James Burnham’s second attempt to purge himself of the misunderstood Marxism of his earlier Pareto is the last of the Machiavellians interpreted by Burnham. James Burnham (November 22, – July 28, ) was an American philosopher and .. In a later book, The Machiavellians, he argued and developed his theory that the emerging new élite would better serve its own interests if it retained. Results 1 – 27 of 27 The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by Burnham, James and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at.

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Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. It would amount to saying that capitalism consists of rulers and ruled.

Burnham argues that any Machiavellian therefore needs to understand democracy not as the rule of the people, but as the possibility for oppositions to the powers that be to be formed. In Suicidehe defined liberalism as a “syndrome” rendering liberals ridden with guilt burnhm internal contradictions.

Excellent book, especially interesting are the sections on Pareto and Sorel. It is only when there are several different major social forces, not wholly subordinated to any one social force, that there can be an assurance of liberty, since only then is there the mutual check and balance that is able to chain power. Jaes the process of production masters man, instead of being mastered by him. Through the analysis of Machiavellianism Burnham is trying to discover a new worldview based on the value of liberty and the protection of this value.

The kind of individuals admitted or excluded is also very important, for the character machiaavellians the society is determined not only by the basic residues present in the entire population, but also by the distribution of residues among the various social classes; and this distribution machiavrllians change quite rapidly. The democratic totalitarians who wield state power, Burnham noted, claim to represent the people; therefore those forces that oppose the state are called obstructionists or enemies of the people.

And he found that politics is the struggle for power among men. Always a problem with authors discussing deception. In the latter book, he still tried to explain the problem of power in economic terms, although no longer from the social machiacellians of view of Marx but from that of the technocrats.


‘Only Power Restrains Power’

But to keep them there, the means of destruction are now placed in the hands of the masses. It is a long tough book but worth it. Burnham’s seminal work, The Managerial Revolution, attempted to theorize about the future of world capitalism based upon observations of its development in machiavellixns interwar period.

In the present book he finds that in addition to the economic there are several other modes of analyzing events, that one can reach approximately the same conclusions about history from any number of quite different approaches.

National review and its times.

Sorel was right in his criticism of the state-socialism of the Second International. If one seeks to understand politics and power – either academically, to further personal aims, or just to cultivate a sense of ‘political self-defense’ – then understanding Machiavellian thought is mandatory.

‘Only Power Restrains Power’ | The Russell Kirk Center

It should be a standard work on the subject. They favored the decentralization of power and production.

If there were not the right to opposition, there would be no new elite able to oppose the old. Gaetano Mosca elite theory, political formula, and tendencies within elites democratic vs. Burnham became a lifelong contributor to the journal, and Buckley referred to him as “the number one intellectual influence on National Review since the day of its founding.

It is a systematic foundation for scientific research into this rather important area of life.

The real meaning could only be discerned by examining the rhetoric in the specific context of the time and circumstances in which they were written. It is certainly not scientific to conclude from the evidence of experience that no new experiences are possible. Matt rated it really liked it Mar 12, For example, he predicts machiavelliians post-WWII that the military would expand massively and form a real faction as opposed to a little macgiavellians right and that officers would enter the governing elites and change the composition of the ruling classes wrong; Eisenhower was elected president, but there is no visible change in composition – few presidents or candidates have benefited from service, and contenders like Colin Powell or Wesley Clark have either not run or sunk like a stone.


The fetishism of commodity production and the false consciousness to which it gives rise cannot be ended short of the abolition of capitalism.

The modern Machiavellians try to overcome the difficulty by a change of terminology. The autocratic tendencies are neither arbitrary nor accidental nor temporary, but inherent in the nature of organization. There exists, however, a tendency to logicalize the non-logical. Generally, it accepts the obvious one which grows out of the existing social relations.

In other words, social life itself prevents a real sociality. All of them, however, refer to democratic political organizations under liberal capitalism. A deeper freedom would be possible in society than Machiavelli himself believed attainable. In this sense it is a necessary condition of scientific advance and the only effective check on the power of the governing elite, for only power can restrain power. One of the greatest books on political theory one can have the pleasure of reading, elucidating the Machiavellian realist or amoral analysis of politics.

This classic work of political theory and practice offers an account of the modern Machiavellians, a remarkable group who have been influential in Europe and practically unknown in the United States. A new society can only be a society madhiavellians which neither centralism nor de-centralism plays any important part, in which the producers organize their production rationally in accordance with the real needs of society without being too much concerned with questions of organization — where organization is merely a part of the production and distribution process like any other machine, factory, or material jmaes production, and not simultaneously a question of power and privilege.

The criterion for logical behavior is success. Retrieved from ” https: But then again they may not succeed, because the gap between their narrow goal and the real social necessities is already too wide.