Ross Douthat has an interesting column today, exploring reasons why the Greek far left has come so far, so fast. The first reason (he says) is that Greek voters have no reason to trust anything the European elites have to say. That same elite, across nations and mainstream political parties, predicted that the euro would be a rousing success, and steamrolled anyone who said otherwise. And now look. Also:
Second, countries that vote to stay the course now may find that they lose their right to vote at all in the future. The answer to the current crisis, every eurocrat agrees, is further integration: In the words of Germany’s Angela Merkel, “not just a currency union,” but also “a so-called fiscal union, more common budget policies … [and] above all a political union.”
But as The Times’s Floyd Norris noted on Friday, a recent speech by the head of the German Bundesbank suggests that such a union would feature a central authority empowered to bypass national governments whenever they turned uncooperative on budget policy. This would effectively turn the European Union into a kind of postmodern version of the old Austro-Hungarian empire, with a Germanic elite presiding uneasily over a polyglot imperium and its restive local populations.
There are worse political arrangements, certainly, than the old Hapsburg model. But that doesn’t mean that voters in Greece (or Italy, or Spain …) should be expected to quietly acquiesce to it.
In other words, having followed their elites off the economic cliff, Eurozone voters — starting with the Greeks, today — are being told that to rescue this disastrous economic arrangement, they’ll have to surrender their national sovereignty. If big old right-wing me were a Greek voter today, I’d be sorely tempted to vote for that left-wing devil too.