I had a good friend, an intellectual (philosopher, historian and man of letters) who continuously explained to me, a subject prone only to scientific and economic analysis, what the real nature of man was from his point of view. I don’t think I shine in any field, but that’s a field in which I feel like a newbie.
He made considerations based on the analysis of history, the evolution of morality over the centuries, even behavioral psychology and, of course, his personal experience. Because of the positions he had held, he came into contact with various public administrators and politicians, as well as entrepreneurs of a certain caliber.
Well, my friend stated with a certain intolerance that we are living in an era of typical “co-optation of the mediocre”. He claimed that this phenomenon was quite cyclical in history, not stationary anyway. He said that in some periods of history there had in fact been a certain meritocracy, sometimes even the positive influence of enlightened elites, albeit in the face of social barriers.
The co-optation of the mediocre was for him the process that rewards cunning and individualism at the expense of intellectual honesty and common interest. When the co-optation of the mediocre is in force, he explained, studying is less useful, just as it is less discriminating to consistently follow some ideal.
The cunning individual who thinks for himself can find connections with like-minded people, i.e. he finds productive compromises for himself, tying himself to other subjects. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, cultured and correct they are, because what counts is the synergy deriving from the bond. This was for my friend the co-optation of the mediocre. A union of individuality for one’s own practical gain, not a participation in something high.
The lack of control, he said, had fostered this dynamic. In fact, observance of the rules requires that relationships be filtered by certain values (such as beauty, truth and justice,
), those that normally inspire laws and knowledge. Without controls, however, great facilities are possible. The values are essentially undermined by the simplicity of the “shortcuts”.
The mediocre co-opted, however, always fear that the rules may sooner or later punish them, a bit like what happens to a motorist who takes a forbidden sense every morning. This, my old friend continued, leads them to have two orders of behaviour. According to the first, they tend to feed their ranks, since union is the strength. With number, in fact, one can more easily override the rules and ensure one’s own defense.
The second type of reaction leads the mediocre co-opted to shoot with the carbine or whoever flies high above their heads. Those who have wings, because they have the cultural tools to grow them, constitute a threat to the mediocre who would never be able to reach those heights, not even by hoisting themselves on each other.
With all this, I want to say that “the average man in command” is nothing more than a consequence of the choice of mediocre people made by other mediocre people? No, I don’t mean that. It may well be that this co-optation still prevails at a political level, and perhaps this is now partly inevitable. However, I do not think at all that this executive is the result of the influence exercised on mediocre voters who identify with the mediocre they elect. The point is that I do not think at all that a large proportion of those who vote are mediocre, quite the contrary.
I believe that the strong man, or rather, that “looks strong”, is still able to attract a certain support in Italy. For me, however, even this is not a sufficient explanation. What then decreed the political success of the Lega-M5S alliance? Well, I believe that it is the consequence of a co-optation of the mediocre that has been able to develop for years and years during the previous governments. The persistence of potentates and privileged groups that for generations have done their own interests, and not collective or national interests, has led to a moral impoverishment of institutions, to a decay of the ruling class, to critical organizational problems, but above all – here is the point – to great social disparities.
The inequalities within Italian society find very few similarities in other EU countries. The differences between the North and the South of the nation are immoderate. In the South, there are entire portions of regions that are not controlled by the State, where there are unacceptable pockets of poverty and where crime is uncontrolled. The suburbs of some northern cities are suffering a similar fate. In other respects, the middle class has also become impoverished and faces an unpromising future. All of this explains the mood of the electorate that everything but continue