(Emecé – Buenos Aires)

The book by Santiago Kovadloff and Héctor Guyot displays a suffering Argentina before the reader. Its authors, in a deep, intelligent and timely dialogue, reveal the immense current crisis that we are experiencing in our country. Without euphemisms, without apologies to anyone, they put before us – with first and last names – the risks of the prevailing situation. What underlies throughout the text is a far-reaching dilemma and ancient prosapia: the struggle for power between two models of the country, populism and republicanism, and freedom of thought in one case and the other. Undoubtedly, in the center of the scene power sits, without it you cannot do politics, govern, or educate. All action on society requires that power.

Now, in each option a different conception of power is revealed, not only in the nuances, but in the exercise of it and in a radical way. The populism embodied in the current government, conceives power in a top-down fashion, requires a leader who thinks for his people and provides solutions to their problems. It is not addressed to a citizen but to a militant, a faithful follower of slogans and willing to give everything for the movement.

The populist discourse appeals to emotions, not rationality, to the promise of returning to lost paradises in the distant past. Populism uses poverty to strengthen itself, the gift, which often replaces work, guarantees the loyalty of the people. The populist leader speaks to the people. The “town” belongs to him. In that orgy of power understood in this way, populism has forgotten or covered up a very high level of corruption and has singled out the press as responsible for many of the failures in this administration. One more piece of information has created the crack that somehow we have not yet been able to overcome and divides Argentina into ourselves and others, into friends and enemies, in the impossibility of a critical and dialogical thinking. Education, for populism, is indoctrination and teaching transmits dogmas. All populist discourse has a quasi-religious profile insofar as it encourages fanaticism with “absolute” truths.

A distant aspiration

Republican democracy, for its part, also needs power to come to reign; As we know, power in every democracy is exercised horizontally, which makes it fragile, it does not have unipersonal leaders, which is why it demands – peremptorily – the functioning of the institutions and the law. And this is the point that will make possible a democratic system, respect for the Constitution as the paradigm of laws and the division of powers of the State as a guarantee of a healthy society, where it is possible to dialogue with the other who, even when he thinks differently , accepts the law and the consensus of the majority. Only then can you live in harmony.

However, the authors make it clear that this idea of ​​a republican democracy, which promotes the values ​​of transparency, the importance of education, freedom of thought, the aspiration to a better future to become the Center of power where the Center-right and center-left political movements could coexist is, for now, only an aspiration that no political party has managed to achieve. It is just a utopia. And this utopia, democracy seriously, with all its risks, must be our objective without hesitation to achieve a better Argentina.



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