One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Joseph de Maistre

Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre (French pronunciation: [də mɛstʁ][1] 1 April 1753 – 26 February 1821) was a French-speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat. He was one of the most influential spokesmen for a hierarchical monarchal state in the period immediately following the French Revolution of 1789. Despite his close intellectual and personal ties with France, Maistre remained throughout most of his life a subject of the King of Piedmont-Sardinia, whom he served as member of the Savoy Senate (1787–1792), ambassador to Russia (1803–1817), and minister of state to the court in Turin (1817–1821).[2]
Maistre, one of the key intellectual figures of the Counter-Enlightenment, regarded monarchy as both a divinely sanctioned institution and as the only stable form of government. He called for the restoration of the House of Bourbon to the throne of France and also for the ultimate authority of the Pope over temporal governments. According to Maistre, only governments founded upon a Christian constitution, implicit in the customs and institutions of all European societies but especially in Catholic European monarchies, could avoid the disorder and bloodshed that followed the implementation of rationalist political programs, such as the Revolution of 1789. Maistre was an enthusiastic defender of the principle of hierarchical authority, which the French Revolution sought to destroy: he extolled the monarchy, he exalted the privileges of the Papacy, and saw the state as ultimately accountable to the Divine Providence. Armenteros (2011) challenges Maistre's reputation for dogmatism and emphasizes his influence on both conservative political thinkers and left-wing intellectuals like the Utopian Socialists.

[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_de_Maistre]


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Joseph de Maistre (1753 - 1821)
Painting by Karl Vogel von Vogelstein
[From Wikimedia Commons]

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