MANIFESTO FOR THE NEXT OFFICE
A CHARTER FOR THE PEOPLE OF ITALY: LIBERALISM AND SOLIDARITY
A coherent social order inspired by Christian personalism and in line with the doctrine of popularism promoted by Luigi Sturzo, seems to differ remarkably from left-wing and right-wing conservatism, as it provides dissimilar practical solutions to concrete political problems. On these grounds, we believe in a special variant of the personalist-liberal solution, which develops along the lines of politics, economics and cultural society. Such solution prefers a suitable competitive system -in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity- to a monopolist and centralizing approach of government control. At the heart of our proposal we place what we conceive as the spontaneous and creative thrust of civil society: families, associations, business forces. These are definitely capable of broadening individual and public choice, producing much more effective answers to the real needs of citizens, not to mention a greater respect for freedom, dignity and personal responsibility.
On days like these, when everyone seems to be anxious to “build” theoretical and artificial “charts of values”, those who easily identify with the popularism of Luigi Sturzo, and intend to pursue with confidence and humility the political accomplishments of this great parish priest from Caltagirone, will subscribe to the following self-identifying statements.
I. Centrality of the person
We shall really work towards protecting the rights of a person: first and foremost the right to life, against any proposals of euthanasia, futile or burdensome medical treatment, and the injustice of capital punishment. Moreover, we shall oppose embryos manipulation and their subsequent systematic killing, as we consider embryos to be people growing and evolving -and not mere objects.
We shall defend family integrity, where a “family” is defined by marriage and intended as a natural and fundamental union on which the human community may prosper. We shall also advance genuine pro-family policies, through a program based on tax relief funds and specific laws providing incentives for large families.
III. Local autonomies
We push for the recognition of the roles of councils, provinces and regions, as part of our National tradition and in order to foster the development of local forms of communal living. We also insist on bringing society back to its natural autonomy, and restoring efficiency in public offices according to the notion of bottom-up democracy (vertical subsidiarity).
IV. Schools and Universities
We want to build an open school system for every level of education, directly tied to the world of employment and entrepreneurship. We would like to move away from the current monopolistic concept of State education, in order to allow families to choose freely what educational model they want to adopt for their children. Such model would be in line with their ideals and horizons, caring for universal teachings such as the virtues of initiative, entrepreneurship, innovation and social cooperation.
V. Civil society
We would reinforce the areas of voluntary service, social assistance and scientific research. We could achieve this by introducing specific laws and tax relief funds, which would in turn foster the development of foundations, private institutes and think-tanks in accordance with the principle of horizontal subsidiarity.
We must secure greater compliance with democratic principles, in the broader picture of a more comprehensive idea of person and personal liberty, according to our Constitution, to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and to The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights approved by the UN. Regarding criminal justice, this would imply shifting from an inquisitive to an accusatory trial procedure once and for all, where the judge represents a third party and the two contending sides must face him on equal terms. This would lead to career separation (judging magistrate versus prosecuting magistrate), and, coherently, to the creation of two distinct departments within our independent judiciary. As far as civil justice is concerned, we urgently require to reduce dramatically trial length; related procedures should thus be altered, overcoming lack of personnel and easing pressure on civil courts by encouraging conciliatory actions, supported by related professional orders.
VII. Health care
We aim at changing our National Health Care System, due to its cumbersome bureaucracy and current internal monopolies, whose existence is by all means real. Otherwise, the present situation could well imply that some among the most urgent patients are pushed aside, and this is in direct contrast with the main principle on which the system should be founded: i.e., solidarity.
We want to start a strong and rational reform of the Italian welfare state, aimed at settling its financial accounts. In the process, free initiative and private institutions providing assistance, welfare benefits and charities should be respected: this would bring about a greater involvement in public life on behalf of the families and private companies, causing the former to be more responsible for their own choices, and the latter to act dynamically with deriving benefits to the employment market. We would like to bring strength to the whole mechanism by concentrating especially on the latter option.
IX. Right to work and free enterprise
The inalienability and the promotion of the right to private economic initiative, as a core element constituting human character, should be reinforced also at constitutional level. We strive towards a substantial acknowledgement of the right to work and the right to security in the workplace, as natural means for a person to realize his or her human vocation.
X. Hidden economy
We want those many people who carry out entrepreneurial activities in the hidden economy to be made visible. We want to give them the opportunity to regularize their position fast and favorably, in order to create more market transparency and fairer and more equal business terms.
XI. Fiscal policies
The equity of fiscal policies depends first and foremost on the way in which public spending is decided and administered. By keeping public spending under strict control, fiscal policies can be made more tolerable and not so oppressive; this would also reduce the phenomena of corruption and bribery which have been seriously damaging the Italian economic and political system so far.
XII. Privatizations and Liberalizations
We advise to sell the biggest possible number of public companies to private investors, that is to say, to privatize them. Moreover, we would like to promote workers’ credit associations, so that a very large “public property” with maximum participation to ownership would ensue. We would also liberalize markets for public and private services, and for careers as well, so that current professional associations could be made private. It would then be up to the markets to make demand and supply meet, and to operate selections based on merit and competence, thus laying the basis for an authentically popular and democratic capitalism.
In such a delicate political phase of transition, now that people tend to live for the moment rather than look ahead to the future and to new generations, what we present here is not a charter of desiderata drafted by a hopeless nostalgic. It is the original and modern version of Sturzo’s appeal to all “free and strong” men; through it, we hope to contribute to a new political season, with proper Policies -with capital P- allowing Italy to make a real comeback.
Rome-Milan, February 3rd, 2008
Flavio Felice - Fabio G. Angelini