“There stands the modern Greek”

This is heartbreaking to read, but I hesitate to accept it uncritically. Assuming I have any readership made up of people who have been to Greece, can anybody comment?


When duty and virtue have become antiquated terms that one only finds in books no one reads, we have a declining society entangled in the most petty and ephemeral affairs. Unburdened by the past, unimpeded from posterity, there stands the modern Greek: a person free of any civic and moral duties. The coming of the welfare state brought the monetarization of civic responsibilities and gradually degraded them to special interest sloganeering.

Unlike any other foe the Greeks faced in the past, the one that they face now has no armies laying siege to any walls. There are no occupiers trying to impose their customs and language, no military junta to imprison, torture or banish anyone. It is a foe that does not challenge their strengths but rather assuages their weaknesses. Instead of attacking the culture, it merely trivializes it by draining it of any transcendent qualities. There is no need to assail honesty, merit and hard work; they have simply been rendered irrelevant.

Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. (Hat tip: Rod Dreher.)


1 Response to ““There stands the modern Greek””

  1. 1 Anna 29 February 2008 at 9:16 pm

    As a brilliant Greek scientist/publisher/TV program writer once said to me: “Greece is a failed country”.

    I wish I could say something to the extent of “that article is sad but true”, but actually I don’t feel sad at all. .

    If anything, I feel angry after reading that article.
    I am angry at what Greeks have done to Greece.
    I am angry that Greeks have one of the most corrupt governments in the world.
    I am angry that students don’t realize how they are getting the shaft in their education, and then riot when someone tries bring about (good) changes.
    I am angry at the layers upon layers of red tape in the public sector; all the bureaucracy that you have to deal with in every day life.
    I am angry that Athens is buried in pollution.
    I am angry that Greeks have already forgotten about the forest fires that burnt down 10% of Greek forests last summer.
    I am angry that no one gives a crap about anyone outside of their immediate circle of friends and family.
    I am angry that Che and Castro are held up as shining examples of political revolutionaries.
    I am angry that Greeks have abandoned their Orthodox Faith.
    I am angry that in a couple generations there will be no more Greeks, since no one is having children.
    I am angry that the news on TV is 90 minutes of tabloid entertainment and no substance.
    I am angry when Greeks blame America for all their problems.
    I am angry when Greeks tell me that “this is Greece, you have no right to speak English here”.
    I am angry that anyone with an accent is mocked and treated as second-class citizen.

    I suppose it is facetious of me to say that I am not sad, only angry. For when I think about our heritage that came from the ancient Greeks and Byzantines; when I think about our revolutionary war and our resistance to the Italians and Nazis in WWII; when I think about the soulful music that Greeks produce; when I think about the glorious coastline and seas; when I think about our Orthodox Faith; when I think about the fun-loving, big-hearted spirit of Greeks, I get sad. Because all that is not enough to compensate for the destruction going on today.

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