In the year 2050,
Spain, once a proud global empire of strong-willed people, has
become Brussels' poster child.
Few countries have
transformed their anthropology so thoroughly and quickly.
Modernization, technocratization and Europeanization have been
pushed so dramatically that it looks like an EU super-vassal
The quest for
democracy has long since given way to a quest for
conformity. Spanish culture is as flat as an iron plank.
Spaniards have become
"the Southern Prussians," as opposed to their former cousins,
the Italians, Portuguese and Latin Americans.
At first glance, what strikes you in the streets in 2050 are
many robots, enhanced people and cyborgs.
The process of
becoming more machine-like than human is well under way. People
are detached from physical reality, living their lives with data
rather than with things (Byung-Chul Han,
In the Swarm, 2017).
technologization - i.e., machines performing many tasks, and
better than humans - has meant a gradual loss of human skills,
be it predicting the weather or replacing a flat tire.
What Chesterton prophesied,
"Fires will be
kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will
be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer"
...happened in Spain
The age of common
sense is long gone because it involved experiencing human
nature, a sense of proportion and an ability to deliver
judgments. Electronic devices, having isolated people from each
other for decades, now isolate people from physical reality.
People live their lives according to official protocols. Nothing
unforeseen happens. Other than natural catastrophes, nothing
"tries men's souls."
You solve no serious
problem by yourself; instead, you must go to a social worker.
If you have a
problem, don't expect a helping hand from neighbors but from
public officers, who prevent people from solving things by
themselves (escaping a traffic jam on a frozen highway, for
No one under 50 has
ever heard of assuming responsibility for their free actions.
Few people under 40 have ever made serious radical decisions or
overcome significant obstacles or dangers.
They have never gone
through the adversities that shape human personality.
Unless professionally trained, people are unable to do simple
things by themselves like curing everyday illnesses, tending to
children's bruises or dealing with hyperactive boys. If anything
happens, you should refer it to the public authorities.
Should you meet an injured person, do not play the Good
Samaritan, lest you transgress legal rules on transporting the
injured or speed limits.
With half a century of the new millennium gone by, only a
fraction of the Spaniards you bump into came to life via
ordinary sexual intercourse.
Only a few of those
under 50 can cherish memories of childhood in a reasonably
stable family with both their biological parents and siblings;
even fewer have had a substantial relationship with their
territorial and social, is the rule.
trees are now extremely intermingled, one cannot properly say,
"We Woosters have
had our code of honor since the Crusades,"
...because there is
no longer a clear, undisputed line of Woosters.
As of 2050,
interpersonal relations among Spaniards, once famous for their
strong feelings, are weak - not excluding motherly feelings for
her child. Intimate friendship is rare, even between classmates.
Few couples you meet
started as two youngsters telling each other "If you accept me I
will protect you with my life," or something of the sort, like
Nat Turner to Cherry in The Birth of a Nation.
Lacking those strong,
durable, personal commitments, personal relations became weak,
transferable (to new companions or new stepchildren) and
erasable (mourning one's parents or spouse).
malleable people are more controllable.
There are redundant people. For the needs of a de-industrialized
country in the 2050s, only a fraction of its human workforce is
required. One can count unemployed young Spaniards by the
millions and they are tame, immature, and purposeless.
salaries are a way of life for many.
Shared common visions, unless politically correct, are scarce.
Personal growth is difficult. Prominent personalities are also
rare because opportunities for self expression and creativity
are limited. Eccentric people hard to find, even in
immigrants, no Spanish adult has had the experience of a young
boy, escaping the local police after a minor prank.
B. Tarkington's young
rascal, Penrod, should he exist, would be under
Other than deviants, dealt with by psychiatrists, ordinary
people live their lives going through a series of stages
regulated for them to ensure they fit in, so that the
development of brilliant qualities is rare.
virtues, needed for our daily lives, atrophy. Few people develop
a rule-of-thumb wisdom and no one relies on themselves unless
they have earned a Master's degree in self-reliance.
Government, the big media and the entertainment industry
determine the mainstream public mentality.
language, they have come to control thought. People celebrate
what they are expected to:
Mother's Day, women on Women's Day, etc.
Very few people are
"the Captains of their Souls" - and many do not see why they
Everyone is watched, even when going to the baker. No one
complains because this universal surveillance is
undertaken not just by government but also by your neighbor,
your supermarket, by employers, etc.
Full control of
everything you do and say - i.e., what you say when having a
beer or when raising your children - is in force, as well as, in
the near future, substantial control of even what you think and
wish (your choices are in part induced by your mobile phone).
All in all, the
ability of most individuals to escape control, should they so
wish, is meager. Since the government, the EU, and Google know
everything about you anyway, little formal spying is needed.
In the year 2050, judges deliver their rulings with fear of
opposition, as do university lecturers and everyone else.
In this regime of
transparent quasi-totalitarianism, people have become reserved
and unable to act boldly except in very small groups. Over time
they have lost nearly all memory of candid interpersonal
Initial mutual trust
is not taken for granted, and many hardly miss it. After decades
of refraining from autonomous action, this sum of transparency
and surveillance makes people refrain from autonomous thought.
Behaving and talking
as officially expected while thinking otherwise - a practice
typical of old autocracies - is no longer the case; people now
think within the politically correct framework.
Bio-power, once a novelty, is out of fashion.
now has the upper hand and it is so all-pervading that the "War
on Terror" has become unnecessary.
Following a far from new trend, current political issues are
hardly political in nature:
concern the human body, heart and mind, behavior, culture,
international agencies no longer pretend we are all equal; there
are political and economic inequalities galore. Similarly, human
dignity is rarely mentioned.
presumption of innocence is no longer fashionable.
Politically correct thought no longer claims to include
democracy, which has now faded, not just for political or
economic reasons, or due to the difficulties of expanding it on
a world-wide scale, but simply because people are trained to
do nothing important of themselves.
If you consult each
and every problem, however simple (how much time your child
should spend playing video games), with an "expert," then even
what were once affairs of nature, like pregnancy, become a
matter for experts, and you become utterly unprepared to manage
your family and even less the polis.
falls beyond the judgment of "common man."
Things Mother Nature
prepared us for - how to be a parent, a son, or an active member
of the polis - are now beyond our capacity. Adults are
infantilized, therapeutically supervised and lack personal
initiative outside the field of their professional training.
Law has also changed. Roman law professed that
hominum causa omne ius constitutum est,
but now, uprooted from free human action, law is no longer
A universal jurisdiction and an array of expert committees rule
the planet, while self-governing social entities are scarce,
including universities. Spain enjoys little self-rule, let alone
Spaniards are now
famous for being an orderly legalistic people, heartily abiding
by EU rules. In turn, the EU is but a second-rank political
Vast areas of rural land and older Spanish cities are nearly
deserted. Some kingdoms and principalities of old, after a
period of aging and depopulation, have disappeared except on
Madrid has 25 million
inhabitants. People are so intermingled that the locals can
hardly be distinguished.
Folklore and cultural
particularities, traditionally so varied in Spain, are relics
for tourist shows. (The death of folklore did not arise from
multiculturalism but out of technological dependence, the
atomization of society, and rootlessness.)
Only Muslims, and not
all of them, seem to hold true to identity and culture.
There is a single global religiosity with a broad New Age
character that includes human rights, ecology, and codes of
Put another way, all
religions but Islam share the narrative of mainstream ethics and
culture. The positive morality in force is puritanical and
intolerant - and it is stricter than previous forms of
denominations not fitting into the dominant narrative (for
example, abstaining from teaching gender ideology) are
punishable by law because the official religiosity requires
an ordre public enforceable by judges.
Deviants are scarce, especially moral ones, since morals have
given way to publicly enforced ethics.
Besides that, moral
processes have long since given way to psychological ones, then
biological ones, finally to algorithms.
the commonest doctors, are now rare because people do not
generally suffer from such disorders and, for the few cases that
occur, social workers suffice.
For the first time, the liberal arts, the Bible, Socrates,
and Cicero are wiped from the public mind. People without
notions of history, Christianity or the humanities, have proven
easier to manage.
Spain has become in practical terms an English-speaking
Those under 40
learned English by their parents in childhood. Gender-specific
language - woman, man, daughter - is forbidden by law, but since
it vanished long ago due to political correctness, the
prohibition is not much resented.
Information overload and a myriad of data-sets have made people
incapable of discerning for themselves, absent official
guidance, true from false or right from wrong, while the real
and reality faded from the public mind decades ago.
information, contemporary Spaniards lack any ability to discern
when making judgments.
Thus they are ready
to be sent to work at the Antipodes for a few weeks and then to
some other remote place, wherever the transnational employers
decide, irrespective of their family.
Post Scriptum as of
Against all odds, things are changing.
This is not due to a
revival of traditional Spanish culture, long since dead, but to
human nature that rides again. Moral conscience could be
dormant, but not dead (Bauman).
started to send their children to internet-free schools.
Natural disasters connected to climate change have made people
withdraw their trust from governments and experts. It is now
blatantly clear that they do not have the wherewithal to control
As the British
Michael Gove said long ago,
"People in this
country [Britain] have had enough of experts."
After serious floods,
horrible fires and massive desertification, the idea of
unlimited economic growth and safe technological change is no
longer taken for granted.
exhausting of raw materials gave way to redistributing existing
wealth. Unquestioned trust in technology to solve all new
problems has vanished.
Furthermore, technology and economic "science" have generated an
underclass living on miserable social handouts. Thus, Spaniards
question their primacy.
Experiencing at first
hand that materialistic individualism turned them into machine
parts, people have also turned away from hedonism. The
scantiness of their social handouts made them rediscover
collaboration in small communities, very much like traditional
Likewise, they now
favor working for themselves and talking to real people.
Time has shown that world government is run by fallible, if not
corrupt, people who have indisputably shown that they do not
always look to the common good - leaving aside the difficulty of
identifying a good common to the whole world.
This reinforced the
tendency to mistrust authority and encouraged a rediscovery of
common sense, purpose and morality.
Since the economy and
technology had often been inimical to ordinary people of late,
they also rediscovered
the necessity to govern themselves,
at least locally...