Friday, June 15, 2012

Greeks voting in anger cannot expect anything different from Syriza

by Paschos Mandravelis


June 15, 2012

Anger is not a good adviser, especially in politics. That is why informed, rather than emotional, voters make better decisions. Representative democracy has several filters built in to the decision-making process, not only for practical reasons, but to make sure that rationality prevails over emotion. We know from history that hasty emotional decisions have had tremendously negative consequences. They have led to several catastrophes, civil wars, bloodshed and international isolation.

Democracy needs people to participate with their minds, not their guts. This is why the democratic system pays a significant cost, in time and money, to examine every potential future consequence of a decision – even though in times of emergency or crisis, democracy seems to be inefficient, and almost incapable, of solving problems as fast and as radically as the situation demands. Democracy filters out transient feelings, increasing the chances that the right decision will be made in the long run.

But Greeks are right now full of a jumble of mixed emotions and feelings. They are consumed by anger, disappointment and hopelessness. That is why they appeared to vote almost at random in the last elections on 6 May, which left no party capable of forming a government. Not only did they quadruple the percentage of the vote for the leftist grouping Syriza (4.6% in 2009 to 16.8% in 2012) but they also gave 23 times more votes to the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party (0.3% in 2009 to 7% in 2012). They didn't vote for, they voted against. We should not be sidetracked by the fact that a leftist party came second and now is in with a chance of winning on Sunday. After all, a populist rightwing party, the Independent Greeks, was formed only a few months ago and gained, out of nowhere and without proposing anything, 10% of the electorate.


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