A seemingly up-and-coming academic in the fields of political science and philosophy (Voegelin never cared to distinguish those endeavors, nor them from the study of history) I bumped into on the Internet is one Meins G.S. Coetsier, a Dutchman who not only has written a few things that reflect an appreciation for Voegelin, but also has a page on VoegelinView, the official site dedicated to the Eric Voegelin Society and to all things scholarly revolving around their eponymous mentor. Though his picture there shows a hip young Euro-don, one would hope this would reflect a salutary wedge for a new Voegelinian to make classic reason appealing to the next wave of young students he is sure to shepherd on his fledgling career.
Reading the abstract to one of his recent papers, "No God on the Horizon? Voegelin, Buber and Bonhoeffer and the Moment of Surrender", however, my heart sank to see him pointedly derive precisely -- and disastrously -- the wrong lesson about Geert Wilders, who is about as far from being the demonized demagogue this young countryman of his imagines as was Churchill from Hitler:
In a time when the faith and freedom of men and women in Europe are challenged by radical atheism and by the fanaticism of secularists, religious extremists and political fundamentalists, public discourse reconsiders the possibility that there is simply “no God on the horizon”. This paper is an attempt to meditate on the secularism rampant in Europe, and builds upon rational and religious insight into the moral potential and mystical dimension of human beings, who seek to resist the attempt of modern-day ideologies and of radical atheism to make history without God and to found it on the strength of man alone. Additionally, this study documents the religious-political commotion in the Netherlands, particularly the open confrontations about Islam by Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom party. By using terms such as “the multicultural nightmare,” “the mass immigration” and “the Islamization,” Wilders attempts to order society and history according to an “anti-Islam” principle and the struggle of races and/or religion. History has taught us that such principles can only lead to severe disorder and destruction. For those of us who like to conserve the divine ordering of human (political) life in the West, few thinkers of the Nazi period have surpassed Voegelin, Buber and Bonhoeffer in opposing the brutal dishonesty at the core of totalitarian movements. Their diagnosis of the “eclipse of reality,” the “eclipse of God,” and the disorder at the root of closed societies was matched by a common concern about the philosophical and theological resources for the rediscovery and defense of human civilization.
Readers of my blog who have seen now several installments expressing deep disappointment with the PC MC spasms of various Voegelinians with regard to the problem of Islam -- some of them more venerable and illustrious than this relative upstart quoted above (yet, and this is the point, according him the honor of being a participant of their Society) -- may wonder whether this does not somehow point to a problem with the tree itself whence these misshapen fruits have fallen. I think not. My sense of Voegelin, having read most of his writings, is that, as he had other fish to fry rather than Islam during his lifetime of philosophically diagnosing the West, had he lived past 1985 another quarter century or so, into our new century and millennium, he would not after 911 have succumbed so obtusely and so tragicomically to the axioms of the age as have so many of his sincerely benighted alumni who, many of them now ripened to silver-haired emeritus doctors themselves, have no excuse in the world for their near-treasonous ineptitude in this regard.
And this may be one of the most acute and poignant examples of precisely the problem of Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism -- that it can insinuate itself even among the ramage and harvest of good fruits of a great tree; chiefly through the trick of mistaking a grievous distortion for right knowledge.
Fast Forward from the Future:
I wrote this essay in February of 2013; my future self in the present (April 11, 2017) found a good essay for further reading about Geert Wilders and the problem of Western denial about Islam, of which this Dutch Voegelinian featured in this essay, Prof. Coetsier, is, alas, the norm:
Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe, by Guy Millière