Tolstoj in napoleoni sodobnega naprednjaštva

Nedolgo nazaj sem si na TV Slovenija po naključju ogledal oddajo o novi gledališki priredbi slavnega Tolstojevega romana Ana Karenina. Oddaja, ki jo bila s tehničnega stališča sicer čisto spodobno pripravljena, me je nekoliko presenetila z razumevanjem romana, kot so ga predstavili gostje (igralci in režiser). Glavna junakinja Ana je bila predstavljena kot ženska  pred svojim časom, kot žrtev tradicionalne spolne morale, žrtev zavrte družbe, skratka kot prototip zatirane ženske v meščansko-plemiškem okolju. Nikomur nimam namena odrekati lastnega razumevanja literarnega dela, a dejstvo je, da tako ideološko branje klasikov, ki niti nima dobre podlage v samem tekstu, kaže na izrazito krizo sodobnega kulturnega in intelektualnega »establishmenta«, ki je postal žrtev popolne prevlade levičarsko-progresivne paradigme.

Od smešnega Napoleona …

Ustavimo se najprej pri samem Tolstoju in njegovih delih. Ruskega pisatelja je povprečnemu dijaku slovenski šolski sistem vbil v glavo kot avtorja dveh velikih romanov, absolutnih klasikov svetovne literature: Vojne in mir ter Ane Karenine. Sam sicer nisem nikakršen strokovnjak za Tolstojevo literaturo (oba romana sem prebral le enkrat in še to že v svojih gimnazijskih letih), a že iz te izkušnje mi je jasno, da Ana Karenina gotovo ni delo, ki bi ga morali razumeti kot nekakšen predmoderni feministični manifest. Ravno nasprotno, drznem si trditi, da se v obeh svojih velikih delih mojster iz Jasne Poljane kaže kot konservativec par exellence.

"Nepozabno je avtorjevo slikanje francoskega cesarja, tedaj absolutnega gospodarja Evrope, kot pravzaprav komične figure, ki si v svoji aroganci domišlja, da resnično usmerja tok zgodovine. "

“Nepozabno je avtorjevo slikanje francoskega cesarja, tedaj absolutnega gospodarja Evrope, kot pravzaprav komične figure, ki si v svoji aroganci domišlja, da resnično usmerja tok zgodovine. “

Vojna in mir je tako denimo predvsem delo, ki bi ga lahko še najbolje označili kot »polemiko« proti Zahodu. Ena izmed njegovih osrednjih tem je namreč Napoleonova invazija Rusije ter boj ruskega ljudstva proti osvajalcu. Boj Zahoda proti Vzhodu torej, kar Tolstoj pogosto poudarja v resnici na ljubo dolgih in mučnih filozofskih pasusih. Zahod, ki ga uteleša Napoleon, je individualističen, materialističen ter predvsem ignorantski. Nepozabno je avtorjevo slikanje francoskega cesarja, tedaj absolutnega gospodarja Evrope, kot pravzaprav komične figure, ki si v svoji aroganci domišlja, da resnično usmerja tok zgodovine. Kljub svoji vojaški premoči doživi katastrofalen poraz proti ruski deželi, predvsem pa proti ruskemu ljudstvu. Moč slednjega izvira iz duhovne globine in modrosti, ki jo pooseblja preprost kmet Platon Karatajev. V ospredju so sicer junaki iz najvišjega, plemiškega, razreda ruske družbe, katerih zmožnost za odrešenje pa leži prav v povezanosti z ljudstvom in domovino. Tako nemoralna in zahodnemu načinu življenja popolnoma predana Hélène in njen brat Anatol propadeta, uspejo pa osebe, ki se zmorejo vrniti k »tradicionalnim vrednotam.« To so predvsem Nataša, njen brat Nikolaj in njegova žena Marja ter seveda Pierre Bezuhov. Duhovno odrešitev pred smrtjo najde tudi Andrej Bolkonski. V tem kontekstu moramo razumeti tudi strupen odnos do jezuitov, slednji namreč predstavljajo racionalistični in hipokritski zahodni vdor v pristno rusko krščansko religioznost. V veliki ruski intelektualni debati 19. stoletja med prozahodnimi intelektualci in slovanofili zaseda torej Vojna in mir gotovo častno mesto na slovanofilski strani.

… do nesrečne Ane

Na sicer bistveno drugačen način pravzaprav podobno misel izraža tudi Ana Karenina. Slednja je na prvi pogled res zgodba, ki pripoveduje o tragičnem spopadu med usodno ljubeznijo Ane ter Vronskega in rigidno, hipokritsko plemiško družbo. A sam roman je bistveno bolj prefinjen. Ana je res ujeta v nesrečen zakon, a njeno iskanje izpolnitve v strastno-romantičnem razmerju z Vronskim, kateremu je pripravljena žrtvovati vse, tudi stik s svojim otrokom, ni predstavljeno kot prava pot k rešitvi. Ne ker tega ne bi dopuščala družba, temveč ker samo po sebi ne more predstavljati resničnega temelja za srečno in izpolnjeno življenje. Za neuspeh Aninega zakonolomskega razmerja ni bistveno nasprotovanje konservativne družbe, razmerja se upeha in končno izživi iz svoje lastne dinamike. Ana je tako bolj kot žrtev družbe, žrtev lastnih strasti.

Poleg tega avtor kot protipol Aninemu iskanju sreče v roman postavi svoj alter-ego, Konstantina Levina. Slednji po burni in razuzdani mladosti (ki spominja na Tolstojevo), neuspešnih poskusih utopičnega kmetovanja s svojimi kmeti ter filozofsko-religioznega iskanja smisla končno najde svoj notranji mir v družinskem življenju z ljubljeno Kitty. Izpostaviti moramo, da njuno razmerje nikakor ni strastno-romantično, je resnična ljubezen, ki pozna napake sozakonca (Kitty je tako npr. globoko prizadeta, ko ji Levin pred poroko da brati svoje mladostne dnevnike; Levinovo prvo snubitev Kitty zavrne, ker je zagledana v Vronskega itd.), a jih sprejema ter odpušča. V normalnem družinskem življenju se Levinu nato končno povrne tudi vera v Boga.

Pri vsem tem seveda ni bistveno, da je Vojna in mir slaba zgodovina, bistveno je, da je ta vidik dela slovenskemu dijaku, ki sam ne poseže po epopeji, v šoli, ki naj bi vendarle vodila v razvoj kritičnega mišljenja na vseh področjih, popolnoma nepredstavljen. Prav tako ni bistveno, da obstajajo še številni drugačni vidiki branja Anine zgodbe. Ne trdim namreč, da sem v zgornjih odstavkih zajel vso bistvo obeh romanov, a sem prepričan, da pravkar napisano predstavlja smiseln način branja, ki ima trdno podlago v samem besedilu.

Za konec

Kot je bilo že omenjeno, nikakor nimam namena komurkoli odrekati pravice do lastnega razumevanja literarnega dela. Seveda lahko režiser Ano Karenino predstavi kot prototip feministične borke za pravice žensk. A povsem drugo vprašanje je, koliko podpore ima tako branje v dejanskem tekstu. In tu nastopi problem. V sodobnih kulturnih in intelektualnih krogih uživa levičarsko-progresivna paradigma tako hegemonijo, da preprosto ne zmore razumeti, da bi kateri izmed priznanih klasikov svetovne literature izražal ideje in vrednote, ki niso skladne z njenim lastnim pogledom na svet. To pa vodi v izrazito ideološko branje, kjer v tekstu iščemo predvsem to, kar želimo najti. Po eni strani je to seveda slabo za vsakega bralca in obiskovalca kulturnih prireditev, ki je tako prikrajšan za izrazito večplastno izkušnjo, ki mu jo lahko nudi vrhunska literatura, po drugi strani pa je to slabo za samo levičarsko kulturno elito. Slednja, prepričana, da poseduje vso modrost tega sveta ter da mukoma usmerja tok zgodovine v razsvetljeno prihodnost, deluje pravzaprav smešno. Kot Napoleon.

Tedenski izbor

subway-reading

Sprašujem se, kam bomo prišli, če bodo duhovniki med najsvetejšim obredom licitirali za stranke. To ni v skladu z doktrino Cerkve v odnosu do politike. Tudi, če bi hodili v Cerkev pripadniki samo ene stranke, bi bil proti temu, da se med evangelijem in povzdigovanjem daje politična navodila, kaj šele pod pretnjo greha. Ne samo zato, ker temu nasprotuje Cerkev sama in ker ne maram, da se razodeta resnica meša s političnim interesom. Vprašljivo se mi zdi, z duhovno avtoriteto v času govornega monopola (med mašo), pozivati politično različne vernike k  strankarski podpori. Duhovnik tudi nima pooblastila govoriti v imenu vernikov o strankarskih zadevah – ne samo pri maši. Nekateri so me takoj obtožili, da oporekam duhovnikom pravico do mnenja. Seveda so duhovniki politična bitja z vsemi pravicami, potrebno pa je razlikovati, kaj je delo za vrednote, za pravico in poštenje, za politiko v širšem smislu, kaj pa opredeljevanje za stranko in aktivizem zanjo. Eno je menje, volilno navodilo pa je nekaj bistveno drugega.

Intervju z Lojzetom Peterletom – Jani Drnovšek, Časnik

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Mogoče so hoteli predstavniki katoliške hierarhije nenadoma pokazati, da so bili ves čas na pravi strani poosamosvojitvene zgodovine. Bojim se namreč, da bi pogled od blizu velikokrat pokazal nezdravo navezanost na Cerkvi morda nenaklonjene, a z realno močjo obložene sile. Loščenje te nelepe podobe pa, kot kaže, ni bilo učinkovito. V javnosti je samo še okrepilo že tako zakoreninjeno prepričanje, da sodijo vsi katoličani na desno in k Janši. Čeravno ne prvo in še zlasti ne drugo ni nikdar držalo.

Izlet v Libanon – Aleš Maver, Časnik

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Calling on conservatives to write fiction in order to regain power by shaping the moral imagination, as Bellow seems to claim, would, in my view, repeat the errors of the later avant-garde and progressives who came to view art as a weapon in class struggle. This attitude toward art always leads to art becoming a mere tool, a mere means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Bellow tries to distinguish between the “the original counterculture” and a counterculture that “was hijacked and turned into a vehicle for progressive politics,” but I don’t buy this. The problem with Bellow’s approach, as Rod [Dreherremarked two weeks ago, is that it would most likely lead to ideologically “pure” but bad work.

Politics and Literature – Micah Mattix, The American Conservative

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The real foes of conservatism are not socialism and liberalism, but the reactionary and innovating mentalities. Neither the reactionary nor the innovator share the joie de vivre of the conservative mind—its natural inclination to rejoice in and savor what is. They are restless and tormented if things are not in a state of perpetual flux, if “progress” is not being made either backward toward an imagined age of innocence, or forward toward an imagined age of future liberation. If nothing is changing, then nothing is happening. Reactionaries and innovators eschew what Oakeshott calls the conservative mind’s “cool and critical” attitude toward change, advocating instead a radical overhaul of society and its refashioning in the image of a golden age which is either imagined to have existed in the past or lusted after as a possible future.

The Twilight of Conservatism – Aaron Taylor, Ethika Politika

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Since the conflict in eastern Ukraine began, Russian propaganda has sought to portray it as a civil war, an internecine Ukrainian conflicta formulation that was a comfortable dissimulation for many European democracies that wanted to avoid disrupting their economic relations with Russia. With the downing of MH17, the fighting in eastern Ukraine has been globalized into a war that has claimed the lives of western Europeans, Asians, and North Americans. It has place under unprecedented international scrutiny Russia’s central role as the backbone of the fighting in Eastern Ukraine and has stripped the mask off Russian subterfuge and propaganda.

The Malaysia Airlines Disaster Is Vladimir Putin’s Lockerbie Bombing – Adrian Karatnycky, The New Republic

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The Economist editors want to put the liberal state on a starvation diet. Theirs is a diagnosis that identifies symptoms, but if applied as policy medicine might just kill the patient. The problem needs to be understood differently. The modern state may be too large in some areas, like the US military, because legacy commitments have not been examined in the light of emerging strategic requirements; or because, in a few countries, still powerful public sector unions retain a hammerlock on human resource budgets; or in others because predatory elected elites are siphoning revenues into their own pockets. But in other liberal states, honest and well-administered governments are staggering along without the resources to provide citizens with valuable and needed services.

Are the Authoritarians Winning? – Micheal Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books

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What lessons does Switzerland offer? A strong doctrine of subsidiarity, whereby tasks should be done at the lowest possible level of government. Cantons have ceded powers to the confederation piecemeal (its right to raise taxes must be reviewed periodically), but have also devolved them to communes. All three levels of government have taxation powers and provisions for issues to be decided by referendum. German economists also point to Switzerland’s mechanisms to control public spending and enforce a no-bail-out rule. The big difference, though, is that cantons have drafted their own balanced-budget rules and voters have forced similar ones on the confederation. The euro zone imposed too much austerity on troubled countries, but Switzerland has shown that running surpluses and paying back debt in good times creates more scope to respond in a crisis.

Hail Helvetia: Some Swiss lessons for the Euro zone – The Economist

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Barring minor adjustments, the Orban project proceeds steadily. The prime minister has centralised power to a degree unprecedented since the collapse of communism. A report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe notes that, though there was a “diverse choice” of parties at April’s election, Fidesz benefited from “restrictive campaign regulations, biased media coverage and campaign activities that blurred the separation between political party and state”.

Some accuse Mr Orban of looking admiringly east at the state-controlled crony capitalism of the former Soviet Union. Certainly, there is talk on the nationalist right, from Fidesz to the far-right Jobbik, of the decline of the West. The government has boosted Hungary’s trade links with Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Between Brussels and Russia – The Economist 

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Traditionally, moral thinking about war is divided into two broad questions. First, we ask whether the decision to go to war was a moral one.In doing so, we ask: Are the reasons for the war morally compelling? Were less-destructive alternatives considered and pursued?

For Israel, the first question seems easier to answer. Few would deny that, in principle, Israel’s war with Hamas is both just and necessary. Israel acts on the most clear justification possible: self-defense after days of restraint, warnings, and pleasas rockets continued to land on its cities and later, as militants sprang from tunnels to kill its citizens. Ceasefires have been offered, but Hamas has rejected them. And whatever criticisms one may have of Israel’s failures to midwife an effective and peaceful alternative to Hamas (and I have many), these do not undermine the fundamental justice of this self-defense.

But there is also a second, larger question: How should wars be fought? And here, Israel runs into a problem.

Israel’s Deadly Invasion of Gaza Is Morally Justified – Yishai Schwartz, The New Republic

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Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial, infinitely more subtle than the David Irving version with its clunking body counts and quibbles over gas-chamber capability and chimney sizes. Instead of saying the Holocaust didn’t happen, the modern sophisticated denier accepts the event in all its terrible enormity, only to accuse the Jews of trying to profit from it, either in the form of moral blackmail or downright territorial theft. According to this thinking, the Jews have betrayed the Holocaust and become unworthy of it, the true heirs to their suffering being the Palestinians. Thus, here and there throughout the world this year, Holocaust day was temporarily annulled or boycotted on account of Gaza, dead Jews being found guilty of the sins of live ones.

Anti-Semitism? Absolutely not. It is “criticism” of Israel, pure and simple.

Let’s see the ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it really is – Howard Jacobson, The Independent

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From the classical Muslim perspective, the dhimma reflects the fact that Christians, as the recipients of an earlier, incomplete revelation, merit some protection and communal autonomy. But there is a price. The jizya and the many dhimma restrictions are meant to keep Christians in their place and provide a salutary incentive for them to convert to Islam.

By last week, most Christians in Mosul had already taken a fourth option—evacuation. Their departure marks the end of a continuous Christian tradition in Mosul. For thousands of years, Mosul has been a center for Christians, particularly for Assyrians, an ethnic group that predates the Arab conquest of Mesopotamia. Indeed, the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, where the Prophet Jonah preached, lies across the Tigris River. Christianized in apostolic times, Assyrians have divided over the centuries into a number of communions that reflect the history of the religion: the Assyrian Church of the East, a small body, historically associated with Nestorianism, which once spread as far as China; the Syriac Orthodox Church, a member of the Oriental Orthodox family; and the Chaldean-rite Catholic Church, in communion with Rome. A small number of Assyrian Protestant churches exist as well, the legacy of nineteenth-century American missionaries.

As recently as a decade ago, tens of thousands of Christians lived in Mosul, some of them descendents of victims of the genocide the Ottoman Empire perpetrated against Assyrians, as well as Armenians and Greeks, during World War I. After this weekend, virtually none remain.

A Line Crossed in the Middle East – Mark Movsesian, First Things

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In What Is Marriage? my coauthors and I try to present these traditions’ central insight in the thesis that what makes a marriage (and provides the intelligible grounds of its structuring norms) is comprehensive union. We begin by noting that any voluntary bond is created by common action—by cooperative activity, defined by common goods, in the context of commitment. The activities and goods build up the bond and determine the commitment it requires. Then we argue that the kind of union created by marriage is comprehensive in just these ways: in (a) how it unites persons, (b) what it unites them with respect to, and (c) how extensive a commitment it demands. That is, it unites two people (a) in their most basic dimensions, in mind and body; (b) with respect to procreation, family life, and its broad domestic sharing; and (c) permanently and exclusively.

You contend that same-sex partners could be united in just these ways. But clarifying each will show that they cannot be—unless we so stretch the criteria as to erase any principled difference between marriage and companionship.

Contrasting Views on Marriage: the Need for a Defining Principle – Robert P. George, Public Discourse 

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Sanjam o družbeno angažiranem mecenu, ki se bo, kot so to počeli pametni in etični bogati gospodje v 19. stoletju, odločil kupiti enega izmed obstoječih ali pa – precej bolj logično – ustanoviti svoj medij, s katerim bo »izpolnil svojo moralno dolžnost«.

Sanjam o internetnem dnevnem časopisu, ki bi imel svojo tedensko tiskano izdajo v obliki bogatega, s kontekstom, vrhunskimi reportažami, analizami in intervjuji napolnjenega magazina, katerega vsaka številka bi bila posvečena le eni sami temi.

Sanjam zagnane, zagrizene, etične in že skoraj do roba norosti razgledane in vedoče sodelavce in sodelavke, s katerimi bi dnevno izmenjavali tako funkcije – v resnih ekipah mora vsak igralec dobro igrati vsaj na treh ali štirih pozicijah – kot informacije in ideje.

Koliko je ura v resnici? – Boštjan Videmšek, Pogledi

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Bonus za tiste, ki berete italijansko: članek ob 22. letnici umora tožilca Paola Borsellina:

“L’equivoco su cui spesso si gioca è questo: si dice quel politico era vicino ad un mafioso, quel politico è stato accusato di avere interessi convergenti con le organizzazioni mafiose, però la magistratura non lo ha condannato, quindi quel politico è un uomo onesto. E NO! questo discorso non va, perché la magistratura può fare soltanto un accertamento di carattere giudiziale, può dire: beh! Ci sono sospetti, ci sono sospetti anche gravi, ma io non ho la certezza giuridica, giudiziaria che mi consente di dire quest’uomo è mafioso. Però, siccome dalle indagini sono emersi tanti fatti del genere, altri organi, altri poteri, cioè i politici, le organizzazioni disciplinari delle varie amministrazioni, i consigli comunali o quello che sia, dovevano trarre le dovute conseguenze da certe vicinanze tra politici e mafiosi che non costituivano reato ma rendevano comunque il politico inaffidabile nella gestione della cosa pubblica. Questi giudizi non sono stati tratti perché ci si è nascosti dietro lo schermo della sentenza: questo tizio non è mai stato condannato, quindi è un uomo onesto. Ma dimmi un poco, ma tu non ne conosci di gente che è disonesta, che non è stata mai condannata perché non ci sono le prove per condannarla, però c’è il grosso sospetto che dovrebbe, quantomeno, indurre soprattutto i partiti politici a fare grossa pulizia, non soltanto essere onesti, ma apparire onesti, facendo pulizia al loro interno di tutti coloro che sono raggiunti comunque da episodi o da fatti inquietanti, anche se non costituenti reati”.

Paolo Borsellino: “Chi ha paura muore ogni giorno, chi non ha paura muore una volta sola” – Beniamino Andrea Piccone, Linkiesta

Tedenski izbor

Men Reading Newspapers in London