Political Theory

Harvey C. Mansfield's A Student's Guide to Political Philosophy PDF

By Harvey C. Mansfield

ISBN-10: 1497645107

ISBN-13: 9781497645103

Behind the day-by-day headlines on presidential races and native elections is the idea of the polity—or what the tip of our politics might be. Harvard's Harvey C. Mansfield, one among America's top political theorists, explains why our quest for the great lifestyles needs to tackle the kind of executive we search to uphold. He directs our gaze to the thinkers and philosophies and vintage works that experience proved so much influential during the ages.

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Extra resources for A Student's Guide to Political Philosophy

Example text

Not necessarily in the most pejorative of the received senses – namely, a hortatory rhetoric counter-posing a pristine socialist ideal to a degraded capitalist reality – but in as much as (to vary Marx’s claim) history is the judge – and capitalism (to date, at any rate) the executioner. In other words, if the Communist Manifesto retains an astonishing ‘actuality’ as regards contemporary capitalism, this has something profoundly paradoxical about it. On the one hand, much of what, 150 years ago, was no more than an astonishing anticipation of the revolutionary vocation of capitalism, has been – is every day being – confirmed before our very eyes.

The argument from dystopia – socialism equals Stalinism, the worst of all possible worlds – is reinforced by the argument from utopia – socialism equals an impracticable ideal, an impossible best of all possible worlds. 24 Elliott 01 chaps 24 20/11/07 14:36:02 KARL MARX In an essay dating from 1971, Eric Hobsbawm observed of the class of ’68 that: There is ... one major difference between the new revolutionism and that of my generation between the wars. We had ... hope and a concrete model of the alternative society: socialism.

While liberalism represented the best practicable economic and political world, it was not perfect. But it provided the ineluctable framework for solving such remaining human ills as were soluble. With the defeat of fascism at mid century and communism at its close, and given the intrinsic frailty of religion and nationalism as alternative poles of attraction, there were no serious – ‘world-historical’ – competitors still in the field. The elegiac note struck in conclusion to the article, in a passage reproduced on the back cover of the book, supplies an initial gauge of the gulf between this philosophy of history and any theory of modernisation: The end of history will be a very sad time.

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A Student's Guide to Political Philosophy by Harvey C. Mansfield


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