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Tage Lindbom: Ett är nödvändigt

Norma, 1994


LindbomBibeln innesluter genom sitt Gamla Testamente även judendomens heligaste urkund, Tora. Dessa båda, den judiska bekännelsen med dess fem Moseböcker och det kristna evangeliet, Nya Testamentet, ger oss visserligen två bekännelser, den mosaiska och den kristna, men de är samtidigt förenade med den andliga traditionens band, som Jesus uttrycker i sitt ständiga hänvisande till lagen och profeterna.

En helig skrift är en vägledare i det andliga livet, den ger fasthet åt såväl kyrkornas som de enskilda människornas liv. Men en helig skrift har också en djupare innebörd, det som Jesus kallar Guds rikes hemligheter, detta som han delger sina lärjungar, de som skall bli apostlar och föra vidare det, som deras Mästare uppenbarat för dem. Bibeln har här stora rikedomar, och det är om dessa, som Tage Lindboms bok väsentligen handlar.

När apostlarna efter Jesu död och uppståndelse skall träda ut i världen med det kristna budskapet, kräver samtidigt mötet med denna värld en läromässig fasthet, en teologi. Det är Paulus, som lägger grunden, och innebörden i detta paulinska verk ägnar Tage Lindbom bokens avslutande kapitel.

JOBs kommentar:

Detta är Tage Lindboms mest bibliska bok. Det är märkligt att han så här sent, vid mitten av 90-talet, fortfarande inte publicerar mer om islam, som han formellt tillhört i flera årtionden. I alla andra böcker efter omprövningen på 50-talet och den nya, andligt förankrade positionens konsolidering, som var fullbordad vid 60-talets slut, har han dock haft en mycket vidare utblick tack vare sin traditionalistiska ståndpunkt i Guénons och Schuons mening. Inte bara sufistiska utan även vedantistiska perspektiv saknades aldrig. Denna bok framstår som ett märkligt begränsat undantag; kanske är den särskilt riktad till de kristna präster, som Christian Braw, som han hade ett gott och långvarigt förhållande till. Men förvisso uttolkar han även här, med det snävare fokus på den judisk-kristna traditionen, den “djupare innebörden”, vad som här uppfattas som “Guds rikes hemligheter”.

Wayne W. Dyer: Your Sacred Self

Making the Decision to Be Free

Harper Collins, 1995   Amazon

Front and Back Flaps:

DyerOne of the foremost inspirational leaders of our time and the author of the bestselling Real Magic and the classic Your Erroneous Zones encourages readers to look inside themselves for sustenance and to move to a new level of self-awareness where they are free to experience the joys of spiritual living.

In Your Sacred Self, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, whose previous books have touched the lives of millions, teaches readers how to tap into the power of their higher selves and live each of their days, regardless of what they are doing, with a greater sense of peace and fulfillment.

Developing the sacred self, Dr. Dyer explains, brings an understanding of our place in the world and a sense of satisfaction in ourselves and others. In Your Sacred Self, Dr. Dyer offers a three-step program that helps readers establish a spiritually oriented, rather than an ego-oriented, approach to life. Step by step Dr. Dyer shows us how to progress from emotional awareness to psychological insight to spiritual alternatives in order to change one’s experience of life from the need to acquire to a sense of abundance, from a sense of oneself as sinful and inferior to a sense of oneself as divine, from a need to achieve and acquire to an awareness that detachment and letting go bring freedom.

Your Sacred Self is an inspiring, hopeful, illuminating guide that can help everyone live a happier, richer, more meaningful life.

Back Cover:

“Wayne Dyer is one of America’s foremost teachers of transformational wisdom. In Your Sacred Self, he continues to guide us toward spiritual liberation.”  Marianne Williamson

“Wayne Dyer takes us on a sacred journey where the spirit triumphs over the ego. This book will serve as an extremely valuable guide to all those who seek the exultation of the spiritual experience and who value total freedom as the ultimate goal of life.”  Deepak Chopra

“I was mesmerized by the beauty and wisdom in Your Sacred Self. Wayne Dyer has written a book that is as meaningful, spiritually on-target, and engrossing as any I’ve ever read in my life. This is sure to go on that very small shelf reserved for classic works.”  Louise L. Hay

“In Wayne Dyer’s newest book he has given us the final ‘to do’, and that is to get outside of ourselves and stop selfishness by getting into other people and making them worthwhile. The sacred quest to that final freedom is the most important thing we’ll ever do in our lives.”  Pat Riley

“Wayne Dyer’s inspiring new book is a treasure of love and spiritual wisdom.”  Barbara De Angelis

About the Author:


JOB’s Comment:

The Wayne Dyer Phenomenon

WordPress Is Destroying This Blog

I always found WordPress excellent for my purposes. The “happiness engineers” were simply fantastic: when some technical problem arose and I contacted them, they always responded within seconds, gave reasonable explanations, and provided solutions.

But last year, I discovered that various blog functions began to disappear, one after another. I could, for instance, no longer add links to other sites, and text and images in the sidebar were no longer aligned centre.

When I contacted the happiness engineers about this, they suddenly couldn’t do anything about it. For, as they explained, they no longer updated, supported or maintained my “theme”, K2-lite.

As I understood it, the loss of functions will continue, and the only way I will be able to save a few of them will be to pay more. They explained that “themes are retired when they become difficult to keep up-to-date with newer web standards, or have bugs that the creators are unable or unwilling to fix”.

This means this blog will be destroyed, and that I can no longer use it. WP has never provided any information about the possibility of this happening, and if they had, I would never have chosen to use WP nine years ago.

I did so precisely because I liked K2-lite. I want no other theme. K2-lite is what I have paid for. I regard WP:s termination of the support of K2-lite as breach of contract.

The loss of functions and the resulting lower quality of the blog are the main reasons why I have not written much here lately. I am very disappointed, especially since I have been so satisfied with WP and its services for so many years.

Anders Bergman: Humanismens födelse

Dialogos, 2016 (gå köp)

Förlagets presentation:

Anders BergmanI övergången från medeltid till modern tid spelade de italienska renässanshumanisterna en avgörande roll. Inspirerade av antika verk, som i många fall hade glömts bort sedan sekler i Europa, presenterade de nya idéer om etik, politik och pedagogik.

Till skillnad från hur fördomarna har gått i alla tider om humanister var framväxten av deras rörelse en direkt konsekvens av det allt mer urbaniserade samhällets behov av språkkunniga administratörer och politiskt insiktsfulla rådgivare. På så sätt blev deras tankar tidens viktigaste intellektuella strömning, karriärväg och statusmarkör. Men eftersom de verkade i skarven mellan de två stora epokerna i vår civilisation har deras insatser ofta marginaliserats, missförståtts eller förbisetts.

Det är inte att förundra att Humanismens födelse är den första presentationen på svenska om dessa modernitetens stigfinnare, utan vilka varken reformation eller naturvetenskaplig revolution kan föreställas ha ägt rum.

Om författaren:

Anders Bergman (f. 1980) är fil.mag. i litteraturvetenskap från Uppsala universitet.

Ryszard Legutko: The Demon in Democracy

Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies

Encounter Books, 2016 (go buy at

Publisher’s Presentation:

LegutkoRyszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades – and he fought with the Polish anti-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar presuppositions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature.

In The Demon in Democracy, Legutko explores the shared objectives between these two political systems, and explains how liberal democracy has over time lurched towards the same goals as communism, albeit without Soviet style brutalality.

Both systems, says Legutko, reduce human nature to that of the common man, who is led to believe himself liberated from the obligations of the past. Both the communist man and the liberal democratic man refuse to admit that there exists anything of value outside the political systems to which they pledged their loyalty. And both systems refuse to undertake any critical examination of their ideological prejudices.

About the Author:

Ryszard Legutko is a professor of philosophy at Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland, specializing in ancient philosophy and political theory. His most recent book is on the philosophy of Socrates. He has served as the Minister of Education, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the late President Lech Kaczynski, and Deputy Speaker of the Senate and is active in the anti-communist movement in Poland. He is currently a Member of the European Parliament, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of European Conservatives and Reformists, and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Paul Brunton: The Spiritual Crisis of Man

Rider, 1970 (1952)

Back Cover:

BruntonDr Brunton, whose works are best-sellers in a dozen languages, was born in London in 1898.

During a successful career in journalism, he developed an interest in comparative religion, mysticism and philosophy. He has travelled extensively in the Orient, living among yogis, mystics and holy men. He is one of the few students of the East who have the ability to illuminate his understanding for the reader.

This book concentrates upon the plight of mankind today, and upon the possibilities of a solution to the problems that beset the world. Dr Brunton admits that the advances made in technology and science, the results of which now threaten our very existence, are inevitable and even necessary. But, as he explains, it is because these advances have been made regardless of the true needs of humanity that their goodness has turned to evil.

In his approach to these great issues Dr Brunton traces the concept of God from that of primitive superstition to the most elaborately philosophical, and then describes what his own mystical experience have taught him about the true nature of God and about man’s relationship to it. Now he believes it is a matter of the greatest urgency that we should transcend mere intellectualism by an awakening of our power of intuition, because this is the voice of the Soul or Overself, and the essential link between God and man. We must submit to this voice if we are to save ourselves from chaos and destruction.

David Boucher & Andrew Vincent: British Idealism and Political Theory

Edinburgh University Press, 2000

Back Cover:

Boucher Vincent“An original project, both in its conception and execution. The authors have risen magnificently to the challenge…(they) write as acknowledged experts in the field; but while they draw on their own previous work, they extend and deepen it by asking many new questions.”  Peter Nicholson, University of York

“A first-rate contribution to contemporary scholarship on the British Idealists…What makes the book especially valuable is the attempt to relate the work of the British Idealists to concerns in contemporary political philosophy or to major figures in modern philosophy outside the Idealist movement.”  Professor William Sweet, St Francis Xavier University, Canada

British Idealism – influenced by the character of German Idealist thought at the end of the eighteenth century, developed by Kant, Fichte and Hegel – began to establish its roots during the middle of the nineteenth century and rapidly became the dominant British philosophy. It began to be challenged at the turn of the century by philosophers including Bertrand Russell and by the end of the First World War it was on the retreat, although its philosophical reverberations are still evident. Testimony to this fact is the considerable renaissance in all aspects of Idealist studies, and particularly in the works of its most recent twentieth-century exponents Michael Oakeshott and R.G. Collingwood.

This book offers an introduction to British Idealism through a study of each of the seven key thinkers – T. H. Green, Bernard Bosanquet, F. H. Bradley, Henry Jones, David Ritchie, R. G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott. It explores the background religious, political, moral, ideological and economic themes which underpin the work of the thinkers and shows the relevance of their philosophy – with the emphasis on social cohesiveness and the relationship between individual and collective responsibility – to current politics.

Written by two of the leading experts in the field, this is a valuable text that will introduce the theory of British Idealism to a broad range of readers.



1.  T. H. Green: Citizenship as Political and Metaphysical

2.  F. H. Bradley: Ethical Idealism and Hedonism

3.  Bernard Bosanquet: The Sociology of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Sociology

4.  David Ritchie: Evolution and the Limits of Rights

5.  Henry Jones: Beyond Socialism and Liberalism

6.  R. G. Collingwood: The Enemy Within and the Crisis of Civilization

7.  Michael Oakeshott: The Non-Economic Character of Civil Association

About the Authors:

David Boucher is Professor of Political Theory at Cardiff University. Andrew Vincent is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Sheffield.

Michael Lüders: Die den Sturm ernten

Wie der Westen Syrien ins Chaos stürzte

C. H. Beck, 2017


Wo liegen die Wurzeln der syrischen Katastrophe? Das gängige Bild sieht die Schuld einseitig bei Assad und seinen Verbündeten, insbesondere Russland. Dass auch der Westen einen erheblichen Anteil an Mitschuld trägt, ist kaum zu hören oder zu lesen. Michael Lüders erzählt den fehlenden Teil der Geschichte, der alles in einem anderen Licht erscheinen lässt.

Anhand von freigegebenen Geheimdienstdokumenten und geleakten Emails von Entscheidungsträgern zeigt er, wie und warum die USA und ihre Verbündeten seit Beginn der Revolte ausgerechnet Dschihadisten mit Waffen beliefern – in einem Umfang wie seit dem Ende des Vietnamkrieges nicht mehr. Dadurch haben sie die innersyrische Gewalt ebenso befeuert wie auch den Stellvertreterkrieg zwischen den USA und Russland. Eindringlich beschreibt Lüders, wie insbesondere Washington schon seit langem nur auf eine günstige Gelegenheit wartete, das Assad-Regime zu stürzen. Dabei behandelt er auch frühere amerikanische Putschversuche in Syrien in den 1940er und 1950er Jahren, die fehlschlugen und erklären, warum sich Damaskus der Sowjetunion zuwandte. Die Kehrseite dieser Politik des Regimewechsels erlebt gegenwärtig vor allem Europa: mit der Flüchtlingskrise und einer erhöhten Terrorgefahr durch radikale Islamisten.

Über den Autor:

Michael Lüders war lange Jahre Nahost-Korrespondent der Hamburger Wochenzeitung Die Zeit und kennt alle Länder der Region aus eigener Anschauung. Als Islamexperte ist er häufiger Gast in Hörfunk und Fernsehen.

Blogg och offentlighet

Jag startade den här anspråkslösa bloggen eftersom jag i viss utsträckning var verksam i den akademiska världen såväl i Sverige som i utlandet, och även ibland skrivit i vanliga tidningar och tidskrifter, om kultur såväl som politik. Inom kort tillkom också ett nytt partipolitiskt engagemang. Bloggen var, tyckte jag, motiverad som ett komplement till denna verksamhet. Här kunde jag tillhandahålla mer information om mig själv och samla information om vad jag gjorde på annat håll. Jag började också publicera nytt originalmaterial, som, eftersom responsen glädjande nog blev så positiv, snabbt blev en mycket större del av bloggen än jag från början tänkt. Inte minst de nya möjligheterna till dialog med läsare i kommentarfälten tyckte jag var värdefull.

Främst genom internätet och de sociala medierna är det numera högst oklart när man är en offentlig person. Då och då händer det att någon vän på Facebook plötsligt försvinner, i den meningen att han eller hon tar bort sin vanliga profil och i stället skapar en “sida” om sig själv som “public figure”. Det kanske ibland kan vara motiverat, men ofta känns det otillbörligt pretentiöst. Kriterierna för vem som är en “public figure” visar sig ofta högst oklara, och personen ifråga kan inte längre interagera som tidigare med andra.

När jag nu i protest mot att Lunds universitet förklarat i Dagens Nyheter att de med hänvisning till min “ideologi” beslutat att jag inte längre får undervisa där (d.v.s. protesten gäller inte beslutet i sig utan grunden för det och framför allt det spektakulära offentliga tillkännagivandet av denna grund), och naturligtvis även som en följd av detta beslut, inte längre är verksam i akademin, när jag p.g.a. Expos, Dagens Nyheters och andras påståenden om mig som låg till grund för Lunds beslut väl inte rimligen kan publicera mig någon annanstans, och när jag slutligen inte längre är partiföreträdare, är det, tycker jag, högst oklart i vilken utsträckning jag är en offentlig person, om överhuvudtaget. Kan man vara en sådan utan att ha någon offentlig plattform och mer betydelsefull formell roll och funktion i samhället? Fortsätter man automatiskt att vara en offentlig person om man en gång har varit det? Förblir man det under viss tid men inte för alltid?

Oklarheten på dessa punkter gör att jag nu undrar om det är meningsfullt att ha kvar den här bloggen. Blir den inte, utan min tidigare visserligen högst blygsamma men dock offentlighet, pretentiös på samma sätt som vissa “public figure”-sidor på Facebook? Jag funderar på att om inte lägga ned den så åtminstone ta bort originalmaterialet och begränsa den till bara en informationssida om det som, även efter att jag själv försvunnit från offentligheten, kanske i alla fall för vissa forskare möjligen skulle kunna tänkas förbli av någon liten betydelse inom vad som var mitt främsta verksamhetsområde, d.v.s. mina akademiska publikationer.

Kort om Expo

Antisemitismen och jag

Lunds universitet och min ideologi

Simon O. Pettersson om Lund, DN och mig

Polen, Ungern och SD

Kort om SD Stockholms stad

Radikalhögern och de intellektuella

Papers from the Boston ICP

Paul E. Gottfried: Fascism

The Career of a Concept

Northern Illinois University Press, 2015

Publisher’s Description:

gottfriedWhat does it mean to label someone a fascist? Today, it is equated with denouncing him or her as a Nazi. But as intellectual historian Paul E. Gottfried writes in this provocative yet even-handed study, the term’s meaning has evolved over the years. Gottfried examines the semantic twists and turns the term has endured since the 1930s and traces the word’s polemical function within the context of present ideological struggles. Like “conservatism,” “liberalism,” and other words whose meanings have changed with time, “fascism” has been used arbitrarily over the years and now stands for a host of iniquities that progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians oppose, even if they offer no single, coherent account of the historic evil they condemn.

Certain factors have contributed to the term’s imprecise usage, Gottfried writes, including the equation of all fascisms with Nazism and Hitler, as well as the rise of a post-Marxist left that expresses predominantly cultural opposition to bourgeois society and its Christian and/or national components. Those who stand in the way of social change are dismissed as “fascist,” he contends, an epithet that is no longer associated with state corporatism and other features of fascism that were once essential but are now widely ignored. Gottfried outlines the specific historical meaning of the term and argues that it should not be used indiscriminately to describe those who hold unpopular opinions. His important study will appeal to political scientists, intellectual historians, and general readers interested in politics and history.


“Gottfried brings vast erudition and interpretive nuance to the subject of fascism. This book is a significant contribution to the fields of political thought and European history.”  Jeff Taylor, Dordt College

“Gottfried’s study is particular, nuanced, and multifaceted…a model for the type of work that can earn the right a hearing from more attentive audiences.”  The American Conservative

Fascism is a meticulously researched primer on the true history of one of the world’s worst ideologies. Upon finishing the book, readers will emerge with a firmer understanding of history, philosophy, and the ways in which words shape culture and reality.”  Jay Lehr, The Heartland Institute

Fascism is a book of remarkable scholarship and sensitivity regarding some exceedingly complex ideas. Gottfried’s navigation of the ins and outs of the interwar ideological quarrels in Italy and France is especially masterful.”  Robert Weissberg, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign

About the Author:

Paul E. Gottfried is the retired Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient. He is the author of numerous books, including The Search for Historical Meaning (NIU Press, 2010) and, most recently, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.

Ivan Aivazovsky: Winter Scene in Little Russia


Stoppa Kalle Anka på julafton!

Första gången publicerat 16/12 2012

Fanny och Alexander

Fanny och Alexander. Innehåller scener med svenskt julfirande före Kalle Anka.

Folk som vet bättre – och de är trots allt många – vågar inte säga det. De tror att de sårar andra, och verkligen inte bara barn. Något måste göras. Någon måste säga det.

Det finns några halvhjärtade och inte sällan förvirrade opinionsbildare och Facebookgrupper med enstaka medlemmar som protesterar. Det räcker inte. Vad som behövs är en stor, kraftfull, enhetlig, rikstäckande kampanj baserad på en precis förståelse av problemets natur.

I själva verket är det mycket enkelt:

De gamla Disneyfilmerna är inte nödvändigtvis dåliga i sin genre. De har sitt värde som bagateller. De som gillar dem och av detta skäl försvarar Kalle Anka på julafton har inte nödvändigtvis dålig smak. Felet är att Kalle Anka på julafton, skapat av svensk TV genom import av en produkt från amerikansk TV och Walt Disney Productions (idag Walt Disney Company, med ofta betydligt mer tvivelaktiga produkter, som årligen betalas en okänd men tvivelsutan stor summa av SVT), inte är, eller inte kan accepteras som, en “svensk tradition”, som framför allt annat definierar den svenska julen. När det blivit detta är det en löjlig och för hela Sverige pinsam ovana.

Det är, menar jag, fel av föräldrar att upprätthålla denna ovana och låta sina barn tillägna sig den. Det måste få ett slut.

Stöd med positiva kommentarer, återblogga, dela och sprid på Facebook och Twitter, skriv egna artiklar o.s.v.! Låt oss starta rörelsen för stoppandet av Kalle Anka på julafton.

Se även mitt Förtydligande om Kalle Anka.

Idéhistoria i sociala media

Under en längre tid och med förhoppningsvis tillräckliga mellanrum har jag nu delat de tjugonio första delarna av min serie om personbegreppet på Facebook och Twitter. Här i bloggen, där serien återfinns under Personalism, en underkategori till Philosophy (den återfinns också i min separata idéhistoriska blogg), är det bara de politiska inläggen som får besöksstatistikens staplar att skjuta i höjden, men man hoppas alltid att en eller annan läsare, när de kommer hit p.g.a. dem, också snappar upp åtminstone något litet av det jag skriver, eller postar, i de många, och för mig lika viktiga, andra ämneskategorierna. Detsamma gäller naturligtvis i sociala media: även där är det främst de politiska inläggen som uppmärksammas, gillas och kommenteras (och där delar jag ju förstås också mycket annat än det jag själv skriver här) – och där tillkommer naturligtvis problemet att allt riskerar att drunkna i de kaotiska och överfulla flödena. Ändå är det värt att försöka nå ut med detta innehåll även där.

När det gäller serien om personbegreppet är det viktigt att läsaren kommer ihåg att den bara består av högst preliminära, fragmentariska anteckningar, ursprungligen gjorda på 90-talet, om ett urval sekundärlitteratur av relevans för studiet av endast några aspekter av personbegreppets historia. Anteckningarna, av vilka en del diskuterades på högre seminariet i idé- och lärdomshistoria i Lund, har lätt bearbetats och utvecklats före publiceringen här, i det fortsatta arbetet med vad som var avsett att bli en i bokform publicerbar studie av personbegreppets historia, men de är i sig långtifrån någon sådan studie. Det är endast fråga om en sammanställning av vissa grundläggande historiska fakta och perspektiv, och en del allmänna, elementära reflektioner rörande dem. Såväl utförligare citat ur det historiska primärmaterialet som det genomgående systematiska, fördjupade, självständigt analytiska och historisk-filosofiskt argumentatoriska greppet om ämnet saknas. Vad det handlar om är ett försök till ett experiment av det slag jag kort diskuterat i några texter om bloggens och internätets teknik och dess möjligheter: ett work-in-progress i dialog med läsare, kolleger, studenter.



Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 5

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 1

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 2

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 3

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 4

All of the following Pattison theses about the nature of romantic pantheism and popular culture are convincing, in need of merely a few minor adjustments: “Ours is a more homogeneous culture than we generally allow, in which elite and popular cultures subscribe to a single set of ideas”; “Prominent among these ideas is Romantic pantheism”; “In its pure form, Romantic pantheism encourages vulgarity”; “American democracy provides an ideal setting for the growth of romantic pantheism” (this clearly depends on how American democracy is defined); “Poe’s Eureka and the Velvet Underground are products of a single cultural force”; “What separates elite from popular culture is its unwillingness to embrace the vulgarity inherent in its own premises”; “There is more ideological vigor and consistency in the music of the Talking Heads than in the paradoxes of the academy”; “Nineteenth-century Romanticism lives on in the mass culture of the twentieth century, and the Sex Pistols come to fulfill the prophecies of Shelley”; “Vulgarity is no better and no worse than the pantheism and the democracy out of which it grows” (the latter certainly imply the sanctioning of the former, but neither has to be accepted or sanctioned); “Believing in Whitman, the democrat should also glory in the Ramones” (the democrat does not have to believe in Whitman). [Op.cit. xi-xii.]

What is being described is increasingly the fate of the whole of radical modernist and postmodernist culture. Again, there is really no distinction between the new élites and the masses. Rock “recognizes no class boundaries. Rich and poor, well-bred and lumpenproletariat alike listen to rock, and in the age of vulgarity, Harvard Square shares its musical tastes with Peoria.” [Ibid. 9.] The institution of the romantic secular bard is sublated in the popular culture of romanticism. Judging from sales statistics, almost all citizens of the leading rocking country, the United States, from which the new cult has spread across the globe, must own copies of the records and CDs of at least some of the leading bards of democracy. Rock stars flock to the White House (and Downing Street), and presidents accede to the office cheered by 120-decibel court jesters.

Yet arguing that we should now accept the vulgarity that has already triumphed, it is in a new, desperate attempt at sophistication that Pattison, probably considering all of the previous ones of radical modernism and postmodernism to be by now hopelessly trite, takes his point of departure in classicist humanism’s definition of vulgarity, finds it still standing, and bluntly analyses his subject-matter in its terms:

“The romantic revolution has made vulgarity an ineluctable issue for this century as well as the last. In politics, the vulgar mob has wrested power from its genteel rulers. Youth, which is noisy and uncontemplative, has usurped the cultural privileges of maturity. The heroes of Romantic civilization are no longer the disciplined patriots of Horace’s odes but unrefined primitives who pledge allegiance to self or the universe. In the West, the masses now have the leisure to indulge their vulgarity, and they have done so.” [Ibid. 13-14.]

Pattison follows the same strategy in his book on Newman, The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy (1991). Having devoted the major part of it to demonstrating the possible validity of at least some aspects of Newman’s criticism of modernity, he simply asserts, without arguments, in one short sentence on one of the last pages that ”as [Newman] presents them, heresy is in every way superior to truth”. [Op.cit., 215.] One suspects that it is in fact not necessary to side with Newman in the more specific theological controversies and to accept his identification of truth with orthodox dogma  in order to feel that, together with the celebration of Newman in the previous chapters (on Pattison’s own showing, much more was involved than the content of the Athanasian trinitology), this studied, defiant gesture signals a more general attitude on the part of some contemporary radical liberals, namely that they are now prepared to face, and deeply understand, any argument, any analysis, and perhaps even to admit that it is true, but that still they are never ever going to change their minds. But if so, it is of course just another version of the nihilistic end of academic discourse, brought about by the pantheistic revolution.

The aspect of the challenge against a non-pantheistic understanding of the person, inspired by classicism and Christianity, that on a superficial view stands at the opposite end from romanticism is the direct philosophical criticism produced today by the scientistically motivated physicalist materialism within the philosophy of mind – represented by the Churchlands and similar thinkers – which denies either the reality or the distinct quality of intentional agency, purposiveness, and nonphysical states of consciousness. Positivism having long since collapsed as a philosophy, this form of scientistic materialism has not only proved impervious to postmodern criticism, but, as in the work of Richard Rorty, compatible with it. [See my article ‘Richard Rortys filosofihistoriska program: Fysikalism och romantik i den amerikanska postmodernismen’ (‘Richard Rorty’s Program for the History of Philosophy: Physicalism and Romanticism in American Postmodernism’), in Att skriva filosofihistoria [Writing the History of Philosophy], Ugglan. Lund Studies in the History of Science and Ideas, VIII, 1998.]

Babbitt shows that it is a mistake to consider romanticism and naturalism to be opposites; in reality, they are mutually dependent and reinforce and support each other in countless subtle ways. Romanticism provides emotional “elevation” (Babbitt analysed an earlier historical period, but even then the elevation was merely that of romantic dreaming) and release for the hard-nosed technologist, while at the same time the latter provides the technologies for the former’s enhanced expression. [The interdependence is clearly – if indirectly – brought out also, for instance, in some of Neil Postman’s books.]

These currents in turn display central ingredient parts both of the psychological makeup and the ideological expression of what Eric Voegelin terms “gnosticism”. But I would add that this whole complex also tends inexorably in the direction of impersonalism. Christopher Lash analysed central aspects of contemporary culture in terms of “narcissism”. Personality, in this culture, tends to be reduced to a powerless escapist diversion as vicariously experienced in the stars of popular culture and sport – democracy’s version of the morally ambiguous personalism of romantic hero-worship. Or perhaps, stardom is democratically disseminated, as predicted by Andy Warhol, to everyone for fifteen minutes each.

For the rest of their lives, people are, as Rorty prescribes, to be allowed to dream in totally unrestrained relativistic subjectivism, but only in the strictest privacy that does not interfere with the workings of the public technological machinery. Today’s uncompromising scientistic reductionism can be shown to have been reached by the same concerted influence of lower romanticism, rationalism, empiricism, and a psychological disposition favouring “gnosticism” – all of which are not only inimical to the classical and Christian traditions in the general aspects that are relevant here, but also to the qualified modern understanding of the person and personal consciousness which is in harmony with these traditions not least in its retention, at least to some extent and in some form, of a spiritual dimension.

It is a commonplace in contemporary intellectual history that the individualism proclaimed by romanticism and liberalism was accompanied by an ever increasing social conformity and rational regimentation of man. In the connection here discussed, the partial truths of this perspective, introduced in the works of Michel Foucault, Norbert Elias, and others, are certainly relevant as a part of the historical and cultural perspective I try to introduce. But in recent scholarship it has unduly overshadowed other perspectives that are equally necessary for a deeper understanding. The common explanation of romanticism as a mere escapist reaction, powerless in the long run against the new historical realities of industrialism, true as it certainly is in many cases, also disastrously ignores the factual readiness of romanticism to accept and join the modernist forces of rationalism and technology, and the extent to which the whole of modernity, and postmodernity, are quintessentially if sometimes obliquely romantic phenomena. The specific romantic combination of pantheism and narcissism in what Pattison calls a vulgarized form, with no qualms about embracing the ever new marvels of rational technology, and enthusiastically surrendered to by the rational technologists themselves in leisure hours, is what determines what has been analysed by several critics as the conformity of the globalized mass-culture of liberal capitalist democracy. The nature of globalization makes my references to American literature increasingly relevant in other parts of the world, and not least of course in Europe.

Romantic pantheism which issued, not only in unison with but as including the forces of a renewed rationalism, in radical modernism and postmodernism, is, I suggest, the central underlying dynamic factor in the decline of the traditional Western culture that was shaped by the general aspects of the traditions of Christian theism and classical idealism and humanism that I have indicated loosely yet with sufficient precision for the limited purposes of the present argument. This decline has today assumed crisis-like forms and symptoms more acute and decisive than anything previously seen in the drawn-out undermining process in some respects philosophically and imaginatively set in motion centuries ago. But it is this same process that is being brought to a culmination. In a “physicalist” postmodernist like Rorty, the Babbittian analysis of the confluence of Rousseauism and Baconianism is irrefutably confirmed on all levels.

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 4

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 1

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 2

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 3

As quintessentially expressed in the imaginative universe of rock music, the popular avant-garde, all the vague resentments towards organized religion, hierarchy, and privilege, all the secular cravings and dreams of earthly paradise that had been planted and fermented in the depth of Michelet’s People for centuries and perhaps millennia, are brought together.

The Beatles’ hippie anthem ‘All You Need Is Love’ may certainly have an undercurrent of cynicism, but no cynical rebounds of the often inevitable kind described in the romantic dialectic by Babbitt could stop the Rousseauan mission, and the basic message of the sixties’ neoromanticism was in a sense, in its own way, seriously meant. This is the kind of seriousness which rock shares with all romanticism. Few poems or other expressions of élite art or philosophy capture the whole credo of the empty, secular, immanentist, and utopian pantheism described by Pattison better than John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ – and no forced ironic quirks following his own vague perception of simplistic naiveté prevented his dreaming in this song from being accompanied by the most palpable activism.

But we have also seen that Pattison shows how among the traditional cultural categories and distinctions that pantheism dissolves is that of tragedy, [This is of course implied also in Lasserre’s criticism.] and that Peckham argues that with Nietzsche, romantic modernism moves “beyond the tragic vision”. In this state, which was the postmodern one where all objective distinctions of reality were suspended or dissolved in the pantheistic process, the whole content and meaning of art, which previously depended on these distinctions, is ultimately reduced, if not to sheer nonsense, at the very least to triviality.

Pattison argues that the efforts of middle-brow modernist avant-garde critics to “ennoble rock by discovering in it the direct influence of art music” is sabotaged by the deliberate, provocatively vulgar stance of the rock musicians themselves. The romantic origins are the same; “In its love of technological noise as in everything else, rock follows the Romantic avant-garde, and it is no accident that the appearance of rock coincided with the great age of experimental music in America, the 1950s. The theories of the experimentalists are shot through with a love of the primitive, with oriental mysticism, with insistence on feeling, and with a desire to relocate performance in self – the hallmarks of rock mythology as well. The experimentalists are the linear descendents of European Romanticism, and not only do they share a 1950s art geist with rock, but a common ancestry in Romantic theory.” Yet rock is a mirror image of art music, “identical but transposed…identical in makeup but opposite in charge. What reverses the two is vulgarity.” [Op.cit. 130-1.]

Thus Frank Zappa, the pupil of Varèse, insists, to the horror of some critics, on undercutting “any refined suggestion in his work by a crudity as evident in the titles as in the substance of his music”. But even this situation soon probably belongs to history. The avant-garde is itself being submerged in the waves of the pantheism which it promotes, and significantly, in Ben Watson’s Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play (1995), Adorno’s critical aesthetics is forced, with what is already perhaps only seemingly an ostentatious incongruity, into the service of the argument for the cultural relevance precisely of Zappa’s vulgarity.

Does it work? Is it not rather that today the remaining avant-garde, like romantic satanism, is reduced to mere entertainment? David Bowie says that “‘[p]eople like Lou Reed and I are probably predicting the end of an era…and I mean that catastrophically. Any society that allows people like Lou and I to become rampant is really pretty well lost.’” [Buckley, 214.] This may be true, but one has to ask what kind of revolution this is in reality. How serious is it? Does it really matter what Bowie says? Does anything matter in a thoroughly relativistic and nihilistic universe? Like Bowie, Mick Jagger and other surviving heroes of the sixties are shrewd businessmen. Rockers Mott the Hoople cite the romantic D. H. Lawrence: “If you make a revolution, make it for fun / Don’t make it in ghastly seriousness / Don’t do it in deadly earnest / Do it for fun.” [On the cover of the album Mott from 1973.]

Pantheism triumphs and takes Western culture beyond the tragic vision: “[R]ock chooses pantheism and says what Chuck Berry taught it to say: ‘Roll over, Beethoven…’”. Thus “the highest achievement of a rigorous pantheism like Whitman’s or rock’s is simply – ‘fun’”. Pattison shows how this difference between non-vulgar and vulgar romanticism is brought out in the – relatively complex – rock of Bob Dylan. “Fun” is

“the pleasure derived from a universe which is ourselves and which we cannot transcend because to know it is to be it…Chuck Berry’s is a universe that pivots on an untranscendent celebration of the energy I can extract from the present moment without recourse to anything but myself…The great rock song does not aim for permanence, insight, or rapture. Its virtues are transience, action, and feeling. Christopher Ricks cites Bob Dylan as evidence that ‘the best American poets convey the poignancy of there being nothing final’. He is right that Dylan’s rock stands in a vulgar American tradition of transience, but wrong that the effect of this tradition is poignancy, a word only a European would apply to American rock. Poignancy suggests a transcendent perch from which to mourn the impermanence of human existence. It is an emotion that high-toned poets deal in, not Bob Dylan, one of whose lyrical characters sings, ‘I might look like Robert Frost, but I feel just like Jesse James’. After the religious imagery of ‘I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine’ and the mystic allegory of ‘All Along the Watchtower’, Dylan ended his John Wesley Harding album with the apparently incongruous country-rock ballad, ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’…The troubles of the world enumerated in the lyrics of John Wesley Harding vanish in the rocker’s final commitment to the sensible present of tonight, and what Dylan tells his lover is what rock has to say to transcendental observers everywhere:

Close your eyes, close the door,

You don’t have to worry any more,

I’ll be your baby tonight.” [Op.cit. 197-8.]

Chez Albert


Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 3

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 1

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 2

Making a case for the vulgarity that has already triumphed (and possibly simply because it has already triumphed, considering it inevitable), Pattison endeavours to see its strenghts: “Vulgar pantheism is abysmally indiscriminate – or said another way, it is infinitely tolerant. The vulgar pantheist finds room in his universe for the atheist and the witchdoctor as well as the Pope and the rabbi. Professing no one religion, he accepts and rejects them all.” [The Triumph of Vulgarity, 27.]

This unqualified pluralism and tolerance is part of what Babbitt analysed as the “sham spirituality” of romanticism and modernity, and what orthodox Christians criticized as the sentimental watering down of the truths of their religion by liberal theology. [There is no implication here that I accept a literalist position of orthodox Christianity.] It is a phenomenon which through the subtle reinterpretations of countless leading thinkers, novelists and political ideologists gradually guided Western culture away from the objective dualisms of classicism and Christianity. It was supported by progressivist adaptations of ancient wisdom in the form of theosophy and of monistic vedanta in the streamlined form of the pop-gurus of the sixties, issuing today in the combined individualism and metaphysical impersonalism of  New Age spirituality, to which I will return shortly. It can hardly be doubted that its love and its oneness were often as vague and as thin as – empty space.

To use Lasserre’s words about pantheism, postmodernism displayed an “insouciance supérieure de s’accorder avec soi-même, de s’astreindre à la conséquence, incapacité d’opter entre deux contradictoires, bien plus, complaisance satisfaite à prêter également à l’un et à l’autre son sentiment et son jugement, délices de penser dans une région si indéterminée et si fluide qu’il ne s’y saurait, à vrai dire, rencontrer de contradictions.” There was in postmodernism no longer any cooperative quest for the infinite, yet once again, shelter from the destruction threatened by the self-aggrandizement of desire was sought in a regressive state of alternating narcissism and self-extinction. And the experience of the irreducible irrationality and difference, of the resistance of the opaque, intractable elements of reality, and the resulting acceptance of ultimate irrationality, now had as a consequence that philosophy itself was given up. Like romanticism, postmodernism was “le plus profond dissolvant intellectuel. [Il donnait] une mystérieuse valeur métaphysique à toutes les libertés, à tous les relâchements, au bout desquels la pensée trouve sa propre décomposition.” [See the note about Lasserre’s book and page numbers above.] Its subjectless subjectivity no longer aspired to or claimed to be objective. The common world dissolved, there were many conflicting realities with no shared, underlying deep structure. In this multiverse, all relations were reduced to power.

Postmodernism’s subjectivism without a subject emerged in the wake of avant-garde modernist literature and art, which, ever since Proust and Joyce, under the influence of changing perceptions of space and time, dissolved the “bourgeois” subject and its character development, but nonetheless  retained the subject in new distorted forms. In postmodernism, as for Heraclitus, men are really “flames” and things are really “processes”, there are “no transcendent values”, “all ideas are equally valid”; “the truth is infinite and comprehensive, not narrow and exclusive. The best religion is eclecticism taken to its limit.” Pattison’s description of pantheism holds in almost every detail for postmodernism. Postmodernism was indeed

“a garbage-pail philosophy, indiscriminately mixing scraps of everything. Fine distinctions between right and wrong, high and low, true and false, the worthy and unworthy, disappear in [postmodernism’s] tolerant and eclectic one that refuses to scorn any particular of the many. The [postmodernist] may be fascinated or bemused by the castes, religions, and ethics of a various world, but he denies to each in turn transcendent validity. There is no transcendent validity. There is only the swarming many…[Postmodernism] is necessarily vulgar because it rejects the transcendence from which refinement springs, because it delights in the noisy confusion of life, and because it sacrifices discrimination to eclecticism…it professes to include all philosophies, religions, and ideologies…[Postmodernism] naturally encompasses all the disparate energies loosed by the Romantic revolution. It embraces the mass…makes room for all paradoxical contraries, and reveres the energy of process.” [Op.cit., 23-5.]

Postmodernism, in short, was a further secularized pantheism which no longer endeavoured to elevate or refine itself to monism, and it was evidence of the extent of the failure of such attempts under the circumstances of the modern world.

That postmodernism has produced extreme subjectivism without a subject is only seemingly paradoxical. In the contemporary fragmented mass-culture, the avant-garde of modernist literature and art which systematically sought to dissolve everything “bourgeois” was gradually reduced to nonsense as postmodernism programmatically removed the final barrier against the trivial and the popular. Yet many intellectuals tried hard to find ways to defend it all as the adequate contemporary form of cultural criticism.

Many rock musicians have drawn inspiration directly from Blake, the romantic arch-equivocator, and some have made recordings of his poems. The British trajectory from the culture of classicism and Christianity in its nineteenth-century version to the anti-essentialist, romantic kitsch satanism of today, from, say, Matthew Arnold, who upheld some objective values of classicism and Christianity in a Victorianized form based on a general liberal understanding of religion, over his pupil Walter Pater and Pater’s pupil Oscar Wilde, to Wilde’s pupil David Bowie, is clear and unambiguous. David Buckley’s Strange Fascination. David Bowie: The Definitive Story (1999) was in many respects a representative, 600-page mise au point on the state Western culture as shaped by postmodernism and radical modernism. Pattison, and, for instance, the British philosopher Anthony O’Hear, express the increasingly common insight that popular culture is today the dominant culture – in America, it has even been considered the only culture. More interestingly, Pattison and O’Hear both claim that it is today also the most significant and original culture. [See O’Hear, After Progress: Finding the Old Way Forward (1999).] By the analysis of the pantheistic revolution, it is possible to see also much of the dominant rational bourgeois culture as not only dialectically related to the romantic counterculture, but as itself largely defined by romanticism, not least in the optimistic shallowness of the understanding of man and his motives that has shaped classical liberal economic theory from Adam Smith to this day.

Almost all leading intellectuals, novelists, and artists are now themselves shaped by what was once the isolated subculture, and share a single imaginative and emotional universe. The trend in the postmodern and post-postmodern academia of yesterday and today (which has reached its fullest development in the United States, although it has there also produced a sometimes rather consistent reaction) to extol what is held to be some original and primitive pantheism and compare it unfavourably to the dualistic, patriarcal, exploiting, hierarchical, white, repressive, unequal, logocentric worldview of the Greeks, the Bible, and modern rationalism, can be analysed as a typical product of that exclusively modern phenomenon that is romantic pantheism. Deconstruction  seems to have been at least partly driven by the yearning for the primitive sensual unity of romanticism, and this and other specifically philosophical formulations of poststructuralism and postmodernism in France, a mere continuation of the French romanticism as analysed by Lasserre, have been systematically and precisely traced to German sources by Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, although they of course do not share Lasserre’s deeper analysis from a more strictly “classicist” perspective but are part of much of the underlying modern dynamic that he criticizes. [La pensée ’68. Essai sur l’anti-humanisme contemporain (1986).]

When seen as developed from its logical and historical roots in romantic pantheism, it is clear that all this is a worldview, precisely in its fragmented, kaleidoscopically changing, and inconsistent quality. For these characteristics are all ultimately “meaningful”, no matter how unconsciously they are  manifested, as the actualization of what from the positions of classical reason can be seen to be the timeless potentiality of dissolution in chaos and of sophistry’s termination of thought. This potentiality could only be actualized in a dominant movement under the unique conditions provided by modern romantic pantheism.

Even if we can seemingly change worldviews every day – as the Protean personalities of postmodern culture changes identities, clothes, sex, and lifestyles – this very state of affairs can be shown logically and historically to be an expression or a consequence of the worldview of romanticized pantheism taken to the extreme of sophistic self-dissolution. This is not only a worldview; as Pattison insists, it is increasingly the worldview of contemporary liberal democracy. This worldview stands opposed in principle not only to original classicism, Christianity, and, mutatis mutandis, the other major cultural traditions of humanity properly understood, but also to an alternative understanding of modernity itself that affirms the partial truths of rationalism and romanticism as congruent with a discerning, creative form of traditionalism.

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 2

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 1

A romantic counterculture has existed since the early nineteenth-century Parisian Bohemia. Its continued relation to the dominant bourgeois culture was analysed by Daniel Bell in The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976), and Gertrude Himmelfarb showed how its sensibilities have today largely conquered the establishment and what used to be polite society. Analysis in terms of the pantheistic revolution makes it easier to understand this dialectic between the counterculture and the establishment. Under the influence of a single blurred ideology of rights and enjoyment, and a uniform imaginative and emotional universe, not only what C.S. Lewis called the “large, well-meant statements” of popular pantheism, but an ever-intensifying, renewed romanticism of the outcast and a growing fascination for evil shapes graduate seminars, art galleries, and novels to the same extent that they control the world of pure entertainment.

In the secular revolution of immanent utopianism, guided by radical Enlightenment and radical Romanticism, the traditional differential structure of Western order, and especially the relation and balance between them, are finally abandoned altogether. The distinction between spiritual and secular power, as well as the distinction between the independent learned community of the university and the power of the state and the Church – and, we could add, the bourgeois world of commerce – are, for instance, replaced by the distinction between the evil, repressive forces of the past, deceiving the People, or rather, increasingly, the oppressed minorities by masking its selfish exercise of power behind false, hypocritical moralism and religiosity, on the one hand, and the radical, progressive intellectual on the other. But the role of the intellectual is really obsolete too. Today, the ranks of politicians, academics, artists, Churchmen and -women, business tycoons and popular entertainers become indistinguishable. In the terms of my analysis, it could be said that all people of all classes and walks of life are ever more closely joined in the ubiquitous pantheistic cult.

In the dominance of electronic media, computers, and technology in general, the interdependence of romanticism on the one hand and scientific rationalism and empiricism on the other reappears. The romantic, narcissistic ego, ever torn between self-assertion and self-annihilation, which, weakened by pseudo-idealism, was an easy prey of the brutal outer forces of the emerging new external world, which in the nihilism of its self-exaltation was only seemingly paradoxically never far from self-extinction in the bosom of nature or in the void, and which in its unavoidable bitter disillusion readily accepted cynical and extreme versions of the naturalistic worldview, today reasserts itself in the mode of a popular culture unquestioningly adopting all the new wonders of technology.

It is hard to see any decisive difference between the practices of Michel Foucault – at his death, according to James Miller, “perhaps the single most famous intellectual in the world” – and the messages conveyed by the grosser and more violent films and music of today’s popular culture, except that Foucault still took his practices far more seriously and invested them more portentously with philosophical, cultural, and political meaning. Foucault

“joined…in the orgies of torture, trembling with ‘the most exquisite agonies’, voluntarily effacing himself, exploding the limits of consciousness, letting real, corporeal pain insensibly melt into pleasure through the alchemy of eroticism…Through intoxication, reverie, the Dionysian abandon of the artist, the most punishing of ascetic practices, and an uninhibited exploration of sadomasochistic eroticism, it seemed possible to breach, however briefly, the boundaries separating the conscious and unconscious, reason and unreason, pleasure and pain – and, at the ultimate limit, life and death – thus starkly revealing how distinctions central to the play of true and false are pliable, uncertain, contingent.” [Cited in Roger Kimball, Experiments Against Reality (2000), 248.]

But the serious revolutionary satanism of the pantheistic revolution has long been transformed by the tendency of its expression in the remaining forms of the  avant-garde to be increasingly reduced to mere entertainment. Art and literature are merged with advertisement and fashion. Politics is reduced to a manipulation of images and phrases by the media. Historical revolts were earnest enough to the extent that they were the products of real material destitution which to some extent interacted with ideological convictions that were earnestly held. Not that this was the whole explanation of historical revolutions, but there often was at least one factor of this kind. In the postmodern age, a revolutionary ideology was, as it were, earnestly held only as far as earnestness is at all possible in a pantheistic universe. At our stage in the history of the romantic revolution, earnestness tends to dissolve in the inherent nonsensicality of its fully realized pantheism.

For pantheism itself necessarily disintegrates in its triumph. Traditionalists argue that however legitimate the revolts against the corruption of the government of favour and the religion of grace may have been, in the long run, turning against the order of reality itself, revolutions of empty space cannot succeed. The process of pantheism swallows up all critical vantage-points, including those of radical modernism. Were it not for the implicit tendency towards nonsensicality, some rock concerts today resemble the radical political mass meeting, which in turn can be seen as a further development of the ceremonies on the Champs de Mars and the hysteria of Jacobin decapitations. The rebellious punk movement was ever close to more or less anarchic political activism. Perhaps the new religion could be said to be the religion of what J. L. Talmon in the title of his best-known book called “totalitarian democracy”, the dictatorship based not only on ideology but on popular enthusiasm.

Of course, postmodern “fun” and entertainment could be sinister enough. If they couldn’t reach the suprapersonal ecstacy of joy, they could at least sink to the subpersonal ecstacy of the Dionysian orgy. In one aspect, the recent trends of our culture would seem to land us in endless triviality and banality, with, in Allan Bloom’s words, some “[a]nti-bourgeois ire” as “the opiate of the last man”. [The Closing of the American Mind (1987), 78.] In reality, it simply weakens the discernment of evil and the resistance against it.

As we have seen, in its seemingly disparate currents the pantheistic revolution is intelligible as a single movement of interrelated forces. In the postmodern carnival of micronarratives, objective theoretical and moral truth was replaced by consent alone, [Dennis McCallum, ed, The Death of Truth (1996); Robert H. Knight, The Age of Consent: The Rise of Relativism and the Corruption of Popular Culture (1998).] but the aim and direction of the whole movement was unambiguous, and its meaning, even as it rejects meaning as such, was clear. It is highly significant that so much in Lasserre’s formulations precisely describes postmodern criticism:

“C’est la destruction de la critique…un art équivoque de délayer tout dans tout, de parler de tout à faux, de faire dire aux philosophies, aux religions l’opposé de ce qu’elles disent, de ramener l’affirmation à une négation, et plus encore de hausser la négation à la dignité d’affirmation, d’apprécier les positions intellectuelles et morales le plus nettement prises par les hommes du passé, selon l’indécision d’une pensée qui se croit la plus grande, parce qu’elle ne s’arrête nulle part.” [See the note about Lasserre’s book and page numbers above.]

In postmodernism’s non-hierarchical, differential play, all forces and perspectives were relative to each other, but of course no longer parts of a whole in relation to which they had to be understood. Identities were fractured, ephemeral, contingent, ever-changing, insubstantial constructs and fictions. It was a carnival of fluctuating “appearences” alone, with nothing of which it was appearances. But this situation too was the ultimate consequence of pantheistic monism and of the nihilism that is never far from it, for an empty principle disappears easier than a principle full of spiritual content. Postmodernism was the ultimate blurring of distinctions: everything was indiscriminately included, everything of a lower character was legitimized – not any longer in the dialectical movement of the World-Spirit, but in the multivalent process of chaotic play.

As already in the early romantics, pantheistic “love” was all-inclusive, yet intrinsically linked to the hate of the rebel-heroes whose satanistic excess, notorious in entertainment in a spectacular form which, in accord with the evaporation of seriousness in postmodernism, ever verges on self-parody, was embraced as just and legitimate in the face of the oppression of the only enemy, non-pantheist differentiationalism. At least to some extent, the latter, however faded and diffuse it may have become, must somehow be mythically retained and its injustices ceremonially rehearsed for the indiscriminate cult of liberation, a central ingredient of the pantheistic revolution, to preserve credibility and motivation.

Pattison argues that democracy is pantheism’s political form. “The refined seek to rise above the ubiquitous democracy of the grass, but Whitman answers: ‘I exist as I am, that is enough’. Pantheistic democracy’s ‘common language’ is ‘sensation’, and ‘its boundaries are the universe’”: “There is no evil in the pantheist democracy because the transcendent vantage to distinguish good and evil has been gobbled up in the whole. Every act, no matter how loathsome by traditional standards, is valid, since the one knows itself by assuming the infinite forms of the many. To understand this process is ‘to live beyond the difference’ between good and evil, refinement and vulgarity.” [The Triumph of Vulgarity, 26-7.]

For this reason, even the enemy would, it seems, ultimately have to be included in the pantheistic universe. But that is impossible as long as the enemy preserves his own identity and refuses to accept his redefinition in pantheist terms.

Pantheism, Postmodernism, Pop, 1

I republish this series as an indirect comment on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize. It was first published here in 2012 (this first part on 16th April), but written in 2001.

For many years, postmodernism, in the broad and loose American sense which includes also the main thinkers of poststructuralism, has come under attack in academia from various quarters, and some of its influence should be described in the past tense. But if it is receding, it has of course, like all the successive movements in the shifting pageant of modern intellectual and academic life, left a permanent legacy which is taken up in more or less recognizable forms in subsequent thought. Not only is it still a relevant analytical category in the effort to understand contemporary culture, but as a product of what I call the pantheistic revolution, it stands in an indissoluble relation to some of the movements which have recently supplanted it and which are also products of this same revolution.

This is one of the things which can best be seen by applying the analytical concept of a pantheistic revolution that comprises both modern romanticism and modern rationalism. Derridean deconstruction and similar strategies were Americanized postmodernism’s new attempt to break down what the prominent scholar of romanticism Morse Peckham described in terms of “orientation”, the fixed, dualistic, hierarchical and of course allegedly unreal constructs of order of Platonism and Christian theology as well as of Enlightenment rationalism. In a sense, postmodernism still constructed the world out of the self and the self out of the world, but there was no longer any explanation or deduction from an empty, unitary principle behind this process. All first principles, comprehensive systems, supreme propositions, and overarching theories were now rejected, and considered possible to reject. There could be no ontotheology, no centre, no master narrative. The hierarchical, vertical, “arborescent” structure of knowledge with clearly classifiable branches stemming from an original unitary principle was abandoned by Deleuze in favour of a horizontal or subterranean, “rhizomatic” knowledge. The use of a vague, poetical, allusive, metaphorical and analogical language in Ahrimanic opposition to the – always caricatured – limitations of the clear and distinct Ohrmazdic conceptuality of Descartes, the “idées claires”, “règles”, and “forme” defended by French classicist critics of romanticism like Pierre Lasserre, was taken to new extremes.

Modern rational exploitation, domination and control of nature, and traditional spiritual transcendence of it, became ever more indistinguishable. Postmodernism opposed mainly the rationalistic, epistemological subjectivity of modernity, but failing increasingly to perceive the difference between such subjectivity and the subjectivity of moral and religious consciousness in the Platonic and Christian traditions, it tended to reduce the latter to the former and to and reject all subjective identity based on the qualities of consciousness as an imperialistic metaphysics of presence and logocentrism.

This is one of the reasons why postmodernism must be seen as a chapter in the long story of modern romanticism, restating some of its oldest and most basic themes in terms the newness of which can delude us only if we do not grasp the depth and pervasiveness of the romantic movement as quintessentially defining Western culture at present no less than two hundred years ago. For the postmodernist, the rationalist, abstract straitjacket of the logocentric metaphysics of presence stifles the play of  dualities and binary opposites that the earlier romantics sought in various ways to reunite, but which were now even more fluid, unstable, and ambiguous, and the indeterminate play of which was now – also largely in line with Adorno’s negative dialectic – simply to be set free without even an ideal of synthesis.

In Lasserre’s words about romantic thought, “la Définition est la mort de la pensée”; we stand before a “laisser-aller infini”, and “le caractère indéterminé des représentations” is indeed, and again, “mêlé d’une sorte d’enthousiasme”. The effect of the new wave of release was of course, as ever, revolutionary, guided in the new, indirect fashion by “l’esprit de nivellement par en bas dans l’ordre de la culture”. [Le romantisme français (1907) – page number missing in my notes, but will be added when I next consult this book in the library.] But after Heidegger there were no longer any claims either to human divinity or to the spontaneous harmony consequent upon its liberation. With deconstruction, postmodern culture finally passed unambiguously beyond even the distorted remnants of what Peckham analysed in terms of the tragic vision that were still cultivated or manipulated by modernism. In this state, where all objective distinctions of reality were suspended or dissolved in the directionless process of what was originally pantheism, the whole content and meaning of art, which previously depended on these distinctions, were ultimately reduced, if not to sheer nonsense, at least to triviality.

For the distinction between romanticism before and after the complete loss of the tragic vision can be linked to a distinction Robert Pattison makes in The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism (1987) between vulgar and non-vulgar romanticism. Even rapture, ecstasy and joy, which were still goals of romantic aesthetics, are “states impossible for the vulgar pantheist. To be rapt is to be snatched from the toil of common existence and lifted to a transcendent sphere from which to view perfection. To be ecstatic is literally to stand outside of one’s self, an incomprehensible position to the solipsist.” [Op.cit. 197.]

Already Coleridge realized that these states were incompatible with pantheism: “Pantheism, Coleridge says, is ‘the inevitable result of all consequent Reasoning in which the Intellect refuses to acknowledge a higher or deeper ground than it can itself supply’. And so pantheism is for Coleridge ‘practically atheistic’ – a belief that gives us a universe in which there is no joy because there is nowhere from which it flows or toward which we can move to find it.” It is clear to Coleridge that “we cannot have the joy of Beethoven’s Ninth and the vulgarities of pantheism together”. [Ibid.] But as pantheism triumphs and takes Western culture beyond the tragic vision, mere entertainment, “fun”, is all it can reach.

Although, as Pattison shows, the same case about the pantheistic revolution could as easily be made with reference to modernist and postmodernist art, literature, and non-popular music, it is popular music that reveals most clearly, through its “vulgar” directness and simplicity, the underlying moods, attitudes and motivations of the revolution of romantic pantheism, the momentum of the deeper cultural dynamic which encompasses also the intellectual élites or pseudo-élites of radical modernism and postmodernism.

The Triumph of Vulgarity is an analysis of rock music as a quintessential product of the pantheistic revolution, where pantheism comes completely into its own. Pattison shows how the “classical moorings” of vulgarity and refinement were dislodged by the industrial and democratic world revolutions, which were “only different names for a single upheaval” that “continues today with unabated vigor”, and which Pattison chooses “for the sake of convenience” to call “by the name of its literary incarnation, Romanticism”. [Ibid. 13.] The analysis is simplified of course, but serves, as such, to reveal some essential truths inevitably obscured by the very process that is laid bare. We recognize, as had Lasserre, the “empty principle” of one main current of romantic, radical idealism:

“Fifty years after the proclamation of the First Republic, the Romantic historian Jules Michelet still wrote of the French Revolution in the present tense, translating it from the deathbed of history to the vitality of myth. ‘The revolution is nothing but a tardy reaction of justice against the government of favor and the religion of grace.’ The Empire had memorialized itself in the friezes of the Arc de Triomphe, royalty in the palaces of the Louvre, religion in the masonry of Notre Dame. And the revolotion? ‘The revolution has for her monument – empty space.’ Michelet was thinking of the Champs de Mars, where the French nation celebrated the first Quatorze Juillet in 1790 and four years later gathered under the leadership of Robespierre to solemnize the Republic in rites now directed to a new deity, the Supreme Being, who had ousted the Christian divinity of the ancien régime. But Michelet’s ‘empty space’, where the people once assembled to celebrate the overthrow of favor and grace, is also a memorial to vulgarity and Romanticism. Refinement, the mode in which favor and grace have apprehended the world, has always made a point of filling the imagined vacuum of vulgarity with reasoned civilization. The Romantic revolution proclaims that the apparent emptiness is in fact infinite energy that needs no refined tinkering. Two hundred years after the Revolution, rock, celebrating this energy, is the liturgy of a new religion of vacant monuments, the fulfillment of a devotion begun on the Champs de Mars.” [Ibid.]

Postmodernism, like the pantheism analysed by Lasserre, “ne distingue pas entre une sensibilité cultivée et une sensibilité barbare”, it is “[le] règne de la facilité”. [See my note about Lasserre’s work and page numbers above.] Pattison shows that the sophistication of the avant-garde culture of aesthetic modernism that was considered the prime vehicle of imageless Messianic utopia under twentieth century conditions, was, despite being until recently contemptuous of the “vulgar” expression of romanticism, ultimately but a different mode of articulation of the same credo of romantic pantheism, narcissism, relativism, and democratism that defined popular culture. The bearers of the élite, avant-garde culture of aesthetic modernism looked with utter disdain on the expressions of popular culture, but the vehemence of the attack could, as Pattison almost implies, to some extent have been due to embarrasment at the vulgar versions of the romantic pantheism that was really also at the heart of their own convictions.

Today, the remaining distinctions between popular culture and the intellectual élites of radical modernism that shunned the vulgar expressions of their own positions have largely collapsed. Until recently, the postmodernist thinkers, effecting the transition to the new state of subjectless subjectivism, had in the eyes of the unparalleled quantity of students in what has been termed today’s mass university, ever more completely cut off from traditional classical and Christian culture, much of the kudos of the modernist avant-garde, and preserved through the cultivation of an esoteric, jargon-laden idiom their distance from popular culture. But the import of their theories consistently contributed to the breakdown of all such residually traditional distinctions, even as the jargon itself epitomized the distance from the foundational traditions of the West.

Thus the thinkers could be seen to become themselves mere stars in the entertainment culture, seemingly setting up increasingly spectacular and shocking intellectual or pseudointellectual shows in order to attract and retain attention. The phenomenon is both chronicled and exemplified in grotesque products of this state of affairs like James Miller’s The Passion of Michel Foucault from 1993. In the progressing pantheistic universe’s dissolution of distinctions, what popular culture staged as identity experiments and gender-bending to mass audiences, the remaining, self-dissolving avant-garde preached as deconstructionist anti-essentialism. But even the distinction in form between the two substantially identical strategies was increasingly blurred.

Daniel Friberg & Joakim Andersen (red.): Höger om åsiktskorridoren

Motpol i urval 2006-2016

Arktos, 2016


friberg-andersenUnder tio års tid har tankesmedjan Motpol analyserat, kritiserat och provocerat i den svenska samhällsdebatten. Ur en mångfald av infallsvinklar har man gisslat svensk kulturrelativism, migrationspolitik, jämställdhetsiver, vänsterradikalism och nyliberalism. Samtidigt har ambitionen funnits att erbjuda alternativa perspektiv – de flesta med utgångspunkt i den traditionella, i egentlig mening konservativa, högern. Bitsk kritik har varvats med eftertänksam spekulation och halsbrytande humor, rakt argumenterande debattartiklar med sakliga och resonerande texter.

Ur det som en gång var en enkel så kallad bloggportal, har vuxit en bredare verksamhet, som genom seminarier och publikationer haft och har ett inflytande på det svenska debattklimatet som svårligen kan överdrivas. En växande skara anhängare har hyllat verksamheten, en betydligt större skara tysta sympatisörer har låtit sig influeras av den främsta intellektuella motpolen till Sveriges politiska etablissemang.

I denna bok finner läsaren ett brett urval av texter ur bloggportalen, sedermera webbtidskriften, Motpols mångfacetterade historia. Politisk analys, religionsvetenskap, filosofi och historia möter bitande satir och sarkastisk humor. Med en inledning av Motpols mest namnkunniga skribent, Joakim “Oskorei” Andersen, ett förord av författaren Lars Holger Holm och efterord av den svenska nya högerns grand old man, förlaget Arktos VD Daniel Friberg.

Höger om åsiktskorridoren kommer inte att bli årets julklapp i Sverige detta år, kanske inte heller nästa. Vilket bara ytterligare understryker hur mycket Motpol behövs.

Birger Jarlsgatan vid Roslagstull


Läser folk bloggar längre?

Den frågan ställer Alexander Kieding efter att jag ännu en gång ifrågasatt hans skrivande på Facebook. För att hålla kontakt med folk, som en avancerad adressbok och som medium för korrespondens, och, i rimlig, begränsad omfattning, för att dela viktigt material från annat håll är Facebook bra. Man kan också skriva korta kommentarer till och föra vissa diskussioner om detta som delats. Men man kan inte skriva längre eller ens kortare originaltexter där av stort sakligt och/eller litterärt värde. För en person med mycket betydande talang, beläsenhet, allmän kultur, och tillräckligt väsentligt budskap är Facebook ett ovärdigt forum. Dess censur, övervakning, reklam och vulgärkaotiska blandning av allt mellan himmel och jord och mer därtill i flödet gör det till bortkastad tid att publicera seriösa texter där. Det ger ett billigt, trashigt intryck som strider mot Kiedings värderingar. McSkriv. Allt spolas ned i tidslinjens otillgängliga förflutnas avlopp.

Jag rekommenderade, som många gånger förr, Kieding att skriva för seriösa tidskrifter, inklusive sådana som finns på nätet, och/eller att fortsätta med den blogg han en gång hade. Men Kiedings svar är alltså att ifrågasätta huruvida folk fortfarande läser bloggar. Det var ett tag sedan jag skrev något om detta ämne, och Kiedings fråga gör att jag känner mig föranledd att upprepa, variera och eventuellt på någon punkt utveckla det jag tidigare – för flera år sedan – sagt i en rad inlägg, även om dessa fortfarande är lätt tillgängliga under Uncategorized i innehållsförteckningen här.

Just detta med lättillgängligheten är mitt huvudsakliga argument för bloggen eller den individuella, personliga sajten. Jag gör ingen skillnad mellan dessa: om jag gick över från WordPress till en egen sajt skulle det inte göra någon som helst skillnad ifråga om innehåll eller ens utseende. Fortsättningsvis talar jag dock för enkelhetens skull enbart om blogg.

Jag rekommenderar blogg därför att jag helt enkelt anser det vara en tekniskt överlägsen publikationsform. Man har full kontroll över texterna och kan alltid göra rättelser och förbättringar. Texterna kan samlas på ett ställe och göras lätt tillgängliga och åtkomliga genom ett överskådligt system med kategorier och innehållsförteckning. Kommentarfälten gör kommunikation och diskussion med läsare hur lätt som helst. I alla dessa avseenden är bloggen mycket bättre än de gamla tidningarnas nätupplagor och de nya nättidningarna, nättidskrifterna o.s.v. Bloggen är också oersättlig när det gäller vissa kortare, personliga meddelanden och en del andra kortare, informella texter. Den är den enda möjliga publikationsformen för works-in-progress, s.a.s. Inte minst är den, åtminstone hittills, oersättlig för ett av mina huvudsyften, nämligen att kommunicera medels bilder och i viss mån musik i kategorin Arts. Detta är lika viktigt för mig som mina egna texter. Ja, viktigare. Ofta skriver jag texter bara för att det ser bättre ut om bilderna ligger på litet avstånd från varandra, för att skapa större mellanrum mellan dem. Men även här gäller att bloggen är överlägsen inte därför att det är avgörande att många omedelbart eller ens på sikt “läser” dem, d.v.s. ser eller hör dem, utan därför att jag vill kunna ha dem samlade och lätt tillgängliga för hänvisningar, referenser, illustrationer och exemplifieringar i olika sammanhang.

I vilken utsträckning folk läser bloggar är enligt mig en underordnad fråga. Vad det för mig handlar om är alltså detta att hålla visst material lätt tillgängligt, så att jag när som helst vid behov kan hänvisa till det, ta fram det i mobilen, skicka länkar till det, dela det i sociala media. Själv läser jag överhuvudtaget inte mycket på nätet, av samma skäl som jag inte ser på TV: jag tror att det skarpa, kalla ljuset på skärmen – som man dessutom sitter mycket närmare än TV-skärmen – i stora doser är skadligt för ögonen, hjärnan, sinnes- och tankeskärpan, koncentrationsförmågan, minnet, ja det allmänna medvetandetillståndet (mobilens – eller vad det heter – lilla skärm är litet bättre). Jag skriver helst ut de längre texter jag vill läsa och tar med dem i pappersform till läsfåtöljen. Men jag sparar ibland länkar på datorn när jag inte, som i de individuella bloggarnas eller webbplatsernas fall, alltid vet var jag lätt kan återfinna det jag läst.

När jag startade denna blogg var det främst för detta syfte att hålla material av viss typ tillgängligt. Att jag började skriva så mycket originaltexter i bloggen berodde emellertid på att mina texter faktiskt lästes i så stor utsträckning som det visade sig att de gjorde, och att responsen i kommentarer och i annan form var så överväldigande positiv. Fastän det är olämpligt att publicera sig direkt i sociala media, kan de senare alltså användas för att dela och sprida de egna bloggtexterna liksom allt annat. Kombinationen av blogg och sociala media gör, uppfattar jag det som på basis av besöksstatistiken i bloggen, att bloggtexter fortfarande läses, och såtillvida är svaret alltså ja på Kiedings fråga.

Att antalet läsare inte är avgörande för mitt eget användande av bloggen hindrar givetvis inte att man också för många syften bör försöka nå många läsare. Och för detta specifika syfte, Kiedings syfte, är utan tvekan andra publikationsformer bättre. Men här är det väl fortfarande i viss mån de traditionella tidningarna, tidskrifterna och böckerna, och inte minst de nya större nätpublikationerna som man måste inrikta sig på, trots att de i många fall delar Facebooks svagheter i vad gäller design, reklam, vulgärkaos, ja kan vara ännu värre när det gäller sammanställning på samma plats med på olika sätt svaga texter av andra – som inte är vänner som på Facebook!

Detta legitima syfte att nå många läsare gör det inte acceptabelt att publicera värdefulla originaltexter på Facebook. Där når Kieding förvisso potentiellt ett icke obetydligt antal läsare: inte bara hans egna f.n. 1000 vänner, utan även alla dem som dessa i bästa fall i sin tur delar hans inlägg med. Men i verkligheten är antalet nådda läsare förstås mycket begränsat i jämförelse med den teoretiska potentialen. Många läser helt enkelt inte texterna på Facebook av de skäl jag nämnde, och eftersom de, som jag, helt enkelt inte använder Facebook med den frekvens och regelbundenhet som skulle krävas. Och andra tar inte texterna på det allvar de förtjänar även om de läser dem där.

Det finns ingen som helst motsägelse mellan blogg och dessa andra legitima och för det stora utnåendets syfte nödvändiga publikationsformer. Det är inte bara så att bloggtexter kan publiceras även i exempelvis nättidningar, vilket har skett med några av mina, och sammanställas för utgivning i traditionell bokform, något som kontinuerligt diskuteras framför allt när det gäller mina politiska inlägg.

Det är också så att bloggens för mig viktigaste funktion, närmast som ett slags exceptionellt användarvänligt arkiv, är relevant även för det som publiceras på annat håll. Det som gör bloggen överlägsen sådan publicering är som jag nämnde att detta kan vara svårt att överblicka, hitta, och hitta tillbaka till, även när det finns på internätet. Även för dessa texter kan bloggen tjäna syftet att göra dem lätt åtkomliga genom länkar, eller, om det fortfarande är fråga om publikationer som uteslutande är tillgängliga i traditionell pappersform, åtminstone lättare tillgängliga, genom en kontinuerligt uppdaterad förteckning över dem, av vetenskaplig bibliografityp. Jag har kontinuerligt postat inlägg i respektive relevant kategori här i bloggen som signalerar när jag publicerat mig på annat håll, inte bara i tryck utan även vid konferenser, inlägg med länkar och all relevant information. Det brister fortfarande när det gäller den systematiska förteckningen på sidan Publications, där mycket saknas av det tryckta och allt saknas om konferenser, men det är ju en brist som i princip är mycket lätt avhjälpt.

För att sammanfatta: ja, bloggar läses, eller åtminstone läses min blogg i en för mig meningsfull utsträckning. Men även om den inte gjorde det – i den mening Kieding avser – vore den för mig nödvändig. Jag vill föreslå Kieding att börja skriva för seriösa publikationer, traditionella eller på nätet, där han, i enlighet med vad som är hans vilja och mål, når ut till så många som möjligt – men att han också, parallellt med det, driver en egen personlig blogg som arkiv och genväg till allt han publicerar, ja även för information om annat viktigt som han gör och som är relevant för hans budskaps, hans värdefulla reflektioners och insikters och hans goda formuleringars spridning. Och anledningen till att jag vill föreslå detta är inte minst att jag själv vill kunna läsa Kieding i annan form och på annan plats än den för hans syften och i ljuset av hans resurser och potential otillåtligt slappa och billiga fejan. Man får inte använda fejan i större utsträckning och ta den på större allvar än den förtjänar. Här riskerar disproportion att ge ett löjligt intryck. Kiedings författarskap kräver en adekvat, stilfull inramning.

Karlheinz Weißmann: Gegenaufklärung

Gedankensplitter – Notate – Sentenzen

Junge Freiheit, 2013

WeissmannVernunftbetont, ohne Vorurteile, liberal, weltoffen – wer will das nicht sein? Diese Attribute werden gemeinhin der großen geistigen Bewegung der Aufklärung zugeschrieben. Doch so einfach liegen die Dinge nicht. Die Aufklärung war auch die Geburtsstunde eines ganz unbegründeten Vertrauens in den Menschen und die Möglichkeiten seiner Welterkenntnis, einer unerfreulichen Vorstellung von sozialer Symmetrie, aller Konzepte utopischer Zwangsbeglückung und damit der Totalitarismen. Kritiker der Aufklärung – nicht aus Prinzip, sondern weil sie ihre Augen nicht vor der Wirklichkeit verschließen – teilen deswegen nicht das optimistische Menschenbild oder die Vorstellung von der Machbarkeit aller Verhältnisse. Und einige von ihnen werden zu Gegenaufklärern. So wie der Historiker Karlheinz Weißmann in diesem Buch, das 60 Kolumnen von ihm enthält, die seit 2010 in der Jungen Freiheit erschienen sind.

Karlheinz Weißmann ist zweifelsohne ein Gegen-Aufklärer: Er glaubt nicht an die Machbarkeit der Dinge, hält die Überschätzung des Menschen und seiner Vernunft für einen schweren Fehler und ist überhaupt der Auffassung, daß anthropologische Konstanten nicht ungestraft ignoriert werden können. Die Position des Gegen-Aufklärers formuliert Weißmann seit zwei Jahren als Kolumnist in der Junge Freiheit. Die ersten 60 Folgen sind im vorliegenden Band versammelt. Sie sind auch ein Tagebuch unserer Zeit.

Karlheinz Weißmann, Wikipedia

George A. Panichas & Claes G. Ryn, eds: Irving Babbitt in Our Time

CUA Press, 1986

Front Flap:

panichas-rynWell before his death in 1933, Irving Babbitt had been internationally recognized as an American literary scholar and cultural thinker of unusual intellect, learning, and insight. Literature and life, he insisted, are indivisible. The study of literature must, in effect, become a discipline of ideas and imagination: a discipline that must distinguish between the significant and the insignificant, between literature with an ethical or moral center and literature subservient to the flux of relativism.

Babbitt’s admirers include Paul Elmer More, T. S. Eliot, Louis Mercier, Gordon Keith Chalmers, Walter Lippmann, and, in a later generation, Nathan Pusey, Walter Jackson Bate, and Peter Viereck. Among his critics are Edmund Wilson, Sinclair Lewis, H. L. Mencken, Ernest Hemingway, and Allen Tate. Although not always mentioned by name, Babbitt has remained a presence in American intellectual consciousness and literary criticism. Even his critics have been indelibly affected by his ideas.

Irving Babbitt in Our Time draws together the essays of ten recognized scholars for a reconsideration and critical reassessment of his work and to demonstrate Babbitt’s relevance to contemporary criticism.


George A. Panichas & Claes G. Ryn: Introduction

Russell Kirk: The Enduring Influence of Irving Babbitt

George A. Panichas: Babbitt and Religion

Claes G. Ryn: Babbitt and the Problem of Reality

Folke Leander: Irving Babbitt and Benedetto Croce

Joseph Baldacchino: Babbitt and the Question of Ideology

Peter J. Stanlis: Babbitt, Burke and Rousseau: The Moral Nature of Man

T. John Jamieson: Babbitt and Maurras as Competing Influences on T. S. Eliot

Richard B. Hovey, Jr.: Babbitt and Contemporary Conservative Thought in America

Mary E. Slayton: Irving Babbitt: A Chronology of His Life and Major Works, 1865-1933



All original writing © Jan Olof Bengtsson
"A Self-realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good."
Ramana Maharshi