He was an Eloquent, Critical Defender of Freedom

Die Presse, October 27, 2019

German original: https://www.diepresse.com/5713030/er-war-ein-beredter-kritischer-verteidiger-der-freiheit

The psychoanalyst and publicist Carlo Strenger has died at 61. „Those damned liberal elites. Who they are and why we need them,“ is the title of Carlo Strengers most recent book, published in June 2019. In it, he – the psychoanalyst – places those elites on his couch, in a matter of speaking. Yet he himself was the best example of a representative of the liberal elites, which society does indeed need: For him, freedom was a valuable commodity, constantly threatened by fanatics of all sorts, but he urged calmness regardless.

Born in Basel and raised in an orthodox Jewish family, he turned away from the Jewish faith and became an atheist and secular philosopher; like many on the left he criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but stood against one-sided condemnations of Israel. In his first column for the „NZZ“ newspaper in January 2012, he described how endangered this island of democracy in the Middle East is. In his last column, which was published in October, he asked if „democrats can stop cynical heads of state?“

One of Strengers central themes was media criticism: in „The Fear of Insignificance“ (2011) he wrote about „Homo globalis,“ trapped in the infotainment network: the idea that anything is possible to him was a myth of global capitalism. He saw Western culture endangered by relativistic tendencies, he pleaded for a return to the values of European enlightenment. In „Freud’s Legacy in the Global Era,“ he returned to his original profession also journalistically.

Now this sharp thinker and passionate polemicist has passed away in Tel Aviv at only 61. (red.)