This article is published in number 39 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 28 September 2021
There are many revolutions that change the world but few that change men. They are then called mental revolutions, because they are capable of generating a new idea of humanity. With the digital revolution, our gestures have changed at a disconcerting speed, space and time, past and future, truth and lie, individual and politics are no longer the same. Today, a tweet is enough to tear apart centuries of culture.
We travel with headlights off and no one can say how the unbridled tyranny of “politically correct” will end (sanitizing language does not lead to real solutions) or the exasperation of #MeToo with its forms of “psychopolice” or the fanaticism of “cancel cultures ”, which demolishes statues, pursuing an impossible“ reclamation ”of the past; attitudes that only ten years ago would have seemed wrong to us.
Everything that is happening originates from the genetic mutation of the liberal left, warns an investigation by the weekly The Economist, with the result that “the left risks becoming illiberal.” The bible of liberalism quotes the words of Milton Friedman, a Reaganian Nobel laureate economist, not exactly a reference of the left: “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up having neither one nor the other”. Donald Trump and his populist emulators, who have made a flag of aggression, intolerance and unfairness, were only the answer to “democratic illiberalism”. And it is no coincidence that after eight years of Barack Obama’s White House, a clown like Donald Trump has come to the presidency. One of the reasons why the middle class and the working class voted a scam billionaire instead of politically correct Democrat Hillary Clinton was the great annoyance towards a left that, instead of dealing with the jobs and living conditions of a middle class torn apart by the severe economic crisis of 2008, he toyed with the politically correct, the habit of public pillory for different opinions and the increasingly obsessive attention on how to deal with racial issues, gender, religion. For example, in the trans movement it is considered offensive to hear about “biological sex,” because for them gender is a choice, distinct from biology. And inside Black Lives Matter there are those who go beyond the denunciation of violence, asking for spaces of political autonomy where participation is determined by the color of the skin. In conclusion: not every position taken by progressive or presumed groups is compatible with the principles of democracy. Not all activists are right and, in any case, one must always know how to confront. The result is that the politics and culture of the Western world today are divided between two opposing versions of illiberalism, one on the right and one on the left.
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