The Unfashionable Kierkegaard

Introductory remarks on Drucker's essay
By Richard Brem

Drucker first came across Kierkegaard in 1928, during his apprenticeship in Hamburg. Through a reading of Kierkegaard's treatise Fear and Trembling, Drucker recalls that it first became clear to him that his life could not only take place in society, but further required an existential and spiritual dimension.

Drucker wrote his essay on Kierkegaard in 1933, with the background of spreading Stalinist terror which also found expression in the murder of the Czechoslovakian politician Jan Masaryk, who was for Drucker, "the last true democrat in Czechoslovakia" and with whom he was acquainted and friends with since his childhood. Drucker's essay attempted a demarcation in two directions: firstly, against the many Western intellectuals who in the situation at that time flirted with communism and expected salvation in the perfected society; secondly, Drucker opposed the reaction of the establishment which countered the intellectuals simply by referring to the material superiority of the West.

In a commentary on the reprinting of the text in his essay collection The Ecological Vision of 1993, Drucker remarked on the background to its origin: "The Unfashionable Kierkegaard was thus written as an affirmation of the existential, the spiritual, the individual dimension of the Creature. It was written to assert that society is not enough - not even for society. It was written to affirm hope."