Friday, September 24

The fallacy of moderation

Equidistance seems to be in vogue in certain intellectual circles. Lately I have not stopped listening to statements and reading articles that extol the virtues of the Aristotelian middle term against the hateful “extremes”. In general, its authors use an affected tone to express themselves, like that of the children of my generation who excelled in the subject of civility and good manners, perhaps to enhance the sincerity of their commitment to the culture of moderation.

The middle term is appropriate in certain circumstances, no doubt. After making wings to escape the labyrinth of Crete, Daedalus advised his son Icarus to maintain an equidistant line of flight between earth and sky, to prevent the wings from being damaged by contact with the sea or the sun melting the wax with which he had glued the feathers. What happens is that, on too many occasions, equidistance is invoked as a trick to avoid uncomfortable positions or as a device to perpetuate charms under the amiable disguise of measure and balance. Thus, between a person who affirms that the sky is blue and another who says that it is yellow, we see some sentence that it is green, because it is the color resulting from the mixture of the two in dispute. It is what in the field of logic is known as a “fallacy of moderation.”

Last Monday, most of the media presented as a paradigm of equanimity the speech of the president of the CGPJ Carlos Lesmes, at the opening ceremony of the judicial year, in which he “urged” the two majority parties to reach an agreement for the renewal of the governing body of judges. In these times of propensity to nostalgia for the past, the also president of the Supreme Court was portrayed as that exemplary father of yesteryear who, when there was a brawl between his children, would pull everyone by the ear equally, without taking sides in In favor of none, so that they could enter the sidewalk en bloc. In reality, Lesmes’s intervention was a case of manual “fallacy of moderation”. The magistrate, who is said to be an intelligent and cultured person, knows very well that we are not dealing with a case of two extremes located at the same distance from the balance point. That the Popular Party – under whose initials he held various political positions and received the endorsement to occupy his current position at the head of the judiciary – constitutes today the main obstacle to the agreement. The strategy of Pablo Casado’s party is as crude as it is blatantly unconstitutional: it consists of torpedoing, resorting to the most varied pretexts, any possibility of a solution until the next elections, with the hope that then there will be a turnaround in parliamentary arithmetic that will allow to the conservatives to control the process of designation of the new members of the CGPJ. The result of this institutional coup, as reputed jurists openly call it, is that the current members have been in a temporary situation for almost three years, with the consequences that this has for the normal functioning of the judicial apparatus.

Through his apparently fair call for the judiciary to “disappear from the scene of the partisan struggle,” what Lesmes actually did was to bias with the PP, by diluting the responsibility of Casado’s party in a mess of which he is the main culprit. . But he did not stop there: in another section of his speech, he criticized that the political powers “question” the decisions of the courts when they “contradict their designs, hinder their strategies or, simply, are not to their liking” , and apparently he found no other example than the pardons granted by the Government of Pedro Sánchez to those convicted by the you process, when he could have cited the virulent disqualifications of the PP to the judges who have investigated his corruption scandals. Precisely, one of the obstacles to the renewal of the CGPJ is the conservative veto of one of the PSOE candidates, José Ricardo de Prada, a prestigious magistrate whose sin it is to have signed the sentence of the Gürtel case; but this doesn’t seem to matter too much to Lesmes.

The president of the CGPJ has spent three years “urging” the renewal of the judges’ body in view of the deterioration that the lack of agreement is causing in the administration of justice. As things are going, it is very likely that next year we will see him again press, with an equidistant air, the two great parties to find a way out and leave the judges on the sidelines of their brawls. In reality, Lesmes has had the key to force that agreement in his hand for three years: resign, along with the rest of the members. But this would clear the way for the progressive forces that today are the majority in Congress to control the renewal process, and neither the PP nor the conservative majority of the judiciary would like that. So we continue in the same: in the fallacy of moderation.

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