The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

December 14, 2018

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Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: A Remembrance
William F. Campbell (MA 41:4, Fall 1999) - 09/18/08

In his last letter to me he wrote, “If I survive, I will come back to God’s Own Country.” He was jocularly referring to Baton Rouge and not to the Kingdom of Heaven. Erik knew that he might not survive his last operation, but characteristically he wrote, “I am prepared to meet my Maker!”

Erik would have understood the words of Augustus Caesar on his death bed who murmured the words, “the play is over.” Augustus didn’t mean that his life was a fake or a charade, but similar to the Etruscan meaning of the word person mentioned earlier, a serious drama in which he had been merely a player. Augustus exhibited the same jolly seriousness that one associates with Erik’s life and actions. What’s past is prologue.

Although given his belief in man’s sinful nature, Erik would not have assumed that either he or we are necessarily going to be in Heaven. If we make it to Hell, (“I had no idea I was just going with the flow”), there will be no story telling for we will be doomed to the prison of ourselves.

If we do make it to Heaven, it will be like the movie, Groundhog’s Day. We can look forward to hearing Erik tell his many stories and experiences until we start to get it right. The hundreds of individuals who loved Erik, sponsored his lectures in this country year after year, put him up in their homes, and visited Erik in his home in Lans, Austria, will forever be like the blind Indians and the elephant. Each will have a part of the story, and the story will unfold over eternity as we compare our stories and experiences.

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