What books do we read in these dark times? I re-read Sigmund Neumann’s classic “Permanent Revolutiion: Totalitarianism in the Age of International Civil War,” second edition, with a new preface by Hans Kohn (New York, Prager, 1965). The concept of a global civil war, introduced by Neumann in 1942, remains disturbingly accurate. As the late Indiana University professor Matei Calinescu showed in a great book, re-reading is always instructive, inspiring and enriching.
The conclu…sion is partucularly timely: “This fight against moral anarchy, however, should never obsuce the basis of human existence: individual responsibility. It is an inalienable right. Dictators attack it. They must be defied. No compromise is possible because this personal responsibility is the fountain of life. Nobody shall take it away from us, for on this responsibility rest the pride and dignity of man.”