Alfabetul extremismului


Caruselul ideilor, angajamentelor și patimilor politice în veacul XX este amețitor. Mai ales când vine vorba de radicalisme, de pasiuni, iluzii și minciuni, spre a relua titlul cărții postume a lui François Furet. Hitler ar fi spus că dintr-un comunist poate face un bun nazist, niciodată însă dintr-un social-democrat (apud Hermann Rauschning). Tot Hitler, imbătat cu propriile obsesii, spunea că isi urmează destinul cu certitudinea unui somambul. Salturile mortale de la o extremă la alta se explică tocmai prin similitudinea fanatismelor ce le motivează. Jacques Doriot (1898—1945), fascistul francez, lider al asa-zisului „Partid Popular Francez”, fusese membru al CC al PCF și deputatul circumscripției roșii, St Denis. Mussolini a pornit ca socialist radical, chiar internaționalist. A fost idolul tinerilor Antonio Gramsci și Palmiro Togliatti. In ale sale „Caiete din inchisoare”, Gramsci îsi amintea de vremurile când peripatetiza în compania lui Mussolini…

Ideologul fascist Nicola Bombacci a fost inițial comunist, dar a murit împușcat, în aprilie 1945, ca ideolog al odioasei Republici de la Salò, socialistă, fascistă și exterministă, înfrățit cu amicul său Benito, reîntors la fantasmele roșii ale juneții sale, sub patronaj nazist. Chiar A. C. Cuza, antisemit epidermic, era, în junețe, un fel de socialist. August Bebel a spus, și nu greșea, că antisemitismul e socialismul proștilor. Stalin l-a definit, în anii 30, drept canibalismul epocii noastre, doar că nu a ezitat să devină el însuși un canibal. In ultimii ani de viață, dictatorul sociopat lansa acuzații delirante la adresa medicilor evrei și pregătea deportarea în masă a evreilor, cei pe care propaganda oficială îi stigmatiza drept „cosmopoliți fără rădăcini”, spre viitoare lagăre de concentrare (în curs de pregătire). Denigrat de stânga, Friedrich Nietzsche a fost criticul cel mai virulent al antisemitismului. L-a disprețuit visceral. Îl considera vulgar, resentimentar, abject. Nu însă și contemporanul său, Karl Marx, cel care echivala, asemeni lui Richard Wagner, Banul cu Evreul, iudaismul cu capitalismul, cu sistemul bancar. Chiar si în corespondența sa privată cu Friedrich Engels și alți camarazi de idei, Marx nu ezita să utilizeze „argumente” de acest gen, dacă despre argumente vorbim.

Anticapitalismul, antiliberalismul și antisemitismul unesc cele două extreme (nu doar ele, dar în primul rând ele). Crimele în masă ale secolului XX s-au produs în numele acestor trei „anti”. Exemplele abundă. Noile populisme apelează la vechile clișee etnocentrice și xenofobe, nu pregetă să exploateze, cinic și manipulativ, temeri, fobii și resentimente individuale și colective. Extremismul funcționează ca un alfabet: spui a, urmează b, și c, și d, etc.


Text transmis la postul de radio Europa Libera.

Memento: Adam Michnik and Mircea Mihaies…


25 years ago, April 1992, at the “Partisan Review” conference on “Intellectuals and Social Change in East-Central Europe” (Rutgers University, Newark campus) Among the participants: Doris Lessing, Joseph Brodsky, Czesław Milosz, Ivan Klima, Adam Zagajewski, Saul Bellow, George Konrad, Susan Sontag, Tatyana Tolstaya, Ralph Ellison, Richard Pipes, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Adriana Babeti, Vasily Aksyonov and the list goes on. I took the picture posted below and it remains one of those I cherish the most…


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Stalinism for all Seasons


The Communist Party of Romania (section of the Third International) was founded on May 8, 1921. For all its existence, legal, clandestine, in power, it was deeply committed to the Stalinist mythology and viscerally opposed to any liberal temptation. In 1956, the Romanian communist leaders rejected de-Stalinization and embarked, first timidly, then openly in de-Sovietization without liberalization. Once Ceaușescu came to power in March 1965, succeeding Gheorghiu-Dej, he stimulated, manipulated, and exploited nationalist emotions, including anti-Semitism and Hungarophobia. In this respect, as we try to to demonstrate, Marius Stan and I, in a paper we are working on, there were significant features that defined what we call National Stalinism in Romania, Poland (Mieczysław Moczar and his Partisan faction), and Enver Hoxha’s Albania. 1968 was a crucial year in highlighting the major differences between Titoist national Communism, Dubček’s socialism with a human face, and the ethnocentric National Stalinism.


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Gdańsk (Danzig)…


If there is one city in Europe that symbolizes both the cosmopolitan dream and its fiends, it is Gdańsk (Danzig). Picture taken on March 31, 2017. In memory of a great dinner, in the late 1980s, at my friend’s Radu Stern‘s and his wife Wanda Brauner’s place in Lausanne, when I met Carl Burkhardt’s daughter, married to the phenomenologist philosopher André de Muralt. She had taken piano lessons with Dinu Lipatti. Her father, the Renaissance historian Jakob Burkhardt’s nephew, had served in the 1930’s as the Free City of Danzig’s High Commissioner…


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A joke for the deadly jester…


When the deadly jester, as Adam Kirsch called Slavoj Žižek in a December 2008 article, pontificates that there is no real difference between Le Pen and Macron (maybe for him there is a surreal one, who knows ), I can’t resist sharing with my friends here the old and, alas, still so timely joke. What’s the difference between a democracy and a people’s democracy? The same as the one between a chair and an electric chair. Or, if you prefer, the one between a jacket and a straitjacket…


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Slavoj Žižek’s delirium…


I will not give a link to Slavoj Žižek’s latter-day anti-liberal delirium. The man is out of control. He ridicules, disparages, and besmirches all the values some of us cherish. He shares Lenin’s contempt for “parliamentary cretinism.” There is no real difference between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen? Maybe for you, Slavoj. For us it exists and it bears upon the survival of a democratic world threatened by populist xenophobes and Fascist mountebanks. Will you call me and my friends the liberal canaille? We will proudly accept what you think it’s an insult and what we take for a compliment… Remember, Slavoj, John Gray’s NYRB review of one of your most recent books. It ended with its title: “Less than nothing.” This is your legacy: irresponsibility, anger, intolerance. Very few people these days know as well as you the history of the Weimar Republic. You are aware that the refusal to see the difference between Fascism and what the Stalinists denounced as “social Fascism,” i.e,, Social Democracy, was tragically crucial for Germany not to fall into the abyss. People like you, Slavoj, contributed to the destruction of a problematic liberal democracy, yet one which would have never, absolutely never, built concentration camps…

Sapere aude!


In our dark times, let’s remember Immanuel Kant’s enlightening words, a manifesto for moral and political autonomy: “Enlightenment is the human being’s emergence from his self-incurred minority. Minority is inability to make use of one’s own understanding without direction from another. This minority is self-incurred when its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! [dare to be wise] Have courage to make use of your own understanding! is thus the motto of enlightenment.

It is because of laziness and cowardice that so great a part of humankind, after nature has long since emancipated them from other people’s direction (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remains minors for life, and that it becomes so easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor! If I have a book that understands for me, a spiritual advisor who has a conscience for me, a doctor who decides upon a regimen for me, and so forth, I need not trouble myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay; others will readily undertake the irksome business for me. That by far the greatest part of humankind (including the entire fair sex) should hold the step toward majority to be not only troublesome but also highly dangerous will soon be seen to by those guardians who have kindly taken it upon themselves to supervise them; after they have made their domesticated animals dumb and carefully prevented these placid creatures from daring to take a single step without the walking cart in which they have confined them, they then show them the danger that threatens them if they try to walk alone. Now this danger is not in fact so great, for by a few falls they would eventually learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes them timid and usually frightens them away from any further attempt.” (Immanuel Kant, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?”, 1784)

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