“Today and now, polite restraint or neutrality is a position that in our time is no longer justifiable, even if papered over by innumerable dilemmas and considerations, even rationalized one way or another with preciously witty thoughts. Any neutrality and passivity would in moments like these be the abnegation of taking up the necessary, would be a sign of weakness and lack of moral courage, and what is worse, would be disloyalty to the highest values and legacies of the human community, indeed would be disloyalty to the community itself – would, simply, be treason.”
The Essence of Freedom and its Importance for Spiritual Creation (1994)
Das Wesen der Freiheit und ihre Bedeutung für das geistige Schaffen (1944)
Quoted in Zdravko Kučinar, Arthur Liebert: Life and Works. Beograd, Dosije, 2015
Arthur Liebert was a longtime president of the Kant Society (1910-1933) and editor of Kant-Studien (1917-1933). In 1935, in Belgrade, he founded the international philosophical society, Philosophia with an eponymous journal.
The first issue of the journal featured the first part of Husserl’s study of the Crisis of European Sciences. Journal collaborators included Buber, Löwith, Plessner, Cassirer, Patočka, Medicus, Landgrebe, etc.
Liebert built the society and journal Philosophia on the idea of strict neutrality. Only upon the break down of the international community and the threat of destruction to democracy through World War II did he express the need for engagement, attempting to reframe the status of philosophy in a “dangerous time.” He demanded that the work of philosophers still open to the ideas of humanism and international exchange of though be shifted from “academic” onto “world” topics.