Raymond Aron—the sociologist and intellectual—is regularly considered the greatest French liberal thinker of the twentieth century. During the1950s, he made his name off being the fiercest critic of the French Marxist scene that dominated Parisian intellectual life. He also represented the silent majority who rejected the "psychodrama"of May 1968. It was not until the1970s that he garnered the respect he hadl ong desired after Marxism became passé in France, and a younger generation of thinkers became fascinated with liberalism. But what kindo fliberal was Raymond Aron, especially since he proved so critical of much of the so called "liberal revival in France"? This paper argues that Aron's thought actually moved in the direction of neoconservatism during the1970s. It demonstrates this by showing that neoconservatism must be seen as a Trans-Atlantic intellectual movement with deep roots in a Cold War organization in which Aron played a key role: The Congress for Cultural Freedom. As such, it suggests that, like his American colleagues in the defunct Congress, such as Daniel Belland Irving Kristol, Aron moved towards the right as a consequence of the student protest movement, fears of American military decline, andanxiety over growing Soviet military and economic power. Ironically, at the very moment France experienced a turn toward liberalism, Aron’s thought was moving to the right.
10.07.2018 | 18:00 c.t.
Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Koserstr. 20, 14195 Berlin, Room A127