Bibean Biblical Synecdoche

A social pathology?

I confess that when some friends asked me for a structured comment on Bibbiano's investigation, I doubted I could do it. Because if even a fraction of what the magistrates contest to social workers, foster families and administrators of the Val d'Enza were confirmed, we would face the purest epiphany of evil . From those facts would emerge a sadistic and more than beastly will to traumatize the most innocent to life and to throw their families into an endless and hopeless agony – because imposed by law – breaking social and flesh bonds in one fell swoop. For a parent the thought of those little ones who fall asleep in tears, away from home, induced to hate those who love them, in some cases mistreated, entrusted to deranged or sexually harassed (!), While fathers and mothers send letters and gifts that will never be delivered and pray to get out of a nightmare that they dare not report in order not to lose the hope of hugging their children. Without prejudice to the penal code, the offenses hypothesized here go beyond the murder by gravity: because they kill the soul, not the body . They empty people and let them live in pain.

The alleged abuses of the Val d'Enza are, in fact, presumed up to the sentence. But their modus operandi and the recurrence of some protagonists have rekindled the memory of other family estrangements that later turned out, even in court, to be seriously unjustified, and the irreparable trail of pain that affected the affected communities. The clamor of the news has also given strength to the denunciation of a few isolated voices so far , of a system that even when it remains within the perimeter of a formal legality gives social workers a power without effective counterweights capable of snatching children from families for years with more arbitrary than motivations: from "educational inadequacy" to indigence, from conflict between spouses to domestic disorder, from "hypostimulation" of children to "immaturity" of parents. These cases are not residual but prevalent , as can be learned from a parliamentary investigation which ended in 2018:

Reason for entry Total
Victims of abuse and mistreatment 1,399
Leave the family nucleus for economic problems, educational inability or psycho-physical problems of the parents 7,632
Welcomed together with the parent 4,099
Unaccompanied foreigners 3,672
Expectant mothers or underage mothers with dependent child 72
Involved in criminal proceedings or alternative custody 465
Minors with other reasons for entry 2,617
Not indicated 1

Minor guests in residential social-welfare and social-health facilities by gender, citizenship and reason for entry as at 31 December 2014 (from the Chamber of Deputies, fact- finding survey on minors "outside the family" – Final document , 17 January 2018).

On the one hand, therefore, it is urgent to put in default any other priority to amend this system starting from the highest ranks of the state administration, because it would be vain and painful to discuss the political, economic and cultural rebirths in the early evening while the biological bases of the community. It would be – as in fact it is – the most fitting metaphor of the ethical and civil impotence of humanity coeval to us, which while babbling about saving the world cannot protect the life of its children from a stamped paper . On the other hand, it is useful to reflect on the cultural safeguards that have been overseeing this system for years. Overcoming the circumstances of the news, the debate on the surroundings and the precedents of Bibbiano has aroused many suspicion of a civilization that does not act as a horror but dresses it with its procedures and its fetishes. By investigating the latter, one would realize that the abuses ascertained, reported or hypothesized here can allude to more radical problems.


According to those who conducted the investigations, the managers of the social services of the Val d'Enza acted "in such a way as to support a priori and in a way without any minimum balance, the theses or suspicions … that the children had suffered sexual abuse" even when the alleged victims denied and implored to return to the family. In other words, they would have placed an ideology of abuse before the psychological investigation, to be "demonstrated" at all costs. An ideology, we add, which in its motivations and verbalizations sought to be placed in the broader riverbed of a specific political and cultural area, as can be seen from the writings and choices of some of the main protagonists of the investigation: from feminist rhetoric and already male-master Marxist (" in this country the idea of ​​the patriarchal family that owns the children is still too strong ," commented the social worker Anghinolfi in La Stampa , in 2016) to activism for LGBT rights and parenting, since support to Mediterranean NGOs to participate in meetings, conferences and hearings organized by the local and national left.

It is all legitimate and nothing adds to the disputed crimes. Nor does it imply that political groups exist today that "steal children" as they were once said to eat them. Here the moral principals are not interested – whatever that means, however – but the way in which these events have been acknowledged and translated into symbols by the social body, and the solidity of the hypothesis that the excesses recognized in part in Bibbiano (seven minors entrusted have already returned to the families of origin ) and certified elsewhere have shielded themselves, in their repetition, of a not only scientific, but also ethical and cultural respectability.

Reductio ad pueros

For years I have been struck by the obsessive, but at the same time surgically selective, attention that progressives reserve to suffering children. In an article of some time ago I coined the term " reductio ad pueros " to denounce the use of enslaving the representation of the tragedies that affect children to promote a political goal. The memory of the very young Alan Kurdi, drowned in 2015 during a failed attempt to clandestinely reach the Greek coasts following his father, is still alive. The harrowing photo of his body was reproduced everywhere, and almost everywhere accompanied by invitations to "open the borders" and to widen the links of the right of asylum to avoid the repetition of similar tragedies. A few years later Beppe Severgnini theorized in Corriere della Sera the lawfulness, indeed the duty, to " show the photo of a dying child " to denounce misdeeds such as that of Douma, where the Syrian government would use nerve gas against its own people . For crimes of this magnitude, the journalist explained, "there can be no suspicion that it is a way of speculating on minors". Unfortunately – for him, not for the Syrians – the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would have shortly certified that that chemical attack had never happened . But it is not a coincidence, nor an exception .

In the same article I observed that often the representations of puerile suffering, as well as carefully filtered to reinforce a message, result in a more careful analysis stretched, exaggerated or simply invented . Little Kurdi, for example, could not have been a victim of the denied right of asylum as his family who had fled Syria had long enjoyed international protection in Turkey. And many other small alleged victims of Syrian bombs or snipers were actually actors , protagonists of video clips or testimonials of the rebel factions . Just as they never existed the hundreds of British children who died of measles repeatedly quoted by ex-minister Lorenzin on television to support the urgency of his vaccination decree. Just as it is not credible that our children "ask" us to reduce public debt or, if foreigners, to obtain Italian citizenship before the age of eighteen, with equal rights.

In concluding with the utmost "ubi puer ibi mendacium", I put forward the hypothesis that children's pain – true or more often invented – served to deactivate the rational resistance of the public and thus induce it to accept otherwise controversial political proposals, because they are linked to a innate, immediate and profound emotion. The easy success of this operation, not unlike that of those who choose a handsome body to advertise a product, is such as to have pushed someone even to wish that pain. This was the case with the writer Edoardo Albinati , who a year ago confessed in public that he had "wished that someone died on the Aquarius ship. I said: now, if a child dies, I want to see what happens to our government ».

I add here a third property of the reductio ad pueros : that in selecting (first property) a juvenile misfortune in hyperbolic, deforming or imaginative terms (second property) to conceal an ideological end (motive), it almost always promotes a misfortune of many more serious orders . This major misfortune, as a result of the first property, remains muted and can thus unfold in all its atrocity without resistance or remedies. Consider the founding example of the Gulf War, when a fifteen-year-old starlet sowed horror in the world posing as a nurse under whose eyes some Kuwaiti babies would have been barbarously killed. That (false) testimony had the effect of convincing Western opinion of the need to wage war against the Iraqi government. The (real) consequence was that tens of thousands of (real) children lost their lives under the bombs and hundreds of thousands (real) from the hardships caused by the subsequent embargo. In a more recent example, the need to facilitate the mass transfer of human beings from Africa to Europe (motive) was in some cases supported by representing the (alleged) suffering suffered by ( alleged ) underage immigrants at home and on the go. , with the consequence of handing over many of them to a (true) fate of labor and sexual exploitation , or to disappearance .

The phenomenon of family expulsion for futile or non-existent reasons, by mistake or willful misconduct, can satisfy the requirements of the reductio ad pueros . In these cases, the right attention paid to the phenomenon of abuse in the family and their eventual underestimation (first property) was accompanied by the urgency to magnify or imagine the signs of it, if not actually, as the Reggio magistrates suggest, to «subtly support and artificial clues, or aggravate existing ones, hiding elements indicating possible alternative explanations »(second property). Finally, the fabrication of false suffering from abuse produced the true suffering of emotional uprooting and the consequent destruction of lives and families (third property).

The motive remains to be investigated.

Familles je vous hais!

According to the investigators, in Val d'Enza the "false representations of reality" were "in any case intended to paint the original family unit as conniving (at least if not complicit or worse) with the alleged abuser adult". Other authoritative commentators have more directly denounced a "very intrusive culture which sees in the family … a potentially oppressive and therefore striking place". According to others, there is a plan to "destroy the family".

At the opposite extreme we read the words of Claudio Foti , the psychoanalyst (also of the aforementioned Anghinolfi) and scientific director of the Hansel and Gretel association who collaborated with the social services of Bibbiano, according to which the problem would instead be that

for a part of the social community the family is sacred and untouchable. And woe to those who touch it! The family is always an idealized microcosm where children are protected and well-liked! And operators who deal with protection, abuse, who question the sacred and idealized image of the family become the target of a sometimes blind and destructive anger!

The professional investigated today, recognizing in the family "the most extraordinary educational resource of children", believes that among those who today are indignant for the Biblical chronicles there is "a vast area of ​​people … who tend to take sides in defense of parents and family ("a father and a mother cannot have done this terrible thing!") "and that their violent reaction" has [developed] as the social and psychological interventions to support parents, but also to limit their omnipotence and … a critical awareness of the family was growing in society ».

These oppositions certainly signal a radicalization of the debate, albeit in the special form of the mutual accusation of ideological excess. To be honest, however, it is difficult to come across someone who wants to destroy all families as such , including their own. But even more difficult is that others consider them all holy and immaculate as such . To whom does Dr. Foti refer? Who are these fundamentalists? Although I frequent political shores far from his, I have never met one, not even among those who wish the suspects of Bibbiano the worst tortures today. The suspicion is that here there is confusion between first and second substances in the Aristotelian sense : the sacralization or quasi-sacralization of the family institution (second substance), in a religious (Gen 2.24, Mk 10.6-9) or civil sense (Const. Art. 31), does not exclude that individual parental σύνολα (primary substance) can be criticized, and that indeed it should be done if unworthy. Even the intrinsic sacredness of the priesthood does not prevent doctrine from condemning bad priests, rather it imposes it. The sin that desecrates the divine plan is an ineliminable condition of man and the gravest sin is also the original sin, of presuming that the things of men can become sacred in the sense of boasting of divine perfection ( ὕβϱις ).

Those of Foti and his eventual maximalist enemies therefore seem to be puppet arguments whose hyperbolas allude to deeper cultural clashes, to the dialectic between the reason of state of the princeps and the reasons for the blood of the pater familias and, in root, between the law ( ν μος ) and human nature ( φύσις ). Today the regulatory pole, that of having to be, is experiencing a hypertrophic phase and its invasions in the field of being are evident: it aims to establish the parenting of those who cannot generate, promote or impose mass bioengineering, to compress reality physics in algorithms and data flows, to replace biological sexes with cultural combinations (roles and gender identity) and more, but its claims are not new.

Nor is the idea to which Foti seems to adhere, that social progress must also demand the demystification, containment and criticism of family rights. In 1958 the sociologist Edward Banfield coined the fortunate definition of " amoral familism " to explain how the material and moral backwardness of certain areas of our South originates from the centrality assumed by close family relationships at the expense of a more structured, cooperative and supportive sociality . The combination of backwardness-family finds its edge in the common feeling, for example when identifying family economies with mafias, corruption and favoritism (while family businesses are the most prosperous and resilient ) or it is hoped that our young people will soon leave their families of origin to become independent and increase the national workforce, it does not matter under what conditions – that they stop, said a former wealthy family minister, to be "big babies" to give themselves to a healthier "hard life". Or again, when the integration of young immigrants is subordinated to their emancipation from "archaic" and "oppressive" family legacies, that is, to their emotional uprooting .

While politicians and economists from the liberal area put their children against fathers and fathers against grandparents insinuating that the older ones would be "stealing the future" from young people with their pension "privileges" , the health care they enjoy and, upstream, the carefree public debt accumulated, in the most famous academic circles, received the idea of ​​tightening inheritance taxes so that new workers, no longer protected by family assets, would immerse themselves in the arena of meritocratic competition "in a country where often a young adult relies too much, willingly or unwillingly, on the house and on the financing of the parents or on the recommendation of the relative ». In the meantime, those who dictate education reforms ask that our children spend much more time between the desks – and therefore less in the family – with the extension of compulsory schooling starting from three years and the long compulsory time up to fourteen. This would serve, the Corriere candidly comments , "precisely to reduce the weight ( sic ) of environmental and family conditions".

In the field of health, the boldest experiments are dared. In the debate that arose around the new vaccination obligations for children, the possibility of removing the children from the parents who were resistant to inoculation was discussed with alarming obsession, thus accepting the certainty of traumatizing the youngest for life (third property of the aforementioned reductio ) to protect them from possible and remote risks (first property) magnified up to the apocalypse (second property). Readers will remember that this option never dared in our system, to annihilate dissidents by depriving them of affections, was clearly provided in paragraph 5 of article 1 of the Lorenzin decree , then repealed in the conversion into law. For similar reasons, the right of minors, even the very young , to undergo tests and health treatments without parental consent is claimed, they are represented as heroes when they rely on medical devices against the will of naturally retrograde parents, the destruction of chemotherapy is authorized of their bodies to experiment with new sexual paradigms and their difficulties and their character are pathologized to entrust them to the care of special experts, almost from the cradle .

It is difficult not to see the red thread that binds these and other events. Progressivism is the will to impose progress which, due to the fact that it must be imposed, is not recognized as such by its alleged beneficiaries. His propositional moment is therefore eternally postponed and crushed by the preliminary urgency of forcing social resistances to change and previous sediments of custom and thought, so much so that he is almost always identified with pars parsuens alone, with a war on the old, the new of which is not it is more the end, but the pretext. It is not surprising that progressivism ill-tolerates the rights of families. Because these are the place of the literally understood traditio in which values, representations and beliefs are "handed over" from one generation to another by binding themselves to the impregnable and primordial vehicle of affects. Those who want to attack the old must attack families and break their transmission chain: even physically , not having men as equally incisive pedagogical surrogates (but work is underway ).


Through a meticulous analysis of international agreements, understandings and recommendations, Elisabetta Frezza has reconstructed the stages of a process that from the post-war period to the present has prepared and promoted the progressive de-authorization of family pedagogical references to favor programs of pansexualist education and early eroticization of children, by school equipment. In a recent speech, the scholar cited a passage from Bertrand Russel's Impact of Science on Society (1951) where the British philosopher imagined a "scientific dictatorship" in which "the socio-psychologists of the future" will be able to "convince anyone of any what ", even that" the snow is black … as long as you can work patiently from a young age ". In this the main obstacle to be overcome will be the "influence of the family".

These ideas are also ancient. If utopia is the most extreme and transparent exercise of progressivism, the dissolution of the family was already preached in the oldest utopian text we know: Plato's Republic . In the polis of the wise (which today we would call "technicians" having put accounting in front of metaphysics) women are "all in common", marital cohabitation is forbidden and "the father does not know [and] the son, nor the son the father »Since« special authorities … will take over the newborns »immediately after the birth to direct them to the education and careers established by the guardians of the oligarchy. A short passage from Book VII describes how this revolution will take place. "The true philosophers who will take power in the cities," Socrates explains to Glaucone,

they will send all citizens over the age of ten to the countryside, take care of their children who are still immune from their parents' customs and raise them according to their own ways of life and laws … This is the fastest and easiest way to establish that city is that constitution we talked about .

Two thousand five hundred years ago, the Platonic text thus fixed an archetype, the shortcut shortcut that from then on would seduce all the hasty and misunderstood revolutionaries. Following this tragic illusion, many followed the Athenian, from Campanella , to regenerate society by undermining the biological basis of the prima societas and the principium urbis et quasi seminarium rei publicae family ( Cicero , De officiis ). de The city of the sun to the Fourier utopian socialists, but unfortunately also non-literary governments such as the Cambodian one of the red four-year period or the Canadian one, who snatched the children from the natives to also physically cancel their legacy.

Among the most frequently cited exponents of this tendency, Marx and Engels did not oppose the family institution itself but criticized in the "bourgeois family" an instrument with which the ruling classes would oppress both proletarian families ("sie findet ihre Ergänzung in der erzwungenen Familienlosigkeit der Proletarier ") and their own wives (" ein bloßes Produktionsinstrument ") and children (" die Ausbeutung der Kinder durch ihre Eltern "). The followers later extended the definitions of bourgeois family, ruling class and "father-master" to all the conventional families of the rich hemisphere, practically without exception, making them systemic and thus justifying the participation in the front lines of the left in the battles for divorce, abortion and other "conquests" likely to weaken a model that is no longer political, but anthropological.

From this brief and insufficient anthology it seems to me to emerge that the idea of ​​improving society by criticizing the family form, entrusting some prerogatives to the State or even breaking it up, is ancient and whip, in some way omnipresent, always ready to inflict its failures. If not the phenomenon of custody too easy, it can certainly explain the intensity of the reactions that it is provoking on both sides of the debate. To deny the enormity of the stakes is all the more dishonest if you do not recognize that these reports bring ammunition to an ongoing war against the definition and role of the family – a war that starts from the highest levels, precisely those of the "ruling classes »On a global scale, and is deployed in the fields of education, health and sexuality having already hit that of subsistence with the deflation of wages, employment and services. Beyond the object, the invitation "not to speak of Bibbiano" therefore risks appearing as an unlikely attempt to anesthetize a conflict that is already flaring up in the rear and to normalize the ever more daring attempts to conquer one of the psychological trenches, welfare, cultural and spiritual more tenacious, because prepolitical, of a people who insists on not wanting to take global medicine.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Il Pedante at the URL on Fri, 02 Aug 2019 09:48:00 PDT.