Raymond Aron is often considered the greatest French liberal thinker of the twentieth century. Yet the question concerning the nature of Aron's liberalism is far from clear. Many scholars often argue that Aron's liberalism grew out of his experience as a Jew who witnessed Hitler's rise to power, and, more generally, the emergence of totalitarian regimes. Yet how Aron's Jewish heritage relates to his mature liberal thought is no easy matter to determine. This paper tries to answer the question by suggesting that the connection between the two are overemphasized, and that Aron himself had at best a deeply ambiguous perspective of the matter. It then raises the question of how such ambiguity might explain Aron's thinking on Vichy and his strange late-life defense of former fascist sympathizers such as Alfred Fabre-Luce and Bertrand de Jouvenel. It was the logic of the Cold War, the paper will argue, that ultimately defined Aaron's liberalism and his mature thinking about the Antisemitism of Vichy.
LECTURE: "Raymond Aron, Liberalism, and the Question of Antisemitism" by Professor Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins
Monday, October 29, 2018
4:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Location: Global & International Studies Building (GISB) 4067