«Why are the sheep silent?» is the title of Germany’s most important political bestseller written by Profo R of Psychology Rainer Mausfeld (2018) and read by millions of readers (Warum Schweigen die Lämmer?). There he analyses in a simple and deep language the dismantling of traditional democracy in Western Europe at the hands of the neoliberal elites called «center» and «moderate». In his study he points out that this «center» has become the «most radical anti-democratic political force» of modern times to strike a deadly blow against the right to free expression of majorities by installing Governments for the benefit of the richest minority to Through the popular vote.
His book reflects on the changes that led to this oligarquización and corruption of politics in democracy. Historically, Mausfeld situates this shift in Europe in the early 70, when the population begins to lose confidence in traditional parties because of massive unemployment and low economic growth. The tripartite political model (state-workers ‘ businessmen) is over, the large traditional parties begin to lose membership and the link between the party domes and their constituents is weakened. As a result, these parties turn to the state, agree to distribute the public resources that guarantee their survival, and give up competing for ideas. Thus emerge the «cartel parties» (concept coined by Mair and Katz) in the image and likeness of economic posters that manipulate the market by setting prices among competitors behind the scenes to the detriment of consumers. Thus, during the 90, political defeats lose relevance, there is an ideological homogenization between conservatives, socialists and Social democrats and strong monopolistic structures arise in the possession of power, where workers do not have Fitted. In short, there is a «political revolt of the elites against the people» that is summed up in one idea: only the elite is able to govern and decide for the people, because this one is incompetent.
The strategy to undermine free thought consisted in systematically undermining the natural resistance instinct of the human being against authoritarian subjugation and rendering him apathetic politically and electorally. The new neoliberal elite began to practice unscrupulously an unprecedented and public «contempt of the people» that translates into their childishness and intellectual disqualification made face to face: «You are nobody, the market is everything», «you do not understand anything, let them govern you The smart ones. »
According to Mausfeld, the population has been indoctrinated around a central thought: the well-being of society can only be achieved if 1% of the richest are free to enrich themselves in their infinite «talent» of «generating wealth» and is not «hampered» by the masses Ignorant.
To achieve such success, the elites defined «forbidden areas of thought» in the penalty of condemning media ostracism to those who dare to touch «unwanted» issues until there was true historical amnesia over the political struggles of People in favor of building a more just society. People forgot the reasons why it is worth fighting in politics and retracted to their private world. Research centers, NGOS, universities, many social leaders were coopted and effectively «blocked» their ability to react intellectually through a massive propaganda, but sold as news, as factual facts. In this context, street protests lost their strength, because the system simply did not respond to those demands and, in the event of obvious business abuses, the judiciary failed in favor of the «smart».
It was so much the effectiveness of the «political revolt of the elites» that they managed to convince the majority of the population that those who protested, did so because they did not accept the goodness and wonders of the neo-liberal paradise or simply because they were «losers», «Disposable» subjects. Even now the physical repression of the opponents of yesteryear was very expensive and was replaced by the psychological repression (softpower) led by the media against any attempt to build political alternatives that might appear plausible To the victims of economic, medium-environmental, and spiritual neo-liberal depredation. The mockery, the Bagatelización, the disqualification and the denial and/or deformation of the historical facts were resorted to allowing the lie to operate as truth and in this way it was possible to decree that the only rational and modern left was that which He recognized the superiority of neoliberal ideas. All the others were pariahs and enemies of well-being.
As this policy led to the rejection of certain sectors of society and environmentalist parties arose, or pro-social justice, the monopoly system of power based on «cartel parties» was able to develop an «educational» tactic ( Detterbeck) in the face of the possible emergence of rival parties to co-opt them. They opened up to the possibility of negotiation to incorporate them into the distribution of tax resources, the cession of ministries, high-level posts and others according to the degree of disposition to support the neoliberal political and economic strategy in all the guilds and Institutions of the political system. «Cartel parties» begin naturally to govern in conjunction with business and financial associations and grassroots social organizations or rebel unions were expelled from the formal public sphere of decisions.
The spirit of this «new Way of governing,» is clearly understood when former German Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared at the end of the 90: «There is No political economy left or right, but only a good or bad political economy.»
But so much wonder could not last immaculate for so long. Europe suffered the ravages of global financial crises, and it became clear that «inefficiency» and «low technical quality» in the political and economic decisions of «posters» in favor of the rich were causing a dangerous social attrition of the majorities. The population was burdened with the catastrophic effects of elite democracy and social cuts as the rich enricheded more and more. The «thematic siege» in the public debate and the «banned political zones» began to crumble, but popular indignation was no longer practically parliamentary representation. In other words, the population was «out of the system» and condemned to start from scratch.
In this chess of impotence, the indignant population grew, in such a way that, among other factors, neo-Nazi, fascist, xenophobia and nationalism movements broke out again in Europe. The «Yellow Jackets» in France wanted to change the «Shepherd Dog» as the only strategy of change, without understanding that the exit of Macron did not even manage to scratch the «cartelization» of the elitist democracy. These true social blowouts only indicate that the neoliberal ideal of the silent sheep guided by their pastor in a framework of dismantling democracy is reaching dangerous and uncertain limits.
Mausfeld’s analysis helps us to understand why the multiple protests from the Penguin movement in 2006 in Chile and that has not stopped until the present has led to no substantial reform. Therefore, breaking the ideological siege of neo-liberal political «cartels» that impedes constitutional reform is urgent.
Professor Mausfeld raises in his book that the reconquest of the legitimacy of social demands, the elimination of «partisan posters» and the unrestricted restoration of freedom of expression are essential for a democratic recovery. And this goal can only be achieved by the sheep who must return to act as the true «sovereign» of democracy that is permanently opposed to the lying and totalitarian «posters».
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