Greece must default if it wants democracy

It is one thing for creditors to interfere in the management of a recipient country’s policies. It is another to tell them to suspend elections or to put in policies that insulate the government from the outcome of democratic processes.

These demands fail Immanuel Kant’s “categorical imperative” – Germany does not will them to be universally adopted. Nor could they be adopted in Germany – they would be unconstitutional. Only recently the German constitutional court ruled that parliament’s sovereignty was absolute, that parliament must not permanently transfer sovereignty to outside institutions and that one parliament must never constrain the freedoms of its successor. The proposals violate the principles of Germany’s own constitution. In short, they are unethical.

A senior German official has told me that his preference is to force Greece into an immediate default. I can therefore only make sense of Mr Schäuble’s proposal to postpone elections as a targeted provocation intended to illicit an extreme reaction from Athens. If that was the goal, it seems to be working. Karolos Papoulias, the Greek president, fired back at Mr Schäuble’s “insults”. Evangelos Venizelos, finance minister, said certain elements wanted to push Greece out of the eurozone. Conspiracy theories abound. Hardly a day passes by without a cartoon in the Greek press of Angela Merkel and Mr Schäuble in Nazi uniforms. German MPs expressed outrage at the Greek outrage. Bild, the German mass-market daily, is calling for Greece to be “kicked out” of the eurozone. I shudder at the thought of an act of violence committed against Germans in Greece or Greeks in Germany. This is the kind of conflict that could easily escalate.

Full article: Greece must default if it wants democracy (Financial Times)