Brexit, Tusk and Dante “the sowers of discord” ..Ahhh the poor Brexiteer snowflakes. I am watching poor little Peter Bone MP get so upset.. the truth is they do deserve such a special place in Hell. The simple reason is that they wish to complete the Thatecherite revolution. They want cheap labour, they want a destruction of workers and environmental rights .. yes that’s the reason for the special place in Hell. The Tory Brexiteers and Peter Bone have clearly never read Dante’s Divine Comedy. There is a special place in Hell for the politicians who do not think of the consequences of their actions.No one yet has picked up on the origins and literary reference that Donald Tusk has used. So I am afraid I must do. I guess I wouldn’t expect bigots and those culturally challenged to. Stupid is as stupid does..Move on Peter Bone…get over it …There is a passage in The Divine Comedy where Dante is transported in spirit above the vicissitudes of men and flies higher and higher in the blue sky till he sees the earth just as 20th century astronauts saw it from the moon. I suppose that makes Dante the first global space walker, albeit via imagination. Two intriguing characteristics in this passage are worthy of notice: in the first place Dante does not discern any geographical or political borders on the earth: he sees the whole earth, holistically, so to speak, just as the astronauts saw it from the moon in 1969. Thereafter Dante comments that “vidi quell’aiuola che ci fa tanto selvaggi” which translates loosely as “I saw that puny garden that makes us so vicious.” He is addressing not just the Florentines or the Italians, or the Europeans but the whole of humankind.
In effect Dante with this contrast of good/bad, ugly/beautiful, true/false, puny/precious, is saying that this unique earth which is Man’s only home within time and space is meant to be beautiful as a garden at the outset, but the sad ugly present reality is that in this garden brother kills brother; it is one of general viciousness and incessant warfare. Dante is pointing out that this garden is a garden of exile and humankind’s journey is a journey back to the future, a journey of a return toward that utopist garden it originally left behind. Later in his imaginary journey Dante will enter the earthly garden of Eden on top of the mountain of Purgatory, but his journey transcends even that beautiful earthly garden.
It is crucial to remember here that Dante, as he writes the Commedia, is himself in exile. He has been expelled from his beloved Florence because there too brother is fighting brother; Ghibellines are fighting Guelfs. Dante used to be a Guelf; they were divided in the Blacks who saw in the Pope an ally against the Emperor (Henry VII of Germany at the time), and the Whites who were determined to remain fiercely independent of both Pope and Emperor. When the Blacks, supported by Pope Boniface VIII (later placed in hell by Dante for politicizing his spiritual mission) seize power, Dante, as a White, is sent into exile.
It is this condition of exile, of constant frustration of having “to eat the hard bread of others’ homes,” of constant hardship and uneasiness and dissatisfaction, that propels Dante into a spiritual quest aptly depicted in the Commedia and ending with his famous “tua volontà, nostra pace” (your will, our peace). Had he stayed in Florence he would have remained just another self-complacent mediocre politician. The experience of exile transform Dante’s political views; he ends up embracing the cause of the Ghibellines and begins to champion the unification of Europe under an enlightened Emperor. He writes a Latin political tract titled De Monarchia where this vision is set forth. Dante has now come full circle, from the particularity of his city of Florence he is now envisioning a Europe unified by universal ideals such as justice, peace, the common good, the True, the Good, the Beautiful; ideals to be privileged above and beyond mere Machiavellian power considerations. His is a Humanistic political ethic founded on universal Christian principles.
Dante would had much to say. It comes down to perspective. The only person who seems to appreciate the reality seems to be th approach of Jeremy Corbyn…
Finally ot may have escaped the appaling ignornace of both the Brexiteers and ethnocentric british media that Donald tusk has read Machaeveli and knows all about smoke and mirrors obscuring the real events going on behind the scene. Machaeveli and Tusk must know all there is to know about `fortuna` and its uses….I rearly worry about the lack of knowledge i witness about the European mind and culture. perhaps thats the cause of brexit all along….
Graham Mallaghan had this observation to make `
Not surprisingly, both Dante and Marsilius believed that the best chance for Italy and for Europe was the unifying supranational power of their day, the Holy Roman Empire. In De Monarchia and in Marsilius’ Defensor Pacis they both outline the mechanisms and philosophies by which this unifying power should rule the people. In De Monarchia, Dante argues that Aristotelian mixed government – with monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy in balance – much like the three legged stool that we are supposed to have in the UK. Marsilius argues in Defensor Pacis for popular sovereignty, with the head of the universal empire being the defender of the peace of the book’s title. Although the people are the “supreme human legislator” and thus sovereign, their will is expressed through a sort of electoral college of the highest ranking citizens who take on board their petitions and elect the head of state.
Defensor Pacis was translated into English in the reign of Henry VIII, to justify his own claims to be an “Emperor in his own country” free of papal jurisdiction in matters both spiritual and temporal. But it had already been available in England in Latin since its publication in 1324, and was influential in the development of the philosophy of sovereignty that is still with us, and has been since Edward III in the mid 1300s – that “the king in parliament is sovereign”. This means that, as in Marsilius’ ideal empire, it is the assembled political community of the realm, representing the people that governs England (now the UK, of course).
Both Dante and Marsilius rejected the small state as being a good way to govern people, as this lead to constant conflict which held back development, prosperity, and the recovery of civilisation that has occurred with the breakdown of the Roman Empire proper. This is why Dante also favoured Italian unification, making an erudite and passionate case for this in De Vulgari Eloquentia (On the eloquence of the common tongue) with the Italian language as chief unifying factor.
To both these leviathans of political thought, both of whom were highly influential on the constitutional development of the UK, superstars were the way forward, if people were to live in peace and prosperity and to be governed (in a quasi democratic manner) for the common good.
I think that both Dante and Marsilius would regard the EU as a manifestation of their political thought, and be very happy with it as their “universal empire” – especially as the EU was founded by the Treaty of Rome. This is because both these thinkers regarded Rome and all it stood for as the natural seat of rulership over European people’s, for both secular and religious reasons (nothing to do with the papacy, which both despised). I also think that both would therefore regard Brexit as insane, because it represents a withdrawal from the best guarantor of good governance for the common benefit in a move that could logically be only self harming.