Pedro Gomez Carrizo
July 12, 2019 02:41
G. K. Chesterton was lucky not to live to prove he was right. In numerous articles written for more than a decade, this great writer, so accustomed to working with clues in his detective novels, struggled to make known the signals that allowed to forecast World War II.
With great lucidity, Chesterton noted that the term commonly used to refer to the agreement that ended the First World War was that of “armistice”, and not that of “peace”. His articles, real jewels, were very explicit about something that everyone knew in the background, but very few wanted to acknowledge: that what had been signed with Germany was not a lasting peace, but a truce.
Chesterton’s key to predicting the disaster was the inability of the Allied powers to isolate the causative agent of the First World War, a virus that did not stop feeding in the interwar period and that would end up being the cause of the Second World War. For Chesterton, even Hitler and his circumstance were but effects of this virus, not its cause.
Chesterton called this virus “Prussianism,” and described it in terms very familiar to those of us who suffer from Catalanism. The approach of the world from a single Prussian prism, which aspired to be transversal among all Germans, the confusion between Germany and that particular way of being German driven by the Prussian spirit, and the obsessive ‘über alles’, Germany above all, the exaltation of the own as the main engine of the policy that followed from it.
Citizens are willing to find consensus solutions, and appeal to pragmatism and possibility
Today we are in Spain in a similar situation, at the gates of an armistice with the forces of the defeated coup separatism, and it is surprising to see to what extent the majority positions coincide with those majority positions – mostly wrong, as demonstrated – among the Chesterton’s compatriots, which the writer tried to correct.
Those policies of contentment have their translation into our reality in that search for successful outlets for those who have broken the constitutional order.
“Airstrip” is the fashion metaphor to refer to that path that we are supposed to build for the independents who are willing to get out off the clouds. We hear it with insistence, the expression pleases, and its success is not surprising: it has all the look of those clichés built to create a mental frame that opinion makers like so much – like that famous one of the “train crash”, which concealed that of the train which was advancing in a dead track – and it also has the virtue of connecting with a positive idea, without explaining the consequences of that idea – like that other metaphor no less famous of the need to “do homework”, which diverted responsibilities and concealed the scope of the “duties” brought forward by the men in black.
With these treats so useful for the creation of atmospheres of opinion, it is understood that the metaphor is wielded by the great popes of Catalanism. Its diffusion, predictable and growing, is due to the fact that it connects with the good feelings of the citizens, mostly willing to find consensus solutions, and appeals to pragmatism and the possibility that should govern the decisions of reasonable politicians.
They are being told: ‘Leave the unilateral way and we will provide you with a way to reach the goal later’.
Well interpreted, the metaphor of the “landing strip” comes to tell the separatists: abandon the unilateral route, without abandoning your objectives, and we will provide you with a way for you to reach them later without you having to commit any crime.
And it comes to tell the rest of us: let’s just forget all about it and let’s go back to the starting line. And to a starting line, in addition, in which the pro-sovereignty positions from which the secessionist initiatives arose are reinforced.
In fact, all the great movements developing with respect to the territorial problem both in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain go along that line. The commitment to the plurinational strategy and the legitimization of the openly secessionist policies by the PSOE, the laundering of open-minded parties that have never condemned terrorism or the strengthening of a PSC that has never reneged – nor will it do it, for it is the essence of the party and is in its Statutes – of sovereignty, are the most vigorous strokes with which the new scenario is painted.
The PSC deserves a separate paragraph. Politicians such as Iceta, Batet or Cruz, unparalleled in the intellectual wasteland surrounding Sánchez, are at this point, there is no doubt, the ones elaborating the doctrine on the territorial model that consumes the vast majority of the Spanish left and a good portion of the right that feels or needs to feel moderate. Their PSOE friendly takeover has been completed with a takeover hostile to Citizens, which in Catalonia has been candidly robbed of the portfolio.
Their endemic Catalanism once again comes to the rescue of nationalism, its sister ideology but without disguise, to give the Catalans the most innovative, most unexpected and most definitive solution of the many which could be imagined by the most privileged skull … the return of ‘sociovergence’, with revival of Artur Mas included!
The truce is not good if it makes it easier for those who have declared war on you to rearm with your support to declare it
That is, return to the oasis, distribution of positions, shielding of the necessary skills to continue the process of national construction and “runway” to recover with the least possible damage – for them, because the country is broken and it will remain impoverished – for the perpetrators of a coup d’etat, failed because hurried, so that next time they can carry it out with greater guarantees of success.
It is understandable, as I say, that this manifestly improvable plan ends up seducing the majority. And it is also understandable that the warnings of those who point out the danger of giving wings to Catalanism and of presenting as a solution the return to a scenario which has been the origin of the problem are disregarded.
Because people want peace when they are tired of fighting, just like they want bread when they are hungry, even if today’s bread is hunger for tomorrow.
But we must not confuse peace with truce. Peace is good; the truce may be, or it may not be at all. Of course it is not when the truce facilitates that whoever has declared war on the basis of some designs, and has not abandoned those designs, is rearmed with all your support to declare it again.
Chesterton got tired of warning through articles of an enormous quality. Without the slightest success, by the way.
*** Pedro Gómez Carrizo is publisher.