¿Es posible la política honesta?

"Los que quieren tratar a la política y a la moral en forma separada nunca entenderán nada sobre ninguna de las dos". Eso escribió Jean-Jacques Rousseau, y yo estoy de acuerdo. La práctica de la política no sólo puede, sino que debe conciliarse con los imperativos de la honestidad. Pero, ¿qué es la honestidad o la deshonestidad en un político? ¿Es posible siquiera que un político sea honesto?

La pregunta llega al corazón de la democracia. Cuando los electores descalifican a los políticos por deshonestos, los movimientos antidemocráticos florecen. Sin embargo, todos los políticos saben que la ambigüedad y la componenda tienden a triunfar sobre las verdades universales. A veces es necesario elegir el mal menor. Nuestros patrones normales de decencia y probidad no siempre se pueden aplicar, aunque no porque el cinismo y la hipocresía sean lo único que importa en política.

Tomemos por caso al príncipe de la ambigüedad, el Duque de Talleyrand. No sólo corrupto, sino también un notorio traidor a varios jefes consecutivos, se decía que Talleyrand no había logrado vender a su propia madre nada más porque no había podido encontrar compradores. No obstante, aunque fue desleal a los gobernantes franceses, probablemente Talleyrand nunca traicionó a Francia.

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