Anti-guiri? yes, but…

Frequently racist paranoia vis-à-vis “imperialistic cultures” like the “Anglo-Saxon and Germanic” (with particular reference to the former) has permeated political thought of most varieties here for a long time and has been particularly evident in the last year or so. Sometimes, however, conflicts of interest arise.

José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was an elitist liberal and rampant Germanophile with a commitment to democracy that was passionate but not particularly generous: the idea of everyone being able to vote terrified him, and he left Spain in 1936, fearing the imposition of one of the varieties of mass-based totalitarianism on offer at the time.

In España Invertebrada, a 1934 collection of articles dealing with Spain’s apparently endless decline and fall, he makes an interesting attempt to have his cake and eat it. Spanish decadence, he concludes, was indeed by and large the fault of the Visigoths but this was only because their Germanic vigour and purity had been contaminated by contact with Rome. The Franks, on the other hand…

There just ain’t many Spanish political philosophers you can invite round for tea.

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