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Alberto de Lucas Vicente, GRADUN- Institute for Culture and Society. University of Navarra

The breeding ground of political incoherence

Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:11:00 +0000 Published in La Verdad, Diario Montañés, Ideal de Jaén, Las Provincias, Hoy (ed. Badajoz and Cáceres), Heraldo de Aragón, La Rioja and El Norte de Castilla.

An ideology is a set of ideas and values, of principles, of agreement with which we make decisions and interpret what surrounds us. Everyone has an ideology: more or less defined, more or less coherent, more or less (sometimes not at all) "labelable". In recent history, especially since Marxism (paradoxically one of the great ideologies of the contemporary era), this concept has been demonized. The cause is to be found in the manipulation and instrumentalization of ideas to obtain power and to justify atrocities and in the cases in which they have sought to impose them.

In politics, however, having no ideology is tantamount to being lost or to defending one's own interests as the only motivation. The basis of democracy is that the people elect their rulers in the hope that they will make the best decisions. For such a choice (to delegate his sovereignty), the voter determines that the one he votes for will do so, interpreting other decisions taken previously, the promises made, the commitments acquired and the electoral program. All this makes it possible - if there is consistency - to know the underlying values and predict future decisions. Or, at least, that these will be carried out respecting those values that the voter shares.

Therefore, when a party fails to fulfill an electoral promise, when it acts contrary to what was announced in its program, when it seeks the majority or consensus at the expense of those implicitly stated values, it is not only being inconsistent, it is not only betraying itself and its principles (and a politician without principles is a corrupt politician); but it is also betraying and disconcerting its voters. Having lost (broken, betrayed) the references on which the voters based their trust, given the impossibility of finding a coherent system to explain the actions, the only thing left is that of the vote as an end or as a means to benefit staff.

For this reason, also, when a popular movement or a new party declares it has no ideology, or when several parties declare themselves moderate, "of the center", understanding this option as neutral (not compromised?) and becoming all different versions of the same nonsense, a certain suspicion is inevitably awakened in the average citizen.

To sustain this system without foundations, we are sold nice ideas and catchy slogans: impressions after all. There is no interest in serious questions, in deep inquiry. There is no interest in opinion; only impression, sensation, feeling. Opinion has been discredited and devalued, it has been placed at the same level of primitive perception, even being used as a means to disavow an option: "That will be your opinion".

The breeding ground has been there for a long time. Our society of knowledge is nothing more than the society of accessible information. So much that we do not delve into it. We think we know the world, but we only have a diffuse knowledge of it. A knowledge made up of loose brushstrokes, in which we think we perceive defined shapes. Ask yourself the reader how much you know(know, really, beyond what you have heard, seen or heard) of current news. Machado's verses say: "From the sea to the perception, / from the perception to the concept, / from the concept to the idea". In our era of immediacy, of information in our pockets, at the stroke of a keystroke, of ultra-fast connections, we remain in the comfortable, but shallow, step of perception. We base our decisions on a system of ideas, assumptions, convictions, often built on impressions.

And it is dangerous: the impression does not come through the thorny and long road of reason. It arrives through that of the chocolate stain on clothes, in the same quick instant, and settles in with the same fixation. That is why it is not easy to fight it with arguments: it is not easy to go against our senses (and we are continually bombarded with invitations not to do so: "listen to your heart"); it is assumed with such force that it is identified with natural law what is nothing more than "knowledge" acquired. If we scratch the surface, we will see that behind the economic, political and social crises of our times, we find this crisis of knowledge. Let us move up the scale. Let us reflect, let us go deeper and, in the end, let us know.