Democracy and Leadership
Автор(и) : Irving Babbitt
Издател : Liberty Fund
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 1979
ISBN : 978-0-913966-55-6
Брой страници : 390
Език : английски
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Irving Babbitt was a leader of the intellectual movement called American Humanism, or the New Humanism, and a distinguished professor of French literature at Harvard. Democracy and Leadership, first published in 1924, is his only directly political book, and in it he applies the principles of humanism to the civil social order.
Babbitt rejects all deterministic philosophies of history, whether they be the older type found in Saint Augustine or Bossuet, which tends to make of man the puppet of God, or the new type, which tends in all its varieties to make of man the puppet of nature. He offers a compelling critique of unchecked majoritarianism and addresses the great problem of how to discover leaders with standards.
DEMOCRACY AND IMPERIALISM
IN our recent crusade to make the world safe for democracy it was currently assumed that democracy is the same as liberty and the opposite of imperialism. The teachings of history are strangely different. Democracy in the sense of direct and unlimited democracy is, as was
pointed out long ago by Aristotle, the death of liberty; in virtue of its tyrannical temper, it is likewise, in the broad sense in which I have been using the term, closely akin to imperialism. Now the distinction of Rousseau is, as we have seen, to have been the most uncompromising of all modern theorists of direct democracy. How far have the actual results of Rousseauism justified Aristotle rather than those who have anticipated from the diffusion of the Rousseauistic evangel, a paradise of liberty, equality, and fraternity? The commanding position of Rousseau in the democratic movement is at all events beyond question, though even here it is possible to exaggerate. ""Democracy,"" says M. de Vogüé, ""has only one father -- Rousseau. . . The great muddy stream which is submerging us flows from the writings and the life of Rousseau like the Rhine and the Po from the Alpine reservoirs which feed them perpetually."
Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 to 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold, and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Politically he can, without serious distortion, be called a follower of Aristotle and Edmund Burke. He was an advocate of classical humanism but also offered an ecumenical defense of religion. His humanism implied a broad knowledge of various moral and religious traditions.
It was in the early 1890s that he first allied himself with Paul Elmer More in developing the core doctrines that were to constitute New Humanism. In 1895 he gave a lecture
What is Humanism?, which announced his attack on Rousseau.