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Thackeray’s Greeks?


My first name is Nicholas (or "Niko-laos" in Greek) and it means the "victorious people". The first word "Nike" (victory) is already known to the reader as the "victorious" shoe company of slave labor fame. The second word "laos" is also known; "laity" (mass of people…), etc. However, as Mark Twain, that great American, claims in his famous "Prayer", for a people to be victorious it must massacre another people. So, it seems I was given a really "barbarous" name.

 

Now, suppose I was given the name "Makepeace", would not that be much better? Anyway, a Victorian Briton, William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), had this luck. He became a famous novelist and his masterpiece was a novel with the title "Vanity Fair". Its subtitle was: "A Novel Without a Hero". Yet, there was a "heroine", Becky Sharp, the low class girl trying to claw her way up the social ladder; the usual pointless and brutal life of a female in Christian societies. In a quasi introductory note Thackeray writes: "Yes, this was VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy." (London, June 28, 1848).

 

In 1868, a British literary magazine was published adopting the title "Vanity Fair" and lasted up to 1929. Then, as happens with colonies, a European-British colony, the USA, had its own "Vanity Fair" magazine.

 

In its October 2010 issue the USA version of "Vanity Fair" magazine has a 25-pages-long article by Michael Lewis, a financial journalist. The very original title of the article: "Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds". 

 

In this article Lewis comes to the conclusion that ordinary Greeks are morally disintegrated. For example he writes:

 

- Greece is "a society that has endured something like total moral collapse." (p. 16)

 

- "[T]he credit boom had pushed the country [Greece] over the edge, into total moral collapse." (p. 10)

 

- "The epidemic of lying and cheating and stealing makes any sort of civic life impossible; the collapse of civic life only encourages more lying, cheating, and stealing." (p. 10)

 

- "If there were any justice in the world the Greek bankers would be in the streets marching to protest the morals of the ordinary Greek citizen [!!!]." (p. 24) [Obviously, the emphasis was added].

 

- "[T]he hardest thing to do in Greece is to get one Greek to compliment another behind his back." (p. 9)

 

And so on.

 

Lewis is an intellectually mature adult of 50 years, educated in Princeton and the (famous) London School of Economics and is a citizen of the US; the most sophisticated society on the planet. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that his conclusion is correct.

 

Let us try to confirm this.

 

The "homo sapiens" brain we have has a history of only about 100,000 years. Science tells us, that so "short" a time interval did not allow humans to differentiate brainwise. This means that the CORE moral values of humans are approximately the same. Of course, there are epidermal (skin-deep) differences which humans acquire in the culture they live, especially through the religious orientation of that culture. 

 

Take the Christians and the Jews. The "Book" (their religious cultural manual) tells them:

 

- "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him…" (Leviticus 24:16)

 

- "And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God,…" (Deuteronomy 13:10)

 

- "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day… And the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses." (Numbers 15: 32, 36)

 

- "Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing [!!!],…, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die." (Deuteronomy 17:5)

 

And so on, and on, and on…

 

Much later, other cultures copied these "instructions" of the "Book" and applied them in their societies to this day (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and who knows which others). However, the more advanced (western) societies, now, instead of stones they use drones, cluster bomblets, Cyclon B, Agent Orange, etc.

 

Or, take other aspects of this epidermal differences of various cultures. For example: In Belgium, in Boston, in LA, in Regensburg of Germany, etc, etc parents sent their children to be raped by mostly old men who wield unbelievable power and who are above the law, by serving the LORD. I do not know if the good "Book" tells these parents to stone to death these priests, pastors, ministers,… monks, or whatever, but I know that these parents are living in fear; fear of losing their job, fear of the police, fear of religions other than theirs, fear of the IRS, fear of foreigners, etc.

 

[Parenthesis: Once more, it should be emphasized that most of the blood spilt all through History originated or was based on religious hate, or on religious economic greed,or on sheer religious stupidity. Honest people on the Left are afraid to even mention this or are afraid to do something about this. Even the elites have problems with this. See the latest saga with the Pastor in Florida and his threat to burn the Koran that had Obama et al to pray to Jesus in panic. Or, take the Greek-American priest, Chris Spyrou, who threatened to celebrate mass in Agia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey, a few days ago, September 17, and almost started a diplomatic confrontation.  Religion is unbelievably and unreasonably powerful. Why?]

 

But let us go back to… Greece. On the basis of the above, it is reasonable to conclude that the Greeks, of today, have the same core moral values as the rest of the world, including the graduates of the London School of Economics. Also, it is reasonable to accept that they have their own epidermal cultural peculiarities.

 

So, let us examine some of them as recorded by Lewis, in his article:

 

- It is hard "to get one Greek to compliment another behind his back", i.e., that, basically, Greeks hate one an other.

 

As an adult, Lewis by now should know that humans all over the world indulge in this "sport", sometimes justifiably. For example, in the late 1950s on a sidewalk in Manhattan during the lunch-break time I noticed a well-dressed clean-cut American young man who was talking to a young lady. The young lady seemed to not agree to what the young man was saying, and politely moved away from him. Then, I approached and struck up a conversation with her. Finally, the young lady told me ["behind his back"] that she refused the young man because to impress her he had pointed to one of the upper floors of a nearby skyscraper and told her that that was where he had his office. She thought that was ridiculous. She also told me to please not mention the

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