Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How well is the Tspiras-Syriza “austerity is over” plan working out for Greece?

Greece debt repayment schedule

Greece debt repayment schedule

First, let’s recall what the socialist leader Tsipras said after he was elected to save nearly bankrupt Greece.

Look how the radically leftist UK Guardian gushed when Tsipras took office:

In a dramatic start to his tenure in office, Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has begun unpicking the deeply unpopular austerity policies underpinning the debt-stricken country’s bailout programme.

[…]“We won’t get into a mutually destructive clash, but we will not continue a policy of subjection,” said Tsipras, who at 40 is Greece’s youngest postwar leader.

[…]Earlier, the energy minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis, called a halt to the privatisation programme that the EU and IMF have demanded in exchange for the €240bn in aid keeping Greece afloat. Plans to sell off the country’s dominant power corporation, PPC, were to be frozen with immediate effect. “We will immediately stop any privatisation of PPC,” said the politician, who heads Syriza’s militant Left Platform. A proposed scheme to privatise the port of Pireaus, the country’s largest docks, were also put on hold.

Yes, only nasty conservatives like me think that private industry is cheaper, more efficient and less corrupt than big government for handling big projects.

More:

After that, ministers announced more measures: the scrapping of fees for prescriptions and hospital visits, the restoration of collective work agreements, the rehiring of workers laid off in the public sector, the granting of citizenship to migrant children born and raised in Greece. On his first day in office – barely 48 hours after storming to power – Tsipras got to work. The biting austerity his Syriza party had fought so long to annul now belonged to the past, and this was the beginning not of a new chapter but a book for the country long on the frontline of the euro crisis.

“A new era has begun, a government of national salvation has arrived,” he declared as cameras rolled and the cabinet session began. “We will continue with our plan. We don’t have the right to disappoint our voters.”

If Athens’s troika of creditors at the EU, ECB and IMF were in any doubt that Syriza meant business it was crushingly dispelled on Wednesday . With lightning speed, Europe’s first hard-left government moved to dismantle the punishing policies Athens has been forced to enact in return for emergency aid.

Measures that had pushed Greeks on to the streets – and pushed the country into its worst slump on record – were consigned to the dustbin of history, just as the leftists had promised.

Yes, everything is going to be sunshine and roses, because a 40-year-old know-nothing with no experience says it will be. Economics? That dismal science belongs in the dustbin of history. We can unilaterally reverse the policies our creditors demanded, and then they will of course keep lending us money anyway.

Another leftist UK Guardian article has more happy rhetoric and socialist policies:

Dismantling the EU-IMF mandated measures that had plunged Greece into poverty and despair would, declared Panos Skourletis, the labour minister, be his single greatest priority.

“The reinstatement of the minimum wage to €751 (£560) [a month] will be among the government’s first bills,” Skourletis announced on Antenna TV.

Under international stewardship, Athens had been forced to pare back the minimum wage to under €500, ostensibly to increase competitiveness and make the labour market more attractive. Skourletis, formerly Syriza’s hard-nosed spokesman, said plans were similarly under way to bring back collective work agreements – a major demand of unions – and to annul the enforced mobilisation of workers protesting against cuts.

Everything is awesome! Well, those two articles were from January 2015. Let’s see what’s happening now.

Everything is awesome! Lets have fun!

Everything is awesome! Lets have fun!

This is from UK Telegraph:

Greece’s “war cabinet” has resolved to defy the European creditor powers after a nine-hour meeting on Sunday, ensuring a crescendo of brinkmanship as the increasingly bitter fight comes to a head this month.

Premier Alexis Tsipras and the leading figures of his Syriza movement agreed to defend their “red lines” on pensions and collective bargaining and prepare for battle whatever the consequences, deeming the olive-branch policy of recent weeks to have reached a dead end.

“We have agreed on a tougher strategy to stop making compromises. We were unified and we have a spring our step once again,” said one participant.

The Syriza government knows that this an extremely high-risk strategy. The Greek treasury is already empty and emergency funds seized from local authorities and state entities will soon run out.

Greece’s mayors warned over the weekend that they would not release any more funds to the central government. The Greek finance ministry must pay the International Monetary Fund €750m (£544m) on Tuesday, the first of an escalating set of deadlines running into August.

“We have enough money to pay the IMF this week but not enough to get through to the end of the month. We all know that,” said one minister, speaking to The Telegraph immediately after the emotional conclave.

If there’s one thing that makes me feel better about all the crap that is happening in this world, it’s the wonderful truth that eventually, bad economics meets with reality. You can imagine anything you want today that makes you feel good, and imagine that it will all be paid for somehow in the future. I really like it when people who don’t have any money make these elaborate future plans and then bet their futures on it. Because when reality comes, we all find out that there is justice in the world after all. There is no path to prosperity that involves doing whatever you want and being happy all the time – that is a myth that children have about life. Anyway, pass me the popcorn and let’s see how the Peter Pan plans of these inexperienced children work out. We won’t have to wait long. Mmm, this popcorn tastes schadenfreudelicious.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MUST-HEAR: Brian Auten explains why Christians ought to learn apologetics

A super 20-minute podcast from Apologetics 315.

The MP3 file is here. (20 minutes)

PDF Transcript here.

Topics:

  • what is the definition of apologetics?
  • what do you mean by defense? a testimony?
  • what is the goal of apologetics?
  • does apologetics create belief? should it?
  • what are offensive and defensive apologetics?
  • should Christians fear intellectual opposition to Christianity?
  • is apologetics good for believers?
  • does apologetics help you to be more confident when witnessing?
  • what was the role of apologetics in the Bible?
  • what was the role of apologetics in the early church?
  • was apologetics central or peripheral to Paul’s ministry?
  • does the Bible present Christianity as personal preference or public truth?
  • did Jesus appeal to objective evidence to get people to believe him?
  • is there a requirement for all Christians to make a defense of their faith?
  • should Christians care if non-believers have false beliefs about God?
  • does the Bible need to be defended? What does the Bible say about it?
  • Is an intellectual approach to evangelism antithetical to faith?

My posts on apologetics advocacy are here:

    These were all quite popular when they were originally posted, so it’s good to re-post them.

    Actual arguments and counter-arguments are here, if you want to know the basics. Debates and lectures are here to see how this gets used. Most Christians never even dream that their faith can be debated at Harvard or Columbia or Oxford!

    Christianity is a knowledge tradition. It’s not a feelings tradition.

    UPDATE: If you’re really good at apologetics, you can debate the top atheists in public, and say things like this:

    (The full debate is here)

    Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    The Pugnacious Irishman invites Christians to defend their faith

    His post is boldly entitled “Walking Around with our Pants Around our Ankles”.

    A little bit about Rich: his background is in teaching and his most recent post was in a school in a very rough part of Los Angeles.

    Rich makes an important point about the need to find people who disagree with you and engage them. You won’t find them in your house or in your church. You’ve got to go to the workplace or the university campus and start making friends with them to find out what they believe and whether they are open to new ideas!

    Rich reacts to my post from yesterday here:

    …Another thing is that when people are caught in an environment where they have to defend God’s honor, they suddenly become starved for the kind of training Wintery advocates.  If you regularly find yourself amidst a bunch of atheists, agnostics, and Muslims who are constantly challenging you on the reasonableness of your faith, chances are, you’ll start searching for answers pretty quickly.  Hey, it happened to me. In other words, if your pants fall down, buying a belt suddenly moves up a few notches on your priority list.

    The kicker is that many people never experience that felt need; they are sequestered in an environment of comfort.  A decent number go to great lengths to maintain this bubble, avoiding being exposed.  They are walking around in closeted quarters, with the shutters drawn and drapes pulled down, oblivious to the fact that their trousers are hanging around their ankles.

    Many people assume apologetics is all about merely “winning an argument,” but nothing could be further from the truth.  WK puts it in the proper perspective: it’s about defending God’s honor in public.  If someone were clowning on your spouse at work, wouldn’t you want to stand up and say something?

    That’s the first key point about apologetics: protecting God’s reputation as a way of participating in a friendship with God. He’s also got some book recommendations in his post for beginnners and I could not agree more. I own every stinking one of them!

    And he’s got an update here, where he makes the second key point about apologetics.

    Excerpt:

    Addition to today’s post:  I don’t think I underscored enough another motivation of apologetics–love.

    Why defend the faith?  Because we love our neighbors.

    This is a good point for Christians who value love. Apologetics is love. It’s one way that you can love your neighbor. God expects us all to spend some time responding to his overtures to us in nature, in conscience, and in history. It does no good to help atheists to ignore God’s calling by keeping silent about God’s will for that person.

    Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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