How does one effectively argue with the absurd? What can an opposition do when those in power drown public discourse in surrealist nonsense? Unlikely as the above sounds, countering criticism with crazy is a growing trend in politics at home and abroad.
The example closer to home is Boris Johnson. Cloaked behind a manufactured aura of genial buffoonery Boris has managed to side step most serious concerns about his record and behaviour. He even seems to be managing to survive his transformation from Mayor to rabid Brexiteer. When confronted with serious questions he responds by mumbling inanities. The reporters think “this man is a joke”, the public thinks “he is funny”. At least the damage wrecked by Boris is minimal, until of course he ushers in a Brexit he does not really believe in.
The damage created by a less affable troupe of buffoons, the Syriza-Anel abomination is way more serious.
Many, the author of this blog included, have been decrying Syrizanel as a band of deluded ideologues, shameless liars, fraudsters, or incompetent morons depending on the day and topic. Yet a serious opposition to their governance of horrors is becoming increasingly difficult, as statements coming from Maximou (the prime ministerial seat) become gradually more and more outlandish.
Varoufakis in 2015 was fighting the evil Germans. Tsipras in the summer ran the referendum of shame, won it and immediately reversed course, declaring victory nonetheless. In the autumn, Syriza started fighting the IMF, which was fighting for debt relief (which was a core government objective). Just this month, after endless talk of red lines, negotiations etc, Tsipras has utterly capitulated, yet returned to declare victory. This was followed by ministerial declarations a day or two after that they were again blackmailed into capitulation. Pappas, the shockingly inadequate minister of state, today in New York confirmed the government’s agreement to the necessity of keeping the (only a week ago evil) IMF as part of the Greek programme.
Confused? It gets worse. After months of outrage at Tsipras transformations from Memorandum basher to Memorandum (sham) enforcer, he announced that he never lied, it is just that he and his team suffered from self-delusions. So they were not selling us porkies for 5 years prior to coming into power. They did not scupper the nascent recovery of 2014 by forcing elections due to deviousness, or stupidity. They did it because of self-delusion.
The fact that he can say stuff like that without causing a whole scale insurrection proves how the endless torrent of double-speak, miscommunication and daliesque bullshit has numbed an entire population into depressed submission.
How can one principally oppose people who act crazy all the time? How can one respond to this Mafioso Pappas when he gives a lesson on the semantics of sunbathing to Deutsche Welle?
The assault of buffoonery and the degrading of public discourse will result in a sticky end for all of us, through Brexit or Grexit.
Resist the idiots. It is necessary for survival.