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Lecture 19

Lecture 19


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Professor
Martin Breaugh
Lecture
19

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Crisis of Ideologies
Using ideas developed in the 19th century to explain things in 20th and 21st century.
New forces should compel us to new ideologies
There have been developments that changed political landscape, but ideologies have
remained pretty much the same
1. fragmented nature of the ruling class
o A lot less homogenous than it was in 19th century
2. Can also be found in what used to be known as working class
o Division is stronger
3. Development of new social groups
o Women’s group, multicultural groups
o Put into question the fundamental assumptions of ideology
4. Creation of a truly inclusive middleclass
o Social and political imaginary
o Resistance to change
o Social inertia and status quo, there is no point in bringing social change
o Silent majority backbone of the country
Political apathy of middleclass
Pierre Manent
A World Beyond Politics: impartial reading of our current situation
o Impartial: seeks to be fair to all of the positions that are available for our
understanding. To be fair with those positions that he is disagreeing with.
o It’s a difficult book. Seeks to be just and fair.
o Use philosophy, history, and political science
o Language of nuance, Manent is offering an analysis
Manent begins his quote from French poet, “Where am I?”
Science and liberty represents the double foundations of our life
Manent asks, “What is it that holds authority for us?
o By us, Manent is referring to citizens of western democracy
o Manent seeks to understand the elements that will remain important for us despite
the complexity of contemporary life (“To be without bearings” we don’t know
where we are heading, where society is heading)
What is authority?
o Auctor in Latin, means “author or founder”
o Augere means to “increase or augment”
o Something that is foundational and important, which must be augmented
o Authority cannot survive without it being augmented
o Something that holds authority for us must be augmented
o E.g., parents have authority, they are authors/founders for us
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This role must be constantly reinforced and augmented
In the rarest of cases, the authorities of parents are put into question, when
that happens, it’s usually because parents are not playing the foundational
role, and therefore they have relinquished the authority
o We can found authority as something that is foundational but also need to be
augmented
What holds authority for us?
o Manent will argue that our two great authorities are science and liberty
o Science will be authority in the theoretical realm
o Liberty will be our authority in the practical domain
o Manent does not say these are the only 2 institutions that hold authority today
E.g., church, stock market
o Science and liberty are the most commonly held institutions in society
To understand modern institution, we have to begin from these two
Manent argues that western societies are organized by and for science and liberty
Both science and liberty will contain active principle
Active principle principle that guides or governs the actions of science and liberty
Science
o Beyond the important differences between the sciences, e.g. poli sci and math; all of
the sciences will take part in the “unprecedented project” in the history of humanity
o Unprecedented project: attempt to understand the world as it is and not as it
should be
o This project of understanding is also known as the scientific project
Seeks to reveal the world and uncover its secrets
E.g., understanding the DNA
Does not show the world how it ought to be
o Showing the world as it ought to be is the proper of religious and moral thinking
In both, people argue for what the world should be, without understanding
of the world
o Desire and intention to think about the world as it is represents the active principle
contained within science. Idea governs science: we must understand the world as it
is
o Understanding the world as it is has both moral and epistemological (study of
nature of knowledge) consequences
o Moral: scientific project implies that we must evacuate from our understanding of
the world, all illusions or all desires.
Machievelli offers the best articulation of the project, Ch 15 of Prince. He
compels his readers to concentrate on the effectual truth of things (we
must forget about the intentions that guide an action, we must forget about
speculations around the action, we must focus on the consequences of an
action) rather than imagination of things
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