Sunday, 29 November 2009

Resistance - the price of saying no and the springboard of virtue

On this Advent Sunday I have been reading more about resistance as I wait for the coming of God's republic of justice and joy.

Jacques Tarnero in the final essay in the book pictured here recalls Marc Bloch citing how Hitler in Rauschning said "We are right to speculate on human vice rather than human virtue. The French revolution appealed to virtue. We should rather do the opposite..."
Bloch comment on this is "That a French person is to be forgiven for preferring the teaching of Montesquieu's revolution to this message: the popular State needs the springboard of virtue".
Tarnero points out that of course many have also been
killed in the name of virtue. Nevertheless, and despite virtue seemingly being an unfashionable term, he claims that it is the (pre)condition for the very idea of resistance. Without the demands of virtue what would the limits be between what is acceptable and what is intolerable.
He ends his essay with this quote from Adam Michnik written from prison in Poland in 1984:
"Dans la vie de chaque homme vient un moment où pour dire simplement: ceci est noir et ceci est blanc, il faut payer très cher. Ce peut être le prix de la vie. À ce moment le problème principal n'est pas de connaître le prix à payer, mais de savoir si le blanc est blan et le noir noir. Pour cela il faut garder une conscience."

Les éditions autrement have brought out a series called "our values" - there are various titles on justice, friendship, citizenship and the one pictured here on resistance.
The series received support from the French mutual insurance company Macif's cultural foundation.