The Dutch king Willem Alexander (WA, 1967) will be busy next week. Most important is his visit to Russia and meeting with president Vladimir Putin (VP) on Friday November 8. This visit to Russia will be somewhat special since WA is likely the last remaining governing descendent of the Romanovs, via Anna Pavlovna (1795-1865). This year Russia and Holland celebrated a year of friendship but this celebration was marred by tricky incidents on freedom of speech and arrests and beatings in diplomatic circles. Dutch diplomats are crossing their fingers that Queen Maxima’s charm will cure all wounds.
A bit less important than Russia but not to be discounted is the event on November 6, when WA will present the Erasmus Prize to Jürgen Habermas (JH, 1929). Undoubtedly, JH will inspire WA to some Erasmian message to VP, though diplomats will try to induce him not to press the issue. But WA might say to VP: “Dear president, a few days ago I presented the Erasmus Prize to JH. I enjoyed this very much. Perhaps it is an idea for you to create a similar prize in the name of a great Russian author or philosopher.” Who knows.
JH will give his lecture Deliberative democracy and political crisis on the day before, November 5, at the Dutch Academy of Sciences, organized by the Huizinga Institute, with this programme and planned livestream. Some of his ideas are covered by an email-interview with the Volkskrant, this weekend (apparently not linkable), a book review, and here his book in English.
My sad observation is that JH doesn’t add to enlightenment and only adds to the confusion. He is a Grand Old Man in social research and philosophy, but he is not a mathematically trained economist, and he cannot really evaluate what happens both in economic theory and in the real economy and thus in society. For his data, he refers to a report in Die Zeit with statements of “leading economists”. His main complaint is that European politicians dodge the real issues. As if we would not know that. As if we would not have a crisis because they dodge the real issues. As if you can trust “leading economists” and the process how the powers that be and the media select those.
No, if you really want to understand the economic crisis and the failing of the Trias Politica model of democracy, read my books DRGTPE and CSBH and VTFD, see the about page here above. Please note that these books suffer from censorship of science, so that the discussion on November 5 at the Dutch Academy of Sciences is severely crippled.
JH comes from a tradition that looks at high theory and that neglects to study the real world. He is part and parcel of a new class of priests like those who Erasmus poked at in The Praise of Folly (1509). Because of his fundamental neglect of reality JH is anti-Erasmian.
The Dutch committee that awarded the Erasmus Prize to JH is similarly affected. JH supports fast European integration and the committee seems to associate this with the pro-European outlook of Erasmus. They neglect the shallowness and they fear real criticism of the European Project.
A charade it is, a scandalous charade. A corruption of thinking and ethics, in mentally sick modern Holland.
PM. There is another Romanov connection to Prince Charles, see here. But Charles doesn’t reign yet.