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about the center

15.05.2022013.05.2022
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador waves the Mexican flag, accompanied by his wife Beatriz Gutiérrez, on the main balcony of the National Palace during the “El Grito” ceremony, which marks the start of the city’s Independence Day celebrations from Mexico on September 15. , 2021.- PEDRO PARDO / AFP

The center does not exist.

This may be one of the implications of recent election results in many Latin American countries.

I was once told a (very bad) joke about the relative importance that the average can have in some cases where the extremes predominate. If you go out to eat meat with a vegan friend and eat a kilo of good roast and your friend doesn’t eat anything at all, then the average will tell us that each one ate half a kilo of meat.

In conclusion: you must know how to use statistics. And don’t abuse them, it’s pointless. The mean value is not always statistically significant.

Something similar happens with the Center.

In politics and, in particular, in the electoral sphere, the concept of “center” is abused, as if it existed for the sake of arithmetic. Namely, as if it were an average ideological position, located in the middle between one extreme and the other. However, this is unusual in Latin America.

Why? Pretty much for three reasons.

1. Economically, the countries of the region have a highly polarized distribution of living conditions and incomes. That is, many with little and few with big. It follows that the mean value is very far from the median, which casts doubt on the hypothesis of the existence of a typical voter, a representative of society.

To put it more simply: there is no “centered” voter, because the “center” is the result of a statistical function that does not correspond to reality.

He challenges a society that does not exist. The middle class is spoken of as the majority when there is a poor majority.

2. What Lakoff calls biconceptuality. There are people who think ideologically on one issue, and on another in a completely different way. It is possible to be progressive in favor of a bigger and better state on public health issues, but conservative on keeping the streets safe. This in no way means that there is a “central man”. I don’t see anything. The point is that the same person can use a moral system in one area and another moral system in another.

And therefore, we must be able to question the progressive system of values, and not speak with an illusory “moderation”.

3. The fact that citizens are distant and cut off from the periodic debates of a certain political class does not mean that they belong to the “Center”. It is also not depoliticized.

In every issue every day people position themselves. With clarity and passion. Or does anyone know what it would be like to be “from the Center” on issues such as abortion, abuse of banking fees, insecurity among citizens, such high food prices, low income, lack of health or education, the problem of power outages, corruption and etc?

The new Latin American progressivism faces the following task: not to fall into the idea of ​​the “center” as the dominant space. Because if we accept it—as Stiglitz’s “centrist fanatical factories” advocate, we’re committing an unforgivable epistemological error: suppose one country is run and people live in another.

In this sense, who is not mistaken is the president of AMLO in Mexico; set a voting record in 2018 by not going to the Center and speaking out against an unfair and outdated model. And still maintains its high positive image without needing it. In Bolivia, it’s the same with Evo and now with Luis Arce: Carlos Mesa’s eternal center try has always been far from the majority. In Peru, the Center options did not make it to the second round (neither Guzmán, nor Forsyth, nor De Soto). Not in Chile (neither Parisi nor Provost). It’s the same in Ecuador (neither Hervás nor Yacu). And in Colombia, the Center (Hope) was the political space with the fewest votes in the consultations held last March. Gustavo Petro, on the other hand, without looking for the Center, achieved a record number of votes for the left with a clear proposal. And he still remains the main favorite in the next presidential election.

The phenomenon could serve as a warning of what could happen in Brazil in October’s presidential election, as well as in Argentina ahead of next year. That is, to fall into the trap of the desire to seek a non-existent Center.



Source: blogs.publico.es

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