan identity they have been trying to shed for decades. Greece’s wounded reputation makes some Greeks cling to their European identity. But even that may not last long.

That’s interesting. Modern Greece has not exactly been a high-prestige country. It is culturally and economically backward, deeply corrupt, and, of course, not completely European: when I visited Greece decades ago, just around the time the EU project was getting started, I felt I was no longer in the West, but in some half-slummy, half-exotic borderland between East and West. However, if Greece’s purpose in joining the EU was to become a completely European country, the leftist EU project was most certainly not the way to achieve it—especially given the remarkable fact that central to the EU project is the Islamization of Europe. The brutal reality is that the “European” project has always meant the destruction of Europe as a recognizable historical and cultural entity—the subjection of the homeland of the West to a post-national, post-Christian, rapidly Islamizing, bureaucratic egalitarian tyranny. So if Greece wanted to become a genuine Western country, the way to accomplish that aim was not via the apparent shortcut of membership in the anti-Western, anti-human juggernaut of the EU; it was via the genuine cultural, economic, and political advancement of Greece itself. Now whether Greece has the capacity for such self-improvement is questionable. But one thing is certain: You cannot become a Western nation in any meaningful sense by joining a leftist ideological project the aim of which is the destruction of the West and of the nations that have constituted it.

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James P. writes:

“Some fear the social upheaval that a transition to the drachma would cause.”

Translation: Some Greeks won’t like it when they have to work for a living and live within their means once again.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 27, 2012 06:38 PM | Send

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