chapter  13
28 Pages

The War Against the West and Kolnai’s post-war moral and political philosophy

WithAndrew S. Cunningham

This chapter provides some of the doctrinal continuities between The War Against the West and Aurel Kolnai’s Canadian and British periods, paying particular attention to his moral psychology and to a number of little-known journal articles. One contrast between The War Against the West and Kolnai’s post-war writings is that, in the latter, he was principally concerned with arguments against socialism and leftist utopianism. Kolnai’s disagreement with vitalist ethics, National Socialist or otherwise, is constantly in evidence in his post-war philosophical writings. His views were distinct in some important respects from those of other politically conservative philosophers of his era. In 1965, Kolnai reviewed Michael Oakeshott’s seminal collection, Rationalism in Politics, for the prestigious British academic journal Philosophy. The many anecdotal references in Kolnai’s philosophical works to personal experiences and tastes are not stylistic ornamentation, but an essential part of the substance of his philosophy.