Me honro en reconocer en Yehezkel Dror, una autoridad de clase mundial en asuntos de gobierno, a un amigo y maestro. (Preparo por estos días un taller de Política Clínica, y me ha parecido apropiado llamar lo que expondré acerca de policy sciences sintéticamente con este nombre: Drórica).
Hace poco me anunció el envío de su más reciente libro—Avant-Garde Politician: Leaders for a New Epoch—que espero con fruición anticipada. Con su aviso llegó una reseña de Michael Marien, quien asienta en ella:
Baste decir que todos los miembros del Congreso de los EEUU, y los líderes nacionales, y los líderes por venir en todas partes del globo (junto con los editores más destacados y los académicos relevantes), debieran invertir una semana en Avant-Garde Politician si es que van a enseriarse acerca del orden del mundo en una era de innegable metamorfosis y posible colapso global.
El sábado 10 de enero, a partir de lo entrevisto en la reseña de Marien, mencioné el nuevo libro de Dror en la edición #126 de Dr. Político en RCR, y me aventuré a suponer que se trata de la obra sobre Política más importante en lo que llevamos de siglo XXI. Entonces envié a Yehezkel un fragmento de audio de esa emisión, explicando mi valoración y mi atrevimiento. Al poco tiempo, recibí de vuelta un correo suyo que decía: Dear Luis, as Fortuna sometimes does, your welcome message and your kind words on my book (parts of which I understood, though my Spanish got rusty from non-use) arrived minutes after the item of mine above, in which I mention you, was published! Thanks, Yehezkel
Bajo esas líneas venía una opinión que había escrito para Amazon acerca de un libro de Henry Marsh—Do no harm, una exposición acerca de la política como arte médico cuyo título viene de la fórmula hipocrática latinizada: Primum non nocere—, en la que generosamente me nombra. (En 1995, compuse un código de ética para la Política cuyo orden expositivo tomé del Juramento de Hipócrates, y su primera estipulación reza: “Recomendaré o aplicaré, según sea el caso, sólo las acciones y cambios que entienda sean beneficiosos a las personas y a sus asociaciones, a menos que este beneficio particular implique perjuicio a la sociedad general o daño innecesario a otras personas o sus asociaciones, y jamás recomendaré o aplicaré nada que yo sepa sería dañino a las personas o asociaciones que pidan mi consejo o asistencia”).
Es con gran orgullo que reproduzco a continuación la reseña del profesor Dror del texto de Marsh, tal como aparece en Amazon:
LESSONS ON POLITICAL LEADERS, January 13, 2015
By Yehezkel Dror (Jerusalem Israel)
This review is from: Do No Harm (Paperback)
Avant-Garde Politician: Leaders for a New Epoch
In imperial Portuguese statecraft rulers and their advisors often viewed themselves as medical healers of the body politic. Some contemporary thinkers impressively continue this tradition, such as “Dr. Politico” (Dr. Luis Enrique Alcala) in Venezuela. And, indeed, this fascinating book, as well as in the literature on medical training and practice as a whole, presents issues salient to political leaders, subject to careful application.
Thus: “Much of what happens in hospitals is a matter of luck (p. ix),”[but it also is] a question of balancing risks, sophisticated technology, experience and skill (p. 41), while political leaders face much more uncertainty without being equipped by study and experience to handle it well; “the self-importance [produced by being a neurosurgeon] (p. 14) is all the more a danger accompanying political leadership, while being much less subjected to peer control and other safeguards; “Doctors like to talk of the `art and science’ of medicine. I…prefer to see [it] as a practical art…that takes years to learn” (p. 31), but nearly all political leaders sorely lack the extensive knowledge, systematic study and supervised learning from practice essential for fulfilling their missions well; “Doctors need to be held accountable, since power corrupts” (p. 180), but this is relatively easy when results become soon visible and statistical quality control can be applied, while political leaders easily cover up errors, or are held responsible by simplistic publics for what does not depend on them. And so on.
Politics and medicine are in many respects radically different. Thus, there is a model of a “healthy person”, a catalogue of the more frequent diseases, and evidence-supported “best practices,” however changing with time. Nevertheless, one overall critical lesson from the history of medicine fully applicable to politics is provided by the progression from “Feldscherers” (a term going back to barbers engaged in surgery, first used around 1877 and then applied to fields surgeons lacking serious qualifications), to highly professional medical specialists.
Extensive study of political leaders as well as observation of many of them in action leads me to the bitter conclusion that most of them are in in the stage of Feldscherers, lacking most of the qualifications needed for coping with the fateful issues increasingly facing humanity. Democratic elections are essential in most countries, but the truth must be confronted: they are far from assuring the quality of successful candidates, all the more so when big money and political marketing cover up the real traits of candidates. Therefore, as discussed in my most recent book, radically upgrading of the qualities of political leaders is essential.
In my reading this book raises implicitly the fateful question how to assure that political leaders have the required moral and cognitive qualities, thus adding to its merits as being fascinating to read.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
En mi agradecimiento instantáneo logré decir:
I fully agree with this statement: “Politics and medicine are in many respects radically different.” To begin with, it’s one thing to treat an individual biological entity, a man, and another quite different to deal with human aggregates: the Gemeinschaft, the Gesellschaft, nation-states or human swarms (Loren Carpenter)—that is why complexity theory is so pertinent to Politics. Then, human physiology is for the most part the same in the liver considered by Galen or a contemporary medical doctor; the organ has not changed much since; on the other hand, Israel is very different from Louis XIV’s France. And, as you suggest, we do not have agreement on what is a “healthy society”. A few years back—1985—, I brought forward this problem in timidly writing that we needed a concept for a normal society, a notion that would have to change with time, since societies evolve faster than biological species. Medical students—in Venezuela, at least—spend two full years of their six-year school to understand the structure, macro and microscopically, and the functioning of the healthy body, before facing the study of sickness. (You might recall that I studied three years of Medicine before trying Sociology, a discipline that I came to consider generally useless for my calling). The best I could suggest was to think of income distribution in Gaussian terms: a “normal society” would have a Gaussian distribution of income and, in consequence, better societies would be achieved by a process of “normalization” in this sense. (I even crushed some numbers and studied the Lambda function, a mathematical class that includes the Gauss curve).
But I’ve never attempted a full mapping of Medicine into Politics; what I stress is the role of the politician as the citizens have all the right to demand: a well prepared professional in public problem-solving (also in metapolitical questions) who would be guided by a code of ethics in Hippocratic fashion; no more than that. Even from that weak analogy, many implications derive that differ from the usual political practice: a fight for power based on an ideological alibi. Ideologies are ancient medicine; invented, all of them, in the XIX century, long before Dror. Of course, the ideological paradigm and Realpolitik are far from dead, but then Kuhn warned that the new paradigm triumphs when the holders of the old paradigm die, and what is happening, the global crisis of traditional politics, is killing scores of sclerotic conventional politicians. (…)
So, I preach a clinical approach out of my own sense of responsibility; I simply feel this to be my duty, since it is possible. When I wrote (1995) my personal code of ethics—very much like the one I will read in Avant-Garde Politician—all I did was to translate what already was my personal attitude of many years into writing; it was no more difficult than that.
Gracias, Yehezkel, maestro y amigo. LEA