by W. J. Stankiewicz

A Book Review by Ross Pink

After a long academic career infused with rigorous political examination one comes to the summary of W.J. Stankiewicz thought through the prism of HOLDING ONE'S TIME IN THOUGHT.

This academic book is a collection of essays that examine different aspects of WJS's thought. WJS was born in Poland and educated in Great Britain and taught in North America. His thought and experience was tempered and shaped by WW2 and the cold War period which he saw emerge.

WJS is a dedicated political philosopher and " outsider" , according to political analyst Alan Cairns. An apt description because WJS was not  in any way conventional in that he did not an does not fit into a neat political label: conservative, socialist etc., because he examined political thought and philosophy as it evolved; his thinking was fluid, and not static. Accordingly, he did not remain embedded to single strains of thought. As Aristotle noted, ' those who only take into account a few points, find it easy to pronounce judgement'.

WJS, like J.S. Mill, was and is a realist, concerned with utility and the applicability of ideas. Thus, WJS was often concerned with critical political questions such as disarmament, freedom in a society and Canadian foreign policy independent from the U.S.

WJS's most salient writings concern the issue of individual responsibility in a society. Irving Babbit was concerned in the 1920s with the decline of standards in western society. In the 1980s and beyond, WJS concerned himself with individual responsibility and found that  conservatism often provided the safest ground for its realization.

The essence of the thought of WJS is that values and principles must continue to shape thinking in an open society. Certainly, one of the dangers of an open liberal society is the decline of standards and moral reletavism.




Copyright 1998 Ross Pink