In the latest issue of The new criterionGary Saul Morson writing about Peter Kropotkin. Kropotkin was brought up in an “old and highly privileged” Russian family, but he became disillusioned with the aristocracy and came to view serfdom as a great evil. He was recommended for a post in Eastern Siberia early in his life. His five years there, Morson writes, changed him:
When he arrived in Irkutsk, the capital of eastern Siberia, the spirit of reform reigned and the young governor general was delighted to have a liberal on his staff. He commissioned Kropotkin to outline reforms for prisons and the Siberian political exile system. By the time these proposals made their way to the centers of power, however, such reforms were no longer so welcome.
This failure led Kropotkin to dismiss all reforms as futile. This conclusion is all the more remarkable since no Russian leader between Peter the Great and Lenin transformed the country as much as Alexander II. I don’t know if the imperial rescript of February 19, 1861, proclaiming the liberation of the serfs – 70% of the population – was, as some have called it, the most far-reaching legislative act in history, but it changed decisively more lives than any other tsarist reform. And that was only the beginning.
After his conversion to radicalism, Kropotkin eventually traveled to Switzerland, “where he met Bakunin’s anarchist followers, returned to Russia, joined Chaikovsky’s revolutionary circle, was arrested, and staged a dramatic escape from a prison hospital. Back in Europe, he became restless, found himself expelled from Switzerland and France, and finally settled in Great Britain, where this aristocrat was adored and befriended George Bernard Shaw and William Morris. Feeding on articles for scientific publications, he slowed down the agitation so as not to be expelled from this last country of refuge. Instead, he worked out the theoretical basis – he said “scientific” – of the ‘anarchism.
Kropotkin is sometimes considered a human terrorist. In his 1899 Revolutionary memoirs, Kropotkin wrote that the “question is how to achieve the best results with the fewest number of civil wars, the fewest number of casualties and a minimum of mutual bitterness”. In reality, writes Morson, Kropotkin did little to limit the violence:
In fact, Kropotkin never condemned anarchist violence, however gratuitous it was. Even the worst, he said, was an understandable reaction to oppression. At the London Anarchist Congress of 1881, he endorsed the use of chemistry to create bombs for “offensive and defensive purposes”. He financed anarchists who returned to Russia to commit terrorist acts. While he warned his followers against violence “isolated from the masses”, he was “not afraid to proclaim, to do what you want, to act entirely according to your own discretion”.
In other news
Members of a former wealthy Israeli family suffered from “debilitating parasitic infections”, according to a research team. Why? “While the residents of the palace lived in a luxury villa surrounded by a lush garden, they suffered from debilitating parasitic infections that gave them stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea and other ailments. The team de Langgut described his findings in the International Journal of Paleopathologyas well as a theory as to why these infections may have been so widespread that everyone was affected.
There will be no Picasso NFT after all, at least for now: “The family of Pablo Picasso does not sell a digital good related to one of his works after all. After a granddaughter and great-grandson of the artist trumpeted the upcoming sale, family lawyers said Thursday his heirs had not authorized the launch of such a ‘Picasso NFT’. .
Remember that Damien Hirst diamond skull that sold for $100 million? Good, This is not the case: “According to Hirst, he still owns the bauble in partnership with his gallery, White Cube, and a group of anonymous investors.”
A university spokesperson declined to give the Telegraph reporter specifics, but as the book in question is hardly objectionable, it appears to be an example of another passive-aggressive attack on Rowling’s reputation motivated by his public profile as a so-called “TERF”. .” The cultural establishment is increasingly determined to portray Rowling as a fringe or controversial figure for repeatedly stating that one cannot change one’s sex through surgery and hormones, and that there are consequences. to this fact. When HBO Max hosted a reunion of people involved in the Harry Potter films, Rowling herself was a notable omission from the guest list. The push to make Rowling a despised figure is well underway.
What reality TV says about us, says Danielle J. Lindemann in True story: what reality TV says about usis that everything in our lives is a construction. Christopher Scalia isn’t so sure:RuPaul’s Drag Race shows that gender is a construction. undercover boss shows that the class is a construct. The Real Housewives of Atlanta shows that race is a construction. . . She takes this argument to absurd lengths near the end, when she uses as an example of people who “go wild with our standards” (I think she means “misunderstand”) a reality TV personality who eats pillows.
Jonathan Leaf Comments by Lisa Miller The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for Inspired Living“Miller looks at recent neuroscience dealing with brain health and plasticity. This gives him the opportunity to inform the public of some rather surprising examples of improvements observed on neural MRIs of people who claim to be spiritually engaged. Additionally, she examines a number of current theories about the etiology of depression: how it begins and why it can become chronic. »
A conversation with Skyhorse Publishing’s Tony Lyons about why he’s dropping out controversial books discontinued by other publishers“’I’ve seen it with Roth’s biography, with Allen and with Kennedy,’ Lyons says. “All you hear is author dismantling and no analysis of the book itself. Or the analysis is obscured by author discussion. About nothing, he says “whether you like Allen or not, it’s an interesting book and he had an interesting and culturally significant life”. This should have been fixed. And that’s true for any of these books, even if you’re worried about the author or their point of view.