Bernal, The debilitating disease of conformism

juega vivo
The post-invasion social and political scheme.

Confronting the epidemic of conformism

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

Reasoning and words are proud emblems of that which is human, which we cannot renounce without annulling ourselves.

Fernando Savater

In our society lives a hateful overvaluation of personal egos, an unacceptable submission to power and an idolatry of the market. Today in Panama, defending values is highly frowned upon — even worse since it is already in the pre-election period.

Authorities and those aspiring to be such those who criticize and, even more, those who call for us to reflect on what happens to us as Panamanians with contempt. It’s the deadly and growing epidemic of conformity prevailing in the face of injustice, the opposite of the fight for the truth and the defense of humanity.

Today in Panama, we must bear in mind what Julian Benda teaches us in The Betrayal of the Intellectuals. He wrote that: “The job of the intellectual is to defend universal values, above the politics of the moment.”

Since the first post-invasion government was installed, the political caste has been locked in a titanic struggle for iron control of the government without any care about planning for the country’s future. The first great step that should have been taken was, and continues to be, the necessary constitutional renewal that goes hand-in-hand with constitutionalism and any true constituent process.

However, they did not blink at cohabitation, without democratic values, in a system where patronage, electoral and paternalistic practices were institutionalized. Far from helping people to get ahead, they have instead submerged our society in absolute dependency, combined with the traditional “juega vivo” that seems to be the country’s trademark.

Over the past 32 years, the justice system, far from strengthening, has fallen into an abyss from which few have ventured to rescue it, considering the internal and external monsters they would face. Justice — as a system — does not change from one day to the next and, if the attempts are not firm, they will not give positive results. Clear examples are the lack of resources for the system, the absolute absence of independence and transparency, and the loss of public confidence in it.

The sick pettiness of political parties and their Electoral Tribunal, while allowing citizen participation and civil society organizations, is also responsible for the epidemic of conformism and the absence of national objectives in the face of great problems and pending works. Let’s open our minds — and all the doors — to the necessary changes that are urgently required.



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