where i went wrong

Last July, the New York Times opened a space on its pages for its commentators to detect a relevant error that they had made when exercising criticism. The mosaic is interesting. Paul Krugman thinks the recent experience is humbling. I was wrong, when estimating the inflationary impact of the Biden government’s economic program, he recognizes the Nobel Prize. Michelle Goldberg regrets having been relentless with those who were denounced by the #MeToo movement. In my rage, I lost sight of the importance of maintaining due process. David Brooks warns the source of his nearsightedness. I’m always wrong for the same reasons. I’m slow. I tend to see what happens today with the cast of yesterday’s reality. Turkish-born columnist Zeynep Tufecky acknowledges that her optimism about the beneficial impact of the protests was naive. My desires clouded my judgment. The Arab Spring protests did not lead to the change he envisioned. Bret Stephens takes self-criticism to the magnifying glass to locate the worst sentence that he has written in his life. “If by now you don’t consider Donald Trump an abominable, you are an abominable.” With my certainties I stopped asking myself the elementary question: what did the Trump supporters see that I was not capable of seeing? Trump supporters expressed well-founded anger. That Trump’s policies were foolish and self-defeating did not deny that anger was caused. I didn’t get it, says Stephens.

The Times exercise seems exemplary to me and invites me to think precisely about my central mistake about the Lopez Obrador regime. Four years into the government, it is worth looking for the central error of my criticism. The most serious and serious error that I can identify in my portrait of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is having seen in him a pragmatic fiber that was, in reality, a simulation. I was wrong to see in the decisions of the candidate in the third attempt of him and the president at the beginning a plumb line of realism. I believed that the enormous historical ambition of the new president would lead him to transcend the sermon and seek concrete realization. I was wrong. There can be no pragmatism in a man who lacks elementary curiosity about the world, who does not feel the slightest respect for the knowledge of others, who is not looking for reliable information but for acquiescence. There can be no pragmatism in a leader who is not capable of reconsidering the course if things do not go as planned.

More than in his speech, always made of effective simplifications, his team substantiated that impression of a reasonably pragmatic leadership. I believed that the invitation to moderates and people with administrative experience was an expression of a desire for dialogue and results that could channel a revolutionary ambition. He imagined that the invitation implied respect. It was the opposite. I believed that the opinions of those cadres would be taken into account so that public policy would consider the evidence, so that decisions would conform to the law. They were the decoration of the whim. Some were ignored, others left by legs.

Manichaeism prevailed over realism. The fantasy of the historical break prevented us from appreciating a reality that is much more stubborn than ideology. Impossible to hold the pragmatic lever when the world evades like this. The “transformation” was reduced to the story of the “transformation”. By demonizing neoliberalism, the possibility of forming an accurate diagnosis of reality was canceled. Under the ideological dictate, it is not possible to notice strengths or successes in the recent past. Everything, in bulk, to the dump. The entire inheritance was cursed. Politics, more than reform, has thus become exorcism. And removing the neoliberal demon from Mexico is not a matter that requires practical judgment, a timely evaluation of alternatives, a constant examination of results, but rather a few formulas, repeated each time with greater vehemence.

I will have been wrong in many other things. The mistake that is most obvious to me is that: having seen a pragmatist who would temper the radical. If that man ever existed, he was gone very soon.

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where i went wrong