From independence, freedom and truth

Politics

Pathological anatomy of a democracy (I)

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

December 14, 2023

The situation of dysfunctionality reached by our democracy, aggravated by the moral and intellectual decay to which our political and journalistic class has contributed so much in recent decades, makes it necessary to analyze the underlying reasons for the crisis that is dragging us into a political abyss of unforeseeable consequences. To do so, we must try to distinguish between the symptoms and the actual disease.

Undoubtedly, the most immediate and worrying symptom is a political party (the Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE) devoted to a subversive agenda and a Prime Minister, strongly supported by this party, who should be incapacitated for his clear psychopathy or taken to court for the self-coup in progress and for his betrayal of the general interests of the nation he promised to defend.

The second symptom is the degeneration of a Constitutional Court which seems to have been transformed into a mere appendix of the Congress at the service of the government and whose last rulings, bordering on prevarication, show that the institution, at the hands of the openly partisan criteria of its president, has been corrupted in such a way that, to all intents and purposes, it no longer exists as a court of guarantees. This very serious clamp between two power junkies -one with the pretensions of a statesman and the other with the pretensions of a jurist- leaves the country defenseless in the face of blatant unconstitutionalities and, therefore, without any veneer of the Rule of Law, that is, without any law other than the brute force imposed by the despotic will of the parliamentary majority. Truth is the Constitution in Spain is no longer in force.

The mental disorder of the Prime Minister, apparent from the beginning[1], has been manifesting itself increasingly over the years. This should alarm us, but not surprise us, for the danger of power lies not only in its potential to corrupt morals and judgment, as Tolkien so well portrayed in his One Ring metaphor, but in the fact that it attracts the psychopath like a magnet to iron. In the words of Robert Hare, the expert who standardized the diagnostic test for psychopathy, “although many politicians are simply liars without necessarily being psychopaths, politics is a fantastic environment for psychopaths to thrive, the best environment, the ideal.” Indeed, history is replete with psychopathic rulers who exemplify the pathology of power[2].

Perhaps one of the best known is Roman emperor Caligula, of whom the historian Suetonius drew a detailed psychological profile almost two millennia ago. Indeed, in his megalomania Caligula not only destroyed everything and everyone that questioned his will, but he even rivaled the illustrious personages of the past – whose effigies he demolished – and even the god Jupiter himself, with whose statue he conversed in whispers and in a threatening tone: “Either you demolish me, or I demolish you”. The jurisconsults were prevented from giving any resolution that did not consider that the Law was simply ” himself”. Prone to very pronounced philias and phobias, “with his malignity, arrogance and sadism of words and deeds he attacked everyone” while benefiting “to insane extremes” his favored ones. This bipolarity, typical of disturbed minds, was also reflected in “two totally opposite vices: an excessive insolence and, on the contrary, an excessive fear”. Less well known perhaps is the economic disaster he caused, for “he surpassed with his squandering the imagination of all the squanderers existing until then and, in need of money, he devoted himself to stealing it by employing the most sophisticated and varied taxes, new and unprecedented”. At least Caligula “was aware of the sickness of his mind”.

The disturbing effects caused by the pathology of power in psychopathic profiles explain the contradictions on which the Spanish Prime Minister rides on the back of his own sectarianism, contradictions that, to the eyes of normal people, grind like a fingernail scratching a blackboard. Thus, while proposing to forget very recent crimes such as the Basque terrorist group ETA’s murders or the Catalan seditious coup of 2017, he keeps alive the revanchism of a distant Civil War lost almost a century ago and whose Manichean version does not admit any amnesty for “the others”, but a sentence worse than life imprisonment, as it persecutes beyond the grave. Likewise, while extolling dialogue “with all”, it creates an apartheid that excludes the right-wing opposition and the half of the population that voted for it, whom he loathes.

It is worthwhile to dwell a little more on Sánchez’s psychological profile. His abuse of lies and his chronic cynicism are typical behaviors of a psychopath, who smiles at the stupefaction provoked by his bungling, his betrayals, and his permanent transgression of all rules. Simultaneously, he lives in a constant tension between the image he tries to convey to the public opinion of moderation and smile and his true nature, which he represses incessantly. However, his actions (and sometimes his body language) betray his image-building effort and shows his quarrelsome bullying, his contemptuous and vindictive character, his aggressiveness and sectarianism, his love of confrontation and his deeply divisive character, which runs away from peace and consensus like a vampire from holy water and seeks only the destruction of the adversary. Finally, his provocative style, typically narcissistic, aims to seek the admiring echo of his magic mirror, but also succeeds in plunging the opposition into stupor and demoralization, seeing that moral or logic rules no longer apply. Thus, when the most unjust judge is awarded the medal of justice, the most violent, the medal of peace, and the pathological liar, the medal of truth, the population ends up desensitized, dulled, stunned, lacking references and without capacity to react, as annulled as an elastic that is out of shape, like a spring that deforms and loses its elasticity or like a screw that has been screwed in too far.

Sanchez’s psychopathy reaches its paroxysm with the inversion of concepts so well defined by Shakespeare in Macbeth as a characteristic of evil, a word I do not use lightly. Thus, as in his admired Bolivarian tyrannies, it is the government that corners, persecutes and controls the opposition and not the opposition that controls the government. Fair is foul, and foul is fair; lies are truth, and truth, lies; cheating is fair play, and fair play, stupidity; inequality before the law is harmonious coexistence, the attacked must apologize to the aggressor, murderers are men of peace, and peaceful (right-wing) demonstrators, violent people. And, naturally, the exercise of power not subject to the law, arbitrary, deceitful, and unrestricted is not a prelude to tyranny, but democracy.

Nevertheless, we must strive to transcend personal judgments, however fair they may be, and try to understand the failures of a system that allows certain individuals to seize power and be capable of doing so much harm. In this sense, the alarming situation Spain is going through is not the result of the surprise with which lightning strikes on a sunny day, but the unleashing of a storm that began to gather the very moment the Constitution was approved, a text full of ambiguities, contradictions and shortcomings, a “constant improvisation”, as one of its “fathers” admitted to me some time ago, astonished by its subsequent mythification.

The most important objective of a Constitution, that is, the limitation of the reach of power to prevent the majority from tyrannizing the minority, was not fulfilled. With all its historical merits amidst difficulties that are easy to underestimate in hindsight, the truth is that it failed to arbitrate effective checks and balances or to design truly independent institutions. Among other things, it made the essential separation of powers almost impracticable, so that the distinction between the executive and the legislature was limited to the different colors of the seats in Congress (blue and red) and the independence of the judiciary was seriously undermined. This was confirmed when the Constitutional Court ruled that the reform of the system for electing judges promoted by the Socialist Party (PSOE) in 1985 (and maintained by the right-wing Popular Party with an absolute majority) was perfectly constitutional despite flagrantly destroying such independence. Therefore, the Constitution already contained the seed of its self-destruction by allowing a dangerous concentration of power in the figure of a single individual, the Prime Minister. Thus, the countdown to the demolition of the constitutional edifice, whose ticking is perfectly audible today, actually began in 1978 and was accelerated by the partocracy it established. Decades of abuse by the two major political parties in their eagerness to colonize all institutions and reach total power did the rest. As Spanish philosopher Julián Marías observed, the Constitution did not create political parties for the State, but a State for the political parties, and the parasites have ended up controlling the host.

In parallel to the shortcomings of its constitutional text, Spain has been greatly weakened by an almost hegemonic historical thinking that has portrayed the History of Spain as a dark period that did not see the dawn until 1978. This belief has managed to erode our national identity and undermine our self-esteem, has given reason to the nationalist superiority arguments and has transformed the foundations of a millenary nation into feet of clay. Thus, we have come to question the very existence of Spain (and not of the “Spanish State”) and have ignored its feats, some of them without parallel, culminating in a Himalayas of falsehoods (in the apt expression of 20th century moderate Socialist leader Julian Besteiro) about what has happened in the last century, from the Second Republic to Franco’s dictatorship, from the Transition to the constitutional regime of 1978, which has not been by any means “the period of greatest peace and prosperity in our history”, as its propagandists (who are none other than its beneficiaries) repeat.

One of the biases of this hegemonic thinking is the presumption of radicalism of the “right” against an immaculate left, whose aura of moderation clashes with the empirical evidence of the last half century, in which the extreme left has monopolized violence and political murder in our country. That is why the media only talk about the dangerous ultra-right and never about the dangerous ultra-left, a narrative that Sanchez has used ad nauseam very effectively.

The combination of a weak constitutional scaffolding and a deficit of political and historical culture has fertilized the arrival to power of a psychopath armed with dynamite and ready to light the fuse amidst crazed laughter, leading us to an extreme situation: in the last half century, we have never been so close to the rupture of coexistence and tyranny. However, it is worth asking whether, beyond the peculiarities of the Spanish case, there are elements that allow us to speak of a systemic crisis of Western democracies, albeit to a different degree. Are elections a fraud if the candidate lies like a villain about his true intentions? How can we prevent the people from electing a tyrant, as has happened repeatedly throughout history, and prevent him from having so much destructive power at his disposal? An ideal political system seeks to preserve human freedom and dignity, social order, tolerance in pluralism, the rule of law and justice, the fruit of which is peace. Are the Western democracies of the 21st century achieving this or, in the words of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, have we idolized a god that has failed us?

In the second part of this article, I will try to answer these questions, for the future of our freedom depends on the correct diagnosis of the situation. The seriousness of what is at stake makes it no longer appropriate to hide behind the masks and impostures required by the etiquette of political correctness. Let us diagnose, therefore, with realism and without fear, the pathology of our political system, if we are to heal it.

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