History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Should the left embrace post-Machiavellian politics?

November 20th, 2017 · No Comments

The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart
by Mitchell Cohen

This analysis does/does not apply to figures such as Shakespeare?? The latter had a better sense of the issue of tragedy and the tragic embedded in Machiavellian politics. Machiavelli is a a peculiar mixture of elements.

Machiavelli is taken as modern but he is premodern in many ways: the rise of modern politics attempted to bring about a revolution of idealism in the emergence of democracy or a Kantian ‘republic of ends’. That whole aspect is being eroded in the obvious degeneration of American government…too much Machiavelli. The real of bolshevism wasn’t much better!

There is of course another view of this: the realm of Pocock and the ‘machiavellian moment’: this enters into the emergence of democracy directly

The Machiavellian Moment is a work of intellectual history by J. G. A. Pocock (Princeton University Press, 1975). It posits a connection between republican thought in early 16th century Florence, English-Civil War Britain, and the American Revolution.

A “Machiavellian moment” is that moment when a new republic first confronts the problem of maintaining the stability of its ideals and institutions. Machiavellian thought was a response to a series of crises facing early 16th century Florence in which a seemingly virtuous state was on the cusp of destruction. In response, Machiavelli sought to revive classical republican ideals. Works like The Prince and those of some pre-English Civil War thinkers and a group of American Revolutionary personalities all faced similar such moments and offered related sets of answers.

The Machiavellian Moment has come to represent the so-called republican synthesis, which holds that America was born with a fear of corruption and a desire to promote classical virtue.

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