by Valerio Pocar
The outcry caused by certain statements in a paratrooper general’s book has not yet died down and perhaps it is not too late to return to the subject. We do not want to combine our words with the many comments on the book, nor do we want to express our opinion on the general himself, since both have already enjoyed and are still enjoying their hour celebritywe say undeserved. In this context we simply want to express something specific Regret in having found confirmation for the suspicion that many harbor, rightly or wrongly: that in the armed forces, in intellectual training and in the heritage of values there still lurks a certain, hopefully numerically limited, number of “right-thinking” soldiers who come from distant times and with which they certainly do not agree modernity the instruments of war available and entrusted to them.
However, we don’t want to dwell on opinions homophobicsexist and racist voiced by the general, who even repeated it on tour. Just quietly, we would like to remind the same general who, by virtue of his profession, certainly believes that courage is a remarkable virtue, that today more courage is required simply to live a peaceful life, to be LGBT+, rather than “normal “, women instead of men, black instead of white.
The unanimous response of the right, including the “intellectuals,” was to stand up for the party Right of the general to express his opinion. In principle we can only agree, à la Voltaire. Except that the general, who in his heart or at the bar has the right to think and say whatever comes to mind, for the job he practices, might have that certain restrictions towards his superiors and, above all, towards the institution to which he belongs. But that is also his problem and that of the Defense Minister, who reminded him of this – for once, as we would never have believed, with our applause.
But that’s not the point either. However, the chorus of the right, including intellectuals, has reflected on this without prejudice to the defense of the right to opinion, with the exception of a few whiteflies Do not comment on the merits. To be clear, everyone has the right to think and say their nonsense and express their vile opinions, but that does not mean that nonsense and vile opinions remain. Limiting oneself to protesting the right to expression can be understood – thinking badly, etc. – liketacit membership to the same opinions. The Minister of Defense has – we repeat rightly – dealt with the matter and he condemned not only formally but also substantively the general’s opinion; but he chorally put them on censorship Of his staff who distanced themselves from his intervention, we do not know whether this was due to adherence to the general’s opinion or for fundamental electoral reasons – or both. Certain right-wing governments compete to see who is the most right-wing between members of the Northern League and their brothers, with overtaking maneuvers constantly occurring. We have to be careful here because if you climb over me we risk ending up with all of us ending up in the abyss.
Therefore, the problem lies not in general, but in those on the right who share his opinion, and in general (pardon the pun) that these are opinions widely shared from those who support these right-wing parties. In short, one can think that the general expressed the thoughts of a large part of Italians, even those who may not have the courage to say that LGBT+ people are not normal, that women should stay at home again, etc. etc.
The general’s success suggests that, unfortunately, a not uncommon phenomenon has repeated itself. Years ago, a recently deceased famous intellectual wrote a weekly column in a newspaper of national importance in which he commented on current events with sensible arguments worthy of a common man. It was very successful because the same simple man who found his opinions printed, perhaps even drunk, he was happy: You see, I’m right, he says that in the newspaper too. Perhaps the common man would have done better to ask himself whether the coincidence of his opinion with that of the press did not discredit the authority of the commentator. Given the success of the general’s book and more than the opinions expressed in it, we fear that the same phenomenon has occurred among a hopefully modest part of the population: Finally someone who says the things I think, without asking yourself whether these might be stupid or disgusting statements. In short, the principle of authority and critical thinking still remains a utopia, perhaps even increasingly so in the age of social media.
But one thing must be clear: a general can always come out well. Since not only the homeland and the family, but even the good God himself must be defended, who better than a general?
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