Ernst van den Hemel

Ernst van den Hemel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Utrecht University. He is an active member of the CHCI initiative Religion, Secularism and Political Belonging. His books include a monograph on political Calvinism entitled Calvinisme en Politiek: Tussen Verzet en Berusting (Uitgeverij Boom, 2009), a collection of essays and interviews on the oeuvre of French philosopher Alain Badiou (Alain Badiou, Filosofie, Kunst en Politiek, Uitgeverij Octavo, 2012) as well as a co-edited volume entitled Words: Religious Language Matters, forthcoming with Fordham University Press (2014). He completed his Ph.D. on John Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion in 2011 at the University of Amsterdam.

Posts by Ernst van den Hemel:

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

A Kingdom that no longer says Whatever

As a scholar working and living in the Netherlands, I apparently live in a state of affairs in which disinterested moral disorder reigns: “Whatever the particular country in which they happen to reside, all Westerners now live in the Kingdom of Whatever.” According to Brad Gregory, our present is the endpoint of a process through which we have come to lose “any shared or even convergent view about what ‘we’ think.” The result is a condition in which the grounds for morality might altogether disappear. Or, in more colloquial terms, this lack of a moral framework leads to an attitude of disinterest: “Whatever.”

I suspect that in Gregory’s view the Netherlands must be a prime example of the Kingdom of Whatever. The influence of the Reformation has nestled itself so deep in the soul of the country that Calvinist capitalist frugality and boundless moral liberalism have well-nigh become synonymous with Dutch national character.

Or at least, so the narrative goes.

Read the rest of A Kingdom that no longer says Whatever.