May 7, 2008

Why Italian Left is unfit to lead Italy

In today’s Il Foglio newspaper, Alfonso Berardinelli, one of Italy's leading literary critics and a contributor to Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera, explains (see English translation here) why, in order to understand the new Italy that is being ushered in after the overwhelming victory of the Centre-Right coalition in the recent Italian elections, and even more so the conquest of the city of Rome, a brief meditation needs to be made on the nature of the “fundamental values of modernity.”

But his argument isn’t merely theoretical: the specific target of his criticism is a Left, whose political leaders—despite many of them being perfectly decent human beings—frequently appear to be “too good for the electorate”, thus snobbish, presumptuous or hypocritical,” whereas political values are only credible “when they are physically interpreted by someone who obviously seems to represent the social strata with which those values are identified.” To tell the truth, this subject was previously and masterfully developed by Ernesto Galli della Loggia in a column published on May 3 in the Corriere della Sera, whose title was “The rebellion of the masses.” Unfortunately no English version has been provided by the Milanese daily newspaper (here is the original Italian text, just in case).

Furthermore, Berardinelli says that

More than a victory of the Right, this was a defeat for the Left, which is unable to understand the physical nature of the city’s problems. Although I consider myself on the Left, I didn’t vote; I couldn’t have voted for Alemanno, but then neither could I vote for Rutelli. But here in Rome the electorate didn’t believe that Rutelli would sort out the city’s problems, whereas they were prepared to give Alemanno the benefit of the doubt.


This is, anyway, an article-interview packed with thoughts and observations, which is difficult to summarize in a few sentences. That’s why a thorough reading is highly recommended.



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