Download Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought by Joseph V. Femia PDF

By Joseph V. Femia

Given the belief that democracy is a "good thing," the objective of humankind, you may omit that "rule through the people" has been vehemently hostile by means of essentially the most distinct thinkers within the Western culture. This booklet makes an attempt to wrestle collective amnesia via systematically exploring and comparing anti-democratic notion because the French Revolution.

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Extra resources for Against the Masses: Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought since the French Revolution

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He tends to confuse the dangers and dysfunctions of a revolutionary transition to democracy with the workings of democracy itself. In other words, it is difficult to disentangle his anti-democratic arguments from his anti-revolutionary arguments. Admittedly, the chances of democracy succeeding will border on the nonexistent if it is introduced in the context of a violent social upheaval where traditional patterns of life are disrupted or destroyed, thus unleashing much uncertainty, hatred, and bitterness.

35 Ibid. 345. 36 Ibid. 89–91. 28 The Perversity Thesis This is a valid point. Democracy, like liberty, is just one good amongst others. It would be absurd to support it if it really did lead to chaos and tyranny or otherwise threatened everything we hold dear. Still, Burke’s case against democracy seems to rest on a fundamental flaw. He tends to confuse the dangers and dysfunctions of a revolutionary transition to democracy with the workings of democracy itself. In other words, it is difficult to disentangle his anti-democratic arguments from his anti-revolutionary arguments.

Burke, 171. Ibid. 194. 24 21 Ibid. 124. Ibid. 138. 25 22 Ibid. 151. Ibid. 248–9. The Perversity Thesis 25 tic revolution was already assuming the characteristics of dictatorship, and that things were bound to get worse. As might be expected, he builds his case upon an analogy with nature. Equality is unnatural, a ‘monstrous fiction’,26 and any attempt to implement it will be about as productive (and disgusting) as attempts to cross-breed men and sheep. 27 Within a democratic framework, the social composition of the elite would be urban and bourgeois.

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