The myth of the good citizen – understanding Italy

The present-day crisis is stressing every society establishment, even in a country that changes very slowly like my own, Italy. Under stress are social structures, politics, cultural circles, unofficial business agreement groups and so on. It look like the pressure is so high to melt down some equilibrium, you may feel a kind of vibration in the background.


It’s also time to debunk a common-used myth. The one about “us” and “them” when it comes to common citizens and politicians. It’s quite easy to depict “them” as enemies, parasites, criminals. It’s a common practice for populist to point the finger at “them” and start a infinite list of accusations. “They” are the bad side of society, without “them” we could  live in paradise.

This is nothing but bullshit (excuse me for the language). “They” do not come from another planter, nor “they” are from another country. Politicians are like us, in every way possible. It’s our fault if they get re-elected, it’s our fault if “they” use the State in order to facilitate their friends and companions. It’s not “us” and “them”. It’s us against us.

Italian society is not build around the concept of a community, about the idea of common good known as State. We’re in the logic of tribes, little and big, each one in competition with all the other tribes for resources and trade. So our politicians are no more than little feudal lords, each one with his/her court. In a situation like this one is a miracle that we continue to grow up talents, people who got what it takes to be bright as stars.

Nominally we are a Republic, a Democracy. We have all the instruments needed and we use them every now and then. But in the background you can still smell the fires and you can always hear the voices of the lords, murmuring new ways to twist and turn our laws. It’s true that we’re gonna change. The result is not so predicable, nor it’s so sure that it will be for the best.


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