Anti-politics seems to be in fashion. Disillusionment leads us to think, with absolute naivety, that a society in which politics does not exist is possible. This claim makes no sense. The social dynamic passes through the sphere of politics. And, then, politicians are a central piece of the collective order. It could not be otherwise.

Politics is the process, always imperfect, that allows passing from individual preferences to collective choices. The road that goes from the individual will to the social decision is tortuous. In his Nobel Prize lecture, Sen says that “a camel is a horse made by committee.” Any collegiate body leads to suboptimal solutions, far from the ideal. At best, these are hardly any reasonable alternatives.

Without politics and without politicians, it would not be possible to make the transition from individual will to social order. As this process is so complex, the modalities of political activity are numerous. The concern with who governs us and how they govern us occupies an important part of the Socratic dialogues. The contractualist solutions that have been proposed since modern times are hardly a point of reference. The Marquis de Condorcet, in the days of the French Revolution, highlighted the paradox of the vote, and the intrinsic contradictions of any election system.

Ideal contractarian solutions are not possible in real life. Alternative paths have been sought. The Kantian categorical imperative has been the most emblematic. If each person acts in such a way that their moral norm can be proposed as a universal moral norm, we would achieve that society be guided by ethical principles of universal acceptance. Kant himself recognizes that this is not possible. The rational being, he says, has to postulate the categorical imperative even accepting its impossibility. In contemporary moral philosophy Rawls’s veil of ignorance is an effort to rethink the contractualist ideal. Habermas, for his part, seeks collective action to improve deliberative processes.

Several Nobel laureates in economics have accepted the challenge of examining the conditions of possibility of collective choice. In the 1950s, Arrow’s impossibility theorems and Harsanyi’s equiprobability exercises were famous. And, years later, Sen shows that societies are advancing thanks to approximate ideas of what is fair. And so sentiment and outrage are central elements of political transformation. Buchanan, from another perspective, examines the characteristics of political negotiation, in a wide range that goes from the agreement on the next minister to the purchase of votes. Vickrey repeatedly invokes the New York City Council as the only body that can somehow resolve the tension between efficiency and equity.

Since ideal solutions are not feasible, it is necessary to reach certain minimum agreements, which are built with some reason and a lot of passion. In the midst of this amalgamation of interests, politics helps to order.

It is understandable that weary citizens cry out against the policy. But it is unacceptable that politics be done by preaching anti-politics. It is a contradiction to seek votes by denying the relevance of the political world.

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