December 4, 2022

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Home » Content » Who is dumber? Right and left radicalization in Spain
“Radicalism, exaggeration and the lack of the most important virtues of political coexistence have been the ailments of all Spaniards, right and left (José María García Escudero).” Only a pact between populars and socialists on major State issues can bring Spain out of its current morass. Symmetrical treatment is not given to the extreme right and the extreme left. If I highlight this difference in criteria, it is because it affects an issue that has interested me for a long time: why the Socialist Party can join forces with a far-left populist party such as Podemos, while the PP could not join with a populist party of extreme right like Vox. The geometric expression of justice, if possible, would be symmetry: treating those who are equal the same. For this reason, I consider that, especially from certain areas, a symmetrical treatment is not granted to the extreme right and the extreme left. The outrageous acts of the extreme right are rightly denounced, but the similar outrages of the extreme left are indulgently viewed or overlooked. Why? Perhaps because it is considered by many that the extreme left is redeemed from its excesses by the end that is always attributed to it, with more or less reason, of fighting for social justice and the expansion of rights and freedoms; that is, putting into practice without complexes the rule that the end justifies the means.

Juan José López Burniol, December 4, 2021

Daniel Innerarity and Lorenzo Bernaldo de Quirós

In his prologue to ‘The Second Spanish Republic’ (1967), by Jean Becaraud, Professor José Luis López Aranguren defined the Spanish right as the best right in the world; to which José María García Escudero agreed in his day – he tells it in his book ‘View to the Right’ (1988) -, on condition that he was allowed to complete that judgment with another on the world’s dumber left, which in his opinion was the Spanish one, “because radicalism, exaggeration and the lack of the most important virtues of political coexistence have been the ailments of all Spaniards, right and left.”

I have remembered this passage when reading an article by Professor Innerarity in La Vanguardia (“The radicalization of the conservatives”) in which he argues that the ¬authentic and current political crisis is not that of social democracy but that of the conservatives, “harassed by the extreme right”, which he specifies in three features: 1) “Will to rupture (…), to revoke –not modify or reform– the agreements previously achieved ”. 2) “A strategy of polarization, (of) denying the legitimacy of the left to govern”, and “the use of the judiciary in the various legal wars.” 3) “The will to break the common rules (…); that declaration of war against the politically correct (to) make impossible the configuration of a space of understanding”.

Symmetrical treatment is not given to the extreme right and the extreme left

I read it with due attention to its author, professor of Political Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country and author of an extensive and well-known work, but there was one fact that greatly surprised me: if he substituted the word right in the text of the article because of the word left, the article remained, in my opinion, intelligible and correct in its diagnosis. That is why it did not surprise me that days later, also in La Vanguardia, an article by Lorenzo Bernaldo de Quirós entitled “The radicalization of the left” was published, in which he affirmed that the three features mentioned, in which Innerarity perceives the radicalization of conservatives, “an objective observer could attribute (them), perhaps with greater accuracy, to the evolution of a good part of the western left and, especially, to that existing in Spain, whose approaches are light years away from those professed by conventional social democracy or the third way ”.

If I highlight this difference in criteria, it is because it affects an issue that has interested me for a long time: why the Socialist Party can join forces with a far-left populist party such as Podemos, while the PP could not join with a populist party of extreme right like Vox. It will be objected that Vox is fascist, and I will answer that Vox’s votes – even if they are fascist – are worth the same as those of Podemos – even if they are anarchoid. And I will repeat once again what I have reiterated ad nausea: that the current Government is, without a doubt, a legitimate government, but that, in my opinion, it is not a convenient government for the general interests; To which I immediately add that a coalition government between the Popular Party and Vox would be equally legitimate, although also inconvenient and for the same reason. For this reason, I always conclude that, in the current critical situation of Spanish politics, only a pact between popular and socialists on major State issues can bring Spain out of its current morass.

Only a pact between populars and socialists on major State issues can bring Spain out of its current morass

The geometric expression of justice, if possible, would be symmetry: treating those who are equal the same. For this reason, I consider that, especially from certain areas, a symmetrical treatment is not granted to the extreme right and the extreme left. The outrageous acts of the extreme right are rightly denounced, but the similar outrages of the extreme left are indulgently viewed or overlooked. Why? Perhaps because it is considered by many that the extreme left is redeemed from its excesses by the end that is always attributed to it, with more or less reason, of fighting for social justice and the expansion of rights and freedoms; that is, putting into practice without complexes the rule that the end justifies the means.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/opinion/20211204/7908347/plus-bete.html

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