May 7, 2008
Plenty of Traditionalists will not be on board, but for some of us, Joseph Brodsky's commencement speech at Williams College sings:
The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even -- if you will -- eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned impostor couldn't be happy with. Something, in other words, that can't be shared, like your own skin: not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balance sheets.
Stampede based on M. Baldwin painting
Not the hive of individualism, that herd of independent minds, but one's own spark, possibly divine, certainly human, worth nurturing while everything else is traded away. It is at the heart of living tradition. The only thing that cannot be hijacked. If it is, it suffocates, or is cast in cloudy plastic as a souvenir sold at the monuments to the unwilling dead.
Update: East Germany subject to the Stasi:
They hate unpredictability. They hate anything which is in any way different. Since real art encourages you to be different...art is the perfect antidote to any sort of collectivism, so it is just the natural enemy [to totalitarianism]...
Via Chicago Boyz