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Fundación Santillana Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes


The Democratic Fundamentalism

Juan Luis Cebrián

     How would it be possible to talk about democratic fundamentalism, when these terms seem so inherently contradictory? Fundamentalism originates in religion. It subscribes to a literal interpretation of sacred texts and strict adherence to them. However, the sense could be extended to those movements that try to orthodoxly apply the doctrine of a political party and even execute similarly public office. Democracy is largely the result of the triumph of reason and scientific positivism, but nowadays it abandons with dangerous persistence the paths of doubt to invest itself with increasingly resonant certainties: markets, globalization and competition.

     In this book, Juan Luis Cebrián draws attention to the totalitarian, authoritarian and demagogic trends of a large part of powers that have a part in today's world, warning about the mystification of democracy, its conversion into a closed ideological body and its misappropriation, in order to protect the interests and obsessions of the ruling classes. Although this might be a universal malady, its symptoms were especially virulent in Spain during the last years of the last right-wing government. This fascinating essay also deals with the perverse consequences for our society, full of relinquishments and disappointments, by contrast to the hopes held after the death of the dictator Franco.  

Translated by Nicole Orr

Book Details

El fundamentalismo democrático (2004)
Juan Luis Cebrián

Authors > Juan Luis Cebrián

Juan Luis Cebrián
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Juan Luis Cebrián

He studied Philosophy at the  Complutense University of Madrid and graduated from the Official School of Journalism of Madrid in 1963. He was a founding member of the magazine Cuadernos para el diálogo (1963) and from 1963 to 1975 he worked as the chief editor and sub-director for the Madrid newspapers Pueblo and Informaciones. He also directed the News Services of the Televisión Española.

Cebrián was the founder-director of the newspaper El País, which he directed from 1976 to November of 1988. From 1986 to 1988 he was also president of the International Press Institute (I.P.I.). From November of 1988 he is Managing Director of the Grupo PRISA. He is also Managing Director of the newspaper El País and of the Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión and Vice-President of Sogecable, where he had been Managing Director since its foundation, in 1989, until 1999. In November of 2003 he was elected president of the Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles (AEDE) a position he held for a year.

Among the numerous journalistic awards with which he has been honoured, the following should be highlighted: "International Editor of the Year", awarded by the New York publication World Press Review (1980); Premio Nacional de Periodismo de España in 1983. He has been awarded France's order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 1988 he was named Honorary Professor by the Universidad Iberoamericana de Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and since 1996 he is a member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language.

Throughout his professional life, Juan Luis Cebrián has been a prolific columnist and lecturer. He is the author of numerous books, among them: La prensa y la calle (Nuestra Cultura), La España que bosteza (Taurus), El tamaño del elefante (Alianza Editorial), El siglo de las sombras (El País-Aguilar), Cartas a un joven periodista (Ariel Planeta), and La Red (Taurus). In February of 2000 he published La agonía del dragón (Alfaguara) and in September of 2001 El futuro no es lo que era (Taurus), a long conversation with the Spanish former President Felipe González. In 2003, he published Francomoribundia, the second volume of the trilogy El miedo y la fuerza, started with La agonía del dragón. In June 2009, he launched a collection of essays El pianista en el burdel (Galaxia Gutemberg/Círculo de Lectores).

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