(Marguerite Yourcenar – Memoirs of Hadrian)
“Liberty is that good that lets you enjoy every other good” (Montesquieu)
Freedom is the foundation of a “society of opportunities”. The noblest ambitions are descended from freedom, such as becoming “richer”: not only in money, which is only a means; but in knowledge of the world, in life experiences, in intellectual wisdom.
Freedom (to be, of expression, to work, to produce) is the necessary condition to elevate the spirit and to build a healthy relationship with other people. Development and innovation can only be generated within freedom.
Honouring the principle of freedom in order to give Rome a legal system that is in line with the times, to encourage virtuous individual behaviour; and in this way to ‘liberate’ the best energies, both of individuals and of their ‘social formations’. This is the only way to generate the material progress that has been lacking in this city for too long.
“Beauty and the sacred walk hand in hand” (Roger Scruton)
Beauty is not just an aesthetic judgement, but a moral value. It should not be subjected to the criteria of functionality, but it should be elevated to the human need to satisfy the sense and enchantment of our being on this earth. Beauty turns the city into our home. Beauty raises a place to a space of love and civil coexistence.
Rome has always been the beauty of the sacred that transcends all time. Those who have governed it have magnified the spaces, volumes, horizons and places of living.
Modernist aggression, from the post-war period to the present day, has generated urban planning absurdities and architectural errors. Ugliness has often become the measure of this city.
Thinking about a more beautiful city, not only functional to the logic of production and consumption, means performing an act of love and respect towards those who live in it.
“Mass society wants not culture but entertainment” (Hannah Arendt)
Culture is the spirit of a nation, not the narcissistic creation of an elite for its own sake; it is the humus that makes every identity fertile, the very essence, the elevation of tradition beyond its own time.
Rome irradiated the West, but for some time has been experiencing a profound identity crisis. As the capital of a nation and a European city, it is incapable of cultivating the nation and representing itself as European.
The circles of smoky intellectualism, the lounges of liberal radicalism, have turned Rome’s culture into the narcissistic stage of an intellectual elite, reducing it to consumerism in a closed and often client system, not bearing witness to the city, not even narrating the historical dimension and innovating it in its plurality. Liberating Rome’s culture is the great challenge.
“Whoever spontaneously behaves justly, without being forced to do so, will not be unhappy, nor will completely fall into disrepair” (Aeschylus)
Legality is the first indicator of the quality of life in a free society. It is based on equal rights – which prevent the arbitrariness of the strongest – and in turn generates freedom in the pursuit of the common good.
Rome, unfortunately, is experiencing a crisis of legality from two perspectives: lack of law and order (in terms of crime rate, Rome ranks sixth in Italy), which makes it an increasingly unsafe city; and administrative efficiency due to an asphyxiating bureaucracy that generates legal uncertainty, distrust of institutions, inefficiency and corruption.
Educating citizens to respect the law, demanding a sense of legality from the ruling class, deploying skills in personal ethics and professional deontology, will enable Rome to turn into a well-functioning and free city.
A culture of legality is the starting point for a new modern city government.
“The Mediterranean is a great homeland, an ancient memory” (Ernst Jünger)
The city is a space of meaning. Not a neutral geographical place (tópos), but a dimension of identity (chóra), “the land and the sea we inhabit” mentioned by Strabo.
Rome has always been a Mediterranean capital, but in recent years, has shamefully abandoned its maritime vocation. Rome forgot that it has a river and a sea.
Now that the great European capitals are inventing or rediscovering their links with the sea (Paris-Le Havre, London with its ports at the mouth of the Thames), now that the Mediterranean is once again the ‘Medioceano‘ (Middleocean) between the Pacific and the Atlantic, Rome should once again expand its interests towards the coastline, enhancing its historical, cultural, natural and tourist potential.
“The earth, the kind and identical mother of all, should not be monopolised to further any man’s pride and lust” (Edmund Burke)
Nature is an inheritance we need to protect and hand down; the environment is not an ideology nor a commodity to be plundered for profit; it is a donated resource and its balance is an element of social order.
In recent decades, Rome has been vandalised by unregulated planning and environmental neglect; yet, with the largest green area per inhabitant among European capitals, it is by vocation an ‘intelligent’ city and potential model of sustainability: multimodal and proximity mobility, production of green energy through its own companies (Acea, Enel), redevelopment of ecological areas are suggestions that we need to consider for a sustainable city.
“Believing is as important as breathing” (Emil Cioran)
Religion is the response to the wonder of Being in front of the mystery of life; it is not just a social phenomenon or an anthropological need, it is, for those who believe, the recognition of a Transcendent alive and present in history.
The Judeo-Christian culture is the foundation of western civilisation.
Rome is the heart of Christianity, and it is also the city of the oldest Jewish community in the West. Through its churches and synagogue, a spiritual and civic journey unfolds that has no equal in the world.
Nevertheless, it is also a city open to other faiths and their cultural contributions, while respecting the law and the principle of proper integration.
At a time of uncontrolled secularisation, weak thinking and relativism that attacks natural law, it is a duty to defend those who believe.
Rome has lost its profound and ancestral spiritual dimension. Today it is a city without a soul.
Rome must once again become a universal, ecumenical city: a beacon in the world.
“Solidarity (…) is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good” (John Paul II).
Solidarity refers to union, to the search for harmony in the awareness of interdependence. It consists in a genuine desire to contribute to the creation and progress of the community in all its forms. It is the foundation of a solid society, which does not fall under the blows of “absolute” selfishness: which ignores the other, or even perceives him or her as an enemy (hence “envy”, the real disruptive force of social bonds). We can clearly see our neighbour and ourselves only through solidarity. Promoting concrete, non-ideological solidarity will enable the citizens of Rome to recognise, once again, their own dignity in everyone’s dignity.
“It is unjust to defer to a greater and higher society what can be done by smaller and lower communities” (Pius XI).
Subsidiarity is the glue of society. While respecting a vocation for development and individual responsibility, it guarantees cohesion between people and promotes their dignity. In this sense, the principle of subsidiarity is the “expression of inalienable human freedom“; and by embracing and making such a principle its own – “particularly suited to governing globalisation and directing it towards true human development” (Benedict XVI) – Rome could learn to listen to its citizens, in order to finally become a city on a “human scale”.
“Let our children grow tall and some taller than others if they have the ability in them to do so” (Margaret Thatcher)
The future is not the Utopia of progressives, literally the non-place; it is an actual place, a reality that takes shape from its identity and transforms together with it.
Rome is the city of three times: a majestic heritage, a busy present, a future to be planned; Rome is the Frecce Tricolori flying over the Roman Forum.
This city has never been a Utopia but a real place of life, contradictions, humanity, culture, transformation: in other words, a place alive in history.
Today its imagery has become ephemeral, fluid or at best museum-like, reduced to a tourist brand. From a vertical city, it has become a horizontal city within 50 years of collectivist planning, destruction of the community dimension, and eradication of every identity. Rome’s future lies with its citizens, who above all consider themselves heirs.
Federico Carli – Associazione Guido Carli
Lorenzo Malagola – Fondazione De Gasperi
Pietro Paganini – Competere
Daniela Bianchini – Centro Studi Livatino
Gabriele Checchia – Ambasciatore
Raffaele Fitto – ECR
Mihaela Gavrila – Università La Sapienza
Francesco Giubilei – Nazione Futura
Maurizio Leo – Fondazione Kypseli
Vincenzo Mannino – Lettera 150
Gaetano Massara – Associazione Guido Carli
Amy Rosenthal – Guarini Institute of Public Affairs
Salvatore Sfrecola – Fondazione Farefuturo
Edoardo Sylos Labini – CulturaIdentità
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata – Ambasciatore
Giuseppe Valditara – Lettera 150