The contrast illustrates a characteristic of Lincoln’s which his biographers have never sufficiently emphasized. His mind was capable of harboring and reconciling purposes, convictions and emotions so different from one another that to the majority of his fellow-countrymen they would in anybody else have seemed incompatible. He could hesitate patiently without allowing hesitation to become infirmity of will. He could insist without allowing insistence to become an excuse for thoughtless obstinacy. He could fight without quarreling. He could believe intensely in a war and in the necessity of seeing it through without falling a victim to its fanaticism and without permitting violence and hatred to usurp the place which faith in human nature and love of truth ordinarily occupied in his mind.
When, for instance, the crisis came, and the South treated his election as a sufficient excuse for secession, he did not flinch as did Seward and other Republican leaders. He would not bribe the South to abandon secession by compromising the results of Republican victory. Neither would he, if she seceded, agree to treat secession as anything but rebellion. But although he insisted, if necessary, on fighting, he was far more considerate of the convictions and the permanent interests of the South than were the Republican leaders, who for the sake of peace were ready to yield to her demands.
Lahko rekonstruiramo genezo Zgodovencev? Na našo srečo so kolumnisti v tem smislu povsem jasni: Zgodovenci so nastali, ko so se zgodovinski Slovenci »zataknili« pri eni stvari. Ne pri desetih ali petintridesetih stvareh v preteklosti, ampak zgolj pri eni stvari, ki je niso »prebavili«, »predelali« ali »presegli«. Ostali so na neki stopnji in se pač niso premaknili naprej. Na zunaj živijo sodobna življenja, v svojem bistvu pa se vedno znova vračajo k enem problemu, v katerega se neuspešno zaletavajo in si tako razbijajo betice. Povsem logično je, da si kolumnisti niso povsem edini, kaj naj bi bila ta »stvar«, ki je ustvarila zgodovenskega belcebuba. Še največ zagovornikov imata hlapčevstvo in tlačanstvo, zanemariti ne smemo tudi majhnosti, katolištva, komunizma, revolucije, pa še kaj bi se našlo.
***Iskanje krivca za vsako stvar je zgolj obsedenost naše civilizacije, da mora biti vedno vse brez napak, da če pa gre kaj narobe, je pa nekdo kriv. Nekdo drug. Ne jaz sam. Zgoraj je, upam, naštetih dovolj “drugih”, da boste imeli lep dan.Pokaže tudi, upam, da prava debata ni o tem, kaj je krivo za poplave, ampak, kaj se da narediti, da bi bile posledice blažje.
Kritiko pri nas razumemo kot element promocije. Vsakršna kritiška refleksija, ki zazna slabosti umetniškega dela, je obravnavana kot ad hominem napad na umetnika. Kot »nesramnost«, ki si jo kritik od časa do časa »privošči«. Ko si jo, pa mora za svojo nesramnost tudi »odgovarjati«.
Osebno sem se s tem fenomenom prvič soočil, ko sem prejel prošnjo piarovske službe nekega ljubljanskega gledališča, če bi lahko naslednjo predstavo prišel ocenjevat kdo drug, ker je bil moj zapis »preveč negativističen«; še jasneje pa se mi je razkril, ko mi je na enem od festivalov ugledni gledališki ustvarjalec diskretno svetoval, naj prihodnjih nekaj sezon pišem le pozitivne kritike, ker je slovensko gledališče »trenutno res v redu«.
Gre torej za stanje duha, ki že skoraj meji na bolestni optimizem stereotipne predkrizne evforije korporativnega sveta, v kateri je vsaka negativnost šteta kot »slaba za posel«; evforije, v kateri so tiste, ki so poskušali opozarjati na rdeče številke, najrajši po hitrem postopku odpustili, češ, ne kvarite razpoloženja, dobra volja je najbolja.
Seveda si nihče ne želi, da bi grenko obračunavanje z neuspehi postalo osrednji modus slovenskega kritiškega diskurza. Navdušenje nad dosežki in presežki mora vselej preglasiti nerganje ob spodletelih podvigih. A če res želimo prve, je pač treba tudi druge vselej iskreno analizirati, ovrednotiti in poimenovati.
Mojmir Mrak je prepričan, da se bo spremenilo razumevanje narave gospodarske krize, ključno vprašanje v Evropi pa je že postalo “kako priti do neke stabilnejše obnove gospodarske rasti v pogojih, kjer je fiskalni prostor praktično zelo omejen. Cela vrsta držav – tudi Slovenija – je v situaciji, kjer drugega fiskalnega prostora ni.”
Ponekod, denimo v Grčiji, bo za rast treba najprej odpisati dolgove ali močno podaljšati njihovo ročnost. Drugod, denimo v Sloveniji, se bo treba bolj odpreti tujemu kapitalu. Privatizacija ni nujna zaradi zmanjšanja dolgov: “Osebno vidim privatizacijo bolj v kontekstu korporativnega upravljanja.” In izboljšanje upravljanja lahko pripomore k rasti.
In pa, Slovenija ob nevzdržno visokem javnem dolgu še vedno nima izgovora za opustitev proračunske konsolidacije, naše varčevanje je bilo medlo in bilo bi“nekorektno primerjati, da je naše varčevanje bilo tako drastično, kot je bilo drugod”. “Kar pa smo res naredili, je, da smo celotno varčevanje izvedli na investicijah.”
Moralo pa bi biti obratno: manj varčevanja pri investicijah in več reform, ki bi ustavile naraščanje javnih izdatkov, pravi Mrak.
Ste eden tistih ljubljanskih voznikov, ki pri zelenem semaforju najprej malo razmislijo in pogledajo, nato počasi in previdno speljejo, si pustijo razkošno varnostno razdaljo in potem zelo zelo zelo zložno pospešujejo do naslednjega križišča? Ker verjamete, da tako varčujete gorivo? Za vas imam novico – motite se. Fizikalno gledano, porabite enako energije, da od nič do 60 pospešite v petih sekundah, kot če za enak pospešek potrebujete 20 sekund.
Očitno ne veste niti tega, da taka ležernost povzroča tudi nemajhno kolateralno škodo. Če vsi speljejo po polževo, bo šlo v zelenem intervalu skozi križišče samo pet avtov namesto 10 ali 15. Postopoma se bodo naredili zastoji, križišča se bodo navzkrižno blokirala, tisoče avtomobilskih motorjev bo teklo v prazno, kurilo gorivo in povečevalo izpuste. Zapomnite si, torej: naslednjič, ko boste spet speljali takole po principu »previdnost je mati modrosti«, bo zaradi vas še en severni medvedek nekje na Arktiki izgubil bitko za preživetje, ker se mu bo zaradi globalnega segrevanja stalila njegova ledena gora.
Cijazenje prometa po naši prestolnici je metafora za naše reševanje gospodarskih težav. Strukturne reforme se vlečejo v nedogled. Sanacija bank se vleče v nedogled. Privatizacije se vlečejo v nedogled. Insolvenčni postopki se vlečejo v nedogled. Postopki zmanjševanja presežkov zaposlenih se vlečejo v nedogled. Sodni postopki se vlečejo v nedogled. Postopki prestrukturiranja podjetij se vlečejo v nedogled. Likvidnostnemu in razpoloženjskemu krču dajemo čas, da metastazira po dobaviteljskih verigah in omrežjih. Zaradi dolgotrajne negotovosti zmrznejo še porabniki in kar naenkrat ves center stoji, vsa križišča so navzkrižno blokirana, prometnikov, ki bi razčistili situacijo, pa od nikoder. Počasi se vse več ekonomskih subjektov zakrči, izgubijo voljo do iskanja dela, do iskanja podjetniških priložnosti, do investiranja in rasti. In za piko na i jih zaradi dolgotrajnega stresa zatolčejo še psihosomatske težave.
Contrary to standard definitions of sociology as an a-telic pursuit of insight and knowledge, Smith argues that sociology has an agenda, “visionary project of realizing the emancipation, equality, and moral affirmation of all human beings as autonomous, self-directly, individual agents (who should be) out to live their lives as they personally so desire, by constructing their own favored identities, entering and exiting relationship as they choose, and equally enjoying the gratification of experiential, material, and bodily pleasures” (7-8). Sociology isn’t philosophically neutral, but pursues a vision of the “good life and society” as one that “throws off the restrictive, repressive constraints placed on the gratification of individual pleasures and frees everyone to satisfy any pleasure that she or he so desires” (17).
Borrowing from the aims of Christianity, sociology unsurprisingly offers “a secular salvation story” with roots in the “Enlightenment, liberalism, Marxism, reformist progressivism, pragmatism, therapeutic culture, sexual liberation, civil rights, feminism, and so on” (20). Some sociologists are true believers; others are tacitly friendly to the project. Describing sociology in this terms has a couple of advantages: It’s sure to shock, and so has some rhetorical punch. But it also helps to explain some of the behavior that Smith describes in the book. As he shows, the reaction to sociology’s “heretics” isn’t rational discussion and dispassionate weighing of evidence.
The disintegration of the ruble is merely a symptom of something much deeper and more worrying. This is Putin digging in; this is Putin reinforcing his foxhole and preparing for the long fight ahead. He will not let go of eastern Ukraine, and he is trying to keep the reserves full so that he can survive the long fight ahead.
The problem, though, is that the pressure inside the system is rising. Food prices are jumping and, though so far, Russians mostly blame the West for their country’s economic malaise, it’s not clear how long that will last.
Far more alarming, though, is the struggle over resources that is starting to take shape among the billionaires in Putin’s orbit. In January, I quoted Elena Panfilova, now the vice president of Transparency International, who predicted that the elites will start to cannibalize themselves as they fight over a rapidly shrinking economic pie. These men are used to a certain level of income and it is one that is hard to maintain when your economy isn’t growing. At all. And so, over the last year, we’ve seen the system eat two men who were once quite close to Putin. Earlier this year, Sergei Pugachev, the man known as the “Kremlin’s banker,” fled Russia, a warrant out for his arrest. This fall, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, one of the wealthiest businessmen in Russia, was arrested. In record time, a court said that an oil company he owned actually belonged to the government, and it was gone.
Today, the positive emphasis on a war of aggression goes well with tendencies in the Russian media, where defiant declarations of Russian anti-fascism are increasingly submerged in rhetoric that may seem rather fascist. Jews are blamed for the Holocaust on national television; an intellectual close to the Kremlin praises Hitler as a statesman; Russian Nazis march on May Day; Nuremberg-style rallies where torches are carried in swastika formations are presented as anti-fascist; and a campaign against homosexuals is presented as a defense of true European civilization. In its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government has called upon the members of local and European far right groups to support its actions and spread Moscow’s version of events.
In the recent “elections” staged in the Russian-backed eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as in the earlier faked referendum in occupied Crimea, European far-right politicians have come as “observers” to endorse the gains of Russia’s war. Far from being an eccentric stunt, the invitation of these “observers” reveals why the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is meaningful to Moscow today. Although Putin would certainly have been pleased if actual German or Polish political leaders were foolish enough to take the bait of agreeing to a new division of Europe, he seems satisfied for the moment with the people who have actually responded, in one way or another, to his appeal to destroy the existing European order: separatists across Europe (including the UK Independence Party, whose leader, Nigel Farage, calls Putin the world leader he most admires); anti-European right-wing populist parties (of which the most important is France’s National Front); as well as the far-right fringe, including neo-Nazis.
Zionism, which did not undergo a metamorphosis in 1948 and did not desist in 1967, became a kind of revolution-in-progress and thereby became like the other revolutions-in-progress of the 20th century. It forged a situation that a liberal democrat cannot live with and cannot accept. This is a situation that cannot endure indefinitely.
I will tell you where you differ from the Zionist left. For most of us, the key concept is the “State of Israel.” As we see it, the Zionist enterprise was intended to bring into being a place where the Jewish people would constitute the majority and enjoy sovereignty. If there is no majority, there is no sovereignty and no democratic-Jewish state; there is no point to all this. It’s more convenient to live as a minority in Manhattan. But for you the basic concept is the “Land of Israel.” In that sense, you resemble the right wing and the Palestinians. You have a soil fetish. You come from the soil and you live the soil and you speak in the name of the soil.
It’s true that I live the story of the soil. I live the whole land and I am mindful of all the people who live here. That is how I know that the land cannot tolerate partition. And I know the land is hurting. The land is angry. After all, what two great monuments have we built here in the past decade? One is the separation fence and the other is [architect Moshe] Safdie’s terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport. The two monuments have something in common: they are intended to allow us to live here as though we are not here. They were built so that we would not see the land and not see the Palestinians, and live as though we are connected to the tail end of Italy. But I see all the fruit groves that were demolished in order to build the fence. I hear the hills that were sliced in two in order to build the fence. The heart weeps. The heart weeps in the name of the soil. For me, the soil is a living being. And I see how this conflict has tortured the soil, the homeland. I grieve for the torments of the homeland.
Why was the South so well suited to fill the demand for congenial Catholic voices? The standard explanation holds that their inability to retreat to insular, self-sufficient “ghettos” made Southern Catholics more appealing on the national scene. Forced to find their way in a largely non-Catholic world, they grew adept at expressing their moral vision in terms accessible to outsiders. The flowering of Catholic fiction in the mid-twentieth century bore witness to this dynamic. Readers who wished to penetrate the inner workings of a self-contained parochial universe could listen to the musings of J. F. Powers’ upper-Midwestern clerics. Those who wanted to explore broader applications of Catholic soteriology attended to the harsh twang of Flannery O’Connor’s “good country people” or the more gentlemanly drawls of Walker Percy’s cosmic wanderers. In political matters, meanwhile, the Southern Catholic voice remained optimistic about the basic congruity of civic aims and Christian commitments. It was yet another South Carolinian, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who emerged as the Church’s leading architect of moderation and consensus amid our late-century culture wars.
According to Bromwich, Burke’s importance must be understood in terms of a theological crisis in the late 18th century. This was, Bromwich tells us, the crisis of “secularization.” In the old Thomist view of politics, the state was a practical extension of the moral law. But in Burke’s day, Bromwich explains, this vision of politics had become increasingly untenable. In its absence, what arguments could be levied against the Machiavellian image of politics as an amoral arena in which statesmen recognize only the dictates of power and prestige? If statesmen are to obey gods higher than the will to power or the logic of the market, then in the wake of religion’s collapse a new justification for political morality is needed. This is what Bromwich thinks he has found in Burke.
Again and again Bromwich repeats Burke’s mantra that “the principles of true politics are those of morality enlarged, and I neither now do nor ever will admit of any other.” For Burke, he argues, political morality was grounded in the natural human ability to empathize with one’s fellow man. Rather than divine command, Burkean morality is based on human psychology.