Arta versus dictatura: Maria Iudina interpreteaza Concertul 23 de Mozart


Stalin admired her. She hated him. Born Jewish, Maria Yudina became a deeply religious Christian Orthodox. Philosophically, I would compare her to Simone Weil, Edith Stein, and N. Steinhardt. As a pianist, she belongs to a class of geniuses that includes Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Edwin Fischer, Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli…




Lecturi pentru vremuri intunecate


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 conclusion 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.”

HRP despre AG


Primesc de la H.-R. Patapievici acest mesaj. Il public aici cu acordul sau: “Orice est- si central-european trebuie sa stie ca dreptul intre popoarele lumii noastre ex-comuniste, Andre Glucksmann, a fost ingropat la Pere Lachaise ieri… A fost unul dintre foarte putinii occidentali care a acceptat si imbratisat memoria noastra. Sa-i fim recunoscatori ptr asta si sa nu-l uitam niciodata. Dumnezeu sa-l odihneasca!”

Sartre, Aron, Glucksmann: Un Bateau pour le Vietnam


In memory of philosopher Andre Glucksmann. A famous 20th century moment, I showed the picture to my students in the “Marxism and Post-Marxism” class, I lectured on Glucksmann’s own “God that failed” experience: Jean-Paul Sartre, Andre Glucksmann and Raymond Aron attend a government conference at the Palais de l’Elysee. The philosophers were members of the Un Bateau pour le Vietnam (A Boat for Vietnam) committee which provided assistance for Vietnamese refugees. Paris, France June 26, 1979


Gheorghiu-Dej: Micul Stalin de la Bucuresti


Romania’s Stalinist tyrant, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (born November 8, 1901-died March 19, 1965). As ruthless as Matyas Rakosi, as fanatic as Ulbricht, but more perfidious. Not a Comintern hand, he was the true proletarian Stalin really trusted. And he remained loyal to Stalin even after Nikita Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” in February 1956. Thus national Stalinism was born: preserving Stalinist institutions and methods, defying Soviet domination, especially when the USSR moved towards reforms. Nicolae Ceausescu was the ultimate, most arduous national Stalinist.


Mensheviks and Bolsheviks


Julius Martov (November 24, 1873, Constantinople, Turkey –April 4, 1923, Schömberg, Calw, Germany) was first Lenin’s close friend, then, after the 1903 break between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, his nemesis, He was one of the most lucid and prescient critics of the first totalitarianism, the Great Experiment in statu nascendi. Fyodor Dan (October 19, 1871, Saint Petersburg, Russia– January 22, 1947, New York City, NY), was a Menshevik leader as well, often attacked by Lenin for alleged “opportunism.” In fact, he identified quite accurately the Bolshevik dictatorial temptation.

Lenin and Martov

In 1936, Nikolai Bukharin, descibed by Lenin in “Letter to Congres” as the favorite child of the Party, went to Paris to retrieve and purchase Marx’s manuscripts from the SPD archive. He saw Dan and his wife Lidia, the Dans begged him not to return to Moscow. Bukharin refused to defect, retured to Soviet Russia, became a chief defendant in the third show trial and was executed in March 1938. It is worth remembering these revolutionary fates on this November 7th. Martov, Bukharin, Radek, Serge, Dan, Nikolaevsky, They all knew each other, they all knew Koba…

Ereticul Arthur Koestler: Intelectualul indispensabl


Joi, la Universitatea Maryland, continuarea discutiilor cu studentii mei despre Koestler. Este cat se poate de reconfortant sa vezi cum tineri americani de 20 de ani vibreaza la marile teme din “Darkness at Noon” si “The God that Failed”. Evident, vom vorbi despre iluzii si deziluzii, despre etica revoltei si despre Camus, despre procesele-spectacol si auto-injosirea atator intelectuali in ceea ce s-a numit “the pink decade”. A fost o mare sansa sa-l reintalnesc recent, la New York, pe biograful lui Koestler (si al lui Soljenitin), Michael Scammell. Un pranz de neuitat, in Upper West Side, amintiri despre “Index on Censorship”, despre conferintele unde am fost impreuna, despre atatia prieteni comuni. Dar, mai ales, despre ereticul care a fost AK si al sau itinerariu dramatic intr-un secol al halucinatilor ideologice. Doua tipuri de etica: cea a vivisectiei, totalitara, si cea a anti-vivisectiei, umanista.



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