From the Social Question to the Anthropological Question

As soon as President Néstor Kirchner took office in May 2003, and accompanied by the lawyer of many unions, Carlos Pizzolorusso, I had the opportunity to talk to him for a while at the Casa Rosada and there I told him that the plans for the social organizations or piqueteros had to be administered by the unions, because they know better than anyone else who are unemployed and who are not. I also added that the army and the Church had to participate in the reconstruction of Argentina. At that time, the current president, Alberto Fernandez, was private secretary. I also gave President Kirchner a book, Ensayos de Disenso (Essays of Dissent)—who knows where it ended up.

His answer was clear and forceful: I want the piqueteros in the streets. No more unions. I will replace the army with journalists and the Church with others (he did not tell me by whom). I saw the answer years later on the wall surrounding the Policlinico Bancario in Plaza Irlanda, where an irreverent hand wrote: “Kirchner fights with everyone, except with the Jews.”

Twenty years have passed since this anecdote and today I can verify that Kirchner’s theory is fully valid.

Today, the Argentine army is made up of journalists, those loquacious illiterates who all think the same. 95% of them think, select and explain topics in the same way. The indoctrination received by these people, who are thousands in Argentina and in the world, is truly admirable.

The production of the meaning of the news is born not in them but in the international centers of production of meaning. Almost no one escapes this international vise. Themes are reiterated over and over again until they become established as indisputable truths. For example, “global warming,” for which it is claimed that man and industrial gases are responsible. Today, August 2023, it has just been discovered that 1200 years ago in the Middle Ages, with no machines involved, there was a global warming similar to the current one. And likewise, we can give the example of the Covid vaccines, the war in Ukraine, anti-Christianity, the sugar-coated vision of the millions of illegal immigrants, the exaltation of consumption, the progressive catechism of Agenda 2030 and a whole lot of etcetera.

Semantic warfare is superior to military warfare. The logos prevailed over the polemic.

What happened?

This explanation stems from the observation I made about the sense of the proximate origins of trade unions. The ancient origins go back to the Middle Ages and that is already part of consolidated history.

When the French Revolution takes place in 1789, the first thing the revolutionaries, so praised and pondered in all the history books, do is to cut off the heads of their opponents (e.g., La Vendée: un génocide légal proto-industriel—a legal, proto-industrial genocide)—and this was called Jacobinism: that is when a government only governs for those its own and persecutes all others. One of the Jacobins, Isaac René de Le Chapelier, in 1791, suppressed all the guilds in France, with the reasoning that there could not be intermediate organizations between the individual and the State, because that was against democracy.

This was copied, with variations, by all the European nations; and then we witnessed the period of the most atrocious exploitation of the worker, which went, approximately, from 1790 to 1860. As a reaction to such heartless exploitation, socialism and its communist and Trotskyite variants arose, as well as Catholic social thinkers. Some find their expression in the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and many others; while others do so through the writings of Albert de Mun, François-René de La Tour du Pin and the encyclicals of the Popes.

That is to say, the so-called “social question” is raised in politics, which is the relationship between capital and labor, that of the worker and the employer. And this was the main issue that the different governments tried to solve for a century and a half.

The primacy of the social question over politics lasted until the 1970s, when the Welfare State began to crumble. It was then that “the anthropological question” emerged, as a more intense political problem. Its intellectual birth certificate can be traced back to the French May ’68, whose slogan was “forbidden to prohibit.” A purely cultural slogan. And it is from there, when socialism stops thinking about the proletarian revolution in order to think about the cultural revolution. In those same days, the Church of the Vatican Council 1965/68 stops doing theology=saving souls, and to do sociology.

Within this framework of belonging appears what today we call “progressivism,” which is an ideology without ideas; or rather, a mixture of socialism, Christian democracy and liberalism.

An ideology that is no longer focused on changing reality but on changing man; or rather, man’s conscience.

And in this, journalism, the army of loquacious illiterates, fulfills the function of the philosophers of ancient Greece.

Man is no longer a nature; he does not have an essence, but only a historical becoming, a choice.

Progressivism is the ideological presupposition of Agenda 2030, which, since it has not yet been implemented, will be extended to 2050.

Thus, progressivism as liberal, Christian Democrat or social democrat is internationalist—like journalists—and therefore it goes against the idea of nation, which is the contemporary political-cultural form.

The essential of a nation is its ethos, its proper spirit, its moral form. And the political objective of progressivism is to dismantle the historical nation, either by replacing its symbols, its flags, its anthems, its national songs, its language, its native art with its dances and music, its manners, customs and habits. In a word, its values. The nation is what identifies one State with respect to another, which is why the manuals define the State as the legally organized nation. Progressivism ends up going against the nation-States and their sovereign character, in order to go after the establishment of a World State, the ultimate goal of what today we call “globalization.”

Thus, the replacement of “the social question” by “the anthropological question,” as that great Spanish thinker, Dalmacio Negro Pavón, rightly affirms, is the Copernican turn of our time. The government and the nation that resolves it will remain standing—otherwise it will perish.

Alberto Buela is an Argentinian philosopher and professor at National Technological University and the University of Barcelona. He is the author of many books and articles. His website is here.

Featured: Subway, 14th Street, NYC, by Reginald Marsh; painted in 1930.