The PP’s have just won the executive elections in two very distinct cultural, political and economical contexts in Spain and in Guatemala.
The PP’s (The Partido Popular in Spain and the Partido Patriotain Guatemala) implemented a ochlocratic discourse with which they won the support of the majorities. In Spain, the Partido Popular discourse appealed to the masses by claiming that the Socialist Party (PSOE) had failed to be responsible in managing the economic crisis and that the solution was a paternalistic leader like Mariano Rajoy who was to bring order. In Spain, the current economic and social crisis raised the unemployment rate from 8.1% in 2006 to a historical level of 20% by 2010 an 21.5% by September, 2011. More so, the increasing financial crisis in the region continued to debilitate the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE) whose premiership policies of raising taxes and the lack of a coherent economic plan were ineffective to tackle unemployment and reducing the government deficits from two digit numbers.
In Guatemala, the same ochlocratic discourse won the support of the masses by criticizing the Party Unión de Esperanza Nacional (UNE) and its irresponsibility to stop the organized crime elites that control most of the government’s structures (corruption with money from organized crime has captured the local, judicial, legislative and executive powers). Their campaign also identified in the figure of Otto Perez Molina (known as Mano Dura ‘hard fist’) the leader that was going to stop the advance of corruption and organized crime.
Independently of the achievements that either of these political programs will have in their countries; it is evident that the paternalist and populist discourse is again an effective tool to manipulate the masses in moments of economic and social crisis. Unfortunately, these discourses implemented by the “Conservative/Right” movements in their respective contexts have historically failed to solve the problems they aimed to fix. The long-term effects of these discourses have led to an increased disenchantment with the economic elites (usually linked to right movements) and to the reelection of leftist movements after the end of the “conservative/rightist” terms.
The problem with these discourses is linked to one single philosophical concept. That is the concept of Collectivism that has caused for several centuries so much poverty, hunger and suffering around the globe,
“The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.” Ayn Rand
Let us hope that Spain and Guatemala will find a right philosophy sooner than later.
- New center-right Spain leader: Master of ambiguity (sfgate.com)
- Spain’s likely new leader: A master of ambiguity (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Spain fears for turning back clock on liberal reforms (telegraph.co.uk)