May 2012

Eric Voegelin & the Divine in World History

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the greatest political theorists of the twentieth century. Along with Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) and Leo Strauss (1899-1973), he is usu-ally named as one of the three most outstanding representatives of neo-classical political philosophy. Born in Cologne, Voegelin moved to Vienna in 1910 where he received his intellectual formation, especially during the 1920s. At the time, Vienna was a kind of intellectual center of the…

Western Suttee: Against a ‘Right’ to be Killed

On March 30, 2011, a team of doctors euthanized a Belgian couple at their request. The 83-year-old man suffered from terminal prostate cancer. His 78-year-old wife, although suffering from severe rheumatism, was not terminally ill. But she did not want to live with-out her husband. This became the first official, public instance of co-euthanasia in Western Europe. The death announcement in the newspaper stated that they “choose to end it…

Otto the Great (1912-2011)

It is impossible to describe European history without mentioning the Habsburgs. From this family there came German, Spanish, Bohemian, and…

Our Western Heritage: An Interview with Robert P. George

Why is Western civilization worth studying? By any standard, the intellectual, moral, religious, political, economic, scientific, technological, artistic, architectural and literary achievements of the West are extraordinary. It would be foolish not to study them, examine their roots and explore the complex relationships among them. [S]tudents are … inheritors of these achievements. Their culture—and, thus, their lives—have been shaped by them. They deserve to understand them. And if they are…

Has Europe Lost its Soul to the Markets?

As the political leaders of Europe come together to save the euro and European Union itself, I believe the time has come for religious leaders to do likewise. The task ahead of us is not between Jews and Catholics, or even Jews and Christians, but between Jews and Christians on the one hand and the increasingly, even aggressively secularising forces at work in Europe today on the other, challenging and…

Europe’s Populist Problem

“Populism is on the rise in Europe!” That is what the mainstream media and the politicians from the established parties tell us, and they consider it to be a very worrying development. “Populist parties offer easy solutions to difficult problems,” they also say. In other words: populist politicians seek to fool the people. “Their solutions are not real solutions at all. On the contrary, they will only aggravate our social…

The Seductiveness of Ideology in Politics

At the end of my studies, back in the fifties of the last century, I thought of writing a thesis on “the anti-democratic intellectual.” The Cold War was then still very much in full swing. Many intellectuals had gone to the Soviet Union. Instead I went to East Africa to sell oil. But the subject stayed with me. After a life full of activity, I decided to write a book…