By Joseph V. Femia
Given the idea that democracy is a "good thing," the objective of humankind, you'll omit that "rule via the people" has been vehemently antagonistic via the most amazing thinkers within the Western culture. This ebook makes an attempt to wrestle collective amnesia via systematically exploring and comparing anti-democratic suggestion because the French Revolution.
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Extra resources for Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution
G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 10. 75 42 The Perversity Thesis individuals participate in God’s plan only through membership in a collective unit, which in turn serves some higher purpose in the human odyssey. Their own self-knowledge is therefore constituted by theoretical assumptions central to the life of the community. It should be evident how much the moral and political dimension of Hegel’s philosophy owed to the conservative or romantic critique of the French Revolution.
Lebrun (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994). Burke’s ‘formidable impact’ on Maistre is ably discussed by Marco Ravera, who argues that the Reflections convinced the Savoyard of the ‘epochal’ significance of the events in France. II tradizionalismo francese (Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1991), 4–6, 12–13. ), The Political Thought of the German Romantics, 150). 30 The Perversity Thesis is not an artificial association based on calculations of self-interest, but rests at least as much on a mysterious human yearning for wholeness and communion with others—this characteristically Burkean idea was embraced by Maistre with enthusiasm.
This subversion of traditional ways could not be confined to religious matters: Protestantism amounted to political rebellion. 55 The result, laments Maistre, has been a steady corrosion of the mythical narratives, emotional attachments, and cultural taboos that refine or check our anti-social impulses. Modern philosophy is at the same time too materialistic and too presumptuous to perceive the real mainsprings of the political world. One of its follies is to believe that a few scribblers can constitute a nation, that a constitution is an artefact like any other, that statesmen can make viable political institutions in the same way that workmen make steam pumps and stocking frames.
Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution by Joseph V. Femia