Covid-19 TV showed us with a wealth of examples the difference between three words whose verbal root is the same: authority, authoritativeness, authoritarianism. Here are some images of authority: Prime Minister Conte who reassures us that everything is under control, the duo of the Legnanesi Fontana-Gallera who guide Lombardy in the difficult storm, the press conferences of the Civil Protection, Commissioner Arcuri who churns out masks … We are full of Authority : those who have authority always have the opportunity to exercise their power but those who have power do not always have the authority to do so. The authoritative prerogative of men of science, of experts, of the technical-scientific committee to which political power, not knowing what to do, has delegated many decisions, including political ones. Which scientists began to contradict each other and to quarrel among themselves like cheerful wives: every day a different hypothesis, each hypothesis a quarrel with colleagues. Really too much to understand anything.
Science lives on the experimental method; trying and trying again proceeds to reach a reliable, verifiable and shareable knowledge of reality. But all this should take place in the laboratories and on the pages of scientific journals, not on TV. Otherwise, too much exposure causes us to lose authority, even to the best, and confuses us. When authority and authority are fatally weakened, authoritarianism takes over, willingly supported by incompetence or inadequacy, with the risk that emergencies become the pretext for further limiting spaces for civic accessibility: just think of the minister’s civic assistants’ militia Bowl. In cascade we all tend to abuse power, to spy on: those who scold the runners, those who film a family on a walk and then the mayors-sheriff, the invasive apps, the apparent gatherings, the ward snoops …
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