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Our parochial news media seem only interested in reporting on the state of things here in the U.S. and in their favorite European vacation spots like France and Italy, but of course the COVID-19 pandemic extends into Eastern Europe as well, where most countries are also on some degree of quarantine or lockdown. I decided to check in with Clifford Angell Bates, a friend based in Warsaw who teaches political philosophy at the University of Warsaw. He is the author of Aristotle’s Best Regime: Kingship, Democracy, and the Rule of Law (LSU Press, 2003), as well as numerous articles and book reviews. Prof. Bates is currently working on a book on the crisis of modern sovereignty and how the crisis emerges from the Hobbesian foundation of modern theory of sovereignty.
Beyond describing the street scene and atmosphere in Warsaw, we also range widely across several other topics, including intellectual life in Polish universities, the character of Polish “populism,” Polish attitudes toward the European Union, and how Trump is regarded. Plus some good anti-Russian jokes, which Poles have in adundance. And as you can see from the nearby photo, Cliff is a man who enjoys a good cigar.
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