The philosopher Thomas Hobbes accustomed us to the image of the state as the terrifying Leviathan, a sea monster who triumphs over all foes, described in the book of Job. Many of the states that have existed in history confirm the correctness of that image that should never be forgotten. But it is also possible for the state to resemble another sea monster, the Proteus of Homer, who in addition to knowing the future could assume the forms he wanted.
The candidates currently in the running for the 2018 presidential elections in Colombia are all unconditional worshipers of the Leviathan. They believe firmly in the role of the state to provide welfare, and in interventionism to further the needs of their clientele, but they are differentiated by the forms of Proteo that each assumes to captivate to the electorate.
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Claudia López is the representation of the demiurge state.
In Gnostic philosophy the demiurge is the origin, creator and computer of everything; the universal soul that disposes of everything and without whose existence there would be nothing but chaos. For Claudia López, perhaps because of her training as a politician, the state is the demiurge of economic and social life. As stated in her book Farewell to the FARC, all the ills of the country are explained by the insufficient or imperfect presence of the state; all those evils will be overcome when the sufficient and perfect state assumes the presence which Claudia López deems necessary.
Sergio Fajardo or the unpolluted state
Of the economic and social ideas of Sergio Fajardo we know very little, as publications have not covered the topic. “Do not waste even a single peso”, “Many eyes, few hands” these and other catchy phrases sum up his political ideology. They have been enough to propel him to the mayoralty of Medellín and the governorship of Antioquia. In the midst of the dearth of popular candidates, it may also be enough to propel him into the second round of presidential elections and lead a coalition of upright. But, if not being a thief is the only credential required to be president, we could save the votes and raffle off the position among the 99% of Colombians who are not.
Alejandro Ordóñez or the confessional state
The authors of the 1991 Constitution were unable to remove the Catholic Church from politics and to suppress the privileges granted to it in the constitution of 1886. Instead of a lay state, they created one open to all beliefs, upon which they bestowed all the same fiscal advantages that the Catholic Church had enjoyed, thus giving rise to the proliferation of all kinds of garage churches which, in addition to plundering without regard to the well-being of their adherents, and brazenly enjoying fiscal benefits, now want to impose, in alliance with the Catholic Church, their moral values on society as a whole. Ordonez, Vivian Morales, the Piraquive family and the shepherds of the more than 6,000 garage churches with legal status seek to perpetuate the confessional state of which the country has tried to rid itself since the nineteenth century. May God bless us!
Gustavo Petro or the arbitrary state
By their deeds you will know them, said the carpenter’s son. Gustavo Petro served in the mayoralty of Bogota with total indifference to the fact that rulers must be subject to the law. Contrary to pre-existing norms and the explicit concept of governance by legitimate authorities, when his scheme for establishment of public toilet service was questioned, and when it was opposed by an equally legitimate authority, he organized a mob to resist the sanction. And he succeeded. Like all the “enlightened”, he always exhibits a dogmatic and authoritarian attitude, and will not hesitate to commit any arbitrariness to impose the “popular will”, regardless of whether its current incarnation resembles Robespierre.
Jorge Robledo or the totalitarian state
Let it be known Jorge Robledo has yet to renounce the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. The ultimate objective of this ideology is the establishment of Communism, through class consciousness, in order to progress through a series of stages, including the dictatorship of the proletariat, during which literally all class enemies are liquidated. The first phase is the revolution of a new democracy: nationalist and anti-imperialist, made in alliance with the national bourgeoisie, the peasantry and the patriotic intellectuals, and led by the vanguard of the proletariat, of which, of course, Senator Robledo is the movement’s leading exponent!
Germán Vargas or the inherited State
The “delfinado” (family legacy) is an old, informal but effective institution of Colombian democracy. Colombian politicians inherit their descendants, their prestige, their relations, their electoral clienteles. Collegiate bodies, ministries and local administrations are a plethora of growing dolphins whose ultimate goal is usually the Presidency of the Republic. López Michelsen, Pastrana Arango, and Santos Calderón, the nephew, are some of the dolphins who have achieved this aspiration. Vargas Lleras, after the abysmal failure of his uncle, claims for himself the inheritance of his maternal grandfather, Lleras Restrepo. It is not known if he can do it, but what is certain is that Colombian democracy will not lack dolphins with presidential aspirations. There are of course the children of Galán and Simoncito, the beloved son of César Gaviria, learning things and weaving relationships from the head of the DNP (Departamento Nacional de Planeación), the position with which Santos paid his father his important contribution to the triumph in the elections of 2014.
Roy Barreras or the client state
All or almost everything about Roy Barreras reminds one Tartufo de Moliere. With his air of hero sacrificed for the public good, he has gone through all the episodes of the recent Colombian politics unfailingly standing next to the victor, a typical characteristic of the “clientelista” politician always ready to change his principles for the sake of concord and national unity and, of course, a few key positions and influence in appropriating the state budget. Surely Senator Barrera or some of his many peers with whom he shares his opportunistic policy will be present in the first round of presidential elections, aspiring to rake in votes by claiming to contribute to harmony and national unity.
Timochenko in a foreign body or the criminal state
The incomparable Murray Rothbard said that every state is a criminal gang that claims the monopoly of looting. As the constitution of nation states is obscured in the haze of the distant past, most people are not aware of their sinister origins in the alliances of criminal groups. Which until then were fought without respite. That is why the reconstitution of the Colombian state with the incorporation of the former FARC criminals is a clear example of the correctness of the Rothbardian thesis. It is said that Timochenko can not appear in the presidential elections of 2018, but there is Alvaro Leyva, who has been wanting to be a candidate of any party for anything, willing to bear the label of the criminal state. There is also Piedad Córdoba who will have no qualms in increasing its monumental discredit.
There is still plenty of time before the 2018 elections. Other candidates will surely emerge and some of these announced candidates will vacillate, but it is unlikely that the political offerings of 2018 of that year will include any offering other than the various nuances of welfare and regulatory statism. But one can still hope.
How good it would be for the country to have a truly different candidate. A candidate who understands that political democracy is not enough to guarantee freedoms, that the free market is the best guarantee of citizens’ freedom and that the state should therefore limit itself to its minimum functions. A candidate who understands that the state does not exist to guarantee the future or the happiness of its citizens, but to provide the legal framework that allows each one to seek their happiness as everyone understands and forge their future with their creativity, their work, and their commitment.
A candidate who understands that governing is the art of settling conflicts between individuals and not the art of giving resources or privileges to groups, guilds, or clients. A candidate who does not promise voters to protect them from the risk of making choices for themselves and suffering their consequences. A candidate who speaks to individuals, that is, people accustomed to making decisions for themselves, and not to the masses grouped by the various labels, slaves of corporate democracy, accustomed to the ceaseless growth of the Leviathan.