Whenever the problem of the relationship between culture and politics is addressed, Julien Benda undoubtedly remains the most frequently mentioned author at the international level. His indictment of the intellectuals’ betrayal is as famous as his speeches to the European nation, published in 1933, about !ve years later than his widely difused La Trahison des clercs. Throughout the Discours à la nation européenne, the author explicitly addresses the intellectuals already mentioned in his previous essay and asks them to assume responsibility – becoming protagonists of a new moral revolution. His intention was to reply to Fichte’s well-known Reden an die deutsche Nation. The idea of Europe could be built to transcend nations, manifesting itself as the individual’s renunciation of himself. In this way, the idea of Europe might appear as a ‘moral act’: renouncing the distinct and the finite and turning to unity and infnity. Benda was aware of the possible rise of a type of ‘Europhile nationalism’. To prevent this, he saw it necessary to avoid the closure of the nation and prolong this movement of association so that it might increase its tendency to be inclusive. The political vision of Europe that Julien Benda hoped for should not generate European sovereignty. But, by prompting intellectuals to follow practical and political methods, he consciously exploits their role – stated in La Trahison des clercs – with the hope of building the moral and political framework of a united Europe.

Julien Benda’s political Europe and the treason of intellectuals / D. Cadeddu. - In: HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEAS. - ISSN 0191-6599. - (2022). [Epub ahead of print] [10.1080/01916599.2022.2121303]

Julien Benda’s political Europe and the treason of intellectuals

D. Cadeddu
2022

Abstract

Whenever the problem of the relationship between culture and politics is addressed, Julien Benda undoubtedly remains the most frequently mentioned author at the international level. His indictment of the intellectuals’ betrayal is as famous as his speeches to the European nation, published in 1933, about !ve years later than his widely difused La Trahison des clercs. Throughout the Discours à la nation européenne, the author explicitly addresses the intellectuals already mentioned in his previous essay and asks them to assume responsibility – becoming protagonists of a new moral revolution. His intention was to reply to Fichte’s well-known Reden an die deutsche Nation. The idea of Europe could be built to transcend nations, manifesting itself as the individual’s renunciation of himself. In this way, the idea of Europe might appear as a ‘moral act’: renouncing the distinct and the finite and turning to unity and infnity. Benda was aware of the possible rise of a type of ‘Europhile nationalism’. To prevent this, he saw it necessary to avoid the closure of the nation and prolong this movement of association so that it might increase its tendency to be inclusive. The political vision of Europe that Julien Benda hoped for should not generate European sovereignty. But, by prompting intellectuals to follow practical and political methods, he consciously exploits their role – stated in La Trahison des clercs – with the hope of building the moral and political framework of a united Europe.
Julien Benda; Europe; nations; intellectuals; French culture
Settore SPS/02 - Storia delle Dottrine Politiche
16-set-2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/938015
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