The Reagan Coalition

Letter From Italy

Italy experienced a revolutionary election on March 27, 1994, an election in which many Italian voters could make a difference. This mood of optimism and engagement stood in stark contrast to the many elections that have left Italians so disillusioned in recent years—local administrative elections, national elections to two houses of Parliament, and even international elections for the European Parliament, to say nothing of referenda.

There are several reasons for this growing estrangement from the electoral process, but in fundamental terms, Italian society (i.e., the real country) has separated from the political class (the legal country). The case of Italy reveals the paradox of modern democracy, in which the ruling class ends up constituting a nomenclatura far removed from the real problems and needs of the average citizen. Voter apathy is a common problem within the West, but Italian apathy is aggravated by the knowledge that Italy has been ruled, since World War II, by the Christian Democrats (DC). Even if the DC did accomplish its mission—stopping the great communist threat in 1948—the DC has failed to give birth to a sound government based on its "Christian inspiration." On the contrary, the DC has smoothed the way toward national secularization and made it possible for subversive radicalism to advance at a steady pace, despite the fact that Italy is still a Christian and "conservative"...

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