Download PDF by Joseph V. Femia: Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought
By Joseph V. Femia
Given the idea that democracy is a "good thing," the aim of humankind, you will omit that "rule via the people" has been vehemently adversarial through one of the most distinctive thinkers within the Western culture. This ebook makes an attempt to wrestle collective amnesia via systematically exploring and comparing anti-democratic idea because the French Revolution.
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Extra info for Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution
The Perversity Thesis 41 Enter Hegel, with his determination to create a dialectical synthesis of Enlightenment rationalism and romantic ‘expressivism’. While he shared many of the misgivings of the post-revolutionary generation regarding the cult of reason, he was also anxious to distance himself from the romantic obsession with impenetrable mysteries and imaginative insight. As did all his German contemporaries, Hegel felt compelled to respond to Kant’s formulation of the problem of knowledge.
Am I to congratulate a highwayman and murderer, who has broke prison, upon the recovery of his natural rights? Morality and religion, the ‘solidity of property’, peace and order—these are good things too, and without them liberty is scarcely a benefit. Before we congratulate people on attaining their liberty, we ought to see what they plan to do with it. Prudence would dictate this even in the case of ‘separate insulated private men’. But liberty, when men act in association with others, is power.
157. Ibid. 252–3, 269–70. 82 Philosophy of History, 252. 44 The Perversity Thesis The growth of subjectivity, though restricted to a minority of the population, had destroyed the unreflective unity of the polis. Hegel does not mourn the demise of ancient Greek democracy, for within it nothing stood as a general rule above the accidentality of common opinion, as expressed in the political market-place. This state of affairs, which he labels ‘pure arbitrariness’, is synonymous with despotism. 85 This was bad enough in ancient times; the effects of democracy in modern circumstances would be worse.
Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution by Joseph V. Femia