…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
Whatever Moses might had been trying to do, following the higher directive, he has not succeeded, not even, and some would say particularly, with his compatriots, Egyptian asylum seekers, tired of making bricks sans straws or something like that – see Exodus 32. (The Koran’s version of the incident is somewhat different. And some ignore the clear words to come to totally opposite meaning, e.g. – My Jewish Learning)
Just to refresh your memory: When Moses left for his forty days and forty nights sojourn in the hills, the refugees gave their gold rings to a certain Aaron, who cast a calf out of them “and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
When Moses unexpectedly returned, he got upset “and he said unto them: ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28) “
Rather moderate chastisement by the Old Testament, more modern Stalin’s, Mao’s and post-modern Islamic Horde standards and it did not work. While today many people still worship “graven images”, in the theological sense, the idol of golden calf, or bull, has taken on a slightly different meaning. It now represents wealth, more than average wealth and preferably acquired without much effort. One could expand on this sordid subject, but since this seems to be a Greek month, let’s return to them.
Greeks provide a good example to the rest of Europe, and in fact to the rest of the world – a worship of the golden calf and a firm, and so far justified, belief that somebody will provide. Up to June this year, 100,000 illegal immigrants, just to Europe, showed they learned the lesson. And who would not? Who would not wish to be a Greek or at least have his own country to emulate the Greek economic miracle?
The following has arrived in my (and presumably yours) electronic mail box some time ago, and now again. In case you missed it:
The Modern Day Greek Tragedy – Massive Social Fraud
Experts mandated by the European Union to investigate the causes that led Greece to the current economic situation relate the following facts: Greece falsified its accounts to enter the euro zone and has distorted the facts until it finally exploded.
There were massive retirements at the age of 50 years. At Evangelismos hospital there were 50 drivers for officials’ cars, and on average there were 45 gardeners for a small lawn with 4 bushes. Greece has the highest population in the world of people reporting an age of 110 years. The deaths are often not registered and pensions continue to be received.
The European Union had found that there are families receiving 4-5 monthly pensions which they are not supposed to get. There were still pensions paid to persons who died in 1953, 60+ years ago. 40,000 girls received monthly life pension of 1,000 euros for the simple fact that they were unmarried daughters of deceased civil servants. This, at a cost to the state coffers of €550 million euros per year. Now they will receive pensions only up to the age of 18.
The pacemakers in Greek hospitals were acquired at a price 400 times higher than in British hospitals. In Greece, many workers have benefited from early retirement, set at 50 years for women and 55 for men who belong to one of the 600 job categories identified as particularly painful among which included;- Hairdressers (because of dyes that may be considered harmful)- The musicians of wind instruments (blowing into a flute is exhausting)- TV presenters (the microphones are supposed to cause damage to health). This law was adopted by the Socialist government of 1978. – ( PASOK Socialist Party of Greece)
There are thousands of ridiculous “tricks” departments and unnecessary institutions, which many Greeks live off. For example, The Institute for the Protection of Kopais Lake, a dry lake since 1930. In the last decade, Greece has created over 300 new public companies. Tax evasion is massive, over 25% of Greeks do not pay a penny on personal income tax. In addition, the weight of the public sector in the economy is overwhelming. There are about one million officials to 4,000,000 active people. Greek public railways: The average salary of employees exceeds €66.000.- per year. And this includes cleaners and other non-skilled workers. The (almost free) Athens Metro delivers about 90 million tickets a year, while the total cost of this public company exceeds the 500 million needed.
The French retirees receive, on average, 51% of the last salary, the Germans 40%, North Americans 41% and Japanese 34%.Meanwhile, Greek pensioners receive 96% of their salary earlier. Greece has four times more teachers than Finland, the best situated country in the last PISA report, while the student performance in Greece is the lowest among many European countries by comparison.
Why work? Let’s sit down and eat and drink, and get up only to play. And when it ultimately goes wrong? Trying to shift the blame would be disingenuous. All the countries, including Greece, affected by this Gold Calf / Cargo Cult malaise are democracies. People vote, don’t they? Alas, the responsibility for one’s own decision is something practically forgotten today, and if not forgotten, ignored.