Friday, February 3, 2012

Ludwig Feuerbach 9: Lectures

Concerning the political views stated in these lectures, only this brief observation. Aristotle has already said in his Politics—which treats of almost all our present‑day problems, though of course in the spirit of antiquity—that it is necessary not only to know the best form of government, but also to know what form is suited to what men, for even the best form of government is not suited to all men. Thus I wholly agree with those who from an historical point of view, that is, a point of view taking account of space and time, regard constitutional monarchy—true constitutional monarchy, that is—as the only form of government that is practicable, suitable for us, and therefore reasonable. But when it is maintained that monarchy is the one and only absolutely rational form of government, regardless of space and time, that is, of this particular time (even a millennium is a particular time) and this particular place (even Europe is only one place, one point in the world), then I protest and maintain that the republic, the democratic republic is the form of government which reason must recognize to be consonant with human nature and therefore best, that constitutional monarchy is the Ptolemaic system of politics while the republic is its Copernican system, and that in the future of mankind Copernicus will therefore triumph over Ptolemy in politics just as he has already triumphed in astronomy, even though the Ptolemaic system was formerly represented by philosophers and scholars as unshakable “scientific truth.”

— Ludwig Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion, translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), Additions and Notes #16, pp. 336-337.

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