A Twentieth-Century Prophet: Oscar Jaszi 1875-1957 by Gyorgy Litvan

By Gyorgy Litvan

A desirable examine a guy, who fought for liberal beliefs and for development in relevant Europe yet was once pressured to spend the latter 1/2 his existence in the United States. Oscar Jaszi was once a historian, political theorist and sociologist, who devoted his super mind to fashionable democracy in Hungary. Exiled from his place of birth, Jaszi's ethical braveness stood powerful opposed to the political tyranny and totalitarianism of the interwar interval that just about destroyed Hungary's political and social foundations. From his early years in Budapest to his later existence as professor at Oberlin collage in Ohio, he labored tirelessly for what he defined as "a new ethical, social, and monetary synthesis is needed." The lifetime of Oscar Jaszi represents one of many nice triumphs of cause over violence, whatever the defeat of his imaginative and prescient for a 'Danubian Federation,' and his next exile. His vow not to be buried in an undemocratic Hungary was once stored, and as his state emerged from the ruins of the Soviet block, his is still have been transferred to Budapest in 1991, an emblem of his lasting philosophy and the spirit of his will.

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According to him, in all places where citizens made progress with true national traditions they were only able to do so by an alliance with socialism. In this way, having for a good while allowed itself to be painted into the corner of being devoid of national sentiments, of stateless wandering, socialism everywhere would sooner or later take up the pure ideals of national aspirations free from class interests. ” The leading article culminates on this note, so it lacks not only the subtitle but also any polemical tone, and thus it is not a patch on the dramatic force and innovation of the above-cited letters of October 1904.

The writers associated with Huszadik Század had chosen to take on precisely this hard and even hopeless task, and no one within this circle was as alive to the political and ideological consequences of that enterprise as Jászi. Yet even he was not, nor indeed—at the start of a new century brimful of hope— could be he, fully alive to those consequences. ” If all the signs are that Gusztáv Gratz and Bódog Somló took the lead in organizing, raising money and drumming-up collaborators in the periodical’s set-up phase, it was already apparent by the first issue, in early January 1900, that Jászi was its intellectual powerhouse.

And the remedy for this? he asks at the end. “Marxists would reply: economic struggle. That is a partisan answer. ” The polemical, pugnacious aspect of Jászi’s profile was already taking shape by then, but this was not the main thrust of his activity. Since the 1890s, what had preoccupied him above all were the social correlates of morality, aesthetics and art, which alone was a sign that he was already unsatisfied with the positivism of the natural sciences as an explanation for the world. After publishing a few articles in the Budapesti Szemle, he followed this line up in Huszadik Század as well.

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