Chris Van Es

Civilizar el mercado de las ideas

CAMBRIDGE – «Cuando los hombres se den cuenta de que el tiempo ha desbaratado muchas creencias enfrentadas», escribió el juez de la Corte Suprema Oliver Wendell Holmes en su famoso disenso de 1919, “tal vez lleguen a creer […] que el bien último que procuran se alcanzará mejor a través del libre comercio de las ideas –que la mejor prueba para la verdad es el poder del pensamiento para lograr ser aceptado en la competencia del mercado y que esa verdad es la única base por la cual sus deseos pueden implementarse de manera segura».

Como cualquier mercado, sin embargo, el de las ideas requiere ser regulado: en especial, sus participantes deben regirse por normas de honestidad, humildad y cortesía. Además, todos quienes comercian con ideas deben adherir a esos principios.

Por supuesto, por años los políticos han contaminado el mercado de las ideas con invectivas. Pero en la política estadounidense, sorprendentemente, hubo progresos. Según un estudio realizado por el Centro de Políticas Públicas Annenberg, hubo menos descortesías en el Congreso en años recientes que en las décadas de 1990 o 1940. El senador republicano Ted Cruz fue ampliamente condenado por su agresivo cuestionamiento en enero al secretario de defensa entrante, Chuck Hagel. Pero poner en entredicho el patriotismo de un candidato era lo habitual en la época de McCarthy, aunque hoy sea menos frecuente.

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