Let’s demystify some clichés. It’s high time, in this dark, post-pandemic, warmongering world, to stop saying that people who cheat on their neighbors are smarter and people who don’t pay taxes are smarter. And let’s also stop accepting that slander and lies can be used as tools of communication, and insults as an effective argumentative tactic. Yelling and interrupting the speaker is not assertiveness but rudeness, and envy is a vulgar reaction to the generosity of those who share their knowledge and wealth. To denigrate one’s own country and spit on one’s plate is counterproductive; whoever is truly superior to the people they denigrate should be somewhere else, not wasting their time with people they deem inadequate.
Yet a respected government crumbles in order to maintain the privileges of a political base that has always evaded taxes and payroll taxes, and then demands that public services and infrastructure run at their best, obviously paid for by the few people who have dignity live by the rules.
I’m talking about recent events in Italy, where recent competition legislation again exempted taxi drivers (and also retained licenses to operate beach resorts at ridiculously low prices), an Italian tradition. Where we have seen the smiling faces of those who have reached their coveted retirement, in a country where some will never have a pension at all, or will only receive the bare minimum, which anyway is less than the “income base” plan approved by the former government (and certainly well below the pension received by members of the outgoing parliament).
This is what our world looks like today: exponential ignorance trumps intellectual sophistication; those who denigrate their neighbor (even in the family) think they are cool. And, like the shrinking circles of Dante’s Inferno, today’s teenagers are learning that a person makes a living with Tik Tok and other word-of-mouth expedients. Not a good example.
And to denounce the stereotype of the smart guy who stuffs his expense report and rips off his organization (instead of worrying about protecting his interests and his sustainability), we must first return to a notion of dignity and pride which is to first personal before it’s national. It’s a popular sport of pointing fingers at others, holding them to blame for everything, instead of looking at your own limitations and taking responsibility for what you’ve done, trying to figure out how to improve. and do more next time.
I don’t know how to dismantle this hypocritical and stubborn, self-referential reasoning, and so insufficient that it would become sick and repugnant. But it is nonetheless endemic and widespread. It has deep roots, cultivated for at least 80 years. It began with the economic boom of the 1960s and the proliferation of a petty-bourgeois class that spread everywhere, even where more rigor and intellectual stature would have been more appropriate. This class raised spoiled, selfish, navel-gazing and mediocre children – a hopeless mediocrity that led to the loss of human worth and the dignity of existence, reaching far beyond the borders of the bourgeoisie.
Today we see many examples of incompetent and incapable people rejoicing in the disaster of embarrassing global leadership and the emptiness of a future that is no more. But whatever ; there’s always something to steal somewhere, and that’s where they focus their miserable efforts. I pity Italy, I pity Europe, and I pity the world, a place that is now cramped, but only for those who can still truly appreciate the taste of pure and fresh air. We are few. Dignity is obsolete and rare. It’s even boring for some; for others, it is the only salvation we can aspire to, if we really want to make Earth a better place. Do we still have enough time?