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19/11/2017  
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Catalonian wishful thinking

Let them have it?


Peter Turchin reflects on Catalan independence from a stance which is perhaps more typically Anglo-American than evolutionist. Do Catalans want their independence? ´Let them have it´, he argues. Would that matters were that simple.
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Peter Turchin writes in his blog on evolutionary history,  Cliodynamica a post on the Catalan secessionist movement, offering a rather simplistic vision of the issues involved—actuall, the one that is common fare in English-speaking media, who seem to have stopped at the title of Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia'. As closer observers haven't failed to note, Orwell can be put to better use in interpreting the self-generated Catalonian bubble of virtual reality. Turchin's view is rather more simplistic. Do 'the catalans' want independence? — "Let them have it",  he concludes. This view certainly does not evince a minimal knowledge of, or respect for, the Spanish constitutional system and the rule of law deriving from it.

So I reply as follows:

Sad to say, your post repeats much of the misinformation and inaccurate data which are part of nationalist Catalan propaganda, much more active in furthering its interests than the Madrid government has been in answering back to them. There are far too many points to address, but let us note just one. Madrid (which is an autonomous community in Spain just like Catalonia) also pays in taxes more than it receives. Indeed, in a state organized in autonomous communities, or Länder if you want, it is only to be expected that some regions will be above the mean income, and will therefore pay more taxes, than others. There can be no statistic in which all of the regions are above the mean. But the very idea of Madrid arguing that this would be a reason to make Madrid an independent state is ridiculous. Part of the problem is that there is no limit to taking ridiculous political positions in Catalonia just now, with a local administration élite which is promoting a collective delirium through misinformation and manipulation of the media. Catalonia is indeed an interesting case to study for social psychologists and an anthropologists, not to mention political theorists, but many more dimensions need to be addressed than you seem to allow for. Take the notion of "laws have to change": the same thing could have been argued by Southern States in the USA when their local interests clashed with the laws of the Union. Instead of a peaceful secession, there was a civil war, and one that America is (by and large) proud of. I could go into the assumptions about the meaning of "democracy", "voting", and "rule of law" promoted by the Catalan authorities, which are more than faintly reminiscent of Nazi populism. But really there is no way I can fight the propaganda machine of the New York Times (with absolutely shameful and ridiculously misinforming reports on the Spanish situation) in a commentary, or in a post. Suffice it to express my disagreement with your radical misinterpretation of the Catalan situation, which unfortunately is characteristic of many foreign media and, alas, of much Spanish popular and misinformed press.

 

Yes, misinformation. There's lots of fake news about Catalonia, and Spain. In particular, do not trust the New York Times. Get more information—much more information—and then, trust yourself.


—oOo—

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