Change everything when you can’t repair anything: the craving for the “new” at all costs in politics

I am not happy to have told you about planes, and even recently, I am talking about cars today. Imagine that you have an engine failure in your car, one that occurs intermittently, that stops your car, that you cannot understand where the hell they are nestled under the hood. Go to the mechanic, the one you have known for years, who tells you to bring the car back the next day and leave it to investigate the causes of the problem, but you are in a hurry and go to the official workshop of that brand and they tell you, even before to have opened the hood, that probably you have to change that piece and that other, basing the diagnosis on mysterious official statistics of the parent company. We are all in a hurry and our time is worth gold, or at least your time will be worth it, because, alas, mine is worth very little, and therefore we decide to rely on the authorized workshop, the silent one and the immaculate white coats, with a waiting room decorated from monumental plants and widespread perfume. When, days later, we pick up the car, without having the courage to ask the clumsy shop manager what he did to the car, we pay and leave, crossing our fingers and hoping to have solved the problem, albeit at a high price. The trouble, however, punctually reappears, amplified and made even more mysterious. For the sake of scruple, but also to prove to ourselves that the dealership's professors are not always worth what they charge, let's take a step from our old, immaculate and dialectal mechanic of all time, who watches us enter the workshop with a slight grin, because he senses that, in the meantime, we have taken the car to the dealership. Approaching, he wipes his hands on the already extra-dirty suit, gestures for us to open the hood, throwing, with perfect trajectory, the cigarette butt into the "mixed-of-everything-a-little" bin while we, a little 'ashamed of it, we say that we have thrown away money and time and that the defect persists. The good mechanic, the one you call "you", whom everyone calls only by name and whose surname we even ignore, shouts to the workshop boy, disheveled and shabby too, to bring him the key of 14 and the screwdriver large cross. A few minutes later, the old mechanic makes the diagnosis: he believes he has understood what it can be and will try to solve it in economy, if we will leave the car until the afternoon. On our return to the workshop, the mechanic is still seated, with the door open and one leg down, in the driver's seat of our car and is making some badges that seem to detach the muffler. He wipes a rag, greasy like his suit, on the steering wheel, without taking the slightest care to put the white designer seat covers on the driver's seat as they do in the dealership and he says laconically: " Okay … give me twenty euros" . What did he do? He patiently disassembled, disassembled and cleaned up a mechanical piece that would not even come to mind, and then put it back together and put it back in its place. Resolved. Has this ever happened to you? I really think so, like me.

Analyzing the automotive parable in its essential phases, some elements that come to mind, with a little imagination, to our society, as well as to our politics, come to mind. First of all, it would be worth asking whether the choice to replace what does not work with new pieces is always the most effective methodology. In the name of the principle, all to be shown, that "the new works better than the old", social interventions are increasingly being carried out that do not analyze in the least the criticalities and malfunctions of state bodies, legal provisions and public structures that present problems, simply by replacing with completely new pieces and methods, sometimes without even having tried them before. It is now the rule: it is defined axiomatically that everything that upsets the pre-existing state of things is better and more effective. Changing pieces of the social structure haphazardly is now the prevailing system, rather than analyzing with competent patience what is no longer working properly to at least try to put it back into efficiency. A public building that presents critical issues is demolished or even left to total abandonment. While waiting for the inevitable new pharaonic structure that will have to replace the abandoned or closed one, the population is forced to deprive itself of the service that was offered before, without even considering practicable those repairs and renovations that would have resolved the critical issues, saving perhaps a few million euros of taxpayers.

Similarly, in this Italy which increasingly looks like an immense laboratory where too much is experimented and very little is operated with real professional experience, we see ministers who widely abuse the adjective "new" intended as the methodological basis of their work, also abusing of the noun "reform" as a universal remedy, as if all that we have painstakingly built so far were the pieces that the mechanic in a white coat replaces regardless, to simplify life and make budgets with new ones. Do you want to be the minister of any dicastery? Do you know anything about it? Are you a perfect ignorant of the matter? It doesn't matter, I teach you (I know how much you) how to do it: it changes everything radically, it sweeps away the "old" (which, as such, embodies all evil), you rebuild the whole system with new pieces, which will work certainly better than the previous ones and because you will have the alibi of having put everything new. This is the system, this is the desire to renew, structurally and organically reform every public structure, this is the current trend in which, once a problem has occurred, there is no attempt to solve it by repairing faults and replacing only the parts that apparently no longer work. And God forbid that in the programming of social interventions the principle of programmed obsolescence that reigns in consumer electronics is accepted, so that every new state structure must last a few years before being forcibly replaced with a new one, because it would be total dissolution of the very principle of state, which, like it or not, must be rock solid and made to last.

It is time to stop with reckless radical and "innovative" interventions that force us to the endless experimentation phase of yet another structural reform. That's enough! Enough of this, throwing everything away to rely on the "new" at any cost, a "new" that is presented to us as a salvific only because they are unable to repair and modify what really is no longer good, not throwing it away, but scrupulously preserving what still works perfectly. Europe asks us? If we do not "make reforms", will not a euro split? Do we even want to bend the head, as well as the knees, to blackmail? But let them do them, the reforms, first of all that of getting in the head that we are not a people of slaves always willing to change our rules, our structures, our way of life and, least of all, on command! Rather, a small prize to the good leopard-print mechanic, the one who solves the problem at the right price and without changing the car, why not give it? Because in this country of rampant innovators and reformists, of people who every day that passes throws centuries of social and legal civilization (perhaps too busy to put the Trojans in their phones to trace us as parcels) the only desire of those who govern us is that of changing our lives, of upsetting our existence because they have the monomania of rebuilding Italy from the foundations in a few months, without the least need for it? If you want, give me the answer. For my part, I can assure you that my habits, my ideas, my principles will not change them, I will not bow my head or kneel for any reason that not even try to ask.

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Sat, 13 Jun 2020 03:59:00 +0000.