A Greek member of parliament told me recently that tax reform was "almost impossible" to achieve because "our tax system is run by the Mafia." I laughed and said that many countries had people who thought of their tax collectors that way. "No, no," the parliamentarian insisted. "I mean that organized crime really runs the tax agencies for their benefit, taking a cut of the reduction in taxes they give out to citizens. Every person appointed to reform the system has been pushed out. Respect for authority is nil."Jim Geraghty points out a piece from last summer which suggests a remedy for the Greek tragedy:
It increasingly looks as if Greece is on the verge of collapse, a sad condition for the nation that gave us democracy and so much of our civilized heritage 2,500 years ago. But the Greeks should have been warned. It was in the famous Greek tragedies that the concept of hubris was explored -- the notion that excessive pride or defiance of the gods leads to disaster. How Greece recovers will depend in part on how much its people take that lesson to heart and start rebuilding.
I feel a bit like Bill Frezza wrote last summer:Even better, we could ship all the Commie professors over there and let them put their faculty lounge theories into practice so we can see how wise they are. I'd almost pay to see that.
What the world needs, lest we forget, is a contemporary example of Communism in action. What better candidate than Greece? They've been pining for it for years, exhibiting a level of anti-capitalist vitriol unmatched in any developed country. They are temperamentally attuned to it, having driven all hard working Greeks abroad in search of opportunity. They pose no military threat to their neighbors, unless you quake at the sight of soldiers marching around in white skirts. And they have all the trappings of a modern Western nation, making them an uncompromised test bed for Marxist theories. Just toss them out of the European Union, cut off the flow of free Euros, and hand them back the printing plates for their old drachmas. Then stand back for a generation and watch.
Mind you, Frezza thinks Communism would be disastrous for Greece. But who are we to save them from themselves?