Originally published in La Nación (01/28/21)
It is not time to emphasize differences of opinion, no matter how valid they are and are based on the best of intentions and the best purposes, since the totalitarian bulldozer threatens to crush us. It is a matter of priorities. First things come first. If the country becomes a gulag, there is no possibility of ironing out differences between those who call themselves supporters of freedom.
It is imperative that all those who oppose Chavism and believe in the value of freedom of the press and the independence of the Justice in this instance are united to face the attack on these fundamental values, together with the rejection of the colonization of the Legislative Power and the outrages of the Executive regarding the abuse of power in the context of increases in the expenditure of the state apparatus, public debt, monetary expansion, suffocating regulations and unbearable tax burdens.
The nobility of those who seek to reverse the statism that has been consuming us for seven decades and their differences with the unfortunate net balance of the previous administration is clear, but we need the strength of the union before it is too late, even maintaining the discrepancies of the case . When your house is being robbed, you do not spend time investigating the philosophical characteristics of the police that are circumstantially defending us from the robbery, that is for another circumstance.
The position of those who declare that they will compete in a new political space in 2021 does not seem coherent, with severe criticism of the existing opposition (because that is why they are constituted) and then in 2023 go together with those criticized, which is not serious and confuses the the undecided, who largely define the electoral processes.
This union in a possible “Alberdiano Encounter” is a two-way street: on the one hand, the opposition – constituted today thanks to the desperate support of people who aim to survive the basic republican principles – must recognize its failures and strengthen its discourse to welcome liberals into their ranks, and they understand the difference in the political plane of the academic and proceed accordingly.
We have exchanged opinions with good liberal friends and we have not always agreed with the vision that I set out, but I do not lose hope of achieving the task. I have also spoken with some radical friends and have reminded them of the liberal spirit of the founder of that party: the Jeffersonian Leandro Alem. In this sense, a thought of that character is worth recalling. In the debate on the federalization of Buenos Aires, in 1880, he expressed: “The more power is strong, the more corruption is easy. To ensure legitimate power, it is necessary to prevent him at all costs from exaggerating his powers, and it is essential to look for the counterweight to prevent the arbitrary “and” in economics as in politics, closely linked, because there is no economic progress if there is no good policy , a liberal policy that leaves the necessary flight to all forces and all activities ”. And he concluded: “Rule as little as possible, because the less foreign government man has, the more freedom advances, the more his own government has and the more his initiative strengthens and his activity develops.”
It is indeed very paradoxical that some of the advocates of establishing new spaces in the political arena are intellectually timid in defending liberal ideas, while they are inflexible in the political arena. Things should be exactly the other way around. The inflexibility in the field of ideas and going to the bottom of the problems in order to run the axis of the debate and set agendas and agree on the political field to give time to the cultural battle.
The fractionation and dispersal of forces in the political sphere are the best news for vernacular Chavismo
I recently wrote in detail in this same medium about the issue of education, which I am not going to repeat, but now I emphasize that there are not a few who blush when they are told that the need to eliminate ministries of Education and Culture is urgent. the effects of ruling out the possibility of imposing curricular criteria and widening the educational process in order to achieve the highest possible level of academic excellence. It is more efficient to subsidize the demand of those who cannot pay for their studies than to finance the supply due to strong counterincentives when the tragedy of the commons breaks out in an invariably politicized context.
It is necessary to carefully examine state health centers, to avoid strenuous shifts, lack of supplies, constant request for funds, the usual poor condition of equipment and facilities. As with education, this is not at all because those who work there do not have the best goodwill and admirable dedication, it is a matter of incentives: it is not the same when you pay the bills as when you resort to force for third parties to take over the fruit of their work.
The need to prohibit external public debt, which is undemocratic by engaging future generations that do not participate in the electoral process, to elect the governments that incurred the debt, is also often avoided. The need to abolish central banking, which cannot operate without altering relative prices, is often sidestepped, leading to widespread impoverishment. The same goes for the official news agency, which is a show of authoritarian spirit; maintaining immense embassy assets in times of teleconferences and other technological resources; the fascist union laws; the destroyed federalism turned into iron unitarianism; the misnamed “state companies”, and the nonsense of “living with what is ours”, just to mention a few items.
I understand that these issues are not common in the political sphere, since we are far behind in the aforementioned cultural battle, but they are indispensable in an academic environment that boasts of such. It is not good advice to confuse roles, the politician’s speech must be limited to what the electorate understands and accepts. Instead, intellectual work must raise the bar and aim high to ultimately sway public opinion. As John Stuart Mill has well written, “Every good idea goes through three stages: ridicule, discussion, and adoption.”
But even in the supposition of defending those key points in the electoral campaigns, the moment demands the union to survive. The fragmentation and dispersal of forces in the political sphere are the best news for vernacular Chavismo.
Time passes quickly, the wear is great and the danger of Chavismo is accentuated by the moment. It is curious that some wonder about the plan or the course of the current government when it is announced to us screaming every day. It would not be surprising if the next elections are rigged, given the recent appointments in the electoral forum, but in any case the union to which we refer will constitute a bastion for the defense of the indispensable, even in the fortunately remote assumption today that there are no elections. It is not relevant to spend time debating who is really in charge or in palace brawls, these distractions can be fatal. As Ortega y Gasset said, “Argentines start working”.