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Berlin, Maistre, And Fascism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter points out two hugely important positive areas more or less ignored by Berlin where the thinking of Joseph de Maistre was indeed and unquestionably prophetic of modernity: the emergence of sociology and the development of the role of the papacy in the world. It analyzes why Berlin chose to neglect these in order to focus on an area where the relevance of Maistre's thought is much more debatable and questionable-the emergence of modern totalitarianism. Maistre's analysis of war is intended to make sense of war in an economy of Divine Providence. He looks at the paradoxical ways that good things do actually come out of war in the teeth of rational expectations and in spite of all appearances. In truth, for anyone who is to any degree acquainted with the literature of fascism, Berlin's attempt to connect Maistre to it can only be regarded as absurd.

Keywords: Berlin; Divine Providence; fascism; fascist totalitarianism; Joseph de Maistre



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