Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Greece as Harbinger of Socialist Europe and perhaps the US

This well-written story does a good job of concretizing the situation in Greece, including its cause: the entitlement mentality bred by the socialist state. An excerpt:
Spray paint is ubiquitous, besmirching the marble steps leading up to the front of the Parliament, the walls and columns of the surrounding streets, and the storefronts in the nearby shopping district. The odor of urine is an unwelcome companion, not just in back alleys but along the sidewalks of major streets near the Parliament and along the walk to Hadrian’s Arch. Windows have been broken, marble walls and columns smashed.

Let’s be very clear about who is being targeted here. The shops that have been trashed are not just the chic brand names one finds in major cities all across Europe. No, these noble protestors have not confined their destruction to icons of wealth and power. They are equally destructive of small religious goods stores and assorted “Mom and Pop” establishments. They disrespect all businesses, small and large, in the same ugly fashion.

The police, union members after all, have done little to prevent the violence and property destruction. And their inaction, as we heard many say, has simply emboldened the thuggish elements among the protestors.

For ordinary Athenians the ongoing “occupation” has had a variety of unpleasant consequences. A young schoolteacher we know shops for her parents; they are afraid to leave their apartment. Other Athenian friends tell us that union thugs sympathetic to the “indignants” frequently intimidate ordinary citizens, whether they are shopping or going to work or simply out for a walk. This is understandable when one considers that the protestors’ goal is to bring everything to a halt. Quite simply, that means disrupting the public’s ability to carry on with daily life. People are told they should have known what would happen, they should stay off the streets.

The disruption, of course, is aimed at more than the general population. The strikes and other unannounced work stoppages cause electricity and water service outages frequently. Many of these are deliberately timed for late afternoon, to maximize discomfort for tourists checking into hotels, for restaurants preparing evening meals (it’s tough to cook and wash dishes without electricity or hot water), for merchants trying to make sales at the peak shopping time of day (electronic cash registers and inventory systems go “down” when the power fails), and so on.

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