Chris Van Es

Civilizzare il mercato delle idee

CAMBRIDGE – "Quando gli uomini si rendono conto che il tempo ha scalfito le loro convenzioni più tenaci", scrisse nel 1919 il giudice della Corte Suprema americana Oliver Wendell Holmes in una nota opinione dissenziente, "possono arrivare a credere... che il bene ultimo a cui tendono possa essere meglio raggiunto attraverso il libero scambio delle idee, che la miglior prova della verità sia la capacità del pensiero di farsi accettare nella competizione del mercato, e che la verità sia l'unico terreno su cui i loro desideri possono trovare sicura realizzazione".

Come ogni mercato, però, anche il mercato delle idee ha bisogno di essere regolamentato; in particolare, i suoi partecipanti dovrebbero essere tenuti all'onesta, all'umiltà e alla civiltà e attenersi fedelmente a questi principi.

Nelle varie epoche, i politici hanno certamente inquinato il mercato delle idee con l'invettiva. A sorpresa, però, l’America odierna sembra aver fatto qualche progresso in tal senso. Secondo uno studio dell'Annenberg Public Policy Center, in questi ultimi anni c'è stato meno sfoggio d'inciviltà al Congresso rispetto agli anni '90 o '40. Lo scorso gennaio, il senatore repubblicano Ted Cruz è stato da più parti condannato per i suoi toni aggressivi nei confronti del neo nominato segretario alla difesa Chuck Hagel, ma si è trattato di un caso abbastanza isolato perché screditare il patriottismo di un candidato oggi non è più la norma – come lo era, invece, all’epoca di McCarthy.

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