7 March 2013

Dag van de complimentjes

- door de koningin, die zeer goed het verschil kan appreciëren tussen complimentjes en sweet talk

Die georganiseerde kinderachtigheid in onze samenleving! Alsof complimentjes niet meer dan een soort luxueuse verwenkuur zijn. Waarbij vergeten wordt dat complimenten moeten verdiend worden om geloofwaardig te zijn. Al die professionele opvoeders die vergeten hun rol van volwassene te spelen, omdat zij zelf nooit hun adolescentie ontgroeid zijn. En niets anders kunnen dan kinderachtig doen tegen kinderen, die op die manier natuurlijk mismeesterd worden.

Goed zijn op school is normaal, daarvoor ga je tenslotte naar school. Slecht zijn vraagt om uitleg. Alleen wanneer het uitzonderlijk goed is is een compliment verdiend: wanneer de volwassene zelf verbaasd is en dus ook eerlijk zijn bewondering kan uitdrukken. Educatieve complimentjes zijn vooral een toegave aan het belangengeöriënteerde denken: je moet kinderen belonen. Geen wonder dat de kinderen de complimentjes ook alleen zo opvatten, en er dan gaan om vragen! Tracy: je zegt alleen maar dat het slecht is, nooit dat het goed is, met 6 jaar, toen zij begon te schrijven en altijd weer haar potlood verkeerd vasthield. Het was gewoon niet goed genoeg!

Philip Greenspun on MIT as a 'no praise zone': when you did alright, nobody said anything; when you were having difficulties, you got an answer to your questions like: "you're having trouble with that problem because you don't know anything and aren't working hard enough".

Kickers Dixmille Sandalen voor de Koningin (rechtervoet zonder voet noch tenen)

Sweet talk is iets helemaal anders dan 'complimentjes', en zoals iedereen kan ik er niet genoeg van krijgen: hoe minder verdiend, hoe beter! Voor mij, voor mij, voor mij, het centrum van mijn wereld! Keizertje is vaak te moe om eraan te denken, en ik het doe het dan maar zelf. Ik doe graag dingen zelf. Koop mij een paar sandalen in de Kickers-shop voor €55, verrast als ik was dat zij zo mooie sandalen maken, en bewonder dan luidop mijn eigen voeten en tenen! Luidop, nietwaar, als hij moe is is dat nodig om de aandacht te trekken. En om de aandacht is het mij tenslotte te doen, niet om de sandalen. En om wat daaruit volgt, natuurlijk. En als er iets volgt, dan beperk ik mijn sweet talk geenszins tot mijn eigen voeten en  tenen, wat had je gedacht. Dan zijn er geen grenzen meer die niet overschreden mogen worden! La joie innée d'exister! 

Idiocy in world politics and how to draw attention to it, or draw attention away from the idiots

- from our correspondent at the Augean Stables

I very much agree with Joanne's thinking impulse. Only, expressing just the wish is not enough, you have to ask yourself the question: what can be done to make it happen?

Argueing with George Galloway is not going to draw the attention away from him. For that you would need to draw the attention to somewhere else. Normally the most effective way to draw attention is by setting yourself up as the center of attention. That's what Israel should do: by accusing the world of routinely denying the crime against humanity of which Israel is a victim since 1948, i.e. for 65 years now, no less. And Israel could easily do that, because it is true and easy to prove.

I wrote an email to Angela Merkel saying the same thing, but got no reply yet. They cannot very well reply officially: you must be out of your mind, not even Israel is making such an absurd claim. Because that would involve them in an explicit denial of the crime. Not replying on the other hand leaves them the excuse of not having received my message (it was 'lost').

Dionissis, I think, is reading too much psychology into Western politics (holocaust shame or guilt, inferiority complex towards Jewish morality), and the subconscious is an empty concept in any case. Unconsciousness or unawareness on the other hand is very much at the center of Western political decisions with regard to the 'conflict': unconsciousness of the inconsequential attitude that recognises Israel's 'right to exist' without recognising at the same time that those who are refusing to make peace with Israel are the criminals responsible for the conflict and not its victims. Unconsciousness which is dangerous because it can lead to well-intentioned decisions that are wrong, self-defeating, and amounting to blaming the victims themselves for their unfortunate fate.

To Wygart I would say: political attitudes towards the 'conflict' are more of a sideshow in Western politics, not symptoms of some new menace to democracy (beyond the usual). Which isn't meant to say that making wrong decisions in the Israel-islamist conflict cannot have seriously menacing consequences for Western civil society. But the Jews now have a state. That state should behave like any other state, and not like a Jewish state. It should accuse the world, and especially the Western democracies, of being inconsequential and anti-semitic by not recognising Israel's right to exist in peace. George Galloway is an idiot; Jakob Augstein also is an idiot, and a far more influential one, I would think; but they are not really valuable targets: the valuable targets are David Cameron and Angela Merkel. And it is my conviction that there are still enough decent Europeans who feel ashamed of their governments' participating in that charade of a 'peace process' that rehabilitates the criminals. They may even be a majority. But they are quite naturally a silent majority that will never step up to shout down the loud-talking intellectuals and politicians occupying the front of the scene. The only chance you have to get this silent majority to express itself (find itself some representatives to speak out for them) is by creating a focal point for them in public discourse. In Germany, this debate about Jakob Augstein's condemnation by the Simon Wiesenthal Center looks like a great opportunity to do that. The Israeli government should adopt a leading role in seizing that opportunity. (I mean, Jakob Augstein is defending Günter Grass's assertion that it is nuclear Israel that has become the principal menace to world peace! And he seems to be winning the debate! How can the Israeli government NOT react to such irresponsible and idiotic nonsense? In my opinion, they cannot simply leave that kind of defense to the SWC. It would be a show of unconscious irresponsibility on their part not very dissimilar of the irresponsibility displayed by the European governments themselves. Moreover, Angela Merkel herself has already complained(!) that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the German government to maintain a reasonable stance with these idiotic nonsensical ideas gaining traction in German public opinion. The Israeli government should take her up on her own words and show her how she, as chancellor, is supposed to deal with such idotic nonsensical ideas.) This is a fight. A fight Israel must win (i.e. cannot afford to lose - and Richard Landes is of course right that Europe can also not afford to lose it): in such cases you must go for the jugular, because there is no other way to win the fight. There is now a 65-year long history that proves that point, I would think.

Sure, Richard Landes says such things as well, but I see it either as part of his blogging style ('fisking') or as part of a larger explanation, from which I tend to take things selectively by applying Occam's razor. That's all I wanted to say, as I am far more interested in understanding politics by reducing the explanation than by enhancing it. And fundamentally I am convinced that the most powerful explanations are the 'negatives', the things not said and done that would make a real difference.

Miss Israel 2013 IDF Nominees

But Dionissis, the IDF women you showed me before were lovely! Why would I reconsider? I never doubted they knew how to defend themselves, but the thoughts they gave me were not thoughts of abduction or stabbing, God forbid! Mind you, in the mean time I learned a bit about how to defend myself with a pocket-knife, because when I was bragging earlier about running around with my pocket-knife in my pocket I didn't have the slightest idea of how the knife is to be held and used, except for peeling an apple. Someone showed me, and I'm better prepared now, although still much less interested in confrontation than in seduction.

The psychology I would be interested in is that of the 72 black-eyed houris. Here is a compilation from islamic sources you can find on the wikipedia page on houris: "a houri is a girl of tender age, having large breasts which are round (pointed), and not inclined to dangle, ... with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes, ... her sweat will smell like musk." These same people then complain about houris being used in Western adverts for lingerie or cars. OK, I tend to agree that it is a form of wasteful underemployment for houris. But these people also shoot living houris through the head with kalashnikovs! And then bomb pizzerias with people inside or fly airplanes into tall buildings also with people inside only to get their imaginary houris in paradise! That's not shortsightedness. It's more like toofarsightedness! I once suggested the idea of forming a living houri brigade to teach these boys some sense to a Moroccan girl in that same café. And she didn't find the idea stupid! She wasn't afraid of my staring either. And not interested at all in covering her hair. Which was lush and not something that should be covered. On my demand she uncovered more things for me. So sometimes you can see glimpses of hope. But they are rare, far too rare to make a difference. (Philippe Sollers made a big splash in 1983 with his book on "Femmes": "Le monde appartient aux femmes, c.à.d. à la mort. Là-dessus tout le monde ment." He made a big splash, but nobody listened, as usual.)

Jewish Nakbah (Pierre Rehov) - Jewish Girl with Franz Kafka's Eyes

PS: The same Moroccan young woman (30) said very nice things about Jewish people she had known in her childhood in Morocco. It wasn't always clear to me what she really meant, because I had thought that these Jewish people had been driven out before her birth. But we agreed entirely that it is all such a waste of human happiness! And all because of politics, and the general stupidity to fall into that trap of expecting good things from politics. That was mainly my conclusion, because she couldn't anymore follow me there, thought that the big people who had studied so much more than her probably knew what they were doing! People taken individually always should know better. But for that they need to trust themselves. Which they don't, most of the time. If I knew how to insert pictures into these comments, I would show you another fascinating Jewish girl having Franz Kafka's eyes, a picture I took from Pierre Rehov's film on the "Jewish Nakbah". She's behind bars, and there is a smugly smiling soldier guarding her. I find it an emblematic picture of this 'politics destroying human happiness' idea. Westerners tend to brag about 'freedom', but most of the time they don't know what they are talking about, reducing their idea of freedom to either political freedom (elections) or economic freedom (choosing your model of a car). It's childish and stupid. Muslims, and even islamists like Sayyid Qutb, often complain quite sensibly about that emptiness in Western life. I would think that that is also a good subject for a dialogue with them. Do you know of a good islamic blog where one could try to do that?


PPS: About the silent majority of decent people: I remember my Belgian grandmother almost spitting on her own carpet each time Yassir Arafat appeared on the news! "Den duvel" (the devil), she simply called him, missing the words and education for a fuller explanation of her thinking.

5 March 2013

Chef van Mogadishu

- by the emperor, having had a bit of luck when zapping through TV channels before putting on some music

Saw it on VRT Canvas, on Somalia and some man (Ahmed Jama Mohamed) coming back from London to rebuild his businesses by investing some of the profits from his London restaurant: 4 restaurants and a beach resort 'The Village' at Jazira Beach.

He is also into politics in a natural human manner: feeding the tribal elders regularly in order to attract them to his position. But doesn't really like it, because it makes him even more of a target to the islamists than he already is, with Al Shabaab attacking him and his businesses (one 'successful' suicide attack).

The man is very interesting, but the journalist doesn't ask him at all how he became who he is. The journalist is sort of dumb, talks about brave idealism, but doesn't understand a thing about the natural law: Ahmed is presented as some admirable dreamer, but the really important things will have to come from politics. He also doesn't go into the matter of the islamist threat. They are just awful terrorists to him, without having any link to the islamic belief system. Big omenous words ("country at the crossroads"), no real understanding, as usual on TV. 

Politieke roep om reddingsoperaties, of: zijn politici nog te redden?

- van de koningin, die het eigenlijk ook eens in Italië wil bekijken, het politieke spel en zijn meest ontmaskerende protagonisten Berlo en Beppe

Dat zat er wel aan te komen natuurlijk, nadat de Grieken het hen met succes hebben voorgedaan, dat ook de Italianen onze onvermoeibare eurocrisis-bestrijders een neus zouden zetten! Nu nog de Portugezen. En waarom niet allemaal? Tegen de onmenselijke door Europa opgelegde austeriteit? Elio di Rupo en Paul Magnette zijn zoals steeds bereid ons de anti-kapitalistische weg te wijzen. 

Afgrijselijk worden ze genoemd, de afdankingen in de industrie. Slagen in het gezicht. De Europese industrie moet beschermd worden! Door wie? Door de Europese industriële politiek, natuurlijk, en de zich daarmee bezig houdende politici, dat is gemakkelijk te raden. Waarmee? Met regels, sociale en milieuregels, wat anders, en wereldwijd als het kan. Waartegen? Dat is heel wat minder duidelijk, maar logischerwijze zou je vermoeden dat de industrie vooral tegen de industriëlen moet beschermd worden. Die kennen er tenslotte zo weinig van dat zij vooral de afbouw van economische activiteiten lijken na te streven. Geobsedeerd als ze zijn door ingebeelde politieke vijanden aan wie ze slagen in het gezicht willen verkopen. Dat zij daarbij kapitaal verliezen lijkt hen weinig te deren, en in voorspoedige winstvooruitzichten willen ze al even weinig geloven. Waar zoeken die kapitalistische industriëlen toch hun eigenbelang?

De industriële politiek is dus dringend aan een heropwekking toe. Tijdens mijn recente studeerwerk in de politieke wetenschappen heb ik nochtans vernomen dat zelfs de Fransen de industriële politiek aan het einde van de jaren '70 opgegeven hadden. En die hadden dus een paar decennia ervaring met economische planning en sturende overheidsinterventies in de industrie. Eerder slechte weliswaar, zoals die mislukte poging om van Honeywell Bull een te duchten Frans-Britse concurrent voor IBM te maken. Zonder het minste vermoeden dat de echte concurrent natuurlijk uit een onvoorspelbare hoek zou komen, de hoek van Microsoft en Apple, en zonder de minste overheidssteun, hetgeen eigenlijk niet zou mogen.

Tja, wat moet een politicus doen, indien vooral de mislukkingen goed voorspelbaar zijn, en de echte succesverhalen alleen maar uit onvoorspelbare hoeken komen? Niets doen lijkt geen slechte keuze op het eerste gezicht, maar voor een politicus is dat uitgesloten, hij moet toch met iets zijn stemmen verdienen. Door met goedbedoelde initiatieven mislukkingen in te zamelen kan hij nog altijd een paar stemmen verdienen met zijn goede bedoelingen. Door de zaken gewoon op hun beloop te laten brengt hij zich in een onmogelijke positie om zijn verdienste aan te tonen voor die onvoorspelbare successen. Hij kan ze tenslotte zo weinig voorspellen als iemand anders.

Wijze oude man Anthony de Jasay heeft altijd wel een paar ideetjes over hoe actieve politici die meer willen doen dan nietsdoen hun energie zouden kunnen steken in het weer afbreken van alles wat zij in hun ijverigheid hebben opgebouwd. Hij argumenteert daarbij overtuigend dat de afbraak-politici grote onvoorspelbare successen zouden kunnen hebben, en in zijn laatste stukje zelfs, ook al gehad hebben, zoals Gerhard Schröder met zijn arbeidsmarkthervorming in Duitsland: "One size fits all, but not well: collective bargaining conceals and may waste a rich source of productivity." De in de vergelijking toch redelijke Duitse kiezers hebben het toen wel evenmin begrepen als de Italianen het vandaag hebben willen begrijpen van Mario Monti, dat afbraak voor vooruitgang kan zorgen. 

28 February 2013

On Hitler, the Nazis, and the question of genocide

On Hitler, the Nazis, and the question of genocide

(This is my way of understanding it. I may be wrong here and there about facts, but if these errors do not really matter for my understanding, I would like to avoid a discussion of these irrelevant errors, or more simply, I do not intend to participate in it.)

With the Jews, the Nazis and even Hitler were not genocidal from the beginning. The 'Jewish problem or disease (including bolshevism)' of German society were one of the two obsessions of Hitler, the other was about the menace to Germany coming from the Russians, with whom he was much more openly genocidal, and whom he wanted to either exterminate or push out of Europe in order to create Lebensraum for Germany and get to the Caspian oil resources. (I'm summarising what I think Rudolf Augstein worked out quite convincingly over his career as a journalist-historian.) If Hitler could have passed on the 'Jewish disease' to the rival powers of Germany, he would have preferred that. But they didn't let him.

When the Nazis became genocidal with the Jews, they didn't do so openly, far from it. They were criminals, and in their heart they knew it. So they covered up their crimes from the outset, what else would you expect criminals to do? And that's why we will never completely find out about how it really went: this is like an unbelievable detective story nobody will ever elucidate. And the German Jews were Germans, not really different, and therefore as much affected by the pneumopathology as the Germans. Which would explain why they didn't know how to defend themselves any better than the other Germans against the ideological and political (democratic) derailment, that started much earlier than in 1933.

The question "how ordinary Germans allowed things to reach the point where genocide was normal", in my view is an ambigous question. For one, genocide was never normal, and certainly not in the sense that ordinary Germans found it normal. So in a way they were always right when they said "wir haben es nicht gewusst", if 'wissen' is understood as "we knew that an (open) genocide against the Jews was being committed and we all knowingly made up our mind to find that normal". When you understand the question as "how the spiritual and thereby enabled political derailment in which ordinary Germans participated led to a point where this genocide became at all possible" on the other hand, the question makes a lot of sense, I think. But it becomes then a very complex question that is much more about understanding pneumopathology and politics than about historical facts of the nazi-period.

Methodological individualism: ordinary Germans were people with their individual horizon and understanding of the world they were living in. On this blog of all places we are very conscious of the disorientation caused by the MSNM in particular and public discourse in general. It was very much the same at that time. I also asked my mother about what they heard on the radio. Goebbels, she answered, announcing: "Ab heute wird zurückgeschossen!" That was in 1939, and she was 10 then, but she remembered it first hand. Germany was under attack! Again! After Versailles and all that injustice it had already had to swallow! How do you want ordinary Germans to see through all that, especially as some of it (Versailles) was not altogether wrong?

Did you ever read Max Weber's memo after he resigned in complete disappointment: "Bemerkungen zum Bericht der Kommission der alliierten und assoziierten Regierungen über die Verantwortlichkeit der Urheber des Krieges"? J.M. Keynes's "The Consequences of the Peace" also contains that disappointment, but in a more forward looking way. And Max Weber may have been somewhat volatile in his early years, but he was no criminal. He actually was very sensitive to the 'pneumopathology', but unable to figure it out theoretically. And that intellectual and practical helplessness broke him as a man. It makes me cry, right now, while writing this down, when I think of him! If he had had Voegelin to learn from, and had become President of the Weimar Republic, there would have been a chance of an attempt to try a different history for Germany. But that's dreaming, isn't it?

I have other such dreams, about Ludwig Bamberger and Otto von Bismarck, after 1870. Ludwig Bamberger was Jewish, and had married into the von Bischoffsheim family to become a banker (Paribas). He was a classical liberal who understood economics and capitalism, and who admired Bismarck for very good reasons after German unification. But he didn't see it either, just as Max Weber later couldn't see it. The chance they had with Bismarck, instead of fighting his so-called anti-democratic authoritarianism in order to get to the executive power, to take him on his word and to use the legislative power they had to keep the executive power in its place. In that dream, Bismarck would have understood and cooperated from his side of the executive power. Bismarck somewhere expresses the idea that objectively he thinks of himself as a republican. But he disliked theoretical speculation in politics, and as long as there was no true liberal on the other side of the legislative power to make him a proposal, he wasn't going to investigate it any further. In that dream Germany would have become the first lawful democracy in Europe. The first anti-political and truly civil polity. And in that same dream we would now live in a completely different Europe, with government capturing no more that 5% of national income, and not 50%. And in a world without a single Jewish Holocaust memorial.

These are speculative dreams, I know. The kind of speculative dreams you start to develop once you've understood Frank Van Dun's theory of natural law and Eric Voegelin's idea of pneumopathology. If the disorder of the human world comes from the disorder of the human spirit, why not dream of an ordered world in accordance with the order of the human spirit you find in yourself? And in my speculative mood, I would think that that dream is not all that different from a very particular (!) idea some at least have had in the past of the catholic church.

Envy and shortsightedness in world politics (a few more speculative dreams)

- from our correspondent at the Augean Stables

(1) Without British naval power envy there would have been no Bolshevik communism in Russia

I'm not going to praise Russian czarist rule, but why did the British have to choose the side of the Muslim Ottoman Empire against Christian Russia? Why not let Russia have the straits? It is at least certain that Russian society would have developed differently if that access to the Mediterranean had been available to the Russian economy.

(2) Without French civilisational envy there would have been no WWI, no WWII and no Holocaust

French envy of Germany is certainly the cause of the 1870 war, which then led to WWI. Russia and France were the only European powers with clear political goals that could only be achieved by a general war. France egged on Russia, knowing very well that Germany would respond by a declaration of war. That declaration of war the French in their childish self-righteousness used after the war to burden Germany with the sole responsibility for the war and to impose Versailles. (Germany could not win a defensive war against Russia and France when her territory was invaded. This had to do with the source of her military capabilities - industry and railroads - which they could not allow to be disrupted by an invasion. This strategic constraint was known at least to military strategist all over Europe and the reason behind the German saying that mobilisation was the equivalent of a declaration of war. And honest as they were, when Russia went from partial to general mobilisation the Germans did what they had said they would do and started their defensive war. I am of course aware of the 'Fischer controversy'. I just find that in Max Weber's writings you can find much more plausible and convincing explanations for these ideological expressions of German imperialism.)

(3) Without French economic envy there would have been no carving up of Africa

French envy of British industrial superiority and trade advantages led them to follow a statist and protectionist colonial policy, to which the British then had to adapt by giving up their preference for indirect rule.

My purpose is not to start an endless discussion of facts. It is to ask whether it makes any sense at all to derive such a general understanding of the multitude of facts by summarising them.

I very much think that it does make sense. Not in the sense of establishing 'true history', but in the sense of working out an interpretation of history that can become useful in a political dialogue aimed at making the right political choices. History isn't only a matter of facts. Historical interpretation is also a matter of politics. And this happens inevitably, so that interpretations that are much worse than the one I'm offering may actually become (or have indeed become) decisive for the making of political choices.

I also would assume that there is a clear connection between envy and shortsightedness. Uncontrolled envy typically attaches itself to the apparent source of envy (which becomes the enemy) and not to the ultimate source (oneself). It is a source of disorder and of war, whereas controlled envy would lead to orderly development in competition with others, by trying to catch up in one's own development instead of preventing others from following theirs.

Shortsightedness for all practical purposes means that the decision is made on the basis of the more immediate goal or motive while the ulterior goal or motive is discarded. Whether the one making the decision is aware of it or not is practically irrelevant.

In politics we must of course distinguish between various actors, and my general interpretations of history were concerned with imaginary actors that are representative of the general mass of people involved. I don't think these imaginary representative actors do exist in reality, or have anything to say in politics, e.g. an ordinary citizen having speculative dreams about politics such as myself. But that's exactly why I find these interpretations interesting, as well as the whole question of how a civil society, i.e. the general mass of people involved, could find a way to represent itself in public discourse, or rather, in public dialogue.

Once you start examining the real actors involved in political decision making, it very quickly becomes clear that what appeared as envy and shortsightedness in the general and representative interpretation is easily explained by a motivation that is entirely different, namely the motivation of the real actors.

That was the central point of Philip Greenspun's article on Israel. And in my own explanation of what is needed to get peace negotiations started for the Israel-islamist conflict, I also clearly said that the whole Palestinian political leadership must be banished. Or better even, hanged. (I'm all in favour of the death penalty for political criminals, because the burden of proof can often be easily met, i.e. the disrespect of the natural law in the obvious cases is so enormous that there can remain no doubt. That is also the meaning of the quote from Democritus: "It is needful to kill the enemy, whether a wild or creeping thing or a human being.")

The general and representative interpretations of history are important because the real actors willfully exploit misrepresentations as a useful fiction behind which they can hide themselves together with their true motives. That was indeed my starting point: these general interpretations of history are a matter of politics, they are the symbolic battleground for representation of the mass of the people involved. 

Or in a few words: the apparent envy and shortsightedness in the general and representative interpretations of history are proof of the political disrespect of the natural law. 

27 February 2013

Verdraaide verdraaingen in de Standaard van 2013-02-23

- door de koningin, die er niet in geslaagd is om aan dit stukje een leuke draai te geven

Jef Verschueren vindt dat het grote taboe op vergelijkingen met de jaren '30 van de vorige eeuw gelijkstaat aan een weigering om vergelijkingspunten te zien waar ze hun wezenlijke grond hebben, namelijk in het vergoelijkende discours dat 'de afweerdrempel tegen echt totalitarisme' verlaagt. Hij zegt er niet bij wat er nu vandaag eigenlijk vergoelijkt wordt zoals in de jaren '30, noch tegen welk totalitarisme er afweer geboden is. Hij suggereert dat die twee vragen al beantwoord zijn en hij er gewoon overheen kan gaan. Zijn suggestie is niets anders dan een intentieproces: hij gaat er van uit dat het zogenaamde taboe dat hij waarneemt tegen vergelijkingen met de jaren '30 een ontkenning is van vaststaande en niet verder te bewijzen totalitaristische tendenzen. Hij doet dus door het taboe aan te vallen juist hetzelfde als diegenen die door het taboe geviseerd worden: een ongegronde vergelijking maken met de jaren '30. Het taboe op ongegronde vergelijkingen met de jaren '30 moet bijgevolg dringend uitgebreid worden tot Jef Verschueren en andere opiniemakers die gewoon om het even wat beweren om hun vooringenomen gelijk te halen tegen de vanzelfsprekende politieke vijand. Want als er iets is dat aan de jaren '30 doet denken, dan is het dat: een enkel door machtsstreven gemotiveerde ideologische vooringenomenheid tegen een ingebeelde vijand.

Paul Goossens heeft dezelfde neiging om te redeneren dat alles wat niet naar zijn sociaal-democratische zin is aan de ingebeelde kapitalistische vijand kan toegeschreven worden en dus ondemocratisch is. Indien decennia van sociaal-democratische politiek de Europese welvaartsstaat in een schuldencrisis hebben doen belanden, dan zijn alle pogingen om die schuldencrisis te bedwingen natuurlijk ondemocratisch en kapitalistisch: een nadrukkelijk teken dat het "economisch systeem de democratische bedding" probeert te verlaten, zoals hij dat in zijn suggestieve taal niet alleen verwoordt maar zelfs denkt te bewijzen. Dat de schuldencrisis pas ontstaan is omdat de door de democratische regeringen daartoe aangezette banken altijd gerekend hebben op de onbereidwilligheid van de democratische regeringen om de no-bailout clausule waarop de Europese muntunie gebouwd was ook hard te maken heeft volgens hem natuurlijk niets met democratie te maken. Zo weinig als het bewijs van die onbereidwilligheid van de democratische regeringen bij de eerste dreiging van een overheidsfaling in Griekenland. Waartegen hij zich dan eigenlijk wil verzetten door een radicalisering van de democratie te eisen is in zijn geheel onduidelijk. Er valt alleen maar te vrezen dat een man met zoveel onverstand van de feitelijke gang van zaken en al evenveel ideologische vooringenomenheid daadwerkelijk gelooft dat een radicalisering van de democratie de schuldencrisis en het wantrouwen van de schuldeisers gewoon weg kan decreteren. Wat voor een democraat niet waar kan zijn, hoeft alleen maar weggestemd te worden, dat is tenslotte democratie: het primaat van de kinderachtigheid en de onverantwoordelijkheid. En eigenlijk heeft hij dat nog niet zo slecht gezien.