This article was originally published at La Nación on November 18th, 2021.
In this world, the left defines itself and defines the right. The left does not only define the right: it has managed to turn the word “right” into an insult, at the cost of repeating it incessantly in that sense.
Imagine that, from a certain day, thousands of people repeated the word “journalist” without an additional qualifier, but with a clearly offensive intention, until all of us who write in a newspaper were ashamed of our activity. That mechanism seems absurd when we show it in examples like this – and it really is – but it is precisely what has happened to the right.
The term “right” has been used in a derogatory tone so much that most end up responding: “I’m not from the right!” or, often, that “left and right are old-fashioned categories.”
Is this really an outdated classification? If there is a left, and there seems to be enough agreement with respect to its characteristics, it is not irrational that an opposite thought is called “right”.
We all know what the left is: it is a political ideology that encourages a high level of government intervention – which it succeeded in calling “State”, in order to give it more prestige – and a greater homogenization of society in all orders, not only the economic one, with the exception of a political caste that is always safe from this regimentation process.
On what there is possibly no agreement is on the mental engine that drives these ideologies, which is none other than resentment, which the left disguises as concern for the poor, solidarity and the search for greater equality.
The reality is that these ideals are valuable when each one practices them individually at the expense of himself and his own patrimony; not with someone else’s skin and money. However, the left managed, like the swindling tailors of the naked king, to dress itself in solidarity, even if many of its adherents have never parted with a coin in favor of a poor man.
Despite an ancient valuation of the right side in language, the left, that great marketing apparatus for personal enrichment, has managed to identify that flank of human beings with a dark place. And not only that, but it also blames the right for verything that does not serve it. Even Jean Arel, a French pre-conciliar nationalist who wrote under the pseudonym Jean Madiran, complained about this, noting that the left “represents Hitler, a socialist and revolutionary demagogue, as a man of the right” and that they “claim the ex-socialist Pierre Laval and the ex-socialist Mussolini for the right”. The fact that those characters have criticized the left does not place them on the right. In any case, these are confrontations between statist currents with slightly different views of the world.
There is a clear inconsistency in the parameters used to assess positions on the political spectrum. If liberalism – in the sense in which we understand it in Latin America – is to the right of socialism because it demands less intervention from the government, it does not make sense that fascism, is statist, is identified with the “extreme right”. In this regard, the left often argues that it places fascism on the extreme right because of its degree of violence, but then apples are being compared to oranges. Two different parameters are used to measure positions in a straight line.
Furthermore, violence is not a parameter that can be used to distinguish left and right. Peoples and nations that suffered the bloody confrontations of the twentieth century and those who currently suffer from the socialism of the XXI century, such as the Venezuelan people, the Nicaraguan people and the Cuban are witnesses to this.
However, this terror has not been enough for the left to lose its undeserved prestig, its capacity for indemnity or the blanket of oblivion that covers its crimes. We have seen famous people relate their interviews with Fidel Castro with satisfaction to the complacent smiles of their interlocutors, despite the executions, torture, political imprisonments with which the tyrant dominated his people. We have seen murderers or members of terrorist groups as panelists on television shows. The left is forgiven for everything; for the right, not even a wrong word is allowed.
The victims of the guerrilla terrorism of the 70s are still hidden. It was an early preview of what we now know as the culture of cancellation.
Today it is no longer possible to cover up the crimes of the murderous clown perched in power in Venezuela. The venezuelan diaspora has brough the tale of the atrocities to all of Latin America. There was no choice but to raise, belatedly, some voices. They do not count with the support of the Argentine government. But cancel culture is in full force. It does not depend on a government and that is precisely why it is considered a culture. It resides in self-censorship, in the absurd shame of being identified with what is called the right and, above all, in the lack of inclusion and in the silence with which those who contradict the new cultural parameters of the revolution are marginalized: antiracism, censorious and virulent feminism, inclusive language, attack on any certainty that preserves the human being from alienation.
Left and right? May be. In any case, there is no need to fear words, especially if they have resisted disappearing. It may be better, however, to talk about the culture of resentment and the culture of effort. After all, that confrontation is at the beginning of history, in the account of Cain and Abel. Miguel de Unamuno showed, in his literary work, how the modern world seeks to blame Abel. However, now they realized that silence is better.