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Political Thought

  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2011 07:38 AM
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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Final exam: 11 June; time: tba; written; 2h max. 3 topics given, choose 2 to write about; 1 narrow, 1 synthesis.

Critique of the Liberal and Democratic outlook at the end of 19th C, beginning of the 20th

    • During the 19th C, liberalism, democracy, emerged as tangible political goals. Several societies started being built with liberal institutions and values, techniques/methods.
    • The liberal state is strong (in spite of minimal government) because it is based on strong Constitutions, it acknowledges its own limits. It has a particular set of technologies of government, and the capacity to include the powerful interests of society.
    • Marx considered it a fraud, a tool of the bourgeoisie to manipulate the classes. For him, the state was mean to disappear, it was useless ( capitalists need the whole apparatus in order to maintain power. Communism is a class-less society; conflicts disappear.
    • Carl Schmitt – German theorist of the beginning 20th C – main intellectuals with similar importance in political debates as Weber. One of the most important critiques of the Weimar Republic ( unique, major experiment in parliamentary democracy.
        o Does not believe in the possibility of a liberal, democratic parliamentary regime. Schmitt will joined the Nazi party, and thus ostracised.
        o Works: Political Theology, Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, Concept of the Political, Study on Dictatorship. (
        o Liberalism is unable to be the philosophy of a modern state. Most of the 1800s, liberalism is the pol regime that European states adopt, but that it’s impossible for contemporaries to survive with this ideology. Main issue: it rests on constitutionalism, which is a limit for the state itself. For Schmitt, constitutional theory is a limit, and is impossible to evolve.
        o This is stupid, because the state has to be able to handle crisis situations, and this cannot happen without a...


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