This essay examines the role of “critical spectatorship” in the writings of two distinguished European intellectuals, José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) and Raymond Aron (1905–1983). We begin the paper by commenting on the struggle between civilization and barbarism, a fundamental topic in their works. We then examine the rhetoric of going beyond the political left and right, which both Ortega and Aron used in their writings. Next, we turn to the concept of “critical spectatorship” that is central to their thought and comment on the similarities and differences between their forms of social and political criticism. We conclude by drawing a few conclusions on the relevance of Ortega's and Aron's ideas for us today.