Bernard-Henri Levy: Biography highlights
Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of the most highly acclaimed philosophers, journalists, activists and best-selling authors in Europe today. A celebrated thinker, his works of philosophy, fiction, and biography included in his over 30 books, have made him one of the world’s most admired intellectuals.
Full biography of Bernard-Henri Levy
Bernard-Henri Levy’s Background
Lévy’s cultural commentary, novels and journalism create such excitement that “The Guardian” noted he is “accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars.” Lévy’s appeal bridges high intellect and low brow pop culture. Referred as just “BHL” in France, and known for his trademark elegance and suave appearance, he is one of the few who has served as both one of the world’s most influential intellectuals and on Vanity’s Fair’s 2005 International Best Dressed List.” His character and philosophical provocation has led the magazine to call him “superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the United States.”
Now Lévy has crossed the Atlantic with his newest book “American Vertigo: Travelling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville”, a bestseller on the lists of “The New York Times” and many other newspapers. With incredible insight, Lévy offers up a sympathetic view of America through foreign eyes. His experiences in America go against the grain of French and American discord, causing him to advocate for the United States as a model of a democracy worldwide.
Deemed a flamboyant intellectual maverick who is an advocate of ethics and justice, Lévy was proclaimed leader of the New Philosophers, a group who broke away from the Marxist ideology dominating 1960s France and the hard-line French left typified by Jean-Paul Sartre. During this time, he solidified his relationship as a new voice with his revolutionary book “Barbarism with a Human Face”.
Maintaining an outspoken streak of activism, his reflection of the state of race relations within Europe and in the United States are considered highly observant. Lévy also serves as co-founder of the antiracist group “SOS Racism”, and “Action Internationale Contre la Faim”. In addition, Lévy has held several diplomatic positions with the French government and in 2002, French President Jacques Chirac appointed him to head a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in the wake of the war against the Taliban.
Originally a war reporter for Combat, the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France, Lévy covered the war between Pakistan and India over Bangladesh. As a journalist who has travelled extensively within the Middle East, he has written several books about Islam and the region including his stunning “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” and “Red India”. As a filmmaker, he has travelled into the world of conflict in his documentaries “Bosna!” and “A Day in the Death of Sarajevo”.
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Bernard-Henri's speaking topics
What is the true impact of globalization? Is it really an unhappy process? According to Lévy, there is no better choice than the path of globalization and this should be embraced, rather than disputed. Globalization offers access to prosperity, education and, at the end of the day, democracy. And, those advocating for the contrary oppose the values of the Enlightenment. Lévy passionately shares how globalization throughout history has led to the advancement of civilization and will continue to bring both societal and economic progress if kindled.
The rise of populism in the United States and Europe
What is populism? How can it be empirically and theoretically decrypted? Why is it completely different from the sovereignty of people, in other words, democracy? What makes populism different and close to the Fascist movements of the 1930s? Why are these movements in such favor around the world today? What is real bridge between Putin and Trump? On all these questions, Lévy has unique insight. He brings historical philosophical analysis from thinkers like Machiavelli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, as well his on the ground experience, to paint an original picture of today’s global political climate.
Money as a facilitator for the common good
Capital, or money, is the greatest tool that civilization ever invented. With comprehensive philosophical and historical analysis, Lévy demonstrates, that, in essence, money equals mobility, liberty and is at the heart of democracy. It can help shape human desire in positive ways, right certain transgressions and has an ethical value far greater than we often see. When used as a means and not an end, money is to be praised as it can be a noble tool to foster good for mankind.
Facing ISIS: Experience from the battlefield
From Lévy’s international best-seller, “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” to his recent documentary, “The Battle of Mosul”, the philosopher has first-hand experience with many jihadi groups from the exact places where they grow and expand. He has supported and followed enlightened Muslims, such as the Kurds, who are on the frontlines combatting the fascism of our time: jihadism. Lévy explains that the only clash of civilizations today exists within Islam: a democratic versus fundamental Islam.
The rise of anti-semitism
Lévy provides a new general theory on the current rise of anti-Semitism in which there are three pillars: anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial and the competition of victimhood. Each pillar tugs at present-day sensibilities and emotions. Lévy believes that this paradigm is spreading across the United States and can speak to this plague on both sides of the Atlantic. He also addresses the Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement that is a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel. Lévy aptly demonstrates that BDS is in fact rooted in the European anti-Semitism of the 20th century. In a logical and mathematical fashion, he provides fresh and inedited information on the Nazi background of this movement and proves that it is an alarming and growing global phenomenon. Additionally, Lévy offers a passionate defense of Israel from the liberal side and makes his case demonstrating the virtues of Israel’s extraordinary democracy. A strong multiethnic society that embraces immigrants from all over the world, Israel serves as a model of integration and openness.