The short answer is: well, we are.
Any well known critic of the Catholic Church who includes the present and previous Popes in his forthright opinions has got to have something interesting to say. Add the fact that he's also renowned for dancing the macarena on TV and being a respected canon law Professor and recently Flemish politician and you've got a powerful mix.
The University world occasionally throws up intriguing people like Henri Maria Dymphna André Laurent Torfs, (yup I'd call myself Rik too). With a rock solid intellectual reputation as Professor in 4 different universities and subsequent acclaim as TV personality famous for poking fun at game show contestants but mostly at himself, Rik Torfs seems to have a lot of surprises up his sleeve.
In June of this year Torfs was elected to the Belgian Senate at the top of the CD&V ticket. Somewhat unfairly regarded as a so-called 'white rabbit' candidate i.e. someone more famous than political, hopefully Torfs can bring some of his huge range of thought to the disaster area of Belgian politics.
Most of Europe views Belgian politics as impenetrable, pointless in-fighting and it's hard to meet anyone here in Brussels who doesn't roll their eyes or throw up their hands in despair. It seems the people at the top have lost the ability to compromise on our behalf. The entire county will pay, literally, if the main parties don't get their act together fast. Torfs and his public profile can perhaps raise the stakes a bit.
With his new book 'But Who's Going to Save the World?' Rik Torfs gives us some badly needed suggestions. Torfs' big idea is that genuine individualism is the key to responsible solidarity. Only if we feel really free within ourselves to think and act can group decisions be meaningful. He's got plenty to say about one of the key issues of the day too - how can we afford the welfare bill? How do we make sure state money goes to those most need?. Torfs doesn't give us any ready answers. In fact he teaches us to distrust ready answers of all kinds.
How to look at political issues is his main subject. Taking in Euthanasia, global injustice, religious belief and middle class guilt, Torfs is really concerned with the big questions namely life and death. By laying out a subtle argument that admits how relative all our perceptions and beliefs are and embracing paradox Torfs is someone definitely thinking out of their box and god knows we need more of them around.
Rik Torfs will be at TEDx Brussels December 6