Press "Enter" to skip to content

Haffner on the burden of private liberty

“A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions, for love and hate, joy and sorrow, but also all their sensations and thrills – accompanied though they might be by poverty, hunger, death, chaos, and peril. Now that these deliveries suddenly ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful, and worthwhile, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of the political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation.” Sebastian Haffner


In the beginning was the explanation. This is not an academic blog, it is not a blog at all, but a list of disjointed remarks.  Albeit at first sight quite similar, lists differ from (b)logs in that the latter are always organised around a principle even if that is  self promotion, while the former are merely enumerations of entities, ideas, events, inanities not necessarily bound together by anything. The (b)log has its origins in the ship log book and while at first sight discrete, the entries on a log are always subject to an underlying logic. Lists on the contrary, apart from having a longer and more distinguished pedigree in the history of thought, can be and often are completely meaningless or at best truly disjointed. This then, is the first entry in my list of remarks.