by Giulio Maria Sibona

Within the space of less than a year, we have seen three personalities leave this Earth whose personal fortunes - we would hardly exaggerate in saying - have marked human affairs: Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI and Silvio Berlusconi.

One can draw a red line connecting them to reflect on the role they have played in the political and spiritual life if not of the whole world, certainly of the West. The starting point is Professor Francis Fukuyama's famous theory that history would "end" in the late 1980s with the entry of all the nations of the world into Western democracy and alternating center-right and center-left governments.

Now is not the place here for an in-depth reflection on the errors this theory hid and which have already revealed themselves in part. Suffice it to say, however, that this alternation, which can best be understood - perhaps trivializing a bit - by thinking of a typical Anglo-Saxon system with the polarization between conservative liberals and labor, has caused very strong internal identity thrusts: on the conservative side the national and religious identity is radicalized, on the progressive side the socialist identity evaporates too liberalized by economic interests. Sometimes in addition to these there is a triangulation with strong free-market drives to distance themselves from both poles in the direction of a radical party (e.g., French President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique en Marche).

Democracy recognizes an unprecedented centrality in Parliament, to which is ultimately delegated the fulfillment of all those reforms that progressive propaganda has introduced to the public. Parliament seems almost to have become the mechanical ratifier of a process of development toward a single idea of civilization, to which the three figures under consideration, born when these revolutionary upheavals were not yet imaginable in these terms, have provided a kind of countermelody or a conservative veil of opposition.

Elizabeth II, the one and only Queen

Queen Elizabeth II was one of the very few sovereigns, the only one of note in the West, who kept her role as monarch active, despite having to face an increasingly internationally dirigiste Parliament that saw the very essence of democracy identified in this institution - already ancient and well-rooted in the United Kingdom.

We do not know what she thought of contemporary civilization, but she, raised in the British court, always sought to defend and revive the role of the Crown, which she had to personify with that mixture of modesty and authority, trying to balance between opposing needs that the role required of her. However, a personification of the monarch that was a huge success not only for the media, who indeed are used to celebrating opposing crowds, but for the very same crowds who paid tribute in large numbers to her.

In her absence, her aging son has shown that he cares even more about this institution, and above all about such a multifaceted idea that picks up some contemporary demands, such as environmental protection, but in his own key: in short, the King is the King. He is, however, a figure in his own right, and the United Kingdom will probably have to definitively clash between what some dream of it becoming, an advanced "evolved" Western country, and what so many are nostalgic for: the glorious Commonwealth. Without her to calm the two opposing sides, it will be difficult to mediate.

Benedict XVI, the last Catholic Pope

Similarly evident is the watershed of Francis' pontificate. As long as Pope Emeritus Benedict survived, attempts at reform in the Church were often ambiguous revolutionary declarations. No dice, with the Pope Emeritus garnering the sympathies of conservative Catholics and the Roman Curia not daring to change the theological, dogmatic and ecclesiastical foundations of the Catholic Church.

In fact, it should be said that half of "this pillar" had fallen at the death of John Paul II, one of the longest-serving pontificates in history, who although had an aura of a "good" pope always smiling and humble, had fought so much as a "warrior" pope for the defense of the Faith where it was most at risk, and predicted that the final fight would be over the battlefield of the family.

Ora il Centro-Destra ascolti le fondazioni culturali

Joseph Ratzinger, as much as he was not the reactionary character that almost everyone painted him to be, had, as he grew older, realized all the damage of a relativist society, in which the Christian point of view is first accepted as unum inter pares, then discarded and persecuted. After him, Catholics will no longer be given to return to that mild Catholicism: those who will choose the New Church following part of the current Roman Curia, and the bishops of northern Europe, and those who will want to retrace the path of Tradition and the Magisterium.

Berlusconi, the dazzler of the First Republic

Finally Silvio Berlusconi, who although it may seem parochial and haughty to include along with the other two names, seems to fall more than well. No Italian statesman has survived as long or as long as he has: presidential systems to protect against authoritarian drift exclude triple terms, and even the most successful leaders of parliamentary democracies, upon reaching their fourth term, face irreversible crises.

Berlusconi, on the other hand, took the field in '94 and none of his contemporaries managed to last that long. He has governed less than half the time he has spent in politics overall, and yet, as his detractors claim, he has marked politics with equal force outside government, except forgetting-his opponents-that this is the essence of democracy: if the opposition did not oppose there would be an uncontrolled government.

Berlusconi had indeed created the center-right, amalgamating Alleanza Nazionale, when it was still an MSI by another name, but he was the one who had always claimed pride in being the leader of the moderates, a fervent European, and also an advocate of alliances with the centrists, albeit against the Communists. That is, Berlusconi was both the key for the center-right and the right to found a unified opposition to the left, and at the same time an obstacle to the foundation of an effectively identity-driven right.

Buried, with many tears, these three figures, the West will have to face reality: times have changed, political and spiritual challenges have raised the tone, the size of demands and extremely differentiated political visions of life. Today it does not seem wise for political or spiritual figures to appear who can act as a veil or a "stopper" behind which to hide from making serious decisions.

The future, again, wants a very sharp spirituality: for a new religion or for Tradition. The veterans of these forces persist, in the conviction that they are the only ones to express the idea of democracy and the Church, but outside are stirring those opposing drives that have a name: III millennium.

Christians feel a very strong spiritual tension toward transcendental Christianity, not toward rainbow projects disguised as religious services. Similarly, voters do not want essentially identical center, right or lefts that are distinguished by a little more Market or State, instead they want strong identities. Is not this alternation the essence of Democracy?

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Graduated in Law, specialized in agri-food law as a strategic Italian sector of the economy. Passionate about politics, history, philosophy, spirituality. For over 10 years he has been writing about national and international politics, about the transformations that the world is experiencing.