Prova d’ Orchestra – Orchestra Rehearsal – Die Orchesterprobe (by Federico Fellini)
Project Syndicate – Roman Europe (by Anatole Kaletsky)
The message from the recent Project Syndicate article can only be made more clear by the images of 1978 Orchestra Rehearsal by Federico Fellini (here above the link to the youtube original version (with under titles in English) and to the theater one (in German language).
Fellini’s metaphor depicted the reality of Italian political life in the late ‘70s. Italy spent the following years undergoing different political experiments, Germany seems to start now its own way to follow on Italy’s steps (AfD is supported by a popular reaction that can easily be compared to the Lega Lombarda of Umberto Bossi at its origin, we can add that we have not found any proof yet of Mario Draghi being a member of AfD or the new version of the Italian Lega).
Italy wasted the following 43 years until the 2011 crisis. Italians (who are still paying the price of that disaster) suffered so much during so large difficulties, economic shocks, and negative events that the country passed from being the country of the sun (und blaue Himmel), of the blossoming lemons (as Goethe wrote), of the music and songs you could hear on the streets, the country with one of the highest birth rates in Europe to a country of pessimism, where natality is among the lowest in Europe (and close to the lowest in the world too), where emigration has started again in a big way (only some highly illiterate Italian politicians still insist in their xenophobic rhetoric, ignoring the fact that both locals and immigrants prefer to leave).
The metaphor given by the movie depicts with sharpness the reality of this recent past of the Bel Paese. This reality of Brussels seems to exceed the fantasy of Fellini. The loud cacophony of statements in a linguistic Babel, where even the same ideological themes do not fit with each other is a daily routine within the walls of the turris eburnea of the segregated European burocracy.
Europe has clearly lost the capacity and the will to lead. The most important sign of it comes from the more and more widely spread obsession, at all levels (private and public), with the emptiest concept of “compliance”. The new creed of the European supposed “leaders” is compliance, interpreted as a dogma itself. Full compliance to a set of rules where everybody accepts the rules are the wrong ones. Everybody meaning the burocrats, the politicians, the party leaders.
When Helmut Koehl declared the exchange rate between the Ost Mark and the West Mark one to one, strongly against the technical advice of the Bundesbank, the message we still read today is clear and loud: the economy is a tool to an end. He understood the difference between tools and ends but, more than just this, he had an end in mind!
When the politician today acts mainly by following the indication of polls, he is telling his citizens, loud and clear: “I don’t have a clue! I am not a leader!” Out of a message like this, can you be surprised to see the emergence of political extremisms? If the same leader has the capacity to add to the clarity of his vacuum also the blame directed to a technician for the failure of his own political acts (not to act, not to decide is an action, is a decision, undeniably with its own consequences), then the abdication is, de facto, complete. Even Karlsruhe can certify that.
Going back, now to Project Syndicate, it appears true that today’s Italy is emerging as the only country, within Europe, where some change is thought and implemented. Italian citizens are suffering a very high cost for the illiterateness that has been prevalent in its governments up to recent times, nonetheless, even with clear protests, they are accepting and promoting change, knowing that change exposes you to uncertainty, potential failures, but understanding that immobility is not an option. Today’s Italian government seems to be the only one that is acting very often (Italians might say too often) regardless of opinion polls. Mr. Renzi shows a will to act that consciously refuses the motto “chi non fa non sbaglia” (who does not does no wrong), recipe for inexorable decline.
After the so many “neins” (without any alternative being offered), it is time for the gerontocrats to join the peace of Karl (one old legend claims that the Karlsruhe has been built to allow Charles III some peace from his wife, Angela? Wolfgang?)
Alternatively, should Europe experience the same 40 years Italy is trying to close now? Will Europe be able to learn something useful from a really bad experience?