The Spanish writer María Elvira Roca Barea has published two magnificent history books about the prejudices displayed in Spain since its imperial period by its political adversaries. A saga that I imagine is missing a third. A book describing a third type of aggressive emotional prejudices that are also often deployed for political interest and that are undoubtedly present in Spanish history.
And, I guess, they are also perfectly applicable to USA current situation:
- Anti-Americanism in competing countries,
- defeatist prejudices inside the country,
- and a variety of prejudices of division and confrontation among citizens taking advantage of different themes.
The first book is entitled Imperiofobia y leyenda negra (Emperiophobia and Black Legend, could be the translarion). It describes how among the countries and powerful people who live in the vicinity of an empire, without becoming part of it, a collection of anti-empire prejudices always appears. They are generated as part of a basic defensive strategy: learning to hate and despise you’re competitor. As emotional self-manipulation to hate and despise the opponent, to motivate against the empire. They are prejudices of disqualification of the opponent.
The ancient Greeks used them against the Romans. English, French, Dutch and Germans against the Spanish empire. Or now French and German powers against the Americans. The story is always the same. Those of the empire are arrogant, criminal, of an inferior race, without any merit…
he film Brian’s Life humorously describes this anti-imperial prejudice through the members of the Judean People’s Front repeating accusingly: What have the Romans done for us?
I know many people who see Americans that way today in Europe. It is anti-Americanism. Something so real and present that, for example, it led Jean-François Revel to write The Anti-American Obsession in 2003.
Maria Elvira’s second book is entitled Fracasología (Fracaso can be translated as failure, Defeatism could be the tittle in English) and also deals with aggressive prejudices, but different ones. Defeatist prejudices. Developed in a later period in Spanish history and, above all, in a different situation.
In 1700, Louis XIV, the so-called Sun King of France (le Roi Soleil), managed to place his grandson as King of Spain, Philip V. Taking control of the neighboring country. But, instead of incorporating it and leading it to its greater glory, he decided to drag it to its self-destruction. For this purpose, he deployed, from the very head of the empire, prejudices that generated self-rejection.
Prejudices tending to despise every Spanish peculiarity. The Spanish will always be considered backward, ordinary, in bad taste… condemned to failure. Prejudices were initially injected into the king’s environment (those who do not share and spread them will not be promoted), then into the intellectuals, who, once again, will have to manifest them in order to progress professionally, and from there to all of society.
It is easy to recognize this type of prejudice, still widely present in Spain. But you can also see them among Americans. Especially among those who are close to the Democratic Party, that seems to have assumed them. In fact, Trump’s Make America great again is basically a slogan that counters the self-destructive prejudice that pretends that if you don’t despise yourself a little, you are pretentious and supremacist. A prejudice that leads to the feeling that trying to be great is something ethically wrong. Trump’s slogan is an attempt to recover self-esteem by rejecting prejudices of a failure-type.
In reality, what Trump is trying to do is not very different from what Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo is promoting in Spain, when she insists on the importance of giving the cultural battle. He expresses it emotionally, she rationally, but the underlying defense is similar.
So far the first two books of the wonderful Maria Elvira Roca Barea. Let’s go for the third one. The one she hasn’t written yet but hopefully will write sometime. 😉
Jokes aside, there is a third type of prejudice that is also usually displayed aggressively. They have to do with the famous Divide et impera of the Romans, generate division among your enemies and you will defeat them. Prejudices to collectivize and confront the citizens. Prejudices of division and confrontation.
I call them Emotiologies, since they are usually presented as ideologies (communism, nationalism, Islamism…) when in fact they are first and foremost a form of emotional manipulation. Without true predominance of the rational component (has anyone on the left read The Capital? why, if they already know what is important: who is the bad guy).
These emotiologies are enormously deployed from the media. So the associated distortions are constant and crushing.
In Spain it is easy to understand the mechanism. I call it media colonization, since prejudices are deployed from a media largely in foreign hands (French, Italian…). In other words, it has a component of intentional political intrigue, not unlike when Louis XIV took over the Spanish crown to inject his venom from there. And they have managed to first entrench the hatred and contempt of Catalans and Basques against the rest of Spain. Then the prejudices of the left against the right. And lately the hatred of the right wing against the moderate right wing. All these hatreds are easy to see in the social networks and media, they are absolutely present. As in Latin America there is still an anti-imperialist prejudice against the Spain. The same story, once the empire does not exist, they remain as prejudices to divide Spanish-speaking community.
And not only hatred is injected by geographical areas or political affinities. In practice, emotiologies can use any differentiating facet to sow division and hatred. Language, race, gender… any differentiating element can be used to sow discord.
And is not only present in Spain. Again, it can be seen widely spread in the United States. With the BLM movement, which promotes the revival of racial hatred.
Anti-racism as a new prejudice
Or radical feminist movements, anti-fascist … division and confrontation that is sown through the media, which Trump calls, without defining it very clearly, the Lamestream Media.
There are few things so sad, since self-destructive, as seeing an anti-racist constantly differentiating by race. An advocate of gender equality, differentiating by gender. An anti-fascist attacking anyone who thinks differently. A nationalist spreading blood on his land. A leftist despising the right because he considers it inferior… And all of them convinced of the goodness of their passions.
P.S.1: A good example: G Edward Griffin video on Manning Johnson