Is Italy a Free Country?


Giovanni De sio Cesari


It is often said that Italy is not a free country, but rather depends on America, the EU. First, we need to clarify what we mean by freedom.

Freedom can be understood as the presence of freedom of opinion and expression in a country, where the government is elected by the people. This is the case in Italy and generally in the West, and it is not questioned.

In a second sense, freedom is discussed in terms of not being governed by foreigners, a concept much less clear than the previous one, rather uncertain because it is not clear who the foreigner is. For example, when the Bourbon monarchy in Naples was expelled, were the Piedmontese foreigners? For some, yes, for others, it was the unity of the nation. Now, if Russia were to occupy Ukraine, would they be foreigners, or would it simply be the reconstitution of the age-old unity of the Russian people?

So we could say: is the EU considered foreigners, or has the unity of Europe finally been built, which appears increasingly appropriate, I would say even indispensable.

However, in the case under discussion, a third meaning is implied: with the concept of freedom, it is meant that the state is conditioned by other states. It is said, for example, that we are, in fact, subject to Europe and America in our foreign policy, economy, and sometimes even in civil rules. Now, when we, as individuals or as nations, act, we must always consider the reactions of others to our actions. As an individual, I am free not to go to work; no one forces me, but then I get fired, and how will I live? Even when I go on vacation, I am not free to go wherever I want, but if I have a family, I must consider the desires of all family members, in addition to the cost, and so on.

On an international level, we must consider the reactions of other countries. Now, as Italians, does it benefit us to be part of the most prosperous and advanced block in the world (the West), or maybe we want to enter the Middle Eastern or African world? The answer seems obvious, and then we must consider the other Western countries.

To some, it seems that the government is there to lead the nation, imposed by some obscure conspiracy, and that it is forced to follow the obscure interests of the US, NATO, the EU. But in reality, the government is there because it is elected, chosen by the majority of citizens after free electoral debate. If one day a party that truly plans to exit NATO and the EU were to win the elections, we could do it. We are not like Hungary in '56 or Czechoslovakia in '68, where, even staying in power, the same communist party (of a certain faction) saw Russian tanks arrive.

We can leave NATO and the EU whenever we want; no tanks will arrive, but we believe (in a cross-party majority) that it is NOT in our interest. Now, I (hypothetical) can think that it would be convenient, I have all the freedom to propagate this idea, but until it becomes a majority, there will be no government following it. This does not mean that I am wrong and that the majority is right, but in a democracy, we follow the majority opinion, NOT the right one.

In the specific case of the current government, Meloni won the elections because, at the end of the campaign, she softened her conflicting positions on relations with the EU ("the party is over"). Once in power, on these points, she dispelled all doubts, and then her success was further consolidated.

The ideas of the fascisms (better the heated nationalism that spread in those times) led to the tragedies of the war in the illusion later proved insane that it would give prosperity and well-being to the nation. It only led to unimaginable destruction and suffering. If you want peace and, therefore, prosperity, you must collaborate with other countries. Freedom never means doing whatever you want but staying within recognized norms, common sense, moderation. In fact, fascism led us to the ruin of war, and joining the West led to the economic miracle.

It is not true that any country is forced to join NATO, the EU, and even less the euro. After the spectacular collapse of communism, everyone would like to be part of the Western world (EU, NATO, etc.) in the hope (often chimerical) of sharing its prosperity: from Estonia to Georgia. Some have succeeded, others have not for complex reasons where often, more than the USA, Europeans matter (see Turkey). Even Ukraine, which has seen through its emigrants the prosperity of the West, wants to be part of it; they even moved the date of Christmas! Now, we can think that it would be more prudent not to let them in (and indeed Ukraine was not allowed, like Serbia, Albania, Georgia). But it's not that Westerners force other states to enter for who knows what purposes; on the contrary, they try NOT to let them in. The question then would be: wouldn't it be more convenient for the West not to let these other, poorer, less democratic, more backward nations join? Maybe yes, but perhaps it would be difficult to reject them, just as it is difficult to reject immigrants.

Take Ukraine, for example: many say that we are obliged to intervene, provide weapons and assistance, by the Americans. We are not forced to help Ukraine, but we want to (in a cross-party majority) just as no one forces us to stay in NATO or the EU, but we want to because we consider it (in a cross-party majority) convenient, right, appropriate. On the other hand, even if there is no obligation to NATO, it is clear that if you want to be in a certain part of the world (in this case, the most prosperous and advanced one), you cannot then follow opposite policies. I could even think that this unconditional support to Ukraine, which wants war until the defeat of Russia, is madness. Still, our leaders must bear in mind that not only are the parties in the majority in favor (doubts have dissipated), but also those in opposition are competing (with the exception of M5S). Then in Europe, all countries (with the exception of Hungary) have the same attitude, which now seems more extreme than that of the USA regarding, for example, the type of weapon to be provided. What should the government do? Align against almost all parties and almost all countries in that union we are part of and want to be part of? We must acknowledge that the opposers are in the minority, which does not mean that we are wrong: it is democracy. But of course, we cannot speak of a lack of freedom regarding our position on the conflict in Ukraine.

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