A tomb for the muses…

24/03/2017

A tomb for the muses:world to the first speaker and hearer.The etymologist finds the deadest to have been once a brilliant picture. Language is fossil poetry.” (From the Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress, the conclusion of the Emerson-Thoreau Medal lecture, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1969). We discovered this text, Marius Stan and I, while doing research at LoC, in January 2016, on our various book projects.

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The lecture starts addressing Lionel Trilling, the great literary critic and Columbia University professor, at that moment a fellow of the academy who read the argument for the philosopher to receive the medal.


Patologii ideologice…

07/03/2017

Somnambulismul ideologic a fost una din patologiile veacului trecut. Riscă să fie și una a celui actual. Hitler spunea că își urmează destinul „cu siguranța unui somnambul”. Secolul XX a fost dominat de saltimbanci și somnambuli, de magicieni și demagogi, de pseudo-profeți și de șarlatani cinici. Înarmați cu ideologii revoluționare, precum Piotr Verhovenski din “Demonii” lui Dostoievski, au putut să dea foc unor cetăți mult prea vulnerabile, asemeni Rusiei lui Kerenski și Republicii de la Weimar. Ori, de ce nu, României interbelice, atacată de cei numiți de Dinu Pillat vestitori. Iar intelighenția a fost încântată să participe la aceste jocuri piromane. Când s-a trezit, era prea târziu, ritualurile nihiliste își produseseră efectele, noii herostrați câștigaseră partida. Contrapartea cronologică a Nopții de Cristal și a abjectei prigoane antisemite din Germania nazistă a fost Marea Teroare din Uniunea Sovietică stalinistă, deci comunistă. Ambele operațiuni criminale se pretindeau purificatoare. Nu discut aici numărul victimelor, ci intenționalitatea distructivă, exterministă. Teroarea organizată cu sprijinul tuturor aparatelor statale face parte din codul genetic al totalitarismului. Este, dacă vreți, numitorul comun al acestor sisteme…


Heroes: Václav Havel and Adam Michnik

05/10/2016

One would have turned eighty on October 5. The other will turn seventy on October 17. One wrote “The Power of the Powerless,” the other one “The New Evolutionism.” These two essays defined the goals of East European dissident movements, their vision of liberty, and their ethos. They both deserve our gratitude. Their names: Václav Havel and Adam Michnik.

 

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In Memoriam Leonidas Donskis (1962-2016)

21/09/2016

My close friend of soul, ideas, and values, Lithuanian political philosopher Leonidas Donskis passed away in a sudden, absurd, totally unexpected way. But is there any death expected? “Death transforms life in destiny,” wrote Malraux. In this case a noble, generous, altruistic destiny. We have been friends for many years. I can’t write details now, I am speechless. Below, a concise summary of a rich and inspiring life. A few months ago, Leonidas and I signed the contract with Brill Publishers in Netherlands for a book of dialogues in English to come out in their series “Value Inquiry.” The title is: “Demons: Metapolitics, Nihilism, and Radicalism in a Century of Ideological Passions.” We completed the first chapter. My plan was to work these days for the next one. Destiny decided otherwise. I extend my warmest feelings of compassion to his wife, Jolanta Donskienė. He will be immensely, irreplaceaby missed by all the friends of liberty.

 

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Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D., (August 13, 1962 – September 21, 2016) was Member of the European Parliament (MEP, 2009-2014), a philosopher, political theorist, historian of ideas, social analyst, and political commentator, Professor of Politics and Head of “VDU Academia Cum Laude” at Vytautas Magnus University and Honorary Consul of Finland in Kaunas.

As a public figure in Lithuania, he acted as a defender of human rights and civil liberties. In 2004, Donskis has been awarded by the European Commission the title of the Ambassador for Tolerance and Diversity in Lithuania. He has always been opposed to all extreme or exclusionary attitudes and forms of violent politics, and, instead, has been leaning to liberalism with its advocacy of individual reason and conscience, ability to coexist with democratic programs of other non-exclusive ideologies, and moderation.

He died on September 21, 2016, of an apparent heart attack.


Demonii…

31/08/2016

Posedații bolșevici au fost urmașii lui Serghei Neceaiev și ai colegilor acestuia. Neceaiev a fost prototipul care l-a inspirat pe Dostoievski pentru construcția personajului de o infinită amoralitate Piotr Verhovenski din romanul „Demonii”. Asemeni posedaților dostoievskieni, bolșevicii erau fanatici convinși că fericesc umanitatea, indiferent de metodele utilizate. În plus, ei erau înarmați cu o doctrină ce se pretindea infailibilă. Tocmai această aroganță epistemică l-a ferit pe Lenin de îndoieli și l-a făcut imun la orice considerente „sentimental-burgheze”.

http://www.europalibera.org/a/27957732.html


Prayer on Bastille Day

14/07/2016

God, please protect us from revolutionary saints! “Those who make revolutions by halves do nothing but dig their own tombs.” (January 1793) [Source: Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 414]

 


Tirania majoritatii, atunci si acum…

23/06/2016

Contemporary East-Central Europe, in particular Romania’s Parliament: “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.” Lord Acton— The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877