The death on July 12 of Paul Piccone, the ebullient editor of Telos, has deprived Chronicles of a close friend and energetic collaborator.  Paul exchanged articles and ideas happily with the editors of this journal and invited Thomas Fleming, Samuel Francis, and me to participate in his never-ending conferences, always put together on the spur of the moment, lambasting the modern state.  His concept of a discussion was to have several agitated participants go head to head, before he would break up the fight by outshouting everyone else.  And his voice was unique, with its resonance, Abruzzese accent, and the shower of words that it carried.  Paul could mix indelicate phrases with arcane philosophical terms and multiple allusions to long-dead European social theorists—all in a single unexpected outburst.  Ideas excited him more than they did almost any other man I have met, and part of his considerable charm arose from the fact that, even in his 50’s and 60’s, he personified Plato’s aspiring philosopher, who throbbed with the passion to know.

His generosity was legendary, even for a Latin.  Among his friends, it was a joke that Paul would bring home a hobo, if given a chance, from his Lower East Side neighborhood, over the protests of his long-suffering wife, and feed and lodge him for months.  Although not the hobo in question, I enjoyed the hospitality of Paul and Mary more times than I can remember.  I am embarrassed that Paul left this world before I could return even a small measure of his kindness.  Although Aristotle treated generosity as something that cannot be displayed in excess, he might have found in Paul a possible exception.  On one occasion, when I expressed interest in an object on his wall, he took down the flag of the Lega Nord, folded it, and gave it to me as a gift.  Only later did I learn that he had gone to considerable effort to obtain it.

In his youth, Paul had been a New Leftist, and, when I got to know him in the late 80’s, he still regarded himself in some very loose sense as a Marxist.  The tradition of critical theory, going back to the Frankfurt School, that his magazine was intended to embody grew out of a movement of the German radical left.  And articles in Telos and at least some members of the editorial board testified to this genealogical connection.  Yet nothing in the editor’s demeanor or majestically pronounced views on sex, family structure, and the European populist right would make one think of the left.  His Italian character was too firmly rooted, and we could see that character when he told us about how his hometown of Aquila had ruinously resisted Roman domination during the invasion of Hannibal.  (He would relate this narrative to underline his mountainous compaesani’s stubborn spirit of independence.)  For those of us who treasured his company and valued his kindly, buoyant personality, his death has created a void.  It is hard to imagine meeting someone who combines his extraordinary qualities ever again.  To his loving wife and to Gary Ulmen, his daily collaborator in his publishing labors, both of whom attended him faithfully through his final illness, we extend heartfelt sympathies.