Democracy and the concept of gentleman: Coudenhove-Kalergi

I quoted Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi as saying that only the concept of gentleman could save democracy. By gentleman he meant a person having a sense of fair play, etc. He was the son of a Hungarian nobleman and a Japanese mother, and so should be of special interest to Hungarian WAISers.  Istvan Simon says: Though a gentleman may have become to mean a man that has a sense of fair play etc..., I'd like to think that originally it may have meant just  what it says: a gentle man. If I am right, I think it would be worthy of being revived. 

RH: The development of the meaning of the word gentleman is interesting, but for Coudenhove-Kalergi  it meant adherence to the ideals which we taught when I was young: honesty, fair play, courtesy, rational discourse. He would be appalled by the recent American presidential campaigns.  I checked to see what my encyclopedias had to say about him.  None mentioned him. So I tried Google, and up came a large number of articles. Below is one.  It stresses his role as father of the European movement, mentioning among others my old Oxford mentor Salvador de Madariaga, whose picture hangs above my desk.  Is Coudenhove-Kalergi still remembered in Hungary today?

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, the son of a Austro-Hungarian count and diplomat, and a Japanese mother, was born in 1894.
After the First World War Coudenhove-Kalergi set out a fight for the unity of Europe. His first book - in fact a manifesto - titled Pan-Europa was published in 1923, and each copy contained a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of Pan-Europa movement. Thus, Coudenhove-Kalergi is the founder of the first grassroots movement for the European unity. The movement held its first Congress in Vienna in 1926. The following year Aristide Briand was elected honorary president. Major personalities of European culture, as Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud, Rilke, Unamuno, Madariaga, Ortega y Gasset and Adenauer, belonged to Pan- Europa. The French statesman Edouard Herriot writes in his book "The United States of Europe": "A large body among the leading spirits of Europe's youth devotes itself today to the achievement of the lofty teachings of Kant. At the head of this intellectual group it is only fair to put Count Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, the man who has certainly done most in recent years for European federation".

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 19, 2004