The funeral of Norman Stone took place on Friday 28 June in the Deak Lutheran Church in Budapest. His son Rupert asked me to be a pall bearer and I followed the coffin up the aisle behind the prime minister Viktor Orban. Historians Niall Ferguson and Harold James, among others, eulogised him. My presence was in a sense accidental. I happened to be spending a month in Vienna and I had come over from to Budapest to see him the previous week: on the day, in fact, he died.
Writing at the turn of the century, the English jurist A.V. Dicey predicted that the age of individualism would give way to an ‘age of collectivism’. Collectivism, he wrote, meant ‘government for the good of the people by experts and officials who think they know what is good for the people…better than the mass of the people themselves’. Dicey was right: the twentieth century has been an ‘age of collectivism’ The most monstrous experiments in the genre were Fascism and Communism. But all over the world governments increasingly used their powers of compulsion -as well as the authority often conferred on them by voters – not just to keep the peace but to shape the activities of their societies.