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eBook An Intellectual History of Liberalism epub

by Rebecca Balinski,Jerrold E. Seigel,Pierre Manent

eBook An Intellectual History of Liberalism epub
  • ISBN: 0691029113
  • Author: Rebecca Balinski,Jerrold E. Seigel,Pierre Manent
  • Genre: Social Sciences
  • Subcategory: Philosophy
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (July 22, 1996)
  • Pages: 152 pages
  • ePUB size: 1156 kb
  • FB2 size 1400 kb
  • Formats rtf mbr lit docx


As an intellectual history Pierre Manent's concisely written book shows the evolution of ideas over time and . Manent writes, "It is, in my view, the history of political philosophy that sheds the most light on the unfolding of our history"; this only began in the time of Machiavelli

As an intellectual history Pierre Manent's concisely written book shows the evolution of ideas over time and anchors the main ideas to a few central thinkers, but gives no historical information (dates, characters, circumstances). Manent writes, "It is, in my view, the history of political philosophy that sheds the most light on the unfolding of our history"; this only began in the time of Machiavelli. In his history, Thucydides does not devote a single page to what we would call the "intellectual" or "cultural" life of the period.

An. IntellectualHistory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. From the double perspective of biography and intellectual history, this article attempts to demonstrate the relevance of studying Lionel Groulx's stance on Confederation as one of the most prominent French-Canadian nationalist thinkers between the 1910s and the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s

Pierre Manent, Rebecca Balinski, Jerrold E. Seigel. Highlighting the social tensions that confront the liberal tradition, Pierre Manent draws a portrait of what we, citizens of modern liberal democracies, have become.

Pierre Manent, Rebecca Balinski, Jerrold E. For Manent, a discussion of liberalism encompasses the foundations of modern society, its secularism, its individualism, and its conception of rights. The frequent incapacity of the morally neutral, democratic state to further social causes, he argues, derives from the liberal stance that political life does not serve a higher purpose.

For Manent, a discussion of liberalism encompasses the foundations of modern society, its . Издание: перепечатанное, исправленное.

For Manent, a discussion of liberalism encompasses the foundations of modern society, its secularism, its individualism, and its conception of rights. Библиографические данные. An Intellectual History of Liberalism New French thought.

Pierre Manent, Jerrold E. Seigel (Foreword). Rebecca Balinski (Translator)

Pierre Manent, Jerrold E. Rebecca Balinski (Translator). The frequent incapacity of the morally neutral, democratic.

Translated by Rebecca Balinski. Foreword by Jerrold Siegel. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Pp. xviii, 127. Stanley Mellon Emeritus. Published: 1 June 1996. by University of Chicago Press.

Manent . 1994: An Intellectual History of Liberalism (translated by Rebecca Balinski with a foreword by Jerrold . Ramsay . 1997: What's Wrong with Liberalism: A Radical Critique of Liberal Political Philosophy. Leicester University Press, London. 1994: An Intellectual History of Liberalism (translated by Rebecca Balinski with a foreword by Jerrold Seigel). Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. oogle Scholar. Marx . 1968: Selected Works.

Liberalism, the belief in freedom and human rights, is historically associated with thinkers such as John Locke and Montesquieu. It is a political movement which spans the better part of the last four centuries, though the use of the word "liberalism" to refer to a specific political doctrine did not occur until the 19th century.

An Intellectual History of Liberalism. Rebecca Balinski, trans. The Return of Political Philosophy, Pierre Manent, First Things (May 2000). Birth of the Nation", Pierre Manent, City Journal (Winter 2013). (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994). "Pierre Manent on the European Union". php?title Pierre Manent&oldid 892001595".

Highlighting the social tensions that confront the liberal tradition, Pierre Manent draws a portrait of what we, citizens of modern liberal democracies, have become. For Manent, a discussion of liberalism encompasses the foundations of modern society, its secularism, its individualism, and its conception of rights. The frequent incapacity of the morally neutral, democratic state to further social causes, he argues, derives from the liberal stance that political life does not serve a higher purpose. Through quick-moving, highly synthetic essays, he explores the development of liberal thinking in terms of a single theme: the decline of theological politics.

The author traces the liberal stance to Machiavelli, who, in seeking to divorce everyday life from the pervasive influence of the Catholic church, separated politics from all notions of a cosmological order. What followed, as Manent demonstrates in his analyses of Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Guizot, and Constant, was the evolving concept of an individual with no goals outside the confines of the self and a state with no purpose but to prevent individuals from dominating one another. Weighing both the positive and negative effects of such a political arrangement, Manent raises important questions about the fundamental political issues of the day, among them the possibility of individual rights being reconciled with the necessary demands of political organization, and the desirability of a government system neutral about religion but not about public morals.

Comments: (4)
Kalrajas
The best brief intellectual history of liberalism available. But it is unfair to the book to call it an intellectual history, since it is actually a philosophic meditation of Western liberalism from Machaiavelli to Tocqueville. In other words, a philsophical short masterpiece.
terostr
This book is "many books in relatively short one." It colud be the last rather than the first introduction to the modern liberal political philosophy.
Pierre Manent 's books are always intellectually rewarding and politically sound like this one. Since Raymond Aron passed away, I think, Professor Manent is now "France's Professor."
Bad Sunny
This book is just what I needed and it was delivered right on time. It will help me immensely in understanding what I need for my Poly Sci class! I have read almost all of it and it is great to see the impact of philosophers in our modern time.
Kalv
This book gives a practical summary of the origins of classical liberalism, as opposed to the contemporary American usage of the word "liberal". As an intellectual history Pierre Manent's concisely written book shows the evolution of ideas over time and anchors the main ideas to a few central thinkers, but gives no historical information (dates, characters, circumstances). What is the fundamental natural state of man, and what does this imply about rights and governance? How are the roles of civil society and state to be defined? How did liberalism come to suggest itself as an alternative to Europe's three original models: empires, monarchies and city-states? How does the liberal thinking of the Enlightenment compare to ancient Greek political theory? How were competing social interests to be reconciled after the French Revolution against the ancienne régime? The book indicates how influential French thinking and the French Revolution was for liberalism, but covers less about other influencers such as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill who in some ways responded to the French influence. Manent's book is a stimulating and bracing reconsideration of the cultural and political matrix that gives form to modern life. The reader is naturally reminded of the self-satisfaction of contemporary politicians and parties, who pretend to be intellectual descendents carrying the torch of great thinkers.

One central thesis of the author is that liberalism originates in the struggle to be free from religion in governance. This was not only necessary to confront the despotism of the Catholic Church but also to ensure a stable and therefore pluralistic foundation in the face of crumbling religious unity after Luther. Although liberty and equality are commonly thought to be biblical values, the new freedom of liberalism--rights of man, freedom of conscience, sovereignty of the people--only "came about just after the Christian religion had been totally stripped of all political power for the first time", and that which belonged to Caesar returned to Caesar.
In the foreword, Jerrold Seigel discusses Manent's thesis, that liberalism need not pretend to any higher end. At a generic level, says Manent, we moderns do not enter into relations with others in order to realize some good or higher purpose inherent in human nature; if we do, we each have such wildly different ideas about what is good that it is meaningless and susceptible to be seized on by religion, arguing that religious good is greater than any merely natural good. Siegel suggests a slightly different perspective, that liberalism was a rebellious and at the same time restorative response to religious, scientific and economic conditions that were already undermining the Church. Siegel's alternative also requires no moral source outside the self, where people have the task of giving meaning to the individual and society. These non-moral approaches avoid the problem of classical Greek theory, that supposed inherent human goodness as a basis for governance, because any admission that a higher end existed could be seized on and manipulated by the Church.

This concludes my review. The following is a (rather long) summary of the author's explanation of his topic. Manent focuses on ideas and their interplay, so the reader does not always get a clear and exact attribution of ideas and arguments to their first authors.
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It is unusual to include Machiavelli and Hobbes in the lineage of the founders of classical liberalism, but the author shows that they were on the forefront because they constructed modern theories in reaction to modern situations. The two certainly show that liberal political theory vacillates between exalting the state as the only means to assure the survival of individuals and defending against the state, alternating between idealized and demonized visions of society and human nature.

The modern situation to which Machiavelli reacted was the follow-up to the French invasion of 1494. Manent writes, "It is, in my view, the history of political philosophy that sheds the most light on the unfolding of our [modern] history"; this only began in the time of Machiavelli. In his history, Thucydides does not devote a single page to what we would call the "intellectual" or "cultural" life of the period. (Ibn Khaldun (b. 1332, Tunis) came close to this politico-historical perspective, being the first to view history from the perspective of society and civilisation.) "The great literary assertions of the solidity, independence, and the nobility of the secular world were born in Italy: those of Dante, Marsilius of Padua, Boccaccio. The Florentine tradition was then taken up, radically transformed, and made operational for the offensive against the Church launched by that great enemy of Christianity, Machiavelli." Machiavelli taught evil: how to take and keep power by ruse and force, how to carry through a successful conspiracy, how not to threaten or insult an enemy but to kill him when the time is right. Machiavelli taught that ordinary periods of peace ("goodness") can only arise and be maintained, by "extraordinary morals" of violence and injustice. Thus "good" is founded on and is only possible thanks to "evil" (indeed it is impossible to be perfectly fair, such as in the allocation of land); evil is politically more significant, more substantial, more real than "good". Machiavelli forces us to lose our innocence and to doubt the "good", "the smile of superiority and mockery". This contradicted the Aristotelian ideal political framework, the practice of civic and moral virtues that permitted man to demonstrate his excellence. For Machiavelli, from the moment the citizen's identification of his instinct for self-preservation is uncoupled from the instinct for the preservation of the city-state, the motivating force of civic life and morality is fatally weakened. "The public good can only be brought about by the power of violence and fear... To assert the necessity and fecundity of evil is now to assert the self-sufficiency of the earthly, secular order. " Whether or not Machiavelli was correct, the powerful could use his reasoning to justify anything.

The modern situation faced by Hobbes was the collapse of English political unity of the 1640s caused by classical studies glorifying freedom (Republicanism) and Protestantism. From the English Civil War, Hobbes drew the conclusions that people have incompatible notions of good (thus leading to the all-out war between Christians) but everyone knows what is evil; and that mankind cannot be united by grace or nature but can only be united from a political convention based on the fear of death. Unlike "goodness", the fear of death is invulnerable to a conflict of opinions. For Hobbes, the natural condition of mankind is the permanent presence of fear, distrust and aggression. Unlike the Greek ideal, real society is dominated by pride, conceit and vainglory. Our dominant, primordial desire is for power. For Hobbes, the natural condition of mankind is unbearable (the war of all against all, in which each person's life is "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short"), people are equal in their powerlessness, and people's actions are unlimited, legitimate self-defence. Good and evil only have meaning when this natural state has been surmounted by public authorities. Human reason, observing the absurdity of this war, is going to seek a means for peace. If individuals wish to be satisfied, they are constrained to be intelligent. The individuals therefore consent to transfer their unlimited natural right of self-defence to the sovereign, the Leviathan, on the condition that this sovereign will promulgate the laws necessary for peace and guarantee that they are obeyed, by force if necessary. At the moment of transfer, the individual's aristocratic/master behaviour (seeking power, honour, prestige) loses out to bourgeois/slave behaviour (seeking security, stability).

Thus Hobbes deduces absolutism, contrary to Aristotle's society governed by a merit-based hierarchy. Men are not guided by morality but by the right of the individual that is born from the necessity of fleeing evil. The transfer of this right means recognizing that the sovereign is my chosen representative and that all of his or her actions are mine. Absolute power is no longer God's representative but mankind's. This abolishes the Church's political power. There is no need for power other than civil power. As long as the law is obeyed, individuals are free. "Hobbes can be called the founder of liberalism because he elaborated the liberal interpretation of the law."

Locke modifies Hobbes by attributing intrinsic rights to the individual in the state of nature and by limiting the rights of the sovereign, for example, sanctioning civil disobedience for self preservation. Locke points out that the original threat to life in the state of nature is not war but hunger; people's actions caused by hunger can lead to war. The individual in the state of nature is hungry and has the right to gather fruit for self preservation. This right is independent of the consent of others. Since the individual appropriated the fruit from the common domain legitimately, ownership is acquired through the labour of the individual. Property enters the world through labour, and the right to property is prior to the institution of society or political law. Property is natural, not conventional. The relationship of man to nature is defined by labour; man labours in order to own (and hence to survive). I am naturally the legitimate owner of the land I cultivate with my labour. Since tilling the land increases productivity, I add to the common good by appropriating a portion of land (from the common domain) through labour. The author does not discuss the messy details of competing for ownership, nor of legitimizing ownership where the original acquisition was not fully legitimate. After all, most private land belongs to very few people (in England, 3% of the people own 80% of the land), and for them, Locke and his property theory are only a tool to ensure their ownership.

For Locke, it is human labour, not nature, that gives things their value, by converting scarce resources into abundance. Yields can then be traded or exchanged for money, thereby avoiding waste, storing value in incorruptible form and allowing the separation of the owner's right from the labourer's right. That is, once property becomes a value represented by money, the owner's rights can be separated from the labourer's rights. Money has an agreed value among individuals and is derived from the natural need to convert perishable goods into an incorruptible form. The distinctive feature of labour is to produce value, which can result in ownership or monetary compensation. The distinctive feature of property is to preserve this value, to prevent it from disappearing or being wasted. The essential element of society, the series of economic exchanges into which people enter as labourers and owners, is born before political institutions. The right to property is further justified by its economic utility. The liberal program made the economy (labour's productivity, trade, the right to property) the foundation for social life. Economic activity would become "the dominant activity in liberal societies". A powerfully sovereign state was necessary to guarantee the individual's rights and the existence of the economy, but unlike Hobbes, the sovereign (the executive government) must follow the law of the representative legislative assembly. The latter is more powerful than the former. Locke showed the direct link between individual hunger, individual rights to self-nourishment, the right to property, the economy and society, but after Locke the focus on the right to property transformed to a focus on the political economy and the notions of interest and utility.

Montesquieu goes further than Locke's recognition of the distinction between the executive and the legislative assembly by specifying a doctrine of separation of the two. Montesquieu sees the heart of the political problem as the conflict between power and liberty. As soon as sovereign institutions take form, the individual has access to more power than otherwise possible in nature, so the institutions must be designed to avoid abuse. "Power should be the check of power," obviating the need for absolute sovereignty, (Locke's remedy) rebellion and their chaotic consequences. Montesquieu introduces the notion of party; in his case, these were the executive versus the legislative assembly but today they are the majority versus the opposition. Citizens favour either one institution of power or the other out of self interest. Individuals will always identify with but also feel some alienation from a party. The citizens will tend to divide into almost equal partisan groups because the beginning of domination of any group automatically increases the alienation of its partisans and some of them switch to the weaker side in order to reduce its threat to society. "Such a regime produces a double impotence." The division of power leaves the citizens incapable of doing much to each other (ensuring security), and citizens reduce the powerful by switching parties (checking oppression). The impotence of citizens and power condition each other, what Montesquieu calls liberty. The domain of power is strictly contained, and the citizen can assert his or her independence in "the two great domains liberated by this double impotence", the economy and culture. A mechanism of decision making now replaces the absolute sovereignty of Hobbes's Leviathan and of Locke's legislative assembly. According to Manent, liberalism is first fully constituted through Montesquieu's doctrine of representation and separation of powers.

Rousseau also analysed the conditions for a legitimate regime based on previous liberal thinkers, but was highly critical of the modern man, who had become the middle class individual (bourgeois) concerned only for his or her petty self-interest and ceased to be a citizen concerned with the common good. The modern individual constantly compares him- or herself with others and is thereby always corrupted or on the point of being so. Not only does the desire to be first tempt him to commit mischief, it obliges him to give others a pleasing image of himself, to flatter himself and to flatter them. For Rousseau, modern man's exterior will never be in harmony with his interior and his life will become a permanent lie. He is the divided man, contemptible in comparison of the ideal citizen. Worse, this tendency resulted in a tyranny of opinion in society, which tended to favour the rich, was not based on merit or power, and was irrational and fleeting. The spirit of society had become a mean-spirited inequality. Rousseau questioned what happens to the soul of someone who lives according to the economic life of liberalism. All citizens are dependent, meaning they should not harm each other, and yet competitors, meaning that they do not want to do good to each other. Modern man lives by comparison, with the desire to be esteemed as better than others and with an amour-propre that is condemned to be thwarted because everyone has the same desire. Self-love knows that it cannot be satisfied, and it impotently hates others for their own self-love. In such a society, man lives only for the gaze of others, whom he secretly despises. Montesquieu believed that "hatred, envy, jealousy, and an ambitious desire of riches and honours" constitute the basis of modern English life, but believed that this was simply the price to pay for liberty. Rousseau questioned how one can speak of liberty when no individual will can get what he or she wants, when those who seem to command are slaves to wily opinion, when freedom is only the impotence of all. For Rousseau, Montesquieu's liberal economic system is simply the institutionalisation of human debasement, of cowardly self-enslavement. Rousseau's solution is based on an assumption about human nature before it was corrupted by society, namely that man in nature is happy and good because he is whole, because he is self-sufficient. The good polity must therefore preserve this individual unity, integrity and self-sufficiency by identifying each individual with the polity. No member of the body politic should distinguish his own good from the common good, instead he will be whole because he becomes one with the body politic. The general will becomes the principle and locus of particular wills. The general will gives existence as well as legitimacy to the new artificial individual with whom all natural individuals identify. The individual becomes a more rigorous citizen than the "most hardened Spartan"; the Greek citizen was free from despotism, but was constantly subjected to exhausting social discipline because of warlike political bodies. Like Locke, the origin of Rousseau's state lies in the instinct for individual preservation. At some point individuals recognise that they must join forces to protect their lives and goods, under the sovereign direction of the general will. This social contract is a contract of proprietors. Rousseau does not agree with Locke's concept that land ownership really had its origin in labour. The true origin was force; individuals took the land away from the commons and from others by force. This means that the ultimate foundation (i.e. property rights) of every civil society lies in a usurpation by force that was never just and not conform to rights. Consequently, laws must protect property rights and yet aim to correct the original inequality of property. Rousseau considers it impossible to fully correct this inequality, and it is in man's nature to be contradictory. Rousseau is also "contradictory", because he supports liberal theory, but promotes the anti-liberal idea of the domination of the general will over the individual. Rousseau is "not a liberal" (Manent), but Rousseau's individual is more free than Locke's individual because he rises above his nature to identify with the general will. Later Rousseau was appalled by the use of his ideas to justify unlimited popular sovereignty.

Less known are the ideas of Alexandre de Tocqueville, François Guizot, and Benjamin Constant. Constant's contribution was the recognition of the fundamental insincerity of modern thinking. It is at least plausible that the ancients enthusiasm for civic morals was based on complete conviction. The modern regards this as innocent, almost naïve, and is personally full of doubts. Notions of patriotism, pure virtue or perfect government are looked upon as partially ridiculous, because society and individuals are full of contradictions, so representative government must institutionalise our doubt, contradictions and skepticism. Constant's intellectual attitude is critical, his weapon is irony and his liberalism is that of a parliamentary orator of the opposition. François Guizot germinal idea was that modern political development leads to the simultaneous growth of political power in society and of society's influence on power. "The art of governing consists not in seeming to take over power, but in using all that exists," including using individuals of exceptional merit by giving them power.

Guizot wanted government to consider society not as an enemy but as a partner, and wanted liberal representative politicians not to consider power or government intervention as a necessary evil but as duties desirable for and in fact desired by society.
Tocqueville observed America (1831-1832) as an enamoured fan of a new country that started with and lived according to democratic instead of aristocratic principles. He noted that democracy tended to dissolve society, because individuals seek isolation in order to ensure their freedom from influence and authority. For liberals, this is countered by the trust that is engendered by trade. Americans were equal individuals obliged to deal with their common affairs by themselves, and constructed free institutions to do so. When faced with inequality, the disadvantaged individual seeks to bring himself or herself up to the level of the competitor, and to surpass it if possible. It is not that the democratic man wants to be equal to every man, but he must feel the possibility of equality. Since equality is inscribed in the law and in public opinion, a poor man working for a rich man is imagined by society to be an equal.
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