The New Leviathan: Or, Man, Society, Civilization and Barbarism

The New Leviathan: Or, Man, Society, Civilization and Barbarism

The New Leviathan: Or, Man, Society, Civilization and Barbarism

The New Leviathan: Or, Man, Society, Civilization and Barbarism

Excerpt

A reader may take the title of this book in whichever way he pleases.

If he is one of those who think of Hobbes's Leviathan as the classical exposition of a classical type of despotism, namely seventeenth-century absolutism, the portrait and anatomy of 'that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMON-WEALTH, or STATE (in latine CIVITAS) which is but an Artificial Man; though of greater stature and strength than the Naturall', he may take it to mean that I have set out in this 'New Leviathan' to portray and anatomize the new absolutism of the twentieth century, based (like that which Hobbes described) on the will of a people who in thus setting up a popular tyrant gave into his hands every right any one of them has hitherto possessed. For the immediate aim of this book is to study the new absolutism and inquire into its nature, causes, and prospects of success or failure; success, I mean, in either destroying all competitors and becoming the political form of the future, or at least contributing to the political life of the future some positive heritage of ideas and institutions which men will not forget.

If he thinks of the Leviathan as a book which is unique in dealing with the entire body of political science and approaches its colossal subject from first principles, that is, from an examination of man, his faculties and interests, his virtues and vices; a book dealing first with man as such, then with political life as such, then with a well-ordered political life or a 'CHRISTIAN COMMON-WEALTH', and lastly with an ill-ordered political life or 'KINGDOME OF DARKNESSE'; then he may take my title to mean, not that I have in fact dealt with these vast subjects exhaustively, but that in this book I have set out to deal with the same groups of problems in the same order, calling the four parts of my book 'Man', 'Society', 'Civilization', and 'Barbarism'.

Readers of the second school (though I have no quarrel . . .

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