Creepy Video of Greek Neo-Nazi Party Leader

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I don't know what's more unsettling--the demagogic rant delivered here by Golden Dawn Party leader Nikolaos Nichaloliakos, or the part before the rant, when his advance team intimidates journalists into standing as he enters the room. In any event, the Greeks had better get used to this kind of spectacle, because Golden Dawn will, after yesterday's election, have a presence in parliament. I have a couple of thoughts below the video player.



The good news is that most extremist parties that rear their ugly heads wind up doing little more than that--and Golden Dawn's 21 seats in a 300-seat parliament don't exactly give it a commanding position. But two things are troubling:

1) The collapse of the mainstream parties. The New Democracy and Pasok parties--which in 2009 got a combined 77 percent of the vote--yesterday got a total of no more than 40 percent. Extremists find it easier to occupy the limelight when there's no consensus alternative.

2) The last time a Nazi party succeeded in actually gaining power in Europe, it was after crippling austerity had been imposed on the country by other countries.

In that light, maybe it's good that in France, the country best positioned to persuade Germany that there's such a thing as overly austere European economic policies, the anti-austerity party won.

I should add, for the record, that Golden Dawn rejects the "neo-Nazi" label. But whatever you call the party, there are many reports of its footsoldiers walking around assaulting immigrants for the crime of being immigrants. And note that in the video above, the party leader says, "For those who betray this homeland, the time has come to fear." No doubt he's the one who gets to define "betraying the homeland."

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Robert Wright is the author of, most recently, the New York Times bestseller The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic. More

Wright is also a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv. His other books include Nonzero, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book in 2000 and included on Fortune magazine's list of the top 75 business books of all-time. Wright's best-selling book The Moral Animal was selected as one of the ten best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.Wright has contributed to The Atlantic for more than 20 years. He has also contributed to a number of the country's other leading magazines and newspapers, including: The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Time, and Slate, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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