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The Generative Principle of Political Constitutions: Studies on Sovereignty, Religion and Enlightenment (Paperback)
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The Generative Principle of Political Constitutions: Studies on Sovereignty, Religion and Enlightenment (Paperback)

(editor), (other)
£37.99
Paperback 316 Pages / Published: 30/12/2011
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Joseph de Maistre had no doubt that the root causes of the French Revolution were intellectual and ideological. The degeneration of its first immense hopes into the Reign of Terror was not the result of a ruthless competition for power or of prospects of war. He echoed Voltaire's boast that "books did it all." The philosophers of the Enlightenment were the architects of the new regimes; and the shadow between revolutionary idea and social reality could be traced directly to a fatal flaw in their thought.

De Maistre asserts that society is the product, not of men's conscious decision, but of their instinctive makeup. Both history and primitive societies illustrate men's gravitation toward some form of communal life. Since government is in this sense natural, it can not legitimately be denied, revoked, or even disobeyed by the people. Sovereignty is not the product of the deliberation or the will of the people; it is a divinely bestowed authority fitted not to man's wishes but to his needs.

The French Revolution to de Maistre's mind was little more than the expansion, conversion, pride, and consequent moral corruption of the philosophers. It differs in essence from all previous political revolutions, finding a parallel only in the biblical revolt against heaven. These sentiments are the passionate and awe-inspired language of one who sees the political struggles of his time on a huge and cosmic scale, judges events sub specie aeternitatis (under the aspect of eternity), and looks on revolution and counter-revolution as a battle for the soul of humanity. The force of this classic volume still resonates in present-day ideological struggles.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412842655
Number of pages: 316
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 235 x 159 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Jack Lively's valuable edition and translation of large parts of Maistre's major work should earn a new audience for the most famous of anti-philosophes . . . [A]s witness to the impact of the philosophes, Maistre is without rival."

--Edward T. Gargan, The Journal of Modern History


"This is an admirable addition to any theorist's library."

--Thomas McEnroe, The Western Political Quarterly


"Maistre's mordant analysis of fallacies in rationalism and liberalism has not lost its force in our time and this book does something to remind us of how society, like the human body, cannot prosper unless it possesses the power of reaction as well as the power of renewal."

--Russell Kirk, The American Political Science Review


"Maistre's mordant analysis of fallacies in rationalism and liberalism has not lost its force in our time and this book does something to remind us of how society, like the human body, cannot prosper unless it possesses the power of reaction as well as the power of renewal."

--Russell Kirk, The American Political Science Review


"This is an admirable addition to any theorist's library."

--Thomas McEnroe, The Western Political Quarterly


"Jack Lively's valuable edition and translation of large parts of Maistre's major work should earn a new audience for the most famous of anti-philosophes . . . [A]s witness to the impact of the philosophes, Maistre is without rival."

--Edward T. Gargan, The Journal of Modern History


"Jack Lively's valuable edition and translation of large parts of Maistre's major work should earn a new audience for the most famous of anti-philosophes . . . [A]s witness to the impact of the philosophes, Maistre is without rival."

--Edward T. Gargan, The Journal of Modern History


"Maistre's mordant analysis of fallacies in rationalism and liberalism has not lost its force in our time and this book does something to remind us of how society, like the human body, cannot prosper unless it possesses the power of reaction as well as the power of renewal."

--Russell Kirk, The American Political Science Review


"This is an admirable addition to any theorist's library."

--Thomas McEnroe, The Western Political Quarterly


-Jack Lively's valuable edition and translation of large parts of Maistre's major work should earn a new audience for the most famous of anti-philosophes . . . [A]s witness to the impact of the philosophes, Maistre is without rival.-

--Edward T. Gargan, The Journal of Modern History


-Maistre's mordant analysis of fallacies in rationalism and liberalism has not lost its force in our time and this book does something to remind us of how society, like the human body, cannot prosper unless it possesses the power of reaction as well as the power of renewal.-

--Russell Kirk, The American Political Science Review


-This is an admirable addition to any theorist's library.-

--Thomas McEnroe, The Western Political Quarterly

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