Argentina has one of the few Constitutions in the world that explicitly protects human life from its conception. That is soon going to change.
Last night, a sizable majority of Argentines voted for the Peronist political alliance “Para Todos” (meaning “for all”) that has promised the elimination of the judiciary and the creation of a “Ministry of Women” that will guarantee to all women the freedom to abort the unborn. The same political party favored not so discreetly by Pope Francis, proposes agrarian reform and various limitations to private property inspired more or less in Marxist principles.
About two years ago, President Mauricio Macri, allowed abortion to be included in his party platform. His political star began to decline immediately after that. His refusal to reduce the monstrous size of the state bureaucracy quickly consumed the few resources available. Reportedly, the International Monetary Fund required Congress to discuss an expansion of abortion laws as a condition required to extend a multi-billion dollar loan that would give the Macri administration some breathing space.
The costly bureaucracy went through those billions in a Keynesian frenzy of public works and other spending but the economy —chocked by one of the highest levels of taxation in the world— began to fold steadily at a fast pace. President Macri, a graduate of one of the most prestigious local Catholic colleges, hired a personal Buddhist “harmonizer” in an effort to stay cool. Meanwhile, he was leading the country into a deadly trap: a combination of high debt, high taxes, and high inflation in the context of a heavily regulated economy. Business fled to better pastures, unemployment and uncertainty grew. Everyone can see the country advancing pedal to the metal towards a concrete wall of financial obligations that are nearly impossible to meet.
Yesterday, a majority of Argentines voted to return to the previous model of government, the same that inserted the country in the Havana-Caracas-Teheran “axis of prosperity.” But this time there is international instability without the benefit of high agrarian commodity prices. Argentina appears to be happily riding in the proverbial hell-bound hand basket.
My testimonial pro-life vote in yesterday’s election went to Juan José Gómez Centurión, a decorated military officer now retired. Mr. Centurión’s Spartan virtues and honesty are legendary. His decency is in stark contrast with the general putrefaction of the political class. It was an honor to give one modest vote to the only clearly pro-life candidate. Many of us found that we could not vote otherwise in good conscience. Mr. Centurión is the only remnant of the old Argentina, the one that began to slowly die in 1916 when the country began to experiment with socialist ideas, abandoning its old agrarian traditional Catholic model of society.
The prosperous Argentina of 1856-1916 applied the Anglo-American old Liberal economic rules with great success but at a cost of growing its own brand of anti-Catholic ideas. Joseph Comte de Maistre first, and then other thinkers like Juan Donoso Cortés and Juan Vázquez de Mella concluded about that time that Liberalism leads to Communism and then to anarchy. The Liberal masters of the Argentine miracle of 1856-1916 knew them but did not heed their advice. A century later, a prosperous country that abandoned its Catholic roots led by the siren song of Marxism is now on its way to economic, cultural, and political oblivion. The warning of Christ continues to resound through the ages: “I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Sometimes God speaks to us through coincidences. He may be speaking to all of us these days. As the Synod of the Amazon closes, it coincides with the end of yet another political cycle in Pope Francis’ country. See, abandoning Christ is no longer something that countries choose to do. Now, a sizable portion of the Catholic hierarchy is also interested in not abiding with Him any longer. Aborted from the womb of the Church, cut off from the vine of Christ, Europe is dying; the United States politics are reduced to a senseless impeachment brawl; Latin America languishes as a permanent “continent of hope” that grows more and more hopeless; and the Church is being tempted into leaving the Master that spoke to us with words of eternal life. Where in the world are we going?
My opinion may count as much as my vote of yesterday but here it is: we can’t continue living like this. We smiled as the Soviet Union leaders finally admitted the error of their ways in the 1990’s. Well, this is our perestroika moment. We have become as Christ-less as they were but we lack the courage to admit it. We see the same pattern repeating over and over, country after country. We contemplate the spectacle of millions of souls dying in the wasteland that Western culture has become, and we do nothing. In fact, we do even worse: the Church that was called to be the light of the world is leading millions into the darkness of failed ideas, and into utter immorality. Mere superstition is extolled as equivalent to Christ’s glorious light.
The first message of Christ was: “Repent and believe in the Good News!” Repenting involves to turn around, to abandon the present path. Believing in the Good News is to live according to the words of St. John Climacus: “If you wish to be saved with the few, live like the few.” The experiment to live without Christ is failing worldwide. This is our time to help in redeeming the world. Even if entire countries choose to live a lie, we have to choose the way of truth and life. In fact, there is no other choice.