Saturday, 10 March 2018

A new era dawns in Italy

I take back what I said about the LSE's blogs reflecting the sad lack of diversity of thought among academics, who are almost always left-wing or at least liberal. Roberto Orsi's blog post on the Italian election has proven me wrong and makes up for wading through the muddy waters of Conor Gaerty's writing.

Dr. Orsi comes straight to the point.

The outcome of the election was determined primarily by the policies of uncontrolled mass immigration which started in 2014 under Enrico Letta and continued under Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni. These have de facto turned Italy into a giant camp for asylum seekers, generating a sense of societal breakdown and acute political conflict.
I want to know the reasons why European leaders have failed to defend their countries
from invasion and he makes an interesting attempt to explain. I think he is largely right.
The result of the Italian election and the dynamics leading to it fall squarely in the context of a change common to all European and Western politics. After the end of the Cold War and with the onset of a unipolar, globalised international landscape, a new Euro-Atlantic political and intellectual elite has emerged. This elite is internationalised, urban, sophisticated, “trendy”, and solidly in control of mainstream communication. They regard nation states as a relic of the past while conceptualising countries, in a post-modernist fashion, fundamentally as platforms for global governance. They make little distinction between citizens and non-citizens, and place large emphasis on the individual, individual rights, de-territorialisation and geographic mobility, while downplaying collectivities (unless they are ethnic or religious minorities) and continuity with the past of the political community, even when they are nominally conservative.

It should be noted that these ideas have extremely limited penetration in the rest of the world, thus not being at all really “global” in a proper sense. In the past two decades, such ideological constructs have decisively moved the centre of political discourse and action towards identity politics. In 2015, this conception of the world and of politics peaked with the disaster of Merkel’s immigration policies, as well as the immense propagandistic effort aimed at legitimising them, with the active involvement of almost all Western intellectuals. The upfront adoption of policies which in no way can be regarded as sound and sustainable for anybody who has a minimal understanding of historical and political dynamics, as became clear in a matter of months, led to a dramatic loss of credibility for the ruling classes, institutions, the media, and intellectuals.
He sees an elite that has imported American liberal ideas about race and sex (which he calls gender) into a country where they don't fit. 

I wish they didn't fit in England but it seems that there they fit all to well. 

But he is hopeful and believes the ideological structure of the Euro-Atlantic world, meaning the ideas of Mr. Renzi and Mrs Merkel, are outdated just as Marxism Leninism, which people once believed in (especially in Italy), became out of date in the 1980s.

He thinks this may be the start of a new and worrying phase in Italian politics. I find it very cheering. The North and South voted for different parties. If this prefigures the eventual break up of Italy I'd be delighted and so would the League, which came into existence to achieve this very thing. Then the 5 Star Movement could deal with the migrant crisis. The best way to do so would be to deploy the navy off the coast of Africa to force boats to return.

What I cannot see happening is Italy leaving the euro, even though the euro is responsible for a depression comparable to Japan's. Leaving the euro seems to be almost impossible. 

The banks would close on Friday and the Italian government would announce that euros would be turned into lira. But what about euros held in banks in Germany, or German banks with branches in Palermo? And before lira were revived word would get out and there'd be a run on Italian banks.  And after that lira would fall like a stone, wiping out savings like the great inflation did in Germany in the early 1920s. 

No, as William Hague, the man who destroyed Libya, said: 
The euro is a burning building with no exit.
At least the migrant crisis, which is an existential threat to Italy, is a burning building that does have a fire escape, should an Italian government choose to open it.  


  1. Lire not pesetas - we are talking about Italy not Spain