The Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology : Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, Islamism / Edition 3

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Overview

A collection of philosophically oriented essays on the three main political ideologies of liberalism, communism, and fascism, this book provides an overview for readers who have little or no knowledge of the basic political idea systems of modern times. It offers analyses of some of the major political thinkers of the modern age: Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Jefferson, Madison, Rousseau, Marx, Lenin, Gorbachev, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Hitler, Mussolini, Khomeni, and more. For anyone who wants a better understanding of the conflicts and actions of groups and individuals who see the world through different ideological lenses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131090750
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/7/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

It has been less than a decade since publication of the earlier, second edition of Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology. During that brief time, dramatic changes—some unforeseeable—have occurred and significantly altered our world. Among the most significant events was the surprising and rapid collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing to a conclusion, at least for the time being, this particular experiment in building a socialist state. When that superpower disintegrated, so too did the "Cold War" between the Soviet Union (cum Russia) and the United States, leading some political thinkers to assume Pax Americana would soon become the global reality or that we were witnessing the end of ideology itself. This, however, has yet to happen. Military actions around the world—from the Middle East to Somalia, from East Timor to Yugoslavia, to name just a few-show that global peace under American hegemony remains elusory. Moreover, the recent detonation of nuclear devices in India and in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan call further into question just how stable the world is, even with only one superpower. Influential analysts suggest that with the Cold War now over we have entered an age characterized by a clash of civilizations. Others suggest fundamental and irreconcilable conflicts exist among the forces of the global free market, those of ethnonational tribalism, and those of democracy.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China, the other great experiment in building socialism, found itself simultaneously enjoying the fiftieth anniversary of its founding while trying to learn to plot a course for itselfwithout the presence of a helmsmen who can trace his roots back to its revolution. With the death of Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's celebrated founding generation, its new leaders must define China's place in a global economy where China is not only the most powerful communist nation but also seen by capitalists as an extraordinary market for future investment.

The fall of the USSR led to events that poignantly illustrate the fragility of the absolute sovereignty of states. Governments appear to be threatened on two fronts: the political and the economic. For the first time in modern history, in 1999 the sovereign right of a nation to govern itself was challenged as NATO, acting on behalf of other powerful states, elected to force its policies on Yugoslavia.

Regardless of one's views on the appropriateness of NATO's actions, there is no doubt that this event will have enormous consequences for the very concept of state sovereignty. In a less dramatic fashion, the European Union can tell its member nations what are acceptable social policies; and the United Nations, through sanctions and military actions, can try to force its mandate on any nation it perceives as a threat to world security. In a less obvious, but perhaps more effective manner, huge transnational corporations have been created; some have more money, power, and influence than many of the smaller nations, calling into question the ability of states to control individual economic entities. Who knows, perhaps like the city-state that preceded it, the nation-state may be in the process of undergoing profound changes that may lead to its transformation into a new form of political organization.

Finally, the world has witnessed the emergence of politically significant religious movements. The deadly actions of the Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and Heaven's Gate in California signify the provocative character of the smaller movements. On the larger scale, the resurgence of mass-based religiopolitics has played an increasingly visible role in the West, most obviously seen in the Christian Coalition's influence on American politics. It is also profoundly visible in the modern states of the Muslim world, where Islamists argue that God's way is the only way to social justice and they challenge both domestic and foreign governments that stand in their path. These religious activists challenge another fundamental assumption about modern state sovereignty, namely that matters of faith and politics should remain separate.

All of these factors have already altered the geopolitical landscape and produced important, sometimes tragic, human and political effects. More importantly, all will continue to change the world of politics profoundly and—if they are to be fully comprehended—must be understood within an ideological context.

This book is designed as an overview for readers who have little or no knowledge of the basic political idea systems of modern times. Given that purpose, we have constantly found ourselves in the frustrating position of oversimplifying, ignoring interesting side issues, and avoiding topics that in a longer work would surely be essential. What follows is original scholarship in the sense that the emphases of interpretations are dependent to a large extent on our own backgrounds and interests. We have, however, often relied heavily on the work of other scholars and will be happy if we have provided a partial synthesis of their work. In trying to accomplish this, we are acutely conscious of at times seeming to "parrot" the work of others—if this occurs too often we are sincerely apologetic. Along the same lines, it is difficult to sort those interpretations that are ours and those that have resulted from the hard work of others. We have benefited tremendously from the writings of scholars in these areas—many of whom we have never met. Our simple hope is that we have assisted in their endeavors by presenting these idea systems in a form whereby beginning students can more easily understand them. Our fondest hope is that this book will stimulate readers to explore idea systems in all of their complexity and richness, and that they will see the importance of ideas in themselves as well as in relation to what too often passes for the "real world." In short, we hope to initiate a process that will promote political literacy.

Much of the intellectual groundwork for what follows is to be found in David E. Ingersoll's 1971 Communism, Fascism, Democracy. In comparison, The Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology, 3rd Edition, contains interpretations that are radically different from the former book, treats numerous topics not covered in the earlier work, addresses some of the same issues differently, and benefits from the major contributions and insights of co-authors Richard K. Matthews and Andrew Davison. We should also acknowledge that our treatment of American liberalism—particularly regarding Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—is largely based on Matthews's The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson and his If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason. Similarly, the conceptual bases for our discussion of religious revivalism and theopolitics are drawn significantly from Davison's Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration.

A final explanatory note concerning the use of footnotes and bibliography seems in order. We have used footnotes sparingly, and we have appended a brief bibliography to each chapter. This is in keeping with the nature of the work, which purports to provide an overview of an extremely complex subject matter and to stimulate students to explore further on their own. To that end it seemed desirable to avoid copious footnoting while leading the student directly to the primary sources and to other, more detailed works in the field. We are certain that many excellent books are absent from the bibliography, either because of a lack of knowledge or because of space limitations. We hope that the ones that are included will be sufficient to assist the student in the pursuit of further knowledge.

We would like to acknowledge the contributions, both direct and indirect, of the many persons who have made this book possible. Our students at the University of Delaware, Lehigh University, and Vassar College have contributed enormously, if often unwittingly, through their reactions to ideas we have presented. Our respective classrooms have often served as experimental laboratories for sections of this book. Matilda DiDonato and Dorothy Windish have provided typing assistance at various stages in the process. The following scholars have read and commented on the manuscript, and we have benefited from both their critiques and their encouragement: Katherine Restuccia, Ronald Hill, Yaroslav Bilinsky, Mark Miller, Norman Girardot, Caleb Elfenbein, Don Barry, Nicole Kieler, and especially the Prentice Hall reviewers: Gregory White, Smith College; Isaac Kramnick, Cornell University; and Asher Horowitz, York University.

Despite all this assistance, there are, no doubt, errors of omission and commission in what follows; if so, they are our responsibility.

D.E.I.
R.K.M.
A.G.D.

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Table of Contents

1. The Origins of Political Ideologies.
2. Individualistic (Market) Liberalism.
3. Liberalism in the United States.
4. Liberalism: Alternative Visions.
5. Marxism.
6. Marxism and Leninism.
7. Marxian Praxis: The Soviet Experiment.
8. Chinese Praxis: The Political Thought of Mao Zedong.
9. Fascism.
10. National Socialism.
11. Theopolitics and Islamism.
12. Ideological Conflict in the 21st Century.
Index.
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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

It has been less than a decade since publication of the earlier, second edition of Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology. During that brief time, dramatic changes—some unforeseeable—have occurred and significantly altered our world. Among the most significant events was the surprising and rapid collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing to a conclusion, at least for the time being, this particular experiment in building a socialist state. When that superpower disintegrated, so too did the "Cold War" between the Soviet Union (cum Russia) and the United States, leading some political thinkers to assume Pax Americana would soon become the global reality or that we were witnessing the end of ideology itself. This, however, has yet to happen. Military actions around the world—from the Middle East to Somalia, from East Timor to Yugoslavia, to name just a few-show that global peace under American hegemony remains elusory. Moreover, the recent detonation of nuclear devices in India and in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan call further into question just how stable the world is, even with only one superpower. Influential analysts suggest that with the Cold War now over we have entered an age characterized by a clash of civilizations. Others suggest fundamental and irreconcilable conflicts exist among the forces of the global free market, those of ethnonational tribalism, and those of democracy.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China, the other great experiment in building socialism, found itself simultaneously enjoying the fiftieth anniversary of its founding while trying to learn to plot a course foritselfwithout the presence of a helmsmen who can trace his roots back to its revolution. With the death of Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's celebrated founding generation, its new leaders must define China's place in a global economy where China is not only the most powerful communist nation but also seen by capitalists as an extraordinary market for future investment.

The fall of the USSR led to events that poignantly illustrate the fragility of the absolute sovereignty of states. Governments appear to be threatened on two fronts: the political and the economic. For the first time in modern history, in 1999 the sovereign right of a nation to govern itself was challenged as NATO, acting on behalf of other powerful states, elected to force its policies on Yugoslavia.

Regardless of one's views on the appropriateness of NATO's actions, there is no doubt that this event will have enormous consequences for the very concept of state sovereignty. In a less dramatic fashion, the European Union can tell its member nations what are acceptable social policies; and the United Nations, through sanctions and military actions, can try to force its mandate on any nation it perceives as a threat to world security. In a less obvious, but perhaps more effective manner, huge transnational corporations have been created; some have more money, power, and influence than many of the smaller nations, calling into question the ability of states to control individual economic entities. Who knows, perhaps like the city-state that preceded it, the nation-state may be in the process of undergoing profound changes that may lead to its transformation into a new form of political organization.

Finally, the world has witnessed the emergence of politically significant religious movements. The deadly actions of the Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and Heaven's Gate in California signify the provocative character of the smaller movements. On the larger scale, the resurgence of mass-based religiopolitics has played an increasingly visible role in the West, most obviously seen in the Christian Coalition's influence on American politics. It is also profoundly visible in the modern states of the Muslim world, where Islamists argue that God's way is the only way to social justice and they challenge both domestic and foreign governments that stand in their path. These religious activists challenge another fundamental assumption about modern state sovereignty, namely that matters of faith and politics should remain separate.

All of these factors have already altered the geopolitical landscape and produced important, sometimes tragic, human and political effects. More importantly, all will continue to change the world of politics profoundly and—if they are to be fully comprehended—must be understood within an ideological context.

This book is designed as an overview for readers who have little or no knowledge of the basic political idea systems of modern times. Given that purpose, we have constantly found ourselves in the frustrating position of oversimplifying, ignoring interesting side issues, and avoiding topics that in a longer work would surely be essential. What follows is original scholarship in the sense that the emphases of interpretations are dependent to a large extent on our own backgrounds and interests. We have, however, often relied heavily on the work of other scholars and will be happy if we have provided a partial synthesis of their work. In trying to accomplish this, we are acutely conscious of at times seeming to "parrot" the work of others—if this occurs too often we are sincerely apologetic. Along the same lines, it is difficult to sort those interpretations that are ours and those that have resulted from the hard work of others. We have benefited tremendously from the writings of scholars in these areas—many of whom we have never met. Our simple hope is that we have assisted in their endeavors by presenting these idea systems in a form whereby beginning students can more easily understand them. Our fondest hope is that this book will stimulate readers to explore idea systems in all of their complexity and richness, and that they will see the importance of ideas in themselves as well as in relation to what too often passes for the "real world." In short, we hope to initiate a process that will promote political literacy.

Much of the intellectual groundwork for what follows is to be found in David E. Ingersoll's 1971 Communism, Fascism, Democracy. In comparison, The Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology, 3rd Edition, contains interpretations that are radically different from the former book, treats numerous topics not covered in the earlier work, addresses some of the same issues differently, and benefits from the major contributions and insights of co-authors Richard K. Matthews and Andrew Davison. We should also acknowledge that our treatment of American liberalism—particularly regarding Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—is largely based on Matthews's The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson and his If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason. Similarly, the conceptual bases for our discussion of religious revivalism and theopolitics are drawn significantly from Davison's Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration.

A final explanatory note concerning the use of footnotes and bibliography seems in order. We have used footnotes sparingly, and we have appended a brief bibliography to each chapter. This is in keeping with the nature of the work, which purports to provide an overview of an extremely complex subject matter and to stimulate students to explore further on their own. To that end it seemed desirable to avoid copious footnoting while leading the student directly to the primary sources and to other, more detailed works in the field. We are certain that many excellent books are absent from the bibliography, either because of a lack of knowledge or because of space limitations. We hope that the ones that are included will be sufficient to assist the student in the pursuit of further knowledge.

We would like to acknowledge the contributions, both direct and indirect, of the many persons who have made this book possible. Our students at the University of Delaware, Lehigh University, and Vassar College have contributed enormously, if often unwittingly, through their reactions to ideas we have presented. Our respective classrooms have often served as experimental laboratories for sections of this book. Matilda DiDonato and Dorothy Windish have provided typing assistance at various stages in the process. The following scholars have read and commented on the manuscript, and we have benefited from both their critiques and their encouragement: Katherine Restuccia, Ronald Hill, Yaroslav Bilinsky, Mark Miller, Norman Girardot, Caleb Elfenbein, Don Barry, Nicole Kieler, and especially the Prentice Hall reviewers: Gregory White, Smith College; Isaac Kramnick, Cornell University; and Asher Horowitz, York University.

Despite all this assistance, there are, no doubt, errors of omission and commission in what follows; if so, they are our responsibility.

D.E.I.
R.K.M.
A.G.D.

Read More Show Less

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