Emergency, exception, risk for democracy (by Marco Emanuele)

The pandemic is just the latest pretext for a debate that needs to be shared. I intervene in this reasoning with a critical and free spirit but considering the recent reflections of the philosopher Massimo Cacciari as absolutely acceptable.

I taught Totalitarianism and Democracy at the university and I know that the “Weimar risk” is no stranger to our liberal democracies today in crisis. Hannah Arendt, like many other thinkers, has written memorable pages on this subject.

The Global Eye’s research intends to focus on the risks facing the world today and, in particular, on the risks that increase the democratic crisis. Democracy is a fragile construction, we know, and it must be continuously looked after and never considered completed: this is its beauty and, at the same time, its tragedy.

To enter into the merits, and whatever the triggering cause, the endless extension of the state of emergency risks turning into a state of exception. We must be very careful because the state of exception is typical of authoritarian regimes, realities that deny everything that is guaranteed in a democracy.

Cacciari’s reflection is a warning. We must not live in the anxiety of risk but knowing that the same is “around the corner” and can materialize in our lives with an impact that could be dangerous.

An element that must be carefully considered is the growing incapacity of the State to face emergencies in the ordinary nature of its institutions. Already when we invoke “extraordinary actions” we take a step into danger, essentially declaring that the institutions are unable, in their ordinariness, to face the risks that, more and more, become intangible and unpredictable. If the risk has entered into metamorphosis (think of cyber), the State has remained unreformed: and this is a risk within the risk.