viernes, 22 de marzo de 2013

Conversaciones en La Catedral

What I'd I like to ask Mario Vargas Llosa...

Is there a place for radical change in your vision of a liberal society? 

Please, before answering I want to point out why I believe this question matters and why it has sense, even if at the very end is contradictory. 

Your defense of liberalism is emphatic in opposing reformism to almost any form of radicalism. One may understand this as a needed emphasis given that a major obstacle of liberalism in regions like Latin America is our obsession with revolution; seen often as the only vehicle of politics, as if under its epic aura we could bypass the burden of dealing with policy and leadership disappointments. Which of course, would not be a burden if it wouldn't carry as corollary a deception on our own identity. 

I want to know, not just if you are aware that liberalism has a place for radical change but if this consideration has played a role on your speech. Or if is just something you know but don't bother to bring about.

By the places of radical change in a liberal society I think of the market. Seemingly, the only one with the blessing to take society into unknown places. It does so in the form of new financial products or the nurturing of new consumption habits. We not only allow the market to destroy traditions, often celebrate it as a conquest of modernity. Your writing on the devastating effects of popular culture to the humanist intellectual tradition suggest that you are not always in favor of the cultural "innovation" coming from the marketing of cultural products, or the culture of marketing products. Should we expect of a liberal politics and economy only an enhancement, a greater fulfillment of our traditional anxieties, as projected in politics and culture in general, or is there a room for tectonic displacements comprising the very core of their strategies and purposes?

I said it was a contradictory question, but it has a lot of sense in its relative solutions. On the one hand we have the paroxysm of the "place for radicalism" in the circus: from the roman arena to the Santiago Bernabéu. On the other, we have the notion of innovation which in the realm of financial economy and consumption technologies enjoy unprecedented freedoms, hardly found in the realm of politics which seems to recreate the kind of radicalism akin to the Bernabéu. As  for the contradiction, as you surely understand, lies in the fact that the most profound revolutions do not only lead to totally unpredictable futures but come from totally unpredictable places, beyond the intricate but still compact territories of the stock market or a bourgeois public sphere.

One last thing. Lets recall that the market is not the only place for radical change within liberalism. As many other modern (dis)utopias, there's also room for technological disruption. Even then we seem at the mercy of the market as it sets the criteria on whether new discoveries or technologies are to become social realities. I'm not just talking about your personal robotic assistant but also vaccines and therapies for cancer.

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