If socialism worked, Greece would have been the richest country in Europe. No other member state of the European Union has such an extensive system of government welfare, pension plans, government aid for needy families, healthcare, government-guaranteed student loans, government labor exchanges, trade unions legislation, etc.
If Keynesianism was true, Greece would have survived any economic crisis on the world financial markets, and would have been a showcase for financial stability coupled with full employment. No other economy in Europe is so devotedly committed to consumption and spending, constantly and on a large scale, by both the government and the individual citizens. And no other government runs such high levels of deficits as if money can be just supplied without any problem.
If protectionism worked, Greece would have become the Taiwan of Europe. Almost every import from non-EU countries is taxed even if there is no domestic producer for it, the protection and support of local businesses is on a very high level, government aid for starting businesses, subsidies for farmers, shipbuilders and tourist companies. Greece surely must have become a highly industrialized nation where local producers supply almost everything on the market and the nation has large capital reserves compared to the rest of the world. If protectionism worked.
If foreign aid worked, Greece would have had the most fantastic economic growth ever in history. The sums loaned to the Greek government by other governments and private banks are mind boggling, given the fact that Greece is a relatively small nation of only 10 million population. To give an idea of the generosity shown to the Greeks, one needs only to look at the sum of $20 billion given for one thing only: To build a better system of roads for the Olympic games. As of now the foreign debt of the country is close to $500 billion. Another $250 billion had been given to the country without any requirement to pay it back. Total it will make $75,000 per person, or $300,000 per family, if the money was simply given to the population.
If environmentalism worked, Greece would have been the energy paradise of the planet. The Greek government imposes tariffs on non-renewable energies and heavily subsidies renewable energies producers. Greeks must have the lowest electricity bills in the world.
A Christian work ethic works. Unlike all the above views, it looks at the soul of a man as the source of all evil . . . or good. A good soul will produce good fruits; a bad soul will produce bad fruit. And Christianity produces good fruits by changing the souls of men—and nations.
The soul of the nation of Greece produced bad fruit these days. In fact, it has been producing it for decades. For decades Greece has been having high deficits, strikes, corruption, low productivity, decay. Greece was the constant worry for the other nations in the European Union. The United States were also involved many times to save Greece from the fruits of her bad soul. The International Monetary Fund, the last to ever advise governments to quit spending, warned the Greek government many times. More money was poured in to repair the damages. But to no avail. A bad soul produces bad fruit, and no money, or warnings, or foreign aid can change a bad fruit into a good one.
What happened to Greece? Greeks were traditionally hard-working, faithful, thrifty people. Those who immigrated to the United States worked their way up from the bottom of the social ladder to being one of the most affluent ethnic groups in the country. In the United States, there were no government programs to help the Greek immigrants. There were no special government stimuli for Greek businesses, no affirmative action, no special lobbyists for Greek ghettos. Greek families would arrive and start working in the factories in the North, then start small businesses, then organize their small communities around those businesses, then save money to send their children to college, then those children would become policemen, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, then professors and scientists and political representatives and TV anchors. . . . until names like Kiriakos and Papadopoulos became symbols of high social status and as American as Jones or McDonald. The soul of the Greek immigrant community in America was good and healthy, and it produced good and healthy fruit. And that immigrant community came from the same Greece that today eats the rotten fruit of its rotten soul. What made the soul of Greece so rotten?
In Matthew 10:28 Jesus warned His disciples: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” He was warning them about Satan and temptations—nothing else could destroy the soul of a man but the temptation to disobey God. And the temptations Jesus Himself went through in Matthew 4:1-10 had one common theme: Get something for nothing. Make bread out of stones. Have safety without precaution. Get power without obedience. So easy, so attractive. You shall become gods. You shall become invincible and immortal by just eating this little fruit.
“Get something for nothing” is the greatest soul-killer in history. And Jesus warned against it by His own example.
But Greece gave in. The Greeks started accepting the gifts of other nations. New ports and airports for nothing. Long-term loans to finance new tractors for every farmer. Subsidies for Greek agricultural produce on the European markets. New roads for the Olympics. Welfare system financed and refinanced and re-refinanced by European governments. Pension plans to match those of the better developed European countries. Free education financed with loans. Free healthcare financed with loans. Fully paid maternity leaves financed by the government. Huge payments for defense by the United States for the small Greek army and navy.
And the soul of Greece has been dying with every single dollar given to it for free. The once thrifty and prudent Greeks became more and more greedy, profligate, and irresponsible. A new generation arose that was so used to spending that it couldn’t stop. Governments were evaluated on the basis of how much money they spent. Prime ministers and finance ministers were hailed as heroes when they could procure new loans or re-negotiate old ones. What the Greek community in America valued so much—hard work, thrift, long-term orientation—was lost in the motherland. Socialism, Keynesianism, foreign aid, protectionism, and welfare killed the once vibrant Greek soul.
It all ends when you run out of someone else’s money. And when your soul is dead, you become a slave. And now the Greek government is a slave to its creditors, and the Greek people are becoming slaves of their government. Protests or not, from now on the Greeks will have to live in shackles. High taxes. Pay freezes. No more cash transactions over 1,500 Euro—the government needs to control every transaction. Zero protection for privacy or bank accounts. No more protectionism, no more generosity. Step by step a nation with a bad soul is turning into a slave nation. As was to be expected, if the Greeks had read their Bibles.
What’s the lesson for us Americans? Look around. Can you see those who can kill the soul offering you something for nothing? Can you see government free education? Government welfare? Social security? Protectionism? Special deals? Quotas? Trade unions? Stimulus bills? Cash for clunkers? Cash for nothing?
Resist them with all your soul. Don’t be like the Greeks. If you give in, your soul is dead. When your soul is dead, slavery is not far away for you and your children. Everything you get, get it by your own work. Work can kill the body but it can’t kill the soul.
Getting something for nothing kills both the body and the soul. Make it your slogan for life.