So the Greek tragedy continues with all the concomitant elements of farce that are inevitably associated with human endeavours.
We wait across Europe and the trading floors of the world with bated breath to see if a last minute compromise can be delivered that will save the blushes and credibility of Alex Tsipras and still not enrage the tax paying voters of Germany Finland Austria et al.
Reports from Athens this morning all seem to be reflecting a belief across the population that the EU is engaged in theatre and posturing but will in the end give in and lift the pall of what is called austerity. They maybe right.
Or they maybe utterly deluded.
It is that side of the story which I think is fascinating and needs to be pondered. The economics and politics we will return to in the coming days. In Ireland, in Spain, in Italy and most of all in Greece we have seen the advent of new radical voices demanding a new deal and a new vision for the bailed out and the heavily indebted. They believe that if we try hard (and probably squeeze the rich) we can find a way out of this mess that will be relatively pain free.
In the West we have developed a most unfortunate inability to face hard cruel reality. Infected by the dread utopianism of Marx and other Gnostics left-wingers and soi disant progressives desperately want to believe that every situation has a possible resolution. They want to believe that there are no truly hard questions and we can all be satisfied at all times. This is true of their approach to ethics as much as economics. We can find an answer which leaves us all with clean hands. We can all be saved.
The desire to meet every desire shines through the left’s approach to bioethics, abortion, euthanasia, infanticide. It is seen in their incoherent positions on the family, marriage, surrogacy and gender. We can meet everyone’s every need without compromising the life or happiness of any one else.
But we can’t. There is no pain free path to normality for Greece. In this case there is no good out come but merely the search for the least worse. We can debate whether it is better to have deep pain and more rapid recovery or a slower more gradual return to a sustainable state. We can try to work out ways where the most vulnerable are supported. No one wants to see Venezuela in Europe. However there is no moral duty for Hans Olaf Inga or Eloise to pay for what Aristotle could never really afford in the first place.
An alcoholic gourmand with a forty fag a day habit goes to his doctor with a liver problem. He may not like what his doctor tells him and the choice he faces is a deeply unpleasant prospect to him. But after thirty years of breakfasting on brandy this is what you get. Greece is in the doctors as we speak. This is not a moral judgement on Greeks and their governments, we can have that later. This is simply an iteration of the results of the blood tests.