ASSESSMENTS

On Holding One's Time in Thought (1997)

"Finally the scholarship and penetrating political theory of W.J. Stankiewicz is beginning to be appreciated in all its bright fullness. Credit goes to the contributors to Holding One's Time in Thought and its editors. Too original to be classified with the hackneyed right, left and centre and other such pigeon-holes, Stankiewicz's political philosophy advances from the classical tradition grandly and humanely deep into contemporary territory, brushing aside relativists and wannabee objectivists to plant a banner of individual freedom and responsibility, authority and justice."

Sebastian de Grazia (Pulitzer Prize winner),
author of Machiavelli in Hell (1989) and of the new book
A Country with No Name: Tales from the Constitution (1997)


"Professor W.J. Stankiewicz's intellectual universe includes the best of Continental European and also North American cultural traditions. His quest for a complete holistic interpretation of Political Theory has inspired several generations of Canadian students and also stimulated academic colleagues in breaking down the barriers of professional over-specialisation. The assembled critical scholarly essays capture the larger trans-cultural approach that has characterised his teachings and writings."

Ted McWhinney (Q.C.,S.J.D.,M.P. [Vancouver-Quadra],
Professor of History, Parliamentary Secretary [Foreign Affairs])


"Professor Stankiewicz has a good eye for hypocrisy in so much of what passes for modern political philosophy and he has, thankfully, had the weapon of humour to deal with it. Few others have his perspicacity or perspicuity in challenging the popular and the politically correct as is evident from the contributions to this volume".

Dr. Colin Vale
(formerly of the University of the Witwatersrand,
now Researcher for the Parliamentary Caucus of the IFP [Buthelezi's Zulu party], South Africa)


"In trying to evaluate the political philosophy of W.J. Stankiewicz, one is struck by the seamless integrity of it all. The positive is seen in terms of the negative and vice versa. As one [commentator] put it: 'By understanding what types of thought are prone to close off thought altogether, one can try to do posterity a service.' It is this service that defines the contribution of Stankiewicz to political thought...

...throughout there shines through his wise and tenacious promotion of one of the core ideas of the Western tradition: natural law. Nature and reason, he argues, cannot suspend one another...The two approaches...complement...one another. Reality is neither synthetic not analytic but dialectic. For keeping this tradition alive we owe Stankiewicz our gratitude and admiration."

A. du P. Louw,
Professor of Political Science,
University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

From essays in Holding One's Time in Thought

...to step back and take a long, careful look at the career of WJS is to realize that he belongs in the category of 'scholar prophet,' harboring a host of talents and approaches not easily kept in harmony. For those who wish to try, WJS provides clearly defined footsteps in which to tread."

Alan C. Cairns, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of British Columbia


What is required, then, if authority is to survive into the next century? ...Hannah Arendt and W.J. Stankiewicz point toward a common answer - one which found its greatest articulation in the works of St. Augustine. W must begin with the recognition that it is the opposite of violence and coercive thought...

Jean Bethke Elshtain,
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics
at the Divinity School, The University of Chicago


The hallmark of Stankiewicz's style id not the palpability of language, but its limpidity. Language is not used in such a way as to draw attention to itself. Nor is its transparency referential in the descriptive, factual, concrete sense. In fact, WJS shuns what he calls 'linear prose,' that is sentences which do not go beyond 'actual' assertions...those that 'merely relate or repeat information in an uncritical fashion'.

Bogdan Czaykowski,
Professor Emeritus of Polish/East European History and Literature,
University of British Columbia


We are presented with a fundamental moral crisis which derives from the relativist's corrosive skepticism about the rational foundations of public life - which really amounts to cynicism. That damaging conviction derives from a misconstrued and simplistic - 'primitive' - egalitarianism which is another subject which derives withering criticism from WJS.

Robert H. Jackson, Professor of Political Science, Boston University


The most arresting conclusion of WJS's early writings is his belief that the dangers of intolerance are ever present and that individual liberty is at best a fragile achievement. Much the same conclusion emerges from his later writings on toleration. The later writings, however, move away from historical analysis and dissect the contemporary world.

Samuel V. LaSelva,
Professor of Political Science University of British Columbia


There are many turns and twists in the discussion of the three political ideologies. Again and again, the author moves from one mode of expression or level of analysis to another, with an accompanying shift in perspective. In the process WJS keeps relating his key concepts to one another, in a form of 'cross-referencing' that brings out interconnections as well as distinctive differences among them.

Christian Soe,
Professor of Political Science
at California State University, Long Beach


Grand passion and love of ideas comprise the ground and force of Stankiewicz's being as a political theorist. He not only commanded a great spirit, but willed the means to do great things. I accord him the highest honours because he pressed his whole being and intellect into the service of political philosophy.

Arpad Kadarkay,
Professor of Political Science,
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

On WJS's Aphorisms

"A fascinating and perceptive piece on one of the major heresies of our time...an extraordinary beautiful job."

John W. Holmes,
Director General, Canadian Institute of International Affairs


"A meditation whose format matches its content in elegance and concision."

Roy Daniells,
Professor of English,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.

"This is an unusual piece of work. In an age of quantification, this production appears to want to constitute, in itself, a manifesto of quality....Prof. Stankiewicz goes to war against everything which empties political theory of its qualitative, traditional philosophical substance."

Prof. Albert Shalom,
Professor of Philosophy,
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON


"In order to say it briefly and succinctly: the collection of aphorisms is superb. The power of thought; the unbendable clarity of formulation; the renunciation of any frills of vanity; "earnestness" in the best sense of the word: all this makes reading difficult (in Heideggerian sense) and yet weightlessly light like platonic play. A great tradition (from Gracian over Schopenhauer to Canetti) is being continued here and the aphorism (that in modern times has frequently deteriorated to jocularity aimed at pleasing) is countered here in Jottings with admirable, authentic power. A deep book; an important book."

Peter Loeffler,
Professor of Theatre,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.