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On ‘the fear’ and philosopher kings

When polarisation and emotional entrenchment reaches the level of a football rivalry, the democratic system begins to fail.

Is it possible to govern this Argentina efficiently? The question concerns specifically the current socio-political-economic configuration and the ways in which interests and capabilities interact – at the end of the day, the question concerns power relations and organizational theory, which means that the concepts must be analyzed Within your reality. life applications and their consequences. Unfortunately, looking from this point of view, it seems increasingly clear that the Argentine democratic model has failed and that it will remain as such unless there is an absolute restart of the system, which seems unlikely in the near future.

This morning, President Alberto Fernández and the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, are due to meet at the presidential residence in Olivos to discuss the next steps in the battle against the pandemic coronavirus, as the Covid-19 cases arise. aggressively. The face-to-face meeting will be the first in a long time, after a period of successful cooperation during the early stages of the pandemic together with the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, consolidating a triumvirate that gained popular support, with rates of approval skyrocketed to the three as a result. However, once the fear of uncertainty globally presented by the Covid-19 pandemic has receded, the Argentine political class has returned to its usual fandangles, generating conflicts that were publicly disclosed before being communicated to intended rivals in order to please their supporters. and annoy your competitors.

The fact that ‘The Fear’ has fallen back does not automatically reduce uncertainty. Fear, like odor, becomes more tolerable the more we are exposed to it. But danger, unlike odor, does not necessarily become more digestible, as it has the capacity to inflict real pain. At this moment, in the midst of uncertainty about the future evolution of Covid-19’s sudden increase, we know its capacity to inflict damage, expressed through the saturation of health systems that leads to the unnecessary loss of lives, as the Italian city of Bergamo proved by first time to the world. In neighboring Brazil, we are seeing an exponential increase in Covid-19 deaths, consolidating a trend above 3,000 daily deaths, with cases having recently passed the 100,000 mark. It is not only the Amazonian capital, Manaus, but also the center of São Paulo’s economic power that is facing oxygen scarcity, forcing cemeteries to work overnight to meet demand.

It is unclear how much of this is the responsibility of President Jair Bolsonaro, despite his repeated mockery of the pandemic and public appearances violating all types of health regulations. However, there appears to be some correlation between leaders who minimize the severity of the pandemic and the slope of the curves for cases and deaths. Just look at the United States, where Donald Trump publicly ridiculed Joe Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I have ever seen”, despite recognizing in particular the dangers of Covid-19, as Watergate reporter Bob Woodward revealed. While Trump is to be commended for his insistence on having the vaccine before the end of 2020 – for which he was criticized and actually enforced – the mandate of Biden’s mask and other health measures helped to stem the growing pandemic in the U.S. And vaccines don’t hurt. Some analysts believe that all major US cities will be open for business by the end of May.

Back in Argentina, where President Fernández’s initial and efficient reaction to the pandemic, together with the aforementioned triumvirate, initially gained public support and proved effective. Although the strict quarantine period appears to have extended more than necessary, the fact that the government and the opposition work shoulder to shoulder has had a positive impact while it has lasted. It also created hope that, in the future, there would be a rational way to solve problems that did not involve the friend-enemy dichotomy that results in pushing parties to extremes.

Fear appears to be a catalyst for cooperation, but it is also irrational because it is most evident when the consequences are short-term. The lack of a coherent plan between the government and the opposition in the 37 years since the return of democracy has resulted, for example, in a poverty rate of 42%, as revealed by the national statistics office of INDEC this week. More alarmingly and unfairly, 57.7% of children under the age of 14 live in poverty. Former President Mauricio Macri was right to define his priority as “zero poverty”, despite having failed miserably to achieve it. But Macri, like the Kirchners before him and the Fernández-Fernández government that succeeded him, never found a way to build a lasting working relationship with his political opposition.

But perhaps the problem is the system. In the last few days, there has been a back and forth between the government and the opposition regarding access to vaccines, with President Fernández joking that if “they have such a good relationship with the world, they should help me get more vaccines”. Both Fernández and the opposition know that in the midst of a global race for vaccines, about 10% of the world’s richest countries concentrate 90% of doses, but continue to use the problem to publicly reprimand each other. This, confirm the experts at Casa Rosada, is a consequence of being in an election year, which occurs every two years in Argentina. Asked if there was a real desire to cooperate before today’s meeting between Fernández and Rodríguez Larreta, the reporter for Casa Rosada do Reperfilar, Alejandro Gomel, shrugged, noting: “It’s the campaign”.

Democracies around the world generate opposing political forces that have become entrenched in a struggle for irrational and purely emotional power, despite the underlying ideological differences. Democracies, as opposed to autocracies, are supposed to thrive on pluralism and differences, but only to the extent that they do not become irreconcilable. However, when polarization and emotional entrenchment reach the level of a rivalry in football, where the next derby is always just around the corner and no matter what happens, fans are more concerned with destroying the rival than in a good game. , the democratic system begins to fail. There is no place for the wise and tyrannical philosopher kings of Plato de Nietzsche in modern Argentine democracy – it is about Macris and Cristina Fernández de Kirchners who use the same unethical methods to perpetuate an imaginary division that is more real than inflation in its effects on real life about society.

The Fear brought together once again the two active leaders of the Argentine political spectrum. The policy will quickly separate them.

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