Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: class, liberty, and popular government; Part I: 2. Peoples, patricians, and the prince; 3. Democratic republics and the oppressive appetite of young nobles; Part II: 4. The benefits and limits of popular participation and judgment; 5. Elections, lotteries and class specific institutions; 6. Political trials and 'the free way of life'; Part III: 7. Republicanism and democracy; 8. Post-electoral republics and the people's tribunate revived.
Scholars loosely affiliated with the "Cambridge School" (e.g., Pocock, Skinner, Viroli, and Pettit) accentuate rule of law, common good, class equilibrium, and non-domination in Machiavelli's political thought and republicanism generally but underestimate the Florentine's preference for class conflict and ignore his insistence on elite accountability. The author argues that they obscure the extent to which Machiavelli is an anti-elitist critic of the republican tradition, which they fail to disclose was predominantly oligarchic. The prescriptive lessons these scholars draw from republicanism for (...) contemporary politics reinforce rather than reform the "senatorial," electorally based, and socioeconomically agnostic republican model (devised by Machiavelli's aristocratic interlocutor, Guicciardini, and refined by Montesquieu and Madison) that permits common citizens to acclaim but not determine government policies. Cambridge School textual interpretations and practical proposals have little connection with Machiavelli's "tribunate," class-specific model of popular government elaborated in The Discourses, one that relies on extra-electoral accountability techniques and embraces deliberative popular assemblies. (shrink)
This is the first in-depth critical appraisal in English of the political, legal, and cultural writings of Carl Schmitt, perhaps this century's most brilliant critic of liberalism. It offers an assessment of this most sophisticated of fascist theorists without attempting either to apologise for or demonise him. Schmitt's Weimar writings confront the role of technology as it finds expression through the principles and practices of liberalism. Contemporary political conditions such as disaffection with liberalism and the rise of extremist political organizations (...) have rendered Schmitt's work both relevant and insightful. John McCormick examines why technology becomes a rallying cry for both right- and left-wing intellectuals at times when liberalism appears anachronistic, and shows the continuities between Weimar's ideological debates and those of our own age. (shrink)