Gustavo Bé: biography of this Spanish philosopher

Although it may surprise some, Spain is a country with a long philosophical trajectory. Modern Spanish philosophers may not have had as much of an impact abroad as Noam Chomsky, Simone de Beauvoir or Jürgen Habermas, but of course their approaches are very interesting.

Gustavo Bé was one of the contemporary thinkers of the Spanish philosophical scene, with interesting visions on left and right ideas, a clear defense of Spain as a great nation and creator of a philosophical system to which he called philosophical materialism.

Below we will see the interesting life, thought, ideology and work of this Spanish philosopher, considered one of the greatest of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, through a biography of Gustavo Bé.

    Brief biography of Gustavo Bé

    Gustavo Bueno Martínez was born in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja, on September 1, 1924. His parents were Gustavo Bueno Arnedillo, doctor, and María Martínez Pérez. In his youth, he received a predominantly Catholic education, which would allow him a good knowledge of theology. and the Christian roots of Spanish society.

    His academic life took place in the prestigious universities of La Rioja, Zaragoza and Madrid. After completing his doctoral thesis as a fellow at the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) obtained in 1949 and just at the age of twenty a chair of middle education. It was then that he began teaching at the Lucía de Medrano Institute in Salamanca, where he worked until 1960.

    Gustavo Bé apprenticed to Falangists Eugenio Fruits Cortés and Yela Utrilla as a scholarship holder at the Lluís Vinyes Institute in Madrid, a place he had won thanks to his friendship with Rafael Sánchez Mazas. He also had the opportunity to receive the knowledge of members of Opus Dei such as Raimundo Pániker and Rafael Gambra.

    At the end of his educational work at the Lucia de Medrano Institute in 1960 Gustavo Good settles in Asturias, land in which to settle permanently. There would exert like university professor in Foundations of Philosophy and History of the Philosophical Systems of the University of Oviedo until almost finishing the century in 1998. It would be as of that year in which his Foundation Bon Gustavo would be founded, having his seat an Oviedo from which he would develop an intense task.

    Since the decade of 1970 Well, he was developing his own philosophical system, which would be called philosophical materialism.. In addition, over the years he acquired a clearly defensive vision of the idea of ​​Spain as a great nation, with which, in addition to founding his own institution and exhibiting his patriotic pride in his texts, Bueno was an honorary member and patron of the Foundation for the Defense of the Spanish Nation (DENAES).

    During his later years he embarked on several controversies over his view of Spain, left and right ideas and religion. All of them gained him a lot of fame in the 2000s, for better or for worse, and he became a pretty media figure, which is quite remarkable in Spain, as rarely does a philosopher have such an impact on the Iberian media. .

    Gustavo Bé Martínez died on August 7, 2016 in Niembro Asturias, at the age of 91. He died two days after the death of his wife Carmen Sánchez. He was the father of Gustavo Bueno Sánchez, also a philosopher.

    Philosophical materialism

    The philosophical materialism proposed by Gustavo Bueno has parts with traditional materialism denial of spiritualism, i.e. denial of the existence of spiritual substances. Nevertheless, it is not due to think that it reduces its philosophy to a corporealism, as usually takes place in other materialisms. The philosophical materialism of Good admits the reality of incorporeal material beings – such as, for example, the real (non-mental) relation of the distance that can exist between two physical objects, like two glasses. The distance between these two glasses is incorporeal, it exists, but it is not spiritual.

    Among the ideas that can be found in Bon’s widely developed philosophical materialism, we can highlight the following four:

    • Ontology (general and special)
    • Gnoseology (categorical closure theory)
    • Philosophy of religion (and the role of animals in the essence of religion)
    • literary theory

    These are the most recurring themes in Good’s work until the 1990s. at the start of the new millennium, he began to address questions of ethics and social and political criticism. The way he presented these new topics has been criticized for not presenting them with the same rigor as the previous ones. For example, it has been said that his criticism of pacifism is more a way of disqualifying than of actually stating a well-founded opinion.

    Among the other themes that can be found in Good’s work in the early 2000s, we can find:

    • Critique of the idea of ​​culture
    • State theory
    • Idea of ​​Spain, its unity and identity in history and today
    • Analysis of the essence of television

    His ideology

    If in expressing his philosophical views Gustavo Bé was quite controversial, the way he did it with his political ideology was not going to be less. He was a student of the nationalist trade unionist Santiago Montero Díaz whose ideological trajectory led him to embrace a mixture of right and left totalitarianism at the end of Francoism, coming to express his sympathy for various paratotal political projects, including the Union. Soviet.

    He was widely recognized for his Europhobic views. He used to say that Europe was the problem and Spain the solution, seeing the old continent as a source of danger to the survival of the Spanish nation. He was horrified that Europe could be the natural place for Spain’s international projection.

    He was more in favor of the fact that in its place the legacy of the Spanish Empire should be continued and the idea of ​​Hispanidad promoted. In his works exposes the idea of ​​predatory and generator empires, Spain being in this second category.

    It is noteworthy that throughout his life, Gustavo Bé was not a person with a fixed or obvious political ideology. The only thing that seemed to be properly categorized was being a Spanish nationalist. In the other subjects he spoke of he showed somewhat varied opinions, such as seeing him as a Catholic atheist, in the sense that he did not profess any religion but recognized the importance of the Catholic faith in Spanish culture; and a heterodox Marxist, criticizing vulgar Marxism and promoting a revival of more classical Marxism.

    too much he was considered a non-believing Thomist, being a defender of the Spanish scholastic tradition already initiated since times as old as in those of the School of Translators of Toledo of the XIII century. He was also classified as a Platonic, comparing himself to Plato’s own Academy and knowing it well.

    Its location in the political spectrum is by no means fixed. One would think that the Spanish nationalist had embraced right-wing and far-right theses, an aspect which seems to be partly true at the end of his life.

    However, he was also considered a leftist, renouncing right-wing particularism, although no less critical of the Spanish left.. In his later years he was publicly in favor of the Spanish People’s Party, supporting the candidacy of President Mariano Rajoy.

    Bueno’s philosophy and its namesake foundation are considered to have served as an ideological benchmark, in one way or another, in the formation of the Vox party. Many of the similarities between the School of Good and the far-right party are remarkable, considering that many of the keys that mark Santiago Abascal’s party are the same ones that have always stood for Good.


      It is no wonder that a person too controversial that Gustavo Bé maintained various controversies throughout his life, both left, right, atheism, Catholics, Maoists … His ideas about the Spanish nation, the Christian faith and the role of the right and the left have caused many blisters in broad areas of Spanish philosophy.. There are so many controversial episodes about him that would practically give us to make a calendar with each year from when he finished college until his death.

      On December 1, 1970, Maoist students of the Proletarian Communist Party in Barcelona gave him a paint bucket, attacked him and tried to put up a sign on which he put “lackeys of capitalism”. They did not protest for their Falangist friendships or their controversial views on Spain. They protested because Bueno sided with the USSR, a communist regime, against China, another communist regime. Seven years later, the aggression would come to the other side of the political spectrum, this time being the right-wing AAA (Anti-Communist Apostolic Alliance) group setting fire to its all-terrain vehicle.

      In 1989 to launch a strong discussion in the program “The Clau” of Jose Luis Balbín on Spanish television. Here he discussed with a Jesuit the alleged miracle of Fatima, accusing the cleric of not knowing his own religious dogma and telling him that this miracle was really absurd.

      In 2003 publish “The Myth of the Left” in which won the hostility of various separatist groups from Spain. He has been accused of being a fascist, as have several political scientists who have criticized his theory of the generations of the left. Ironically, he was also accused of being a Stalinist for having tried, according to his detractors, to create a great alliance between liberals, communists and Catholics in the face of social democracy.

      In 2007 he became embroiled in yet another controversy, this time at the hands of Andalusian independence activists, who described him as conservative and Islamophobic after criticizing Blas Infante’s appointment as a father in the new autonomy statute. Andalusian from the Andalusian homeland. In addition some declarations returned to the light that made after the Yijadista attack towards the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, declarations in which it affirmed that the roots of the Islam had to be destroyed.

      He tried to qualify by saying that he was not attacking the Muslim religion itself, nor blaming all of Islam for the terrorist attacks. However, he clarified that it is typical of Islam and Buddhism to sacrifice oneself for religious reasons, something in his eyes quite typical of less thoughtful religious fanaticism. Furthermore, he said that when he spoke of destroying the roots of Islam, he said so in the same sense that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries philosophical rationalism with Christian ideological roots.

      Among other controversies, it was considered that no excuse for gender violence, to be against abortion, considers the animal movement to be absurd and grants no rights to animals, and also considered people in favor of the historical memory and the recovery of the corpses of loved ones who died during the Spanish Civil War “obsessed with bones”.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Núñez Seixas, Xosé Manoel (2007). Conservatives and Patriots: Nationalism of the Spanish Right in the 21st Century. In: Carlos Taibo (Ed.). Spanish nationalism, essences, memory and institutions (Madrid: Catarata): 159-192. ISBN 978-84-8319-332-7.
      • Gustavo Bé Foundation (sf) Gustavo Bé Foundation. Spain

      Leave a Comment