The charming, dapper, cosmopolitan face of post-democracy

A week ago, I wrote a piece entitled the Shepherding of Italian Democracy, critical of unelected technocrat Prime Minister Monti and his cowardice in not presenting himself and his ideas for election. A reader tweeted me, responding to the article and saying: “If Italians in the eurobubble could vote, Monti would easily get 70% of preferences.”

I don’t think everyone feels this way in the eurobubble. I know far too many people in Brussels – true believers in the European project – that are horrified by what Brussels (and Frankfurt and Berlin) is doing.

But there probably is a glint of truth to this figure. And these people are not natural conservatives. These are people who adore Obama and hated Bush. People who support gay marriage – who may even be gay. People who support EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding’s push to get more women in the boardroom.

And they’ll say that they of course support democracy – and think that they mean it. But at the same time, when you really push them, they say that they just don’t trust ordinary people to vote ‘the right way’. They support EU efforts to take fiscal decision-making out of the hands of parliaments, lest voters spend their way to oblivion. After a few drinks, they dismiss ‘most people’ as stupid. A few drinks more and they call them ‘the mob’.

It’s this lack of trust in regular people, this unacknowledged attitude that there is a group of experts who know better than everyone else, this belief that there need to be checks on democracy, that frightens. Girlfriend in a Coma‘s emphasis on the bright, young, hyper-educated Italian diaspora speaks volumes about the filmmakers’ lack of confidence in all other sorts of Italian voters.

The Erasmus-generation fans of this film will be hip. They’re crisply dressed. They like independent cinema and museums and all the right music. They’re friends of mine, and they’re a great laugh and multi-lingual and smart.

And they’re autocrats.

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One Response to The charming, dapper, cosmopolitan face of post-democracy

  1. Paul Marks says:

    The unelected Monti regime (imposed by the work of the European Union and its friends) put out PR spin that its tax crack down would only hit Big Business (boo-hiss). Of course all business enterprises were hit – with business people (and their employees) being driven to ruin. Businessmen even committed suicide in protest.

    Yet the lies of the international media continued – with the tax-protest deaths falsely being claimed to be in protest aganst “the cuts”, i.e. the mythical reduction in Italian government spending since the present crises started in 2007-2008.

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