Giorgia Meloni’s coalition won Italy’s recent parliamentary elections. Some consider him an “illiberal democrat” on the right, like Viktor Orbán and other current strongmen. Professor Alberto Mingardi, Director General of the Bruno Leoni Institute, is not convinced. In my opinion, John O. from Meloni’s speech. The quote McGuinness provides strongly suggests liberal democracy (see “New Avatars for the Right,” October 13, 2022):
Why is the family the enemy? Why is the family so afraid? All these questions have a single answer. Because it defines us. Because it is our identity. Because everything that defines us is now the enemy for those who want us to have no identity and just be perfect consumer slaves. And so they attack national identity, they attack religious identity, they attack gender identity, they attack family identity. … Because … when I no longer have any identity or roots, I will be a perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators. The perfect consumer. … We will protect human dignity. … We will defend God, country and family.
Assuming the translation is faithful, Melony looks like a popular and powerful man on the right. (See my review of Gideon Rachman The Age of the Strongman In current numbers Regulations.)
It’s not hard to see the identity he’s glorifying is a unicorn. If family defines us, “our identity” as she says, it cannot be our race or our religion or our “gender” that really defines us. Ms. Meloni would probably reply that an Italian is defined by all of these (“God, country, and family”) in a kind of composite identity. But this doesn’t work. Does not create fragmented identities a Identity includes not only Italians of the opposite sex (or gender), but also some atheists or otherwise non-Catholics. With only two characteristics, Catholic or not, male or female, we already have four types of Italians. Add nationalist vs. non-nationalist and we have eight types. Some of these identities are easily conflicted. What then of the “country”—the greatness of Italy, as the “fatherland.” financial bar Representing the country as part of its triadic slogan—the embodiment of the fatherland—should one sacrifice one’s family to be recruited into the service of the Italian state?
It reminds me of what Rose Wilder Lane wrote after traveling to Italy (and other countries, including Russia) in the 1920s (“Give me liberty,” Saturday Evening PostMarch 7, 1936):
I was finally forced to admit to my Italian friends that I saw Italy’s spirit reviving under Mussolini. And it seemed to me that this revival was based on the separation of individual liberty from the industrial revolution whose cause and source is individual liberty. I said that in Italy, as in Russia, an essentially medieval, planned and regulated economic system was usurping the fruits of the Industrial Revolution and destroying its core, individual freedom.
“Why talk about human rights!” The Italians finally grew impatient. “A person is nothing. We have no importance as individuals. I die, you die, millions live and die, but Italy does not die. Italy is important. Nothing matters but Italy.
Meloni’s quote above is worth repeating Between the city and the world, because it shows how the identity politics of the right is similar to the identity politics of the left, at least on the more extreme parts of the normative political spectrum. Only identity characteristics and preferred groups differ. In both cases, state authoritarianism has to try to impose the correct identity on everyone. It is therefore not surprising that both the right and the left are opposed to free markets, which allow each individual to make his own choices and define his own identity, even if the majority or “the people” do not agree in most cases.
Except in a small primitive tribe, an individual has many “identities” with many dimensions, and two individuals with the same composite identity are not easily found. Finding a general The denominator is A general Values or general preferences—among Italians, or among any large group of modern individuals, would point only to a general interest in the existence of an abstract social order that allows each individual to be himself, that is, to be different. A general Interest cannot in any way justify the imposition of the same identity. It is the essence of classical libertarianism and libertarianism that each person should be free to choose his own identity – without, of course, forcing other people to accept it.
Reading Friedrich Hayek or James Buchanan (or Buchanan with Gordon Tullock) will help Mrs. Maloney, like most of our rulers, realize that collective identity is a dangerous mirage. Reading Anthony de Jas will be a therapeutic shock of another dimension. But the reader of these authors must be lucky enough to have learned the prerequisites necessary for understanding, or to be able to learn something fundamentally new.