“Rogue" and "Decent People"

Sottotitolo: 
It rather hurts me to hear that Mario Draghi, the Taciturn, has built up his government team “far from the interferences of the parties”, that “politicians are, by their very nature, incompetent”. As a matter of fact, politics as nuisance.

It rather hurts me to hear, everywhere and without reactions, that Mario Draghi, the Laconian, has built up his government team “far from the interferences of the parties”, that “politics had not succeed in solving the problems of the Country”, that “politicians are, by their very nature, incompetent”, a mere burden over the shoulders of those “who knows”, only because (unfortunately?) one must go in Parliament to get passed the laws.

  As a matter of fact, politics as nuisance.
 The conflicting relationship between competences and politics, between competences and democracy is very ancient.  In an anonymous short dialogue, come down to us with the papers of the Athenian Xenophon (V-IV centuries b.C.), but possibly  due to Critias, a fierce opponent of democracy, two speakers talk about the situation of democratic ruled Athens, possibly during the first years of Peloponnesian War (429 – 424 b.C.), when Pericles, the big “technician of politics”, was already dead.
  The two aristocrats, deeply hostile to the democratic government, try to understand the reasons why democracy has won. The smartest one identifies them in what could seem a serious weakness: democracy allows “the rogue gets better than decent people” - οἱ χρηστοί, someone could translate today “the best ones”.
The dictatorship of the number, (one could translate it as “democracy”) ignores, of course, the sectoral skills, assuming a total equality among citizens, no matter their social class or level of education.  No wonder if, in a democratic regime, the “rogue” has wide possibilities to make her voice heard in the government. “It is the people that get the ship moving”. That rogue was set up basically by oarsmen, humblest workers, poors and underdogs, who were pushed “towards shame and roughness” from their very conditions.  They could not even be admitted to speak in the Assembly, where, “if only decent people could speak, it would be better for them and not for populace. Nowadays it is allowed that every scoundrel speaks to defend his own interests.”
Therefore, democracy is ontologically a bad government.  “That’s sure, if you are looking for a good governance, you’ll find it in the opposite direction: there you could see the most capable - οἱ χρηστοί – imposing their laws and the decent people will get back at the rogue and will take the political decisions and will forbid that some reckless individuals sit in Council or speak in Assembly. In this way, in a short time […], the populace - ὁ δῆμος – will slip into slavery.”

Today, many “competent” people think that the existing Parliament expresses a democratic majority of “reckless individuals”. But we also ought to remember that, as so keenly explains the ancient aristocrat, democracy is not an abstract and universal system of government, the enlightened end-point of the History, that one could even export – we already suffered the consequences of this mind in the Middle East, in the last fifteen years; moreover, the same greek ancient history give us a famous specimen of it, as Thucydides reports, i.e. the brutal, “democratic” annihilation of rebellious Melos by Athens – but a thoroughly historic form to exercise the power by a well-defined social class or group.
In this framework, “competent”, “decent people”, “the best citizens” are not “super partes”, undisputed representatives of the Goodness, but only a party that defends the interests of someone.

Today the trend is to present competence as an absolute quality, without connections with the actual situation; on the contrary, competence is only a function to reach a target. Outside of any political choice, without an ideological horizon, to flaunt the pennant of competence could be very dangerous.Adolf Eichmann was a zealous employee, dutiful, able to do the best for the Administration, to save public money: in short, “a competent”.

The point is that in our world, from more than thirty years, dominates what one could define “a false consciousness”. Because of it, in the popular opinion the historical interpretation of political and cultural phenomena is faded away, prevailing the absolute and moralistic dualism Good/Evil. That is an advantage for those who has the actual power. One could also say that, after many century, the clever Athenian aristocrat has won: the Parliament is now demeaned as a place of void chatter, the very house of the “rogue”, while the bureaucracy  - and the necessary review of legality -  is demonized as a mere hurdle across the straight path towards the individual realization of personal liberties. In this way, politics end up to identify immediately itself with the so-called “good administration” – that it is always and inevitably “good” only for few people.

This year, Mikhail Gorbaciov is ninety. His grand utopic thought, the last that Europe has known, a unified continent from Ural to the Atlantic shores, in peace and democracy (who still remember Glasnost and Perestroika?) through the government of complexi

Claudio Salone

Professor of ancient literatures, Rome - https://claudiosalone39.wordpress.com/

Insight - Free thinking for global social progress

Free thinking for global social progress