Machiavelli and the Chosen People
José Álvarez Junco
It is a well-known fact that throughout History there have always been powers that have been compared to the Chosen People (sometimes by themselves and other times by others). Now, according to the historian José Álvarez Junco , the nation touched by divine grace would be the United States, just as 500 years ago it was the Spain of the Catholic Kings, later embodied by the Hapsburgs. But the nation that becomes the number one power of its time, says the author, "has no doubt...
Catharsis and Cure
When Polish cardiologist and humanist Andrzej Szczeklik's remarkable book Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine was published in Spain, Rafael Argullol saw an opportunity to reflect on the increasingly widespread medical practice of viewing disease as a commodity subject to the law of supply and demand. Setting himself against this dehumanizing stance, Argullol joins Szczeklik in calling for a space in which language nurtures a new bond between doctor and patient. The body undergoes...
Difficulties Starting a War
Félix de Azúa
Those who are strangers to war remain blind to the makings of war all around them; the mental process by which an ordinary person may come to see as right the slaughter of a neighbor, a colleague or even a political fellow-traveler lies beyond their understanding. This much can only be expected. What comes as a surprise, says Félix de Azúa , is that those who did know war - Spain's Generación del '36, who lived through the Spanish Civil War, and the generations who...
Excellence in Healthcare Professions
In this article, Victoria Camps further develops the notions that she presented in her book Virtudes públicas : embedded within the idea of professionalism, including professionalism par excellence or that of any number of professions, there is a strong scientific and technical component in the definition of the term. Unfortunately, laments the author, a good professional is considered someone who is, above all, an expert and not someone who is morally committed to what he or...
The Day Il Duce Fell
We are coming up on the 65th anniversary of the second coup d'état that finally put an end to Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. His thirst for notoriety and his attempt to figure among the major world powers led Italy to get involved in three different wars one after the other (Ethiopia, Spain and Albania). The country's intervention in the Second World War, when Nazi Germany's expansion across Europe augured a quick end to the conflict, was a total fiasco and...
In Defense of a Fragile Freedom
Juan Luis Cebrián
When the world-wide web burst upon our lives, it disrupted practically all the models for social relationships known until then. Coinciding with the current financial crisis, the media were faced with a complex process which has led them to question their very survival. In the following article, read during the awards for the XXVII Ortega y Gasset Prizes for Journalism, Juan Luis Cebrián recognizes the delicate moment the world of communication, and the written press in particular,...
The Game of Death in Chivalric Culture
Death is a fact humans must deal with throughout their lives. Past cultures imbued the final act of existence with meanings of their own. In this paper, Victoria Cirlot explores what death may have meant for a medieval knight, drawing examples from the rich written tradition on the subject and revealing deep-seated connections between chivalry and death. The samurai trained daily for the moment death would stare him in the face; the chivalric knight lived...
Business and Human Rights
We must apply best practices in human rights, workers' rights, environmental policy, and the fight against corruption. These practices should be universal. But the reality is that children and adults are bought and sold, rights and freedoms are routinely ignored, the pharmaceutical patents system rides roughshod over the principles of fairness, and injustice reigns everywhere. In her article, Professor Adela Cortina examines a new framework that international...