Constant Political Thought: A Literature Review
【Summary】: World War II, Benjamin Constant's political thought in Western political theorists place gradually, but the domestic political and ideological Constant began to study, or something in recent years. Constant political thought on the research is currently focused primarily on political and ideological revival of Benjamin Constant, Constant study of the freedom of thought, Constant right attitude of the French Revolution and Rousseau's popular
sovereignty doctrine of Constant Reflection, etc. 4 aspects.
Key words: Constant; freedom; the people's sovereignty; the French Revolution
After World War II, along with people totalitarianism reflection Constant (Benjamin Constant) of Political Thought in the Western political theory circles gradually place. Constant view of the distinction between two kinds of freedom, the pursuit of the representative as well as criticism of despotism in contemporary liberals caused a strong resonance.
British philosopher Isaiah Berlin (Isaiah Berlin) on the Constant highly respected, and Hayek, and Italian scholars Salvo Mastellone have made to the Constant evaluation of the higher (in race Yabo Lin, 2003:194,236; Friedrich von Hayek,
1997:79; Salvo Mastellone, 1998:284), can be said that after World War II almost all dealt with freedom of ideology of the book will mention the Constant contribution. But the domestic political and ideological Constant began to study or something the last few years, probably began in the first "Chinese Encyclopedia of Political Science Volume" (1992:195, which states "Benjamin Constant" to "hole Stein, B") , to Li Qiang
wrote entitled "Constant and modern liberalism," a text of the most comprehensive. Overview of the Constant Political Thought of the literature, in order to I can collect a nutshell, can be divided into the following aspects.
1, Constant revival of political thought
As one of the founders of modern liberalism (David Miller and so on, 2002:173), Constant's political thought attracted people's attention only a relatively recent thing. World War II, before his academic position was mainly due to his famous novel "Adolf" and is limited to literature. And its political ideology political theory circles in the West a long time not received due attention, in France for a long-term alienation
from people's horizons beyond a very long time in France in the nation's political identity are marginalized. Constant political thinking on the revival of the reason is concerned,
Benjamin Constant: Political Writings of the book's English translator Biancamaria Fontana in the "Introduction" had made such a explanation: during World War II, the war experience, as well as the rule of tyranny and conquest to return to the
heart of Europe, which makes Constant has done for freedom and representative government defense renewed vitality. During the Cold War ideological struggle between socialism and liberalism, so that Constant warning has acquired a new significance, because Constant had to remind the people of the revolutionary carefully all the stereotyped and implied in the scam, also reminded people not to right the market resources of the community have high confidence (Biancamaria Fontana, 1988:3).
Constant political thought of the revival, Li Qiang, the "Constant and modern liberalism," a text in general have reached the same conclusion. But one thing different is that Li Qiang to Constant's Political Thought After World War II revival of Western political theory with the sector Rousseau's critique about: World War II, the Western liberal intellectual fascist politics out of the theory of reflection and the then needs to start thinking from a new perspective the question of totalitarianism, and to reflect on the liberal tradition. This reflection is one of the important theoretical results of contemporary totalitarianism and Western Modern Ideological development of some of the ideas linked. While liberals to discuss the different point of view is different from the
subject of criticism also have differences, but one thing is the same, the fifties and sixties in almost all liberals regard the doctrine of Rousseau and contemporary theories of totalitarianism link. Roughly sketched out an order to Rousseau as a starting point, in the after Kant, Hegel, and finally develop a contemporary totalitarian clues. Because liberals to Rousseau as the earliest pioneer of
totalitarianism, it has been criticized Rousseau thinkers have been of special concern to them. Constant revival also belong
to this case, Burke, Tocqueville in the fifties and sixties revival also belong to this case, the (Li Qiang ,1998:286-
287). Li Qiang in the "liberal" a book also expressed a similar point of view (Li Qiang, 1998:64). "Constant and
modern liberalism," a text of its past as "the ancient people's freedom and freedom of modern man," a book of the Chinese version of the preamble ( "the ancient people's freedom and freedom of modern man", the Commercial Press, 1999.) .
Since then, we can see that history often has a dramatic, if Locke (John Locke) does not Phil (Filmer) of the "divine right of kings" thinking critical thinking, maybe Phil's ideological vision of the people already fading; Similarly If the Constant Rousseau does not criticize, perhaps Constant also take some time before the revival of political thought, and perhaps still rely mainly on their academic status of less than 70000 words of his psychological analysis of the novel, "Adolf" and is also confined to in the literature.
Second, Constant's Freedom Study
As everyone knows, Constant political thinking has often led to people's attention is his age-based distinction of freedom
is divided into "ancient man's freedom" and "modern man's freedom," the repercussions of it almost makes the other
Constant political and ideological disappeared into oblivion, so Constant on freedom of speech attracted particular attention. Berlin called Constant in his famous speech, "the ancient people's freedom and freedom of modern man more" to
discuss the "negative freedom" and "positive liberty" This is an example of Two Concepts of Liberty (La Minggu Hamberg Lu, 2002:38), the Constant's idea of freedom in human history of the status of liberal thought has done a fair assessment. It
can be said, and later Berlin of "positive freedom" and
"negative freedom" Two Concepts of Liberty's famous distinction between direct bred Constant right, "the ancient man's freedom" and "modern people's freedom" distinction, and later appeared on the "The third concept of freedom" of the
discussion (Quentin Skinner ,2004:81-111; Ying Qi ,2004,5:52-
Looking at home and abroad view of Constant freethinking research can be divided into the following categories:
One is the tradition of freedom belongs Constant are
classified generally believed that Constant, although the French, but he belongs to the British liberal tradition, are more representative, the United Kingdom Hayek in the "Liberty , "a book study. Hayek believes that the British liberal tradition is based on David Hume, Adam Smith and other man-made on behalf of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers expounded, and is based on empirical basis, I believe that spontaneous social order, considering that the non - existence
is the essence of freedom. The French liberal tradition is
created by the French Enlightenment tradition, which is fraught with a Cartesian rationalism that freedom is only in the pursuit of a collective goals will be achieved. Hayek In discussing the French liberal tradition, he had carefully
pointed out that a few exceptions, including the Constant (the other is to Montesquieu, Tocqueville), that his thinking is closer to the British liberal tradition , with the French liberal tradition significant difference (Friedrich von Hayek ,1997:61-82).
Cranston of "liberalism in France" (Cranston ,2000:84-85)
Constant part of an article that Lockean liberalism (the author is divided into the French liberal Lockean liberalism and the two kinds of state-based liberal), based on individual
freedom as the basis of liberalism. Although the classification of Cranston different, but he expressed a similar view with Hayek. Berlin foreign scholars and domestic scholars, Li Qiang, Gu Su and others also believe that Constant part of the British liberal tradition.
However, Feng Keli in the "Constant: Liberal or conservative? "In an article, while arguing for Constant part of the British liberal tradition, but according to Constant on society by the" growth "or" evolutionary "and the resulting practices,
and take a very respectful attitude, and that respect is" a conservative the essence, "as one conservative put Constant (Feng Keli ,1999,5:128-134). I think this argument is
debatable, he ignored the ideological background of Benjamin Constant. Constant deeply the impact of the Scottish
Enlightenment, but to David Hume, Adam Smith as the representatives of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers believed that spontaneous social order, respect for the traditions and customs, in particular, respect for the freedom
of the system to protect traditional, it is not because of its respect for tradition and its simply down to a conservative, he summed up as "liberal with a conservative flavor," might be more appropriate. At the same time Constant do not agree with
Burke style of traditional uncritical inheritance, his respect and freedom is only related to the tradition of the slave system, meaning there is no respect.
The second key is the concept of Benjamin Constant's distinction between two kinds of freedom whether it is
reasonable to comment, Hayek, Isaiah Berlin and John Gray's views can be seen three. One is critical in order to Hayek represented. Although Hayek did not Constant view of the two free to comment directly, but in his "Liberty," a book said,
"People often say that the ancients did not know 'personal freedom' sense of the kind of freedom Such a statement never applies to peak periods of Athens "(Friedrich von Hayek, 1997:205). Hayek in 1973, the Italian encyclopedia entries written by "liberal," also expressed the same view: the 19th century that some modern writers deny that the ancients knew the meaning of personal freedom, we can see from the following circumstances, this denial is can not be set up: When the expedition to Sicily, Athens, General situation of extreme
distress of the moment, he for the soldiers to keep in mind that they are in for a make them "unfettered to decide their own love life" of the country to fight (Hayek, 2000:111). From this we can see that Hayek did not agree with Constant think
that the ancient people do not enjoy the freedom of the individual point of view.
Another Italian Guido Delajiluo in the "History of European Liberalism," a book also believes that Constant's distinction between two kinds of freedom there are shortcomings, the main
drawback of Constant that the ancient people do not enjoy the personal freedom In fact, the Republic of ancient Athens and
Rome in particular, recognize the many so-called personal
liberty, they lack only the individual's right to legal and
political limits of the concept (Guido Delajiluo, 2001:158). Gu Su in the "basic idea of liberalism," a book probably holds the same view that the ancient people and modern Constant on the difference between freedom is not flawless, in fact the
ancient people are not only in the public domain, in the private sector has also shown a considerable degree of freedom (Gu Su, 2003:305).
Another attitude is supportive, with Berlin as the representative. Berlin that, in the ancient world, it seems
that few people on the political ideals of individual freedom be discussed. Condorcet (Condorcet) has pointed out that the Romans and the Greeks, the legal concept, there is no concept of individual rights, this argument seems equally applicable to the Jews, the Chinese people and all other ancient civilizations existed (in race Yabo Lin ,2003:197-198). From
this we can see that Berlin is at least agree with Constant ancient people enjoy freedom does not include personal freedom, unlike Hayek, Laji Luo and others made on the
Constant criticism as.
There is also a holding centrist attitude, John Gray is this view in his book "liberal" (John Gray ,2005:3-4) in the