jeudi 17 septembre 2015

While the world is burning, the cat grooms itself *
The new religion of Varoufakis: "pure reason"

by Fausto Giudice, 16/9/2015. Translated by Jenny Bright

Yanis "Allstar" Varoufakis has just published an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the central organ of the PGB (Party of German Bosses) an article that blows us away, to which it seems necessary to respond.

Like Kador, the dog of Binet's  Bidochon comic duo, Varouf is a reader of Kant. This we have known since last February when, just appointed Minister of Finance, he had once quoted the philosopher of Königsberg, but with a healthy dose of irony. This time, all irony disappeared. In his article, which reads like a Sunday morning sermon - it is published in the Sunday edition of FAZ-, Varouf engages in an improbable shining of Berlin shoes. Our readers are in general rushed and overwhelmed people, so we offer a summary of Varoufs Kantian message, followed by a brief commentary. Readers who have the desire and time can read the whole article, published in English, German, Italian and Portuguese.

As a preliminary, one remark: we did not wait for the Magnificent Yannis to become world famous after his appointment as Minister by Tsipras last February to publish and translate him. We published him since September 2012; and since that date, Tlaxcala has published no fewer than 134 texts by and on Varoufakis in various languages. We can accuse ourselves of anything except being his enemies. But too much is too much. So, here we are.

Varouf's message
This summer, says Varoufakis, while EU countries reacted insufficiently or badly to the refugee crisis, only one country has raised hopes: Germany, whose Chancellor, with her "relaxed leadership/entspannte Führung", saved the soul of Europe, ensuring its "moral leadership". Squarely. Why has Germany opened its doors to the refugees? (Meanwhile, it has closed them "temporarily".) Out of interest, by calculation? Absolutely not! They simply applied the principle of Kant's categorical imperative, which is purely moral and detached from any calculation and any objective. With a wave of a magic wand, the Steel Lady, hated by the peoples of Greece and PIIGS, was turned into a Super Care Bear. And Varouf rejects any analysis of actual instrumental motivations of Germany as "cynical." Then he turns to Greece. Again, Varouf has a very specific analysis, which he repeats everywhere, from rose festivals to Fêtes de L'Humanité. The coup of the ECB against Greece is not due to a German will, but a lack of will. Germany, according to him, is aware that the Eurozone as it is today, is not sustainable, it can not form an opinion on the reforms that are necessary and to agree on it with France. Conclusion: Europe needs the "moral leadership" of Germany to resolve the crisis of the Eurozone. Germany therefore should drop its vision of itself as "Europe’s export-oriented workshop ", in other words it should forget its interests and become a purely Kantian entity.

Yanis Varoufakis, who presented himself a few years ago as an " erratic Marxist" now seems to have rejected all materialism, all anchoring in the real and the concrete, to take refuge in the realm of pure ideas, in short, he has embraced a religion. The fact that his opium addiction is the "sigh of the oppressed creature" is not very helpful. What are his motivations to appear as a bootlicker of Ordoliberalism as embodied by Merkel, Schäubel und Co? A career path within the institutions? A political project for Greece and/or for Europe? It's all a mystery. In any case, with such positions, it is a very bad start for the "Plan B".
"Kantianism has clean hands, but it has no hands." (Charles Peguy, Thoughts, October 1910)
Note * Using a Greek phrase, "While the world is burning, the cat grooms itself" equivalent to (in French) "Everything is fine, Madam Marquise" or "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

The maestro interpreting Sonatine für Kategorischen Imperativ in C-Moll
Baptiste Giroudon , Paris-Match

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