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Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism; Preparing men who believe everything is possible and nothing true, to be both executioner and victim

  • By: Lars Benthin
  • “The truth is that the masses grew out of the fragments of a highly atomized society whose competitive structure and concomitant loneliness of the individual had been held in check only through membership in a class. The chief characteristic of the mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships.”
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    Heritage and embezzlement: EU spends millions on cheap plastic renovation of Bulgarian castle

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Unfortunately, the builders used “alternative” materials for some of the restoration giving the restored fortress wall and gate a ‘plastic’ look. Thus, the restoration of the Krakra Fortress has become notorious among Bulgaria’s archaeological restorations, with critics claiming that the EU money was likely embezzled by local politicians and/or construction entrepreneurs who used cheap plastic instead of proper materials.”
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    Essay – What’s this thing called ‘Identity Politics’?

  • By: Willem Jan Hilderink
  • There are some characteristics that most if not all forms of identity politics share. These are 1) a peculiar relationship between the self and the collective, 2) a tendency to measure marginalisation, 3) a strong focus on the concept of power and 4) the lack of some utopian vision. Let’s go through these characteristics one by one.
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    Eva V: How the Left keeps sabotaging actual debate by using three tactics

  • By: Eva Vlaardingerbroek
  • However, when the realisation that you were being serious dawns on them, they assume that what you say is not what you actually think. You could not possibly have come up with these ideas yourself. And kind as they are, they begin to offer you a cure: ‘’if you just read this book, or listen to this person on youtube, or read this study…All order will be restored.”
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    Summary: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation’s final episode – The age of Industry to the age of the Atom

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Although he sees much that is threatening, Clark seems to still be positive about this, our era. Almost fifty years later, it is hard to share some of his positive ideas, whereas some of the negatives aren’t as heavy on our mind as they were before the end of the Cold War. But Clark’s idea, that “it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation,” is stronger than ever.
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    Summary: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation Part 12 – After Christianity died, what became the prime civilising force in Europe?

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • If Christianity is dead, and the Romantic Movement killed it, what, if anything, has replaced it as the prime civilising force in Europe? What has civilisation gained or lost in the process? Clark touches on this question in passing, when he criticises the 19th-century bourgeoisie, but then asks what the mocking Romantics could put in place of middle-class morality when “they themselves were still in search of a soul.” This is the hole left in Clark’s narrative, the hole in the French Revolution that it sought, in vain, to fill with a religion that never took root.
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    Summary: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation Part 11 – The Worship of Nature

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark, rather cleverly, sums up Rousseau’s philosophy in the sentence “I feel therefore I am,” calling it a “curious discovery to have been made in the middle of the Age of Reason.” He connects it to David Hume’s work, before noting how Rousseau’s beliefs were extended from nature to man. Rousseau believed that natural man was virtuous, a belief that soon came to be widely accepted. Clark mentions and quotes three detractors of the idea, but it is fair to say that the belief that nature is somehow virtuous, while man is not, is still popular.
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    Introducing TOC’s new reporter Eva V – A fresh common sense view on European culture

  • By: Eva Vlaardingerbroek
  • This was one of the first times I hit my head hard against the wall of political correctness that is present in our institutions, universities and our media. Certain opinions, but also entire topics, seem to be off-limits. Any form of criticism directed at immigration, the multicultural society, third/fourth wave feminism, and the European Union, is dangerous territory. With the risk of, at the very least, receiving the usual tiring labels: racist, fascist, nazi, xenophobe etc, the debate is silenced. With this political cramp, it is no surprise to me that a growing number of people are sick of it, and are starting to push back.
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    Summary: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation Part 10 – The Smile of Reason

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark mentions a “sudden consciousness of feminine qualities,” of which he says

    “I think it absolutely essential to civilisation that the male and female principle be kept in balance. In eighteenth-century France, the influence of women was, on the whole, benevolent; and they were the creators of that curious institution of the eighteenth century, the salon.”

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    Mythology: Who is Loki, and why was he such a bloody nuisance?

  • By: Robert Ossenblok
  • According to Norse mythology, the wickedness and evil in the world is created by Loki and his offspring. Who are his children? Well, there is Hel, Goddess of the underworld. Yes, the term ‘hell’ is indeed a pagan term absorbed into Christianity. Then there’s Fenrir, a massive wolf that will fight and kill Odin. And the great serpent Jǫrmungandr that is wrapped around the world – it would appear the Vikings knew very well the world was a globe. There is also Sleipnir, a mythical eight-legged horse that Odin rode on. This horse is perhaps Loki’s only child that is not some sort of representation of evil.
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    Marcus Tullius Cicero – A Roman patriot Stoic rooted in a Universalist Greek philosophy

  • By: Richard Cunningham
  • Cicero, his Roman contemporary Cato the Younger, and his Roman philosophical successors, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, went some way to developing Latin Stoicism, which stood some distance from its Greek predecessor, tempered as it was with Roman values and martial culture, which in an imperial, militaristic power such as Rome, was quite different to that of the intellectual, comfortable lives of many Athenian Greek philosophers.
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