Download After 1989: Morals, Revolution and Civil Society by Ralf Dahrendorf PDF

By Ralf Dahrendorf

The essays assembled during this quantity are a considerate and full of life statement on Europe after the revolution of 1989. needs to revolutions fail? definitely, the open society has its personal difficulties, now not least that of electorate looking for that means. the nice Society has to sq. the circle of prosperity, civility and liberty. Social technology will help us comprehend what has to be performed, and intellectuals have a accountability to start up and accompany swap. All this increases questions for Europe which expand a ways past the all too slim confines of the eu Union.

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This may be asking too much, though among the young, Habermas's contribution can hardly be overrated. One could return the concept, however, to its original meaning which has to do with pride in the spirit of the laws and the institutions created in its name. One cannot and should not love governments, but I suppose it is possible to feel great affection for a particular way of separating powers, and of enabling and controlling them at the same time. Citizens in Search of Meaning 33 And yet, constitutional patriotism remains a Kopfgeburt, a thing of the mind, not of the heart.

Perhaps I may be allowed to single out Raymond Aron, who was my mentor and friend. More than ever do I admire his ability to steer a course of reason - of good-humoured reason at that - through the temptations of a century which would have tested even St Antony of Egypt. It took courage, courage of mind and of heart, to walk the lonely path ofliberty and sheer good sense when all your friends fell under the spell of one or the other of the ideologies of the time. We are fortunate in Oxford in having among us one of the few for whom this has remained true throughout, Isaiah Berlin.

For another thing, Toynbee was not only what some in this college call, 'Chatham Housey', indeed the Director of Studies at the Royal Institute ofInternational Affairs and thus close to the fashions of today, but his dominant concern was to discover pattern and significance in widely disparate events. When I leafed through my copy of the abridged Study ofHistory (given to me by Captain Brian Luxton, an officer in the British Forces, as part of the 're-education' of a young German after the war), I found tucked away in the back the notes which I made while listening to a lecture by Arnold Toynbee in Hamburg on 1 November 1949.

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