Recent quotes:

Polarization in Poland: A Warning From Europe - The Atlantic

Lenin’s one-party state was based on different values. It overthrew the aristocratic order. But it did not put a competitive model in place. The Bolshevik one-party state was not merely undemocratic; it was also anticompetitive and antimeritocratic. Places in universities, civil-service jobs, and roles in government and industry did not go to the most industrious or the most capable. Instead, they went to the most loyal. People advanced because they were willing to conform to the rules of party membership. Though those rules were different at different times, they were consistent in certain ways. They usually excluded the former ruling elite and their children, as well as suspicious ethnic groups. They favored the children of the working class. Above all, they favored people who loudly professed belief in the creed, who attended party meetings, who participated in public displays of enthusiasm. Unlike an ordinary oligarchy, the one-party state allows for upward mobility: True believers can advance. As Hannah Arendt wrote back in the 1940s, the worst kind of one-party state “invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.”

The Cultural Axis | by Robert O. Paxton | The New York Review of Books

The word “international” acquired a special meaning in its usage by Nazi and Fascist cultural officials. The Allies’ international cultural associations had rested on a set of liberal democratic assumptions: that works of art and literature should be evaluated by universal standards of quality; that masterpieces were the product of individual creativity; and that no national culture deserved hegemony over another. The Nazi and Fascist dictators reversed all of these assumptions. They measured the merit of works of art and literature by their significance within unique national cultural traditions. Masterpieces, in their view, grew out of community roots. And national cultural traditions were ranked in a natural hierarchy, with the German and Italian ones at the top. Hitler concerned himself with cultural matters as soon as he became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. He purged the German section of PEN International of “leftist” and Jewish writers. When PEN International protested, Hitler dissolved the German section altogether at the end of 1933. During this dispute the president of the Italian PEN club, the provocateur Futurist intellectual Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, supported the German position. Thus from the earliest days, Nazi cultural projects proved capable of enlisting foreign support.

Met Police face 'monster' security operation as Donald Trump insists on golden carriage procession during visit | London Evening Standard

The White House has reportedly made it clear that the President expects the traditional state welcome of a carriage procession down the Mall with Her Majesty. But security officials in London have warned that it would prove difficult to secure the area and will require an operation far greater than any other recent state visit. According to a report in The Times, President Trump is adamant that he want the procession to be a part of his State visit – due to take place in October – despite his predecessor opting for a less traditional vehicle.

Heartless capitalism

One thing I want to make sure of, if you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West. They were either active participants in the Jewish faith, they were active participants in the Christians’ faith, and they took their beliefs, and the underpinnings of their beliefs was manifested in the work they did. And I think that’s incredibly important and something that would really become unmoored. I can see this on Wall Street today — I can see this with the securitization of everything is that, everything is looked at as a securitization opportunity. People are looked at as commodities. I don’t believe that our forefathers had that same belief.

Meet The Philosopher Who’s A Favorite Of Steve Bannon And Mussolini - Culture – Forward.com

If this weren’t bad enough, throughout the talk Bannon pines for the days of “enlightened capitalism” informed by “Judeo-Christian values.” When were these days exactly? Bannon stipulates the years preceding World War One. You know, the years of King Leopold II, of the Herero Genocide, of the Homestead Massacre, of murderous factory conditions – the enlightened years.

Suzanne Nossel: Donald Trump’s Assault on the Enlightenment | Foreign Policy

Trump’s declaration of war on the arts and humanities must be seen in the context of his repudiation of the American ideals — grounded in the Enlightenment — of self-expression, knowledge, dissent, criticism, and truth. These proposals are an early effort to entrench within the machinery of the U.S. government his elemental disdain for intellectuals, analysts, and experts. Seen this way, they deserve to be rejected even by conservatives who have gleefully targeted these agencies in the past. If Donald Trump makes our venerable federal arts and humanities agencies disappear, it will represent a victory for his illiberal agenda, one conservatives and liberals must unite to defeat.

Donald Trump’s Assault on the Enlightenment | Foreign Policy

The principles that Trump aims to defeat include the bedrock tenets of the Enlightenment and of American democracy — that rational thought, informed debate, and measured discourse form the basis of good government.

Dostoyevsky and Russia's soul

Dostoevsky, who traveled widely in Europe but was suspicious of it, despised passionately the revolutionaries and their desired revolution. He spent the 1860s and 1870s obsessing over Russia’s looming confrontation with itself. His four most important works (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov) are not simply novels, but rather dystopian warnings about what would happen if Russia did not return to its pre-Petrine origins.