Constant Political Thought- A Literature Review_2712

By Rodney Carpenter,2014-10-30 14:07
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Constant Political Thought- A Literature Review_2712

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

    opening of the Constant mentions the division of the two kinds of freedom, He said the division of Benjamin Constant on the

    two kinds of freedom: To reveal such an insight: In the ancient Greeks, dominated by the concept of freedom does not mean a guaranteed space for personal independence. ... ... But the Constant insights can easily be exaggerated, the

    reasonableness of its nature should not lead to blind us to the ancient Greeks in the people, especially the seeds of liberal ideas. John Gray not only pointed out the distinction between Constant's contribution to the two kinds of freedom, but also to point out the deficiencies.

     The third is the Constant of free thought in the history of political thought in the West important role, as well as its limitations for research. Constant is generally believed that on the "ancient man's freedom" and "modern people's freedom,"

    the distinction between pairs of Dublin had a significant impact, which have been noted from the above, highly praised Berlin for Constant can be seen out. In addition, Berlin's

"free" theory an introduction to the book is to Constant's

    motto, "to sacrifice the real existence of abstract objects; individuals were in the Holocaust to become a victim of a collective of people" as the Preface of the (Isaiah Berlin, 2003:3).

     Li Qiang, who in the "Constant and modern liberalism," a paper pointed out the Constant in the important position in the history of liberalism: Although Constant was not a very speculative thinker, but he has a keen writer, political family's sense of reality, coupled with his personal experience of the French Revolution, as well as the political

    turmoil after the revolution, so many of his political philosophy has a unique charm, especially in his report on the freedom and the analysis of totalitarian-style tyranny is

    especially profound, right then free has considerable bearing

    on the development of doctrine. Constant criticism of the theory of popular sovereignty, democracy may have concerns about tyranny in the Tocqueville there be more clearly spelled out. Constant effect may be affected by Alexis de Tocqueville

    as an intermediary J. S. Mill, to really build on the idea of freedom Constant Dublin (Qiang :1998:302-303). Reposted

    elsewhere in the paper for free download http://

     Constant related to the "ancient people's freedom" and "modern people's freedom" and Berlin about the distinction

    between the "positive freedom" and "negative freedom" of the distinction between the terms of the relationship, people often put "ancient people's freedom" is equivalent to "positive freedom" and "modern freedom" is equivalent with the

    "negative freedom." But Liu training has pointed out that Berlin called "positive freedom" and "negative liberty" and the Constant calls "the ancient man's freedom" and "modern man's freedom" is not a simple one to one correspondence relationship. Constant calls "the freedom of modern man" can be roughly equivalent to Berlin called "negative freedom", but "the ancient man's freedom" is only part of Berlin, described by the "positive freedom" kind. Because Berlin called "positive freedom" and not confined to political freedom, it actually covers a wide range of freedoms, and to a large extent refers to the "more modern" rationalism freedom, rather than "ancient" republic doctrine of liberty (Liu

training ,2004:52-54). From this we can also see Liu appears

    to have been trained, "Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Science" in the classification of the impact of positive freedom, the book is divided into three kinds of positive freedom once made, respectively, Stoics, Plato, and Kant, Rousseau, represented by (David Miller and other ,2002:288-


     Constant liberal thinking on the limitations faced in terms of, Jiang Yi-hua in the "Constant On Liberty, equality, and democracy," a paper discussed the Constant liberal thinking 2:00 limitations: One is that people are generally kept

    Liberalism is divided into universalism and particularism, and Constant's liberal ideology is a special doctrine on the grounds that the so-called Constant ancient man's freedom is not universal, and can not adapt to modern society; the other

    is Tribute When Sri Lanka, "the ancient man's freedom," that is "political freedom" values issues, Constant mind, political freedom itself has a fundamental value, or as a means of safeguarding individual freedom only has an instrumental

    value, Constant has always been unclear what (Jiang Yi Hua ,2002:485-488). Vladimir Gligorov in Benjamin Constant and Carl Schmitt Go to Russia an article discusses the Constant neutral about the limitations faced by the royal. It stands to reason, according to Constant recognized principle of popular sovereignty, recognizing the legitimate source of authority from the people, he should recognize the kingship should also be derived from the people, they should be elected by the people the king. However, if the king is elected by the

    people, then it would be corrosion of the neutrality of the Crown, Crown will become a dynamic power to break the balance between the powers, then his well-conceived neutral monarchy

    ceased to exist. Therefore, as long as the neutral royal

    Constant advocate, how to obtain and important, whether it is through the election, inheritance, or arrogated to themselves (Vladimir Gligorov ,1997:271-282). Constant neutral about the

    limitations faced by the royal, but also reflects the Constant

    in the doctrine of popular sovereignty is not on the firmness.

     Fourth is the concept of Constant's two kinds of freedom are introduced, and a simple comment, which is domestic research Constant's political thought common phenomenon. Constant is generally believed that the so-called "ancient people's

    freedom" is mainly a citizenship, "modern man's freedom" is

    mainly private life free from interference. For example Qiliang "Western liberal tradition" should be surprising, "From Liberalism to post-liberal" as well as Pan Xiaojuan,

    Zhang Chenlong editor of the "new dictionary of contemporary Western political science" and so on. In the Keiro's work, the authors believe that the ancient people's freedom Constant is based on the so-called country-based and emphasize

    collectivism; modern people's freedom is based on the individual-based and emphasize individualism.

     3, Benjamin Constant and the French Revolution

     Constant life, formed a deep bond with the French Revolution can be said that his life is to reflect on the French

    Revolution, so he and the relationship between the French Revolution led to many scholars attention. Constant and the French Revolution on the terms of the relationship, K. Steven Vincent in Benjamin Constant, the French Revolution, and the

    Origins of French Romantic Liberalism a paper had a very good sort out. By mainly through the early writings as well as some of the Constant communication materials to carry out the interpretation of the study. Authors believe that Constant's attitude to the revolution in 1794 as a community, in 1794 the French Revolution before the Constant "a faithful believer," claiming to be a "democrat" for the Revolution to take "radical" approach, endorsed the Revolution overthrow of the old authoritarian system and the maintenance of individual freedom. Although this time he was also critical of the Revolution, but he thought it was to achieve a certain fruits of the revolution must pay the price, when the end of the revolution should immediately proceed to consolidate the

    fruits of the revolution has been made and should not be re-

    forward the development. From 1788 to 1794 he has been in Germany a Xiaochao Ting worked in, but indirectly, to feel the French Revolution. From the start by the end of 1794, Constant's attitude to the revolution began a great change in him from a bystander into a revolution, the revolution of participants, from a supporter of the revolution became a harsh critic of the revolution. At this point he was more worried about excessive development of the revolution, he

    follows is an different from the conservatives and radicals but take a "liberal" attitude, and thus that the revolution should be immediately discontinued (K. Steven Vincent, 2000:610 -617). Also K. Steven Vincent in Benjamin Constant,

    the French Revolution, and the problem of modern character a paper expressed a similar view, also expressed Constant hope that people in the French Revolution, the desire to avoid fanaticism, the fanaticism of the revolution would bring to tragic consequences (K. Steven Vincent ,2004:5-21). These two

    documents is about Constant's life and writings (especially the early works of Benjamin Constant) to study rare material.

     French Piaiermo internal "liberal intellectual and cultural history," a book also discusses the Constant and the close relationship between the French Revolution. Author Constant right attitude of the French Revolution as a research starting point, that the Constant of the French Revolution's attitude is ambiguous, while Constant agreed with the French

    Revolution, the old system against the other hand, the horrors of the Revolution expressed alarm at the consequences, and therefore had strong critic of the Revolution. Authors believe that Constant criticism of the French Revolution, held two

    lines, one is a Constant to the principle of popular sovereignty by the hostility shown by the other one is a criticism of the Revolution, in the modern society in which people attempt to restore the ancient people's freedom, in France Revolution is often guilty of this "era of freedom of Disorder." But the authors believe that Constant has not Revolution, mainly attributed to the unfortunate concept of sovereignty of the people, but the leader of the Revolution down to the ancient concept of freedom of worship (Piaiermo

    within ,2004:112-123). From the overall view, the authors believe that Constant was a liberal, as the opposition, there is a strong critical spirit.

     4, Constant of Rousseau's theory of reflection on the people's sovereignty

     Constant in continental Europe the first of Rousseau's democratic theory of criticism, which are embodied in Constant of Rousseau's doctrine of sovereignty to the people of the abstract reflection on the Constant of Rousseau's criticism of the people's sovereignty doctrine gradually rise to the academic attention. Ren Jiantao in the "thread of thought in modern Chinese liberalism" Constant and Rousseau had a book, doctrine of sovereignty of the people commented that: the people's sovereignty is limited and relative, part of human

    life must remain a matter of personal and independent, and it

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