Download e-book for kindle: Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought by Joseph V. Femia

By Joseph V. Femia

ISBN-10: 0198280637

ISBN-13: 9780198280637

Given the idea that democracy is a "good thing," the aim of humankind, you'll overlook that "rule by means of the people" has been vehemently adverse via the most individual thinkers within the Western culture. This ebook makes an attempt to strive against collective amnesia through systematically exploring and comparing anti-democratic proposal because the French Revolution.

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It is up to him to prove it. 46 Therefore, in order to understand man’s nature, we must not hark back to primitive times when a handful of savages were scattered over vast territories. What would we think of a naturalist who said that man is an animal thirty to thirty-five inches high, without strength or intelligence, and giving voice only to inarticulate cries? Yet this naturalist, in sketching man’s physical and moral nature in terms of an infant’s characteristics, would be no more idiotic than the philosopher who seeks the political nature of this same being in the rudiments, or infancy, of society.

This portrait of Maistre is broadly accurate—and yet this supposed paragon of classicism had much in common with the moody and restless Germans: Müller, Novalis, Schleiermacher, and others who came to symbolize romanticism. Like them, he advocated a theocratic conception of the world and feared that the secularization of man’s outlook would corrode the social and spiritual bonds that keep individuals together in a stable and cohesive order. This preference for faith over intellect took the form of an instinctive aversion to science, which he also shared with romantic thinkers.

48 When he insists on human sociability, he does not mean that human beings are naturally disposed to live together in peace and harmony. Rather, he means that social institutions alone have prevented us from descending into the maelstrom of utter barbarism and depravity. The incurable corruption of human beings fits into a cosmic pattern of moral putridity. ‘There is nothing but violence in the universe . . ’49 Maistre thinks it ridiculous for Rousseau and others of his ilk to see nature as inherently benign; on the contrary, the most obvious natural law is that of violent death.

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Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution by Joseph V. Femia


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