6 May 2010

Two different stories may be told about the origin and destiny of Western liberalism. One goes like this: at the start of the modern era, the liberal State came into being. Later came the democratic or liberal-democratic State. Finally, the welfare State made its appearance. Each step led to increased opportunities and freedom. The other story goes in quite the opposite direction. It reads: at the beginning, the modern State was liberal. It then turned paternalistic. Finally, it became totalitarian. Each step reduced individual responsibility and freedom. 
There is reason to believe the second story is the true one, and to worry about this. I shall attempt in this paper to explain why. 

17 March 2010

The recent uproar in Germany about paedophile and homosexual priests is an attack on the Pope. It would be a serious mistake to think that it is too monstrously daring to harm him. And it would be an even worse mistake to think that the whole affair will be quickly brought to an end like so many others. This is not the case. 
There is a war on. It is not openly against the Pope in person as that would be impossibile on this ground. Benedict XVI is proof against any such thing, his serene calm, transparence, firmness and doctrine make him unassailable. His gentle smile is enough to scatter a whole host of adversaries. No, the war is between anticlericalism and Christianity. The anticlericals know that a spot of mud on that white robe would mean that the Church was sullied, and if the Curch were sullied so the Christian religion likewise. So they accompany their campaign with such refrains as who will take the children to Church?" or "who would send their children to Catholic schools ?" or "who would have our little ones cared for in a Catholic hospital or clinic?". 

Parlamento Europeo (Working Group on Human Dignity)

1. La questione dell'anima 

Sono passati quasi venti anni da quando l'allora presidente della Commissione europea Jacques Delors dichiarò che l'unificazione dell'Europa non può essere solo una questione economica e lanciò la sfida di "dare un'anima all'Europa". Durante questo periodo quell'idea che fu ripresa dal presidente Prodi e da altri politici di alto profilo ha prodotto una delle industrie culturali europee più fiorenti. I

29 May 2003

Israel, Europe and Islam
Jerusalem, Hebrew University 

1. Beliefs and problems

I would like to begin by listing three things in which I believe absolutely, all three of which are connected to democracy.
The first thing I believe in is a definition. Following a widely accepted view, I consider democracy to be a regime in which government power changes hands without violence and through free elections. 

Positano, Dibattito sulla libertà di stampa, informazione e formazione dei giornalisti

1. La libertà della stampa: un dibattito con mezzi impropri 

Premetto che non sono interessato a discutere se la nostra stampa sia o no libera. E neppure sono interessato a discutere su quando abbia goduto di libertà e quando l'abbia invece perduta, e perchè. Ancor meno, mi interessa la polemica sul "regime". Se mi limito alla mia esperienza personale, trovo che la situazione di oggi non sia diversa da quella di ieri.

21 April 2009

Conference at the John Paul II Cultural Center, Washington DC 

The speech that Benedict XVI gave at the John Paul II Cultural Center on April 17th, 2008 was predominantly dedicated to what the Pope himself defined as "interreligious and intercultural dialogue". Since the two expressions are not equivalent, I'll first try to examine in what they differ and then defend two theses: that interreligious dialogue is not possible, that intercultural dialogue, on the contrary, is not only possible but necessary.