In Argentina, in the face of the upcoming presidential election in the second round, feelings of impotence and fear are being experienced.

By Dr. Miguel Julio Rodríguez Villafañe

Impotence, in the face of the problems that overwhelm us – unemployment, poverty, inflation, public debt (internal usurious and external illegitimate), corruption, drug trafficking, various mafias and a significant experience of insecurity in the face of crime.

Fear, fundamentally, of a future that cannot be clearly glimpsed, because the present itself is difficult to understand, in a globalised world, with a new multipolar world order and two active wars (Ukraine and the Middle East).

In this context, there are interested sectors that place all the blame for the situation we live in on the state, which is not fair, since it is worth remembering, for example, that it was the state and not the market that took on the problem of the COVID19 pandemic. Although it is true that the state, in all its ambits, needs to be reformed, made more transparent, made more efficient and to develop a more participatory democratic dynamic, it is also true that it is necessary that the state, in all its ambits, should be reformed, made more transparent, made more efficient and develop a more participatory democratic dynamic.

False political nutritionists

However, it is unacceptable to suggest that the way out of the concerning reality should be solved by suicidal logics that imply the destruction of the state, leaving the problems to be solved by the market alone. With these proposals, many fake political nutritionists have appeared, such as Javier Milei, who say that they will make us lose weight in a short time. But, when the proposal is analysed, it turns out that we would lose weight, but we are warned that, in order to do so, they would cut off a leg. In the end, these tricky recipes fail to mention that the state is the great ambit of social protection, with the scale of power to confront mafias of all kinds and to promote the wellbeing, prosperity and security of citizens. The false nutritionists of politics present outlets as if hungry wolves will be proposing to libertarian hens to break through the institutional fences of the state that protect them, inviting them to enjoy the countryside where they are told they will be free to consume better worms. They are not told that, once in the countryside, it is the wolves eating the defenceless hens that will feed better.

All against all

In the midst of all these experiences, there is an almost instinctive “every man for himself”, which exacerbates the situation and tends to generate individual solutions, based on hatred and fear, rather than the search for serious, comprehensive and solidarity-based solutions.

In this regard, Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti (“All brothers and sisters”) says: “Every man for himself’ will quickly turn into ‘everyone against everyone’, and that will be worse than a pandemic”.


In this article I do not intend to go into all of the above-mentioned issues in depth, but I do intend to focus on one of the aspects that has been identified as a trigger for negative experiences, namely public insecurity, which has been a particular preoccupation for society in recent times.

Everyday crime produces an initial defensive reaction in the population, and there is a tendency to propose immediate actions of a particularly repressive and punitive nature, but only from the point of view of the consequences, without paying much attention to the causes that structurally generate, to a large extent, the criminal attitude. It is unthinkable to imagine a significant reduction in assaults of all kinds, street robberies, burglaries, etc., if we do not try to find solutions to overcome the context of a scarce offer of work, poor salaries, extreme poverty, inadequate education against violence, state or private adjustments that lead to unemployment, no safety net and a lack of conviction and efficiency in the fight against drugs.

Likewise, the possibility of becoming a victim of crime divides society, because given the problem, there are sectors that can defend themselves more effectively than others. It is clear that those who have greater economic capacity can find better solutions to protect their assets and physical integrity than those who have less and who are also victims of the same crimes. This in itself increases inequalities. Moreover, in this context, injustice is further exacerbated by a state that has still not adequately fulfilled its promise to undertake reforms of its structure and functioning, in order to pursue essential objectives, such as guaranteeing the security of its citizens.

Protection, not revenge

At the same time, in the confusion brought on by fear, it is difficult to distinguish rational actions of protection in the face of danger from irrational attitudes of revenge. Often, in the collective psychosis that takes hold of citizens in the face of criminal situations, legitimate self-defence – legally and morally accepted and justified – is easily confused with the exercise of force, often in the search for justice by one’s own hand.

In a democratic society that respects human rights, it is unacceptable to think in terms of trigger-happy policies.

The prosecution of crime, only exercised by the law, without prejudice and by those who are authorised and duly trained to do so, is the sign of civilisation that allows us to differentiate ourselves, with moral authority, from barbarism.

On this issue, it is necessary to demand adequate action, without unacceptable delays, from prosecutors and judges.

Conveying values of solidarity

Furthermore, it is necessary to reflect on the values that strengthen human coexistence, especially solidarity. There must be encounters that neutralise the forces that have sought to break the social fabric.

This attitude will help to overcome the culture of hatred and, in fruitful dialogues, to develop legitimate defence mechanisms against crime. We must meet again, without preconceptions, such as those that have led to assimilating poverty with crime and so many other injustices that, in practice, leave negative marks on the consciousness of the community and unfairly discriminate against certain people or sectors. Meanwhile, unfortunately, major white-collar crimes enjoy media, social and judicial impunity.

Only in the fraternal encounter in Democracy, which contains us united as a whole, will it be possible to build a reality without fear, but with the adult responsibility of knowing that dialogue alone is not enough, but that it must lead to concrete actions in terms of integration and social justice and to duly assume, among other aspects, an effective fight against the crimes that hurt us.

Dr. Miguel Julio Rodríguez Villafañe, Cordovan constitutional lawyer and opinion journalist