CHAPTER 8
From the Critique of Totalitarianism to
the Politics of Democracy

Should a critique disappear when its object is no longer present? Although politicians and journalists still use the concepts of fascism and communism rhetorically, perhaps taking the precaution of adding a “neo-” to cover their embarrassment, nearly no one any longer admits adhering to either, and neither does anyone seriously think that they will return any time soon. But of course no one thinks that the Roman Empire—or the Roman republic—will return soon, which doesn't prevent learning from those experiences. And there are those, still a minority, who believe that the only way to interpret the U.S. Constitution is by reference to its authors' supposed original intent. I use the terms “experience” and “intent” to stress that the study, and the critique, of totalitarianism does not belong to the domain of objective science based on neutral observation of nature or culture; it is philosophical—and therefore political, in a sense that I will define in the process of this analysis. Indeed, the critique of totalitarianism can serve as an introduction to modern political philosophy insofar as the immanent critique points beyond itself toward an understanding of the political problems confronting a democratic society that cannot take for granted its own foundations.

-99-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Specter of Democracy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 353

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?