Talking About Conservatism: The Politics of Guilt

It is not easy nowadays even to mention the word conservative in Greece.  Historical factors, as well as the cultural dominance of the left since the restoration of democracy in 1974, have put immense pressure on everyone who is trying to represent the right in the modern Hellenic Republic.  Even when speaking of the ruling right-wing New Democracy (ND) Party, the word liberal is most often used to express its ideology.  In 1977, the term radical liberalism was adopted by the ND congress, in order to describe the ideology of the party.  Such terms as conservative and Christian democrat, used by other parties that collectively form, along with ND, the European Popular Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, were excluded, demonstrating the existence of anti-right reflexes within the rank and file of ND.

Fearful of the dominance of the left-wing intelligentsia and its influence on the media, ND has tried to distance itself from its former policies.  Today, Greek historians contend that, following World War II, the (mainly urban) middle class which formed the backbone of ND and its predecessors did not bother much to counter the left’s propaganda, having been appeased by the victory of the monarchist national army during the clashes with the communists (1946-49) in the period that followed the liberation of the country from the occupation by the Nazis and their...

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