Santiago Mondéjar: Neorancios



At the mercy of that essayistic genre of our own of directing our kicks to the opponent’s shin instead of the ball, an assortment of authors have achieved the remarkable task of compressing the greatest number of words into the least number of thoughts, -as Wiston said Churchill about the then prime minister Ramsay MacDonald- in a volume in which, under the neologism ‘neo-rancios’, and with a broad brush cover, they undertake a collective exercise of ad-hominem attacks, claiming in doing so respect and willingness to dialogue, as a of preventive excuses; of ‘accusatio manifesta’, which some Roman would say.

We will not discover any secret here remembering that essayists, like all self-respecting propagandists, do not practice the dialogue they preach, because their responses to what they question are determined in advance: starting from the purpose of creating attitudes towards the ‘neo-rancios’, the authors necessarily write against them, not with a dialectical spirit, but to cancel the convictions of those, and replace them with their own, which are acceptable.

Ignorant or not that rancio -in the figurative sense in which Juvenal or Horacio used it- indicates that which is insufferable by virtue of being disgusting, the authors of the collective pamphlet title their book with the intention of contrasting their own ‘novolatry’ with the retrograde that they see in those who vilify, making good that aphorism of Aparisi Pebble about those who, attracted by novelty, are slaves to habit, and spend their lives wishing to move and sighing for rest. Because in reality, the authors of the book would like nothing more than theirs being the only admissible thought, to save themselves from having to write propaganda that is unnecessary when there are no alternative points of view. They know –or guess at least- that opinions are fleeting; that they often reflect more what someone thinks is acceptable to hold than what they actually believe; but that attitudes are what usually end up shaping society.

For this reason, it is the traditional that the authors of ‘neo-rancios’ attack from the root, knowing that it is the civic tradition that allows one to become a citizen, by tacitly apprehending the set of habits and social rules that emerge not from the set of opinions , but of the stock of attitudes (Roger Scruton) that a given society shares, and that therefore is something that conditions all political action (Michael Oakeshott).

Those who, like those who have written ‘neo-rancios’, believe -or pretend to believe- in the revolutionary realization of a new society with which to make that ‘new man’ that Ché Guevara advocated, are unable to recognize themselves in the mirror of libertarianism that they say criticizing while clinging to the cult of novelty turned into an end is itself pretending to be sophisticated, but it is no more than an expression of conformism and banality; from that state of affairs that the German theologian Paul Tillich described when he noted that today more than ever we suffer from slipping on the surface of facts, losing touch with the important things in the daily news stream, the waves of daily propaganda and the tide of sensations whose background noise prevents us from listening to ourselves, to the point of no longer knowing who we are.

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