Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservatism by Marc Mulholland

Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservatism

byMarc Mulholland

Hardcover | November 16, 2012

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In 1842 Heinrich Heine, the German poet, wrote that the bourgeoisie, 'obsessed by a nightmare apprehension of disaster' and 'an instinctive dread of communism', were driven against their better instincts into tolerating absolutist government. Theirs was a 'politics motivated by fear'. Over thenext 150 years, the middle classes were repeatedly accused of betraying liberty for fear of 'red revolution'. The failure of the revolutions of 1848, conservative nationalism from the 1860s, fascist victories in the first half of the twentieth-century, and repression of national liberation movementsduring the Cold War - these fateful disasters were all explained by the bourgeoisie's fear of the masses. For their part, conservatives insisted that demagogues and fanatics exploited the desperation of the poor to subvert liberal revolutions, leading to anarchy and tyranny. Only evolutionary reformwas enduring.From the 1970s, however, liberal revolution revived on an unprecedented scale. With the collapse of communism, bourgeois liberty once again became a crusading, force, but now on a global scale. In the twenty-first century, the armed forces of the United States, Britain, and NATO became instrumentsof 'regime change', seeking to destroy dictatorship and build free-market democracies. President George W. Bush called the invasion of Iraq in 2003 a 'watershed event in the global democratic revolution'. This was an extraordinary turn-around, with the middle classes now hailed as the trulyuniversal class which, in emancipating itself, emancipates all society. The debacle in Iraq, and the Great Recession from 2008, revealed all too clearly that hubris still invited nemesis.Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear examines this remarkable story, and the fierce debates it occasioned. It takes in a span from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first, covering a wide range of countries and thinkers. Broad in its scope, it presents a clear set of arguments that shednew light on the creation of our modern world.

About The Author

Marc Mulholland was born in Northern Ireland in 1971. He studied history at Queen's University Belfast, and since 2000 has been teaching at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford. He is a member of the History Faculty.

Details & Specs

Title:Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-ConservatismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.03 inPublished:November 16, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199653577

ISBN - 13:9780199653577

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Absolutism and Transformation in England2. Revolution, Restoration, and Reform3. Holding Back the Tide4. The Turning-Point5. Liberalism and the State6. Bismarck, Liberalism, and Socialism7. Capitalism and Socialism8. Democracy and State-Power9. Revolution and the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat'10. Communism and Fascism11. Popular Front and War12. Cold War and the Fear of Subversion13. The Pivot of '68: New Left and New Right14. The Demise of the 'Red Menace'15. Bright Bourgeois MorningConclusionsBibliographical Essay