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This is what passes for democracy in Greece… and America

July 14, 2011
Thessaloniki, Greece

Last night I had quite an unexpected surprise.

You see, at my hotel here in Thessaloniki, there’s a delegation from some group of the European Parliament called the Committee on Regional Development. They’re here to help… Hey, isn’t that what they always say? The Committee wants to supervise Greece working its way out of the debt crisis and make sure that Greece’s poor are getting the support they need.

The hotel’s restaurant was filled with these sycophantic parasites last night– an entire room full of people with a superiority complex who think that they are entitled to make decisions about other people’s lives and money.

They sat at dinner drinking fine wine and polishing up steak tartare making proud, bombastic proclamations about the virtues of foreign aid, the democratic process, and the great progress of Greece’s austerity measures.

Coincidentally, not 300 meters down the road, a campsite has been gathering for economic refugees, Thessaloniki’s former middle class that has been vanquished by the crisis. Some of the children swung by the restaurant’s outdoor terrace begging for change, only to be waved off by one of the delegate’s extended pinkie fingers as he sipped his wine.

It couldn’t have been more ironic… the perfect image of what passes for democracy today, right here in the country that invented it.

Today’s democracy is nothing more that pseudo-authoritarian rule by an elite few, executed by legions of self-deluding freeloaders who have convinced themselves that their current bureaucratic roles are both necessary and honorable… as well as a stepping stone into the next job which will be even more necessary and honorable.

With each successive position up the bureaucratic ladder comes more power, more privilege… until they actually expect to be called “The Honorable…” so and so, or “His Excellency” so and so, etc.

My dictionary suggests a few definitions for ‘honor’. One of them refers to a person’s chastity… and I doubt it applies in this case given the political establishment’s Twitter record. The other definition says, “conferred as a distinction, especially an official award for bravery or achievement.”

In the United States, they must be confusing the term ‘achievement’ with ‘destroying the economy and culture of the formerly most powerful nation on earth.’  President Obama is apparently so honorable that he can’t even be bothered to hold negotiations anymore about debt compromise, arguing that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be doing that…

He seems more concerned about his esteem and rank being respected than facing the grim facts of economic reality.

Simultaneous on Capitol Hill, Comrade Bernanke sent the dollar plummeting once again. Just to put things in perspective, the entire eurozone is on the precipice of a meltdown, and the euro had been falling for days. The second this man opened his mouth, the dollar plunged… indicating that investors would rather take a chance on European insolvency than Bernanke.

It was truly pathetic… and yet another example of what passes for democracy today: One man who has never been elected is essentially given control of the money supply to do with it as he deems best in his sole discretion.

All in all, as usual, it’s going to come down to the taxpayers. The bureaucrats will go on enjoying their steak tartare and ignoring the huddled masses. The politicians will go on posturing over title. The central bankers will keep making interest free loans to their friends and destroying their currencies.  We get stuck with the fallout.

In the end, the governments will make it a matter of national security and patriotism, ensuring that we ‘do our duty to the nation’ by coughing up more of our livelihood. I stumbled across this WW2 propaganda video a few days ago in which Daffy Duck tells us all that it’s our patriotic duty to give as much as possible to the government.

Should we expect a new video soon suggesting that it’s our patriotic duty to buy Treasury bonds…? In what passes for democracy today, you can bet on it.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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This historical pattern has formed and is already underway in many parts of the world, including the United States.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Elai

    If you were in Benarke’s shoes, what would you do?  And what do you think would happen if your decisions were implemented? 

    (Edit: What I mean is, with the tools that Benarke has at his disposal , what could he do to help?)

  • Jim

    Wow… that cartoon made me want to gleefully pay my taxes… to sink the axis.  : )

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EricLeeAshley Eric Lee Ashley

    I don’t know what’s more frightening… the picture you drew with your words, or the picture-propaganda drawn by Disney!

  • http://www.bzemic.com/impossibleInstinct/ steve ward

    it funny simon, you talk about Obama and Benarke yet you dont offer any solution to the problem? I agree with Elai on that, give us some meat to chew one.

    Simon you do a good job about describing the problem, spend too much, eliteist (the non works who have not earned there place). I think it has a lot to do with the mental state of these people.

    They think that there ride is not over, and when they do realize it is over they attack whoever they can to keep them in power.

    BUT talking about them or that people spend too much will not solve most people problems? how about once a week adding a post about someone doing something that will change the outcome?

    • Nitrider_ninja

      steve Ward, buddy. The fact is that no one knows the solution. But we all know that there are certain steps to solving any problem

      Step1: Admit that a problem exists. It’s okay to admit that you do not know what the problem is. At this stage just admit that there is a problem even if you do not know what it is. Resist the temptation to jump to a conclusion

      Step2: Try to figure out exactly what the problem is. Once you figure it out, it is okay to admit that you do not know what the solution is. You see these things are not instantaneous. For a while in any great endeavour, you will be in limbo

      To summarize, we know what the problem is but we do not know how to solve it. And we must be honest enough to admit it. Over time the solution will come.

      My own opinion is that any solution must encompass some basic principles. What principle is that? “He who chooses the tune, pays the piper.” the problem is that the pol or the ‘crat chooses the tune and we the people pay the piper. This is classical feedback theory from Engineering. So any solution anybody suggests must make the chooser of the tune pay the piper. And I do not have a coherent idea of how this might be done and I suspect, neither does Simon or anyone else. 

      • Diogenese_

         How did the US government create a problem of being 74 trillion in debt, propping up wealth destroying bad banks and debasing the currency into the ground? Because it’s a coercive monopoly provider of justice, money and security services. As a coercive monopoly provider of these services, a ‘government’, It was inherently corrupt and self serving from day one. It naturally kept growing in theft and mendacity, and will soon sink the whole developed worlds economy.

         The solution is to survive as best as possible while a global developed world depression takes place, and create businesses providing competing justice, money or security services. Over the next 20 years these new businesses will gradually replace the ever more chaotic, tyrannical and yet brittle ‘States’ of the world. Eventually ‘States’ will cease to exist, and justice,money and security services will not be forced on anyone, but chosen freely by the individual as free market product choices instead.


         There is no solution to the current crises from within the global government system, because the system was corrupt from the beginning. Governments caused the war, debt,inflation and banking problems by their very nature and natural activities. The ‘solution’ is to watch the whole thing fall apart as it inevitably must just like communism, while getting busy creating none coercive capitalist replacement services as are actually needed.

         A ‘government’ is nothing but a coercive monopoly provider of those services,a large mafia, you don’t need one and never did, despite what the government’s schools may have impressed upon you.

      • http://www.KickAssCopywriter.com Carolyn

        I agree!  The entire system must fall apart before something better can take its place.

        While I haven’t studied the intricacies of the ‘problem’ sufficient to pretend to know the ‘viable’ solutions for every facet of our lives … allowing a bunch of spoiled, self-centered, profiteering megalomaniacs to SET the standards by when its citizens should live and then pass laws to ensure them is NOT the answer.

        The Washington mobsters need to be fired at the very least, IMO.  Their true motivation (as you allude to) is to control the bleating sheep, regulate everything they do and TAX them to death.  A return to serfdom at a very REAL and scarry level.

        The end game?  Now that’s a very interesting question.  What is the end game?

        Doesn’t it seem that any idiot would understand the National debt would HAVE to be reduced?  But the government ‘Gods’ don’t even agree on this very basic, government stewardship 101.

        And now, they’re resorting to stealing from the very people they have sworn to protect!  It’ll get worse.

        What will the end be?  What’s their real strategy?

        America must go down!  But why?  Again, no one can be this stupid.  The powers that be HAVE to know what they’re doing.

        Enuf words.  I have to go make a dollar … ahem, I mean 20 cents! 

    • Diogenese_

       He has explained what to do in past articles-get an overseas bank account, get a goldmoney or overseas gold deposit box, invest in overseas land, internationalize yourself and business, and Save your wealth in these types of political-economic disaster resistant investments.

       By this point there simply is no good answer available from governments on how to address the massive problem they have created. Saving what is left of the world’s economy and wealth is up to individuals and businesses, by personally saving, diversifying and protecting their own wealth.

    • Bryan

       What do you want from Simon?

      Must he now make someone do something right only to be able to report on it? Why such a merry rule to be placed on his reporting? You’re not happy that no one is doing anything? This is the fact. No one is doing anything right. Can you handle this fact? Or do you still need some merry news to be engineered for you? Why don’t you listen to Hussein then. He will tell you all the sweet lies you want.

      And what it is not knowing what needs to be done? Everyone knows it. Everyone who is not brainwashed that is. We need to round up all communists and socialists and … After that we can start restoring the real America. The main principle should be “a working feedback loop” as Nitrider_ninja put it. He who pays must make decisions. Enough of this commiecracy. Down with paupers voting on the matters they do not comprehend.

    • http://www.KickAssCopywriter.com Carolyn

      Perhaps Simon is saving the ‘doing’ part for his paying subscribers.  How much do you want for free?    :)

      And, I mention this next statement not only for you, but also for myself … how about we all come up with some possible solutions to these monumental problems, if there are any, shy of a revolution?

      From my perspective, however, I see Simon’s position as clear:  Get the hell outta here.  Get a second passport.  Establish a second residency.  Don’t trust the USD, and put some portion of our holdings in an offshore bank.

      For whatever all the sinister reasons are, America is going down!  I fear its reign as a super power … and its citizens lives of relative ease … are ending.


  • James

    That’s funny about the politicians calling themselves honorable. I have the exact same gripe when local legislators are introduced as the “the honorable…” For crying out loud! Let’s get some truth in here. Maybe the best they could say is “the ‘not so sleezy’ representative…”.

  • http://www.hookang.com/ Hoo Kang

    @steveward:disqus ,
    I think that’s what’s for the SMC is for.

  • Nitrider_ninja

    Hate to quibble, but it’s Donald Duck. Not Daffy Duck.

  • Diogenese_

    Today’s democracy is nothing more that pseudo-authoritarian rule by an
    elite few, executed by legions of self-deluding freeloaders who have
    convinced themselves that their current bureaucratic roles are both
    necessary and honorable… as well as a stepping stone into the next job
    which will be even more necessary and honorable.

    -that and the child beggar story are instant Libertarian classics, the direct observation of an historic inflection point.

     The beginning of the fall of the state as explained by Rothbard, Van Creveld and others is here.

     The clear fact of the above SB paragraph as is very compellingly supported here:

     I think when someone with the government uses the word ‘honor’, what they mean is the same thing as ‘respect’ or ‘props’ on the ghetto street. It’s signifies being a notably terrorizing thug. As the Beastie boys rapped, even if in half jest:
    “I’m Mike D. and I get respect. Your cash and your jewelry is what I expect”

  • Rob McMillin

    The cartoon above reminded me of a wartime Disney employee manual that was at one time posted on the web at cartoonbrew.com, but has since been taken down. Cory Doctorow’s site Boing Boing posted one page from it, which gives you a feeling for just what that occupation must have felt like from the perspective of an employee there —


    And make no mistake, it *was* an occupation.

  • Rogoraeck

    Loved Donald Duck propaganda!

  • R.

    I bet that none of the children begging for change were Greek.

  • Outre99

    Hi Simon.
    I’ve been very much enjoying and agreeing with your take on many things.  I left US in 2005 and have been living in Asia since. 
    But i must take issue with the latest post. Although your take on the bloated, self-delusional governments is spot on, sounding like Glenn Beck does not help its credibility.

    Point 1:  Greek middle class have been exercising their democratic rights and electing governments that spent the money on allowing the people to retire at 53 with 80% of their pay.  Those are the same people that took to the streets and rioted when reality caught up with them and the government was forced to become more fiscally responsible overnight.  Is it painful?  Yes.  Is it the fault of the government?  That’s arguable.  The situation is very similar to the US, and the debt per capita is almost identical.  But at least the Greeks spent it on having a good life.  Americans spent it on weapons.

    Point 2:  Democracy is not a panacea for all ills.  A functional democracy requires education, involvement, and acceptance of personal responsibility.  Greeks forgot that,  so did the Americans.  Thailand (my place of residence) is a good example of that.  The uneducated and uninformed masses are paid THB 500 ($16) for their vote by their village chief who’s been bought by the well financed and corrupt political parties.  And as the result the country suffers, the money is being wasted while the elites of all colors get richer.  I can reasonably argue that Singapore’s model is much more preferable.

    Point 3:  Laying blame at Obama and Bernake while leaving out the Bushes and Greenspan is unfairly partisan.  Both US parties have been exercising fiscal irresponsibility and must answer for it.  As much as i recognize and even admire Republicans’ achievement of propagandizing themselves as the business friendly party of the small government, they are anything but. Not to mention their selling their souls to the religious nuts.  Over the second half of the 20th century American Republic has become of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.  Ayn Rand might welcome this development, but it’s not exactly the kind of place people would prefer to live.  Especially if there’s a chemical plant up the river and no government oversight.


    • Diogenese_

      re: Ayn Rand might welcome this development, but it’s not exactly the kind
      of place people would prefer to live.  Especially if there’s a chemical
      plant up the river and no government oversight.

       You mean like in Love Canal when a government decided to build on a piece of property it knew had chemical waste in it?

       Or when the soviet government built Chernobyl without a containment vessel?

       Or when the US govt exploded tons of depleted uranium in Iraq?

       Give me the free market over government any day, no business wants to kill it’s customers. The government calls people it kills ‘collateral damage.’

      • http://www.KickAssCopywriter.com Carolyn

        Amen!  I prefer to take my chances without government intervention (posing as help). 

        Don’t trust them.  Period.

    • http://twitter.com/neon_shadows Christopher Williams

      You’ll be hard pressed to find any libertarian support for Bush/Greenspan. But it’s 2011 now, and we no longer need to mention Bush every time we say Obama, and we no longer need to mention Greenspan every time we say Bernanke.

      Your chemical plant example is misleading, as it is a perfect example of the libertarian notion of property rights defending people against pollution. You could have at least used Carbon pollution, which is a much trickier area.

      • Outre99

         You are probably correct if you’re looking for individuals to blame.  It is 2011 and Obama and Bernake are on the hot seats.  My point was that it’s the systemic issue of our political money intertwined with the corporate money.

        I’m not up to date with the libertarian fine points.  But property rights are as good as their enforcement.  If it was one on one between the corporation owing the chemical plant property up river and an individual with the property down river, the individual is always at a huge disadvantage unless there are fair rules and arbitrage in place.  That’s what the laws and the government provide.

    • Ghost

      Ayn Rand consistently condemned today’s type of crony corporatism.  You are wrong to imply otherwise.

    • Fred

      Doesn’t appear you have actually read Ayn Rand.

    • R.

      Ayn Rand would definitely not welcome this development. Why do people even mention her name when they have never read anything written by her?

    • shawncorrigan

      that is a very weak thing to say. if the chemical plant does harm ,use the tort system,or better yet tell your friends to not buy there products.
          , i am guessing you hate the constitution,  if so please leave and find a country where you will be happy.  this is not a democracy here,it is a constitutional republic.
        ayn rand was right,  people like you will ruin our prosperity with your big government.

  • http://www.myupscaleddaddy.com Jpadams

     Thanks for the entertaining video link…so glad to have lived and worked the last 30 years in Asia!

  • H.E. Bugs B

    That ain’t Daffy, he’s too cool to pay taxes or wear a sailor suit.

  • http://www.wickedonlinemedia.com/ Phil Squires

    Compelling insights and scary video…;-)

  • Sam

    If this video induced people to pay extra taxes then the our thought processes today are very different from what they must have been during WWII. It doesn’t make you proud to be an American.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOUHNCBKYDX2MOAM7S2BREGEC4 TroubleB

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was one of the best movies ever made. The scene where Steve Martin pretends not to feel anything in his wheelchair when Michael Cain is whipping his legs with a switch is the one of the funniest moments in comedic movie making ever.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOUHNCBKYDX2MOAM7S2BREGEC4 TroubleB

    Btw, if you haven’t seen it: youtube.com/watch?v=axAA2egWeaY

  • roddy6667

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what’s for dinner.

  • Frank

    The problem with democracy is it requires a certain civic IQ and strong moral foundation.  Most people have one of the other.  Most DO NOT have both.  It’s also essential for thought to trump emotion.  Though it’s politically incorrect to point out, extension of suffrage to lower classes and women has been the death knell of just about every society that’s tried it.

    I disagree that we’re seeing the end of the state.  I believe the days of the mega-states are numbered, but they’ll only fracture into smaller states.  We’re social creatures by nature; the seeds of government are sown in our DNA.  There will always be those who need a ruler and those who will want their ruler to equalize their position with those of us who rule ourselves and reap the benefits.  Human nature guarantees some form of government.

  • beedlejuice

    If all of the so called “Bailouts” and “QE stealth fiat money robbery”
    were put into debt forgiveness, all Americans who pay taxes,( or in my observation to keep out illegals, Americans who bought a home or filed taxes for at least 10 years +), with a gross income of 600,000.00 or less were to receive these, it would give each struggling American,( true ones), about 400,000.00 per household.
    Just think what that would do to GDP.
    No debt, caught up on all payments and truly our taxes would be returned to us. Last time I checked I did not get a check for Obama Motors or Crying-sler when they re paid the debt my taxes paid for…..Did You?
    Americans unite!! These traitors need to be hung!

  • http://twitter.com/DeliaLopez4Cong Delia Lopez

    We are paying for tons of government oversight now. The government is aiding and abetting the criminals instead of doing their jobs. The only way to restore the Republic is to shrink the size scope and power of government. The government giving GE 3.2 Billion of our tax dollars which is then funneled into campaign coffers is how it is done now. Until the government does not have the power to take from one to give to another or write tax law and regulations to benefit those that donate, the corruption will continue. Republicrat or Demican mismo no difference except the propaganda spewed. 

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