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The Liberty of Servants: Berlusconi's Italy
     

The Liberty of Servants: Berlusconi's Italy

by Maurizio Viroli
 

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ISBN-10: 0691151822

ISBN-13: 9780691151823

Pub. Date: 10/09/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Italy is a country of free political institutions, yet it has become a nation of servile courtesans, with Silvio Berlusconi as their prince. This is the controversial argument that Italian political philosopher and noted Machiavelli biographer Maurizio Viroli puts forward in The Liberty of Servants. Drawing upon the classical republican conception of liberty

Overview

Italy is a country of free political institutions, yet it has become a nation of servile courtesans, with Silvio Berlusconi as their prince. This is the controversial argument that Italian political philosopher and noted Machiavelli biographer Maurizio Viroli puts forward in The Liberty of Servants. Drawing upon the classical republican conception of liberty, Viroli shows that a people can be unfree even though they are not oppressed. This condition of unfreedom arises as a consequence of being subject to the arbitrary or enormous power of men like Berlusconi, who presides over Italy with his control of government and the media, immense wealth, and infamous lack of self-restraint.

Challenging our most cherished notions about liberty, Viroli argues that even if a power like Berlusconi's has been established in the most legitimate manner and people are not denied their basic rights, the mere existence of such power makes those subject to it unfree. Most Italians, following the lead of their elites, lack the minimal moral qualities of free people, such as respect for the Constitution, the willingness to obey laws, and the readiness to discharge civic duties. As Viroli demonstrates, they exhibit instead the characteristics of servility, including flattery, blind devotion to powerful men, an inclination to lie, obsession with appearances, imitation, buffoonery, acquiescence, and docility. Accompanying these traits is a marked arrogance that is apparent among not only politicians but also ordinary citizens.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691151823
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/09/2011
Edition description:
With a New introduction by the author
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Preface xv
Chapter 1: The Liberty of Servants and the Liberty of Citizens 1
Chapter 2: The Court System 14
Chapter 3: The Signs of Servitude 43
Chapter 4: The Prerequisites of Servitude 77
Chapter 5: The Path to Freedom 113
Notes 149
Index 163

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