Harvey Mansfield At Defining Ideas: ‘Democracy Without Politics?’

Full review here.

Mansfield reviews a new book by Steven Bilakovics:

‘Steven Bilakovics has written a promising first book that will give concern to all who reflect on democracy today. It begins from the simple observation that although everybody loves democracy, everybody is disgusted by democratic politics. Yet what is democracy if not the rule, the politics, of the people?  ‘

And he argues that Bilakovics doesn’t get Tocqueville quite right, as Tocqueville’s central insight is more about democracy vs. aristocracy rather than materialism vs. idealism:

‘Bilakovics has written a thoughtful book, nicely argued, and with elegant formulations one can admire and insights one can learn from. But it is not Tocqueville; it is something looser, more “open.” A defense of openness is not as open as the openness it defends, especially a good one like this, because it must contend intelligibly with arguments, such as Allan Bloom’s, in favor of reasonable limits upon openness. Somehow a reasoner ought to take the side of reason. I leave this thought, with a salute, to the author, and to Claude Lefort and Sheldon Wolin, who still deserve more attention than they get’

Drop a line if you’ve read the book.

Related On This Site:   From Volokh: Harvey Mansfield Reviews ‘The Executive Unbound’Are You Man Enough? Nussbaum v. MansfieldUpdate And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’Harvey Mansfield At The City Journal: ‘Principles That Don’t Change’

Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgements apart in the humanities: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To JudgmentRoger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’

Bryan Magee’s series available on youbtube is useful:  Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…

Repost-From The New Atlantis: ‘Montesquieu’s Popular Science

 

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