Magazine article The American Conservative

High Times at Delphi

Magazine article The American Conservative

High Times at Delphi

Article excerpt

I flew to Delphi to consult with the oracle, and the old girl had a lot to say about 2012. Pythia, her real name, is getting on in years: she's around 2,500 years old. Despite her lifestyle--she smokes exotic cheroots, gets high, and then foresees the future--she still makes sense.

When I was ushered into her inner sanctum just below Delphi, on the Gulf of Corinth, she was already high. I had paid a hefty sum to see her on short notice. My first question was about the euro. Will it survive? Hers was a typical Delphic answer: "It's an ill-conceived currency union and despite the latest Brussels ploy toward fixing their fiscal failures, I wouldn't put too much stock in the market's gains following its latest rescue."

The oracle's speech patterns are modern as hell, but her answer was nevertheless ambivalent. Not, however, when it came to Germany. "This is the Fourth Reich, no ifs or buts about it." What Bismarck and Hitler failed to do, Merkel has accomplished, for the moment at least. Yet there is no real fiscal union in Europe, as there is among the states in America, and that's what the bureaucrooks and technocrats of Brussels are really looking for.

I asked the high priestess what the markets are going to do. "They will stop that clown Sarkozy running around Europe building drama and calling for meetings and then emerging from them and announcing agreement to have yet another meeting very soon."

This obviously is a good thing, I said. She ignored me, as she only answers questions. So, I ventured, how long will this latest charade last? "At least until the summer"--but she did not specify which summer.

After that the priestess took a break. I sat by the ruins in brilliant sunshine and contemplated what she had told me. There is no question that the markets will ultimately have the last word, which means that if the latest band-aid does not work, we're in for a long downturn. Who would have guessed when globalization was the chic du jour that what happens to a chaotic country like Greece could cause the whole Western world to go into depression?

One thing is for sure. None of us outside the asylums are buying European equities. The latest rules impose fiscal discipline to stop a new crisis but do little to ease the current one. The imbalance between the strong north and the weak south is there and looks to stay for my lifetime. …

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