The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life

Overview

"I have been sharpening my wits on Kenneth Minogue's prose for over half a century, and this latest book is as intellectually stimulating as his classic assault on liberalism all those years ago. For anyone who believes, as I do, that the contemporary political culture is profoundly sick, this is an original diagnosis of where it has gone wrong, and how it can be put to rights. What is more, in spite of the seriousness of the subject, the writing is as clear as a bell. Don't miss it."-Sir Peregrine Worsthorne" "This is a work of meticulous logic

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Overview

"I have been sharpening my wits on Kenneth Minogue's prose for over half a century, and this latest book is as intellectually stimulating as his classic assault on liberalism all those years ago. For anyone who believes, as I do, that the contemporary political culture is profoundly sick, this is an original diagnosis of where it has gone wrong, and how it can be put to rights. What is more, in spite of the seriousness of the subject, the writing is as clear as a bell. Don't miss it."-Sir Peregrine Worsthorne" "This is a work of meticulous logic and vast erudition. It provides an invaluable resource for anyone who has wondered why European elites embarked upon their disastrous cultural revolution in pursuit of abstract internationalist idealism, destroying in the process their intellectual land cultural heritage."-David Martin Jones, Associate Professor, Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia" "Can democracy survive in a nation of slaves? Aristotle thought not. But what if the slaves don't recognize their servile condition? Kenneth Minogue explores the many ways in which the citizens of the modern West have thoughtlessly exchanged independence of mind and body for government promises of security and harmony. The result is a topsy-turvy democracy where the rulers hold the people to account for their incorrect behavior and attitudes. Will the rulers one day throw the rascally people out? This is an insightful and unsettling bookûand it would also be a frightening one if it were not so consistently entertaining."-John O'Sullivan, Radio Free Europe" "One of the grim comedies of the twentieth century was that miserable victims of communist regimes would climb walls, swim rivers, dodge bullets, and find other desperate ways to achieve liberty in the West at the same time that progressive intellectuals would sentimentally proclaim that these very regimes were the wave of the future. A similar tragicomedy is playing out in our century: as the victims of despotism and backwardness from Third World nations pour into Western states, academics and intellectuals present Western life as a nightmare of inequality and oppression." "In The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life, Kenneth Minogue explores the intelligentsia's love affair with social perfection and reveals how that idealistic dream is destroying exactly what has made the inventive Western world irresistible to the peoples of foreign lands. The Servile Mind looks at how Western morality has evolved into mere "politico-moral" posturing about admired ethical causesûfrom solving world poverty and creating peace to curing climate change. Today, merely making the correct noises and parading one's essential decency by having the correct opinions has become a substitute for individual moral responsibility." Instead, Minogue argues, we ask that our governments carry the burden of solving our socialûand especially moralûproblems for us. The sad and frightening irony is that the more we allow the state to determine our moral order and inner convictions, the more we need to be told how to behave and what to think.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594033810
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 702,628
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Minogue is Emeritus Professor of political science at the London School of Economics. He has written books on liberalism, nationalism, the idea of a university, the logic of ideology, and, more recently, on democracy and the moral life. He has reviewed in many places, and has been a columnist for the Times, the Times Higher Education Supplement, and other outlets.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I. Democratic Ambiguities 17

1 Democracy as a Process of Continuing Change 17

2 How to Analyze Democracy 21

3 Some Basic Conditions of Democracy 26

4 Illusion and Paradox 32

5 Democracy as Process and Ideal 37

6 Democracy as Collective Social Salvation 43

II. The Project Of Equalizing The World 51

1 Democracy Versus the Deference World 51

2 Forms of Instrumentalism in Democracy 59

3 Rights and the Sources of Democratic Legitimacy 66

4 Culture and the Democratic World: Women and Politics 73

5 The Logic of Anti-Discrimination 78

a Discrimination as a Category 79

b Who Are the "Minorities"? 84

c The Vocabulary of Anti-Discrimination 90

d Sentimentalism and Anti-Discrimination 95

e The Positive Entailments of Anti-Discrimination Negations 100

6 The Civilizational Significance of the Democratic Telos 104

7 Democratic Discontents 108

III. The Moral Life And Its Conditions 119

1 Morals and Politics 119

2 What is the Moral Life? 130

3 A Context of the Moral Life 146

4 A Structure of the Moral Life 152

5 Individualism and the Modern World 158

6 Some Individualist Legends 166

7 Elements of Individualism 172

8 Conflict, Balance, and the West 179

9 Servility and the Moral Life 184

IV. The Politico-Moral World 199

1 The Defects of Western Civilization 199

2 The Politico-Moral World and its Ethical Claims 209

3 The Emergence of the Politico-Moral 215

4 Aspects of the Politico-Moral 221

a Fallacies of the "Social" 221

b The Concept of "Representativeness" 226

c The Appeasement Tendency 231

d The Stick and Carrot Problem 234

5 From Desire to Impulse 240

6 The Politico-Moral Image of a Modern Society 248

7 Is There a Theology of the Politico-Moral? 262

V. Ambivalence And Western Civilization 271

1 Mapping Politics 271

2 On Perfectionisms, Piecemeal and Systematic 277

a Piecemeal Perfectionism 280

b Overthrowing Anciens Rb1sgimes 282

c Ignorance, Poverty, and War 287

3 Oppressions and Liberations 291

4 The Politico-Moral Form of Association 298

5 Culture Versus Ideals of Transformation 307

6 Perfection and the Ambivalence World 317

7 What Kind of Thing is the Politico-Moral? 325

8 The Moral Life as the Pursuit of Ideals 328

Endnotes 347

Index 351

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    A good worldview on democracy by Mr. Minogue

    I would recomend this book to any student or anyone interested in our political and social society. Mr. Minogue gives a world view on how members of modern society have come to expect equality and possibly entitlements and by doing so have give up their independence to governing bodies. It's a thoughtful book that makes one think, "be careful what you wish for."

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