The Revolt of the Masses (Spanish original title: Le Rebelión de las Masas)
1930, reissued 1993.
Quote from chapter 1 of The Revolt of the Masses:
"One important fact is the accession of the masses to complete social power. As the masses, by definition, neither should nor can direct their own personal existence, and still less rule society in general, this fact means that actually Europe is suffering from the greatest crisis that afflict peoples, nations, and civilisation."
online: www.globalchristians.org/politics/DOCS/Ortega%20y%20Gasset%20-%20The%20Revolt%20Of%20The%20Masses.pdf (sadly layout is monospaced)
On the last two pages (p92f) he writes about "youth" and "young:"
"I know of quite a few who have
entered the ranks of some labour organisation or other merely in order
to win for themselves the right to despise intelligence and to avoid
paying it any tribute. As regards other kinds of Dictatorship, we have
seen only too well how they flatter the mass-man, by trampling on
everything that appeared to be above the common level.
This fighting-shy of every obligation partly explains the phenomenon, half ridiculous, half disgraceful, Of the setting-up in our days of the platform of "youth" as youth. Perhaps there is no more grotesque spectacle offered by our times. In comic fashion people call themselves "young," because they have heard that youth has more rights than obligations, since it can put off the fulfilment of these latter to the Greek Kalends of maturity. The youth, as such, has always been considered exempt from doing or having done actions of importance. He has always lived on credit. It was a sort of false right, half ironic, half affectionate, which the no-longer young conceded to their juniors. But the astounding thing at present is that these take it as an effective right precisely in order to claim for themselves all those other rights which only belong to the man who has already done something.
Though it may appear incredible, "youth" has become a chantage; we are in truth living in a time when this adopts two complementary attitudes, violence and caricature. One way or the other, the purpose is always the same; that the inferior, the man of the crowd, may feel himself exempt from all submission to superiors.
It will not do, then, to dignify the actual crisis by presenting it as the conflict between two moralities, two civilisations, one in decay, the other at its dawn. The mass-man is simply without morality, which is always, in essence, a sentiment of submission to something, a consciousness of service and obligation. But perhaps it is a mistake to say "simply." For it is not merely a question of this type of creature doing without morality. No, we must not make his task too easy. Morality cannot be eliminated without more ado. What, by a word lacking even in grammar, is called amorality, is a thing that does not exist. If you are unwilling to submit to any norm, you have, nolens volens, to submit to the norm of denying all morality, and this is not amoral, but immoral. It is a negative morality which preserves the empty form of the other. How has it been possible to believe in the amorality of life? Doubtless, because all modern culture and civilisation tend to that conviction. Europe is now reaping the painful results of her spiritual conduct. She has adopted blindly a culture which is magnificent, but has no roots."
See extensive biography and study of JOyG's work: "José Ortega y Gasset" by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy