While trying to understand what is happening right now, I re-read the “Letter concerning fanaticism” by Shaftesbury (1708, Chiarelettere publisher), in which the author states that refusing to be in a good mood means that there is no mercy among one’s feelings and gives rise to two elements. These both express an illiberal vision and encourage a totalitarian dimension (as we would say today) of politics: on the one hand, a conspiracy approach to reality, on the other hand the idea that the supremacy of truth can only be ensured by becoming an irreproachable guardian of the truth itself, refusing irony. In fact, laughing and using humor equal blasphemy, which means that any collective experience, that denies irony, will become a dictatorship.
Best wishes to all of us.
David Bidussa is a social historian of ideas. Translated by Giulia Schincariol with the help of Anna Pagetti, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.