Against Fear and Panic: In Memoriam Leonidas Donskis

09/07/2018

Lithuanian political philosopher Leonidas Donskis on populism, fear, and courage. I publish here a fragment from the first chapter of a book of dialogues we were writing together when he suddenly passed away. I received it on September 6, 2016. Leonidas died on September 21. One can read it as this critical intellectual’s testament: “The question arises as to fear of what? The answer is quite simple: It is fear of someone who comes as personification of our own insecurities and uncertainties, who get their first and last names of facial features due to excessive sensationalist media coverages, tabloid editorials, and conspiracy theories. Fear of Islam and Muslims, fear of immigrants, fear of gays and lesbians, fear of godless pinkos, fear of new Jewish world conspiracies, fear of Jews and Banderovites – that is, fascists in the way in which the Kremlin propaganda depicts them – in Ukraine.

Together with privacy exposed in the public, fear has become most precious political commodity. At the same time, it serves as the key to success for every tabloid. For we live in a world of self-generating and self-sustaining fear, panic-mongering, fake images and information, compulsive self-exposure, constant attention-seeking, conspiracy theories, suspicion, hatred, and bullying conflated with critique.

This is not to say that courage bid farewell to this world. Ukraine could serve here as the best proof of courage, bravery, sacrifice, willpower, and magnanimity without which the country would never have had the strength to mobilize and defend itself against Russia’s aggression and political terrorism.

And it becomes the reminder of what it means no to succumb to panic and fear both being the most desirable outcome for the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. To find the strength to resist nuclear blackmail, toxic lies, and hate crimes committed inside and outside Russia means to be on the winning side nowadays. The more fear we generate in our media, the more success we bring to the Kremlin.”

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Refuzurile mele: Reflectiil ale unui ganditor de orientare civic-liberala

26/06/2018

Primo: Refuz sa cred ca Romania este o tara fara alternativa, ocupata pentru eternitate de canalii, otrepe, scelerati si toape analfabete; Secundo: Refuz sa cred ca resemnarea, capitularea explicita ori implicita, onirismul politic, evadarea dintr-o realitate staruitor agasanta ar putea fi altceva decat ceea ce sunt, anume supape efemere si inselatoare pentru o persistenta, chinuitoare deznadejde; Tertio: Refuz orice forma de colectivism primordialist, orice exhibitionism patriotard, orice expresie a demagogiei autoritar-paranoice, orice tentativa de stigmatizare, diabolizare, dez-umanizare a celuilalt, orice romantizare, exaltare, exonerare a totalitarismelor (comunist si fascist). Concluzie: La ceasul delirului si al beznei, reafirm increderea mea inoxidabila in ratiune si lumini!


Pentru Horia Patapievici: La Multi Ani, cu noroc, sanatate si minunate impliniri intelectuale!

18/03/2018

Nobletea spiritului: Unul din marile daruri pe care le-am primit in viata este cel al unor prietenii de neclintit. Intre acestea, cat se poate de intensa, fraterna legatura sentimentala, morala si intelectuala cu Horia Patapievici. In a mea umila opinie, Horia este cel mai important intelectual (ganditor politic) liberal al zilelor noastre in Romania. Ura impotriva lui Horia este ura in raport cu ceea inseamna ideile sale. Vreau sa o spun cat pot de clar: fara Horia n-as fi rezistat in 2006, in timpul cand lucram impreuna in cadrul Comisiei Prezidentiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din Romania. Vorbeam zilnic la telefon. El si Mihnea Berindei tineau permanent legatura cu Monica Lovinescu si Virgil Ierunca. Sunt coplesit de amintiri. Voi spune doar ca, fara Horia, viata mea si a noastra ar fi infinit mai saraca. Am trecut si vom trece prin multe impreuna, dar niciodata, sub nicio forma nu ne-am indoit de inoxidabila noastra solidaritate. A fost, este, va fi! La Multi Ani, cu noroc, sanatate si minunate impliniri intelectuale!

 

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Gabriel Liiceanu și noi

04/01/2018

A creat Planeta Humanitas. A veștejit ticăloșia, mișelia, lichelismul. Refuză să se pensioneze moral. Rămâne un spirit aronian, adică un spectator angajat. Este un camusian, adică posedă un inepuizabil rezervor al revoltei etice. Refuză tăcerea. A fost și continuă să fie insultat, ponegrit, calomniat. Una din cele mai intristătoare forme de obscurantism este intelofobia. Intr-un remarcabil articol apărut pe platforma “Contributors”. Mircea Morariu atrage atentia asupra acestei noi imunde campanii impotriva celui mai activ exponent al spiritului lovinescian (Eugen și Monica) din cultura românească a zilelor noastre. Articolul se incheie cu aceste cuvinte ale lui Vladimir Jankélévitch: “În cele din urmă nu există nimic care nu poate fi uitat, dar rămâne întotdeauna ceva ce nu este scuzabil”. (Washington, DC, 4 ianuarie 2018)


A avut, are si va avea dreptate…

05/11/2017

A century after the Bolshevik revolution: Raymond Aron was, as Allan Bloom wrote shortly after the philosopher’s death in 1983, “the man who for fifty years . . . had been right about the political alternatives actually available to us. . . . [H]e was right about Hitler, right about Stalin, and right that our Western regimes, with all their flaws, are the best and only hope of mankind.”


Multiple Identities

04/06/2017
If I were to say who I am, my first response would be that I’m a democratic intellectual. In other words, one opposed to any form of collectivistic and totalizing “group thinking.” I’m proudly a non-belonger and I abhor all forms of regimentation. I enjoy and practice eclecticism. I dislike stigmas, labels, straitjackets, Procrustean beds. I don’t identify myself with abstractions such as tribe, nation, class, race, etc On the contrary, I regard them as insuperably and insufferably fallacious, conducive to ideological and political follies. They surreptitiously invade and cynically enslave our loyalties, allegiances, and emotions. I love the Republic of Letters, increasingly beleaguered and absolutely indispensable. I don’t idealize Reason, but I know that without it we are lost in the forest of superstitions, lies, and prejudices. So, I take Settembrini’s side in his struggle with Naphta. I dedicate this post to the memory of S. N. Eisenstadt (1923–2010), a great Weberian scholar, a mentor and a dear friend, the author of a most insightful essay titled “Multiple Identities”. I learned from him what it means to defend open spaces. Meeting Shmuel was one of the luckiest moments of my intellectual life. Blessed be his memory…

 

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Le jour de gloire…

07/05/2017

And when man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own. (André Malraux)

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