But there are two realities that explain why so many Greek voters find Syriza attractive.
First, recent experience has given ordinary Europeans no reason to trust elite predictions about anything. The entire E.U. project was hailed as a self-evident good by a generation’s worth of statesmen and intellectuals, and Euroskepticism was confined in many countries to the fringes of the left and right. Now those fringes have been vindicated, and all the statesmen and intellectuals stand exposed.
Yes, a Greece that had never joined the euro wouldn’t have prospered as much during the fat years of the 2000s. But as in the United States, much of that growth has turned out to be illusory. And when a system the entire European establishment promised would deliver prosperity and stability delivers political paralysis and 20 percent unemployment, it becomes hard to convince voters that they have much to lose by listening to extremists and radicals instead.
Second, countries that vote to stay the course now may find that they lose their right to vote at all in the future. The answer to the current crisis, every eurocrat agrees, is further integration: In the words of Germany’s Angela Merkel, “not just a currency union,” but also “a so-called fiscal union, more common budget policies … [and] above all a political union.”