October 06, 2017
Déjà vu in Spain
Another referendum, another ideology. In Catalonia, four different aspirations have come together as a generalized “yearning” that is going to be hard, if not impossible, to satisfy. They are:
(1) Culture. Catalonia is not Spanish, say the Catalans, but Spain enjoys extraordinary respect for regional languages and traditions. What independence is really about is…
(2) Economics. Catalonia, according to the separatists’ version of reality, contributes more to Spain than it gets back, and it will prosper more on its own. As we have seen with Brexit, economic interrelationships are very hard to unravel, and an ideology of prosperity is always based on “best case” assumptions. Economics really come down to sharing or not sharing, and they depend a lot on…
(3) Politics. Catalan separatism is being promoted by political leaders who hope to gain from it, but they are buoyed up by…
(4) Ethno-ethic-emotional claims of victimhood and the right to self-determination. Quiz a Catalan and what he really wants is to be able to call himself officially Catalan, not Spanish.
All this amounts to an ideology defined by its opposition to the “Evil Empire” of the Spanish state (which has played into the ideologists’ hands with its repressive use of the police).
The thwarted attempt to hold a referendum has won the world’s sympathies and deterred anyone asking awkward practical questions about the reality of their cause. It’s understandable that the Catalans don’t want to be told what to do by a centralized and often inefficient state operating from Madrid, but are passport controls on the motorway between the Costa Daurada and the Costa del Azahar really going to improve the everyday lives of most or even any Catalans?