The reforms

Until a few years there was an urgent need to make "reforms", those "that the country needs" and that "someone asks us", those for which we have to "put aside the divisions", "work together »And« roll up your sleeves ». As happens with words that become amulets, no one then knew for sure what "reforms" consisted of, what was in them, and their spell was fulfilled in this indeterminacy. In "the reforms" everyone projected their own idea of ​​redemption. Branches of the wider domain of "progress" all seduced with the promise of "advancing" provided that the direction and the goal were left to the imagination of each.

Today there is much less talk about "reforms" because – and I add, unfortunately – it is done. When the content is revealed, the container is eclipsed, when the violence is revealed, the announcement is silenced or it is drowned in the noise of its false motives . Reformism in progress supplants the idyll of its sirens, but this does not mean that its device must not be investigated in order to at least try to stifle the new inflorescences of its sad tree.

Historically, reformism is a pragmatic current of socialist thought which opposes the revolutionary approach in preaching the gradual erosion of the capitalist model, or at least the retention of its most extreme drifts in anticipation of historical times conducive to its dismantling. Removed from its ideological niche, today's reformism more strongly recalls that of the so-called "enlightened" despots of the eighteenth century, whose measures aimed at "rejuvenating" society by imposing by law the ideas and "values" of the new French philosophers: scientific thought, "Rationalism", secularization of government, customs, culture. That heritage continues to pulsate in the era that we call "modern", but which in fact has served the same dialectics for at least two centuries – science vs superstition, enlightenments vs obscurantism, equality vs caste, civilization vs barbarism, etc. – and, more deeply, a vision of the times and social relationships.

Compared to its socialist counterpart, today's reformism (that of two hundred and fifty years ago) is revolutionary, but in the special ways of a revolution that cannot be consumed, it is defined in the announcement of itself and draws all its sap from its antagonistic pole. . Such a revolution must balance itself completely on the destruens side and focus its weapons on the past with the excuse of the future. It does not speak of improvement, but of overcoming , and to define overcoming it defines only the overcoming, that is, the existing and the existed, in a criticism replicable ad aeternum of what, nominally obsolete, simply coincides with what is real. "The reforms" promise destruction and can leave out the rest because in the meantime they give the dream of an apotropaic and baptismal turn in which everyone hopes, indeed they are sure, that they will see their own and very personal worries succumb.

The evanghélion of "the reforms" must be confirmed by postulating the continuous advent of "new times" which would make the tools in use inadequate. But the announcement, like that of Aesop's shepherd boy, is discredited by its dense repetition and its indiscriminate application, or even more by the fact that "the reforms" themselves circularly create the "novelties" that they invoke and the problems that must then be remedied from other reforms, in turn reformable, in an accelerated and centrifugal motion from the only possible, but sacrilegious, solution: the counter- reform.

Since the good is the enemy of the best , with "reforms" nothing is improved. In their compulsion to re-destroy with ever tighter cadences one reads rather the nihilistic plot of a community which, despairing of being able to amend itself, heats up only when imagining itself zeroed. It is no coincidence that the more advanced (progressive) reformist fronts turn the problem over to the beneficiaries – because they resist, vote, contest, hate, doubt, pollute, etc. – up to preaching the replacement or more directly the extinction, lately because they emit gas .


The combination of saving expectation and scrapping in a tight calendar turn produces concrete disasters. "Reforms", even when they were useful and good (hypothetical period of unreality, at least in the last forty years), introduce discontinuities, costs and uncertainties that are reversed on the application of the laws. They require long amortization times during which the eventual benefit does not exceed the difficulty of starting up. To defend themselves from these dangers they should measure themselves against the constraints of custom, which, however, set aside by positive law, nevertheless represents an invisible but fundamental social patrimony, the inertial motion that holds up a community and distinguishes it from a mass. They should recognize that the law has a symbiotic relationship with customs, which welcomes them and at the same time shapes them in a process of mutual adjustment. But the ethics of "reforms" despises all this, and indeed does so with proud intention. Already while preparing its upheavals and the social costs that will follow, it recounts them as "opportunities" and "challenges" that will create new skills – entrepreneurial opportunities and new professional figures – that is, useless and parasitic – by feeding the already unsustainable load of the "bullshit jobs" (David Graeber) who suffocate the remaining useful forces like a smoke.

In reviving the magisterium of the "enlightened" despotism of which it is the last monkey, that ethics sees in the sacrifice of consolidated uses – and a fortiori of traditions – not a price necessary to earn the best, but the best itself, the goal priority and designated of the reform action. Like advertising cleaners, "reforms" are all the more successful the more they know how to attack the tenacious crust of the practice, beliefs and morals of the vulgar, confuse him and impose the burden of a "modernization" that is now indistinguishable from the disarray of an injured flock. The recipients of the "reforms" must annihilate themselves in a feeling of constant defect and chase, from a sense of guilt that becomes a structure for the anxiety of proving worthy of what they are not. On the other hand, the craftsmen have the habit of believing for a few months a Frederick of Prussia or a Peter Romanov, a Maria Theresa or a second Joseph, and of looking at each other dressed in the mirror while imagining avant-gardes of that same story that will shortly return them to the oblivion of his garbage. For those who reform, weaken the resistance and whip the "delays", "the prejudices", the "backwardness", the "false certainties", the "illiteracy" and the "comfortable habits" of a people who are always "taillights" of the tail »of something is a source of pride, disappointing its expectations a mission, supporting its mandate a weakness.


Who benefits from "reforms"? In the narrative phase, more or less at all, because they offer everyone the hope of starting off on the right foot by getting rid of the evils present. In the implementation phase, to those who, when they break down, have the means and the rights to occupy the voids created by their devastation: that is, to the strongest. For example, it should be obvious that in an era of near-extinction or assimilation of union representation, any labor reform (any, without the need to open the files) would result in a weakening of wages and protections. Or that in a context of usury income enslavement, any reform (any) of public services would limit the access and quality of the latter, having to extract a profit for investors. Or again, that while three or four IT companies bill more than states and hold everyone's secrets, reforming the administration in a digital sense would give them even more uncontrollable powers. It should be obvious that those who are under attack must first save their few remaining possessions. But since it doesn't seem to be, I write it here.

It would help to dwell on the fact that the practice of action-representation is in turn the composite residue of "reforms" of law or, at least in the premise, of fact (for example wars) which, after having impressed their trauma, left themselves smooth like glass shards in the waves. Metaphorically, the identity substrate of the recipient community first collected the change and then activated it in turn to change it (for example, in our system, through constitutional and Council of State rulings, cancellations, repeals and disapplications on the legal plan, amendments, additions and suppressions on the political one, further upstream generating resistances that make adjustments, amnesties, etc. necessary. This is how some great reforms (without quotation marks) of the past have produced their best results: giving themselves time to adapt to the needs and styles of the recipients. All of this is naturally far from the contemporary modus reformandi , which indeed seems to recognize these processes only in order to better hinder them. The continuous, unmotivated and compulsive revival of the reforming action produces the result of institutionalizing the upheavals and costs of the meantime, reopening new wounds in the social body without waiting for the old ones to heal, or for the antibodies necessary to stop sepsis to be activated. In this bloodbath the cheerful surgeons of the "reforms", cynical or vain, stupid or calculating, conscious or unaware builders of an order that, someone suggests in the wings, will have to be born from the womb of chaos.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Il Pedante at the URL on Sun, 26 Apr 2020 11:47:55 PDT.