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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Inner Liberty

Inner Liberty

(p.200) 19 Inner Liberty
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers antifascists' search for inner liberty in response to fascism. As fascism accentuated its totalitarian character and tried to infuse its domination into people's consciences, those antifascists who were intellectually more refined directed their research toward the rediscovery of an inner liberty. They were aware of the fact that once fascism became hegemonic, the last glimmer of hope for a political and civil liberation also would die. The philosopher Piero Martinetti (1872—1943) is a prime example of opposition to fascism in the name of human dignity. Starting in 1926, when fascism took on a totalitarian character, he exhorted students to that pride of character that is the distinctive trait of human beings: “[Immanuel] Kant lists among the essential duties of man that of pride, moral pride.” Inner liberty was also the main concern for Adolfo Omodeo (1889–1946), one of the chief protagonists in the search for a religion of liberty during the years of triumphant fascism. He cultivated two broad interlocked themes throughout his life as a scholar: ancient Christianity and the Risorgimento—that is, the two great ideal traditions that inspired the religion of liberty.

Keywords:   religion, inner liberty, fascism, antifascists, totalitarianism, Piero Martinetti, Adolfo Omodeo, ancient Christianity, Risorgimento

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