One of the world’s greatest philosophers lies assimilation wet. The acclaimed attainable necked white shirt—as anytime afar about to the waist—is bashed to his chest.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is splayed out in a freestanding white bathtub on a date amidst by aloof beneath 1,000 bodies who accept aloof gasped in shock. The perennially affected Lévy has—for the briefest of moments—stepped out of character.
Last Avenue Afore Brexit is abounding things: a play, a monologue, a allotment of achievement art, but aloft all it is a cri de coeur from a acutely European man to a contrary Britain. And it is a able one. For Lévy, Brexit—the UK’s decision, taken in a election in 2016, to avenue the European Union—was a colossal mistake, one that will accident not aloof Britain but the EU itself.
Lévy proclaims that the U.K. is both the affection and academician of Europe (an amazing affair for a Frenchman to say), and he is worried. Indeed, the alpha for the comedy began aback his acquaintance Sophie Wiesenfeld, who runs the Hexagon Society in London and was amenable for putting on the play, phoned him afterwards the Brexit vote. “You were right,” she told him. “Now is the time to action aback adjoin all this populism.”
Lévy agreed. Aftermost Avenue Afore Brexit was born, and it is a triumph, one that abandoned Lévy could cull off. He—perhaps abandoned amid philosophers, a brand not accepted for their charm—has the allure to backpack off a one-man appearance that leaves the eyewitness activity accompanying engaged, entertained, and educated. His bookish abyss and bookishness unspools afore your eyes, generally in a quasi-stream of alertness address that, clashing the abundant modernists, charcoal attainable at all times.
His apriorism may be captivated aural the blazon of effortless ability Lévy possesses, but it is abiding and simple and compelling: “Without Europe, Abundant Britain will become Little England,” he declares, “and afterwards Abundant Britain, Europe will crumble.”
Lévy assembly the EU dream with liberalism, which, for him, is a fundamentally English idea. Clashing abounding of his French contemporaries, he takes his cue from the Enlightenment ethics of Voltaire rather than Rousseau—and from the Anglo-Saxon advanced advantage of a John Locke or Bertrand Russell rather than the French access of addition like Jean-Paul Sartre, who concluded up an apologist for the crimes of Stalin and Soviet Communism.
For Lévy the affair is binary, and as he issues forth, enlisting anybody from Churchill to Florence Nightingale to John Locke to Karl Popper and alike David Bowie in the account of his arguments, it’s adamantine to disagree. The action is clear: benightedness adjoin knowledge, abundance adjoin pettiness of the mind, and, admitting he never absolutely says it, acculturation adjoin accessible barbarism.
And as he monologues, he Googles. That is to say: He searches. For ability and, added pertinently, for anti-knowledge. “Fake news” comes up on the chase engine–“Melania Trump declared missing.” As he harks into the accomplished it is additionally bright that we are watching article acutely contemporary. And that this man, who is about 70 years old, understands the abundant advice shift, both technologically and ideologically, that we are undergoing, and how basic it is to the autonomous project.
And so we acknowledgment already more, to the figure, assimilation wet, of a man who has absorbed himself not aloof in water, but in history and its accessory bloodshed. And he is admonition us, in this aberrant and boastful performance, that we accept one aftermost chance, one aftermost accessible exit—before Brexit.
Amid the backroom and aesthetics and history (and absolutely the admission alarm from Salman Rushdie) Lévy touches on Jeremy Corbyn, the adamantine larboard Labour Affair leader, who has been complex in innumerable anti-Semitism scandals, and through him, a abiding affair of Levy’s: anti-Semitism.
If Brexit did one affair afar from activate the action of the U.K. abrogation the EU, it empowered the nation’s populists. On the right, the above arch of the U.K. Independence Affair (UKIP) Nigel Farage, a already abstruse baby-kisser giving to authoritative racist animadversion about Romanians who morphed into arguably the best arresting (at atomic in agreement of air time) baby-kisser in the country, who advance a affair abounding with anti-Semites of all kinds.
On the larboard is Corbyn, who is, naturally, a Brexiteer. Labour was evidently adjoin Brexit, but Corbyn’s abstracted access to advancement and abnegation to admit whether he voted yes or no, not to acknowledgment 30-year-long abhorrence against the EU, fabricated the catechism bombastic anyway.
That Corbyn’s contempo aegis of a mural so anti-Semitic that alike a assertive allotment his own supporters were affected to adjudge him (the mural displayed a accumulation of aged men, some of whom had absorbed noses, arena cartel on a lath ample aerial with banknote comatose on the angled over backs of the “working people”) came as no abruptness is terrifying. This is not a 16-year old with decrepit boxers tweeting from his mom’s basement; it’s the baton of her Majesty’s official opposition.
Corbyn was adopted as a beef vote on a beachcomber of autonomous sentiment—and all that has brought with it. Anti-Semitism has become normalized in the abutting amphitheater of the Labour Affair forth with anti-EU ideals.
British Jews are now encircled, adverse threats from the appropriate and the left. In 2016, a affiliate of an anti-EU far-right accumulation shouting “Britain first” attempt and stabbed the Labour MP Jo Cox (who Lévy namechecks in the play) as she campaigned for the U.K. break in the union.
For those on the larboard like Corbyn and his ilk, the EU represents article that every Jew will be accustomed with: an unelected, foreign, assembly that controls the lives of the “good and honest” alive people.
The bloodstream of the British anatomy backroom now courses with populism and the mentality of the mob. And the mob has never been and never will be acceptable for the Jews. This is article Lévy understands: at the bookish level, as a thinker and at the accustomed level, as a Jew.
And so, the date is sparse. A bathtub, a table and chair, some whiskey—it’s decked out like a auberge allowance in Sarajevo, a abode abutting to Lévy’s heart. It is additionally a abode of adversity and war and death. It’s a abode that reminds us of the base that Europe can bore to, of the battle that was an about connected for the abstemious until the advancing of the EU afterwards World War II.
Stripped bottomward to this essence: The acclaimed philosopher becomes a distinct man; the bookishness above bottomward to a simple message.
“Please, amuse remain,” he cries. “The continued advance begins tonight.”
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