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Download Taming the Prince epub

by Harvey C. Mansfield

Looks at the development of the concept of executive power, discusses the philosophical influences and considers the role of the executive in business and politics.
Download Taming the Prince epub
ISBN: 0029199808
ISBN13: 978-0029199800
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Harvey C. Mansfield
Language: English
Publisher: Free Press (September 14, 1989)
Pages: 358 pages
ePUB size: 1778 kb
FB2 size: 1458 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 642
Other Formats: mbr lit mobi lrf

Excellent book!
Musical Aura Island
I never feel that I fully grasp Mansfield's writing. Frankly he writes from such a lofty place that I'm inclined to feel stupid for not fully understanding what he says.
The Straussian political theorist Harvey C. Mansfield's Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power describes the development of executive power as a kind of banalization of the "energies" of the dictator or sovereign. This is a fun but sometimes glib treatment of the connection between "executive" and "emergency" powers. In Federalist 70, Alexander Hamilton refers to the "energy in the executive" that was embodied in the Roman dictator. (Note: "energy" not "violence.") For Locke, "prerogative" was not synonymous with "privileges" that monarchs customarily enjoyed. It was extraordinary, unconstitutional but legitimacy through necessity and "public good." Hamilton moved to constitutionalize Executive energy. The anti-federalists, by contrast, took up the liberal tradition of excoriating the institution by invoking Sulla and Caesar, who broke from the classical model of dictatorship in favor of unilateral rule without limits.

The ideas of "taming" and "unleashing" in this context hold an intuitive appeal, Mansfield explains the development of executive power as a kind of banalization of the "energies" of the dictator or sovereign. Others, such as Rossiter and Schmitt, have explained emergency powers as an unleashing of these same energies. Parallels can be drawn between my account of the classical traditions of emergency powers and Mansfield's discussion of the emergence of executive power out of the same traditions. Executive power is in some sense a banalization or taming of the energies of the dictatorship; emergency powers are in some sense an unleashing of these same energies. The illiberal analogy to this same process is not "taming" but rather "concealing" the energies. This is present to an extent in Mansfield's account, perhaps through Strauss, and certainly in Schmitt.
The problem with Mansfield, other than his Straussian proclivity (a troubling method of political-philosophical interpretation of texts), is that when he writes, he is intentionally wordy and difficult. He acknowledged as much in his translation of Tocqueville's Democracy In America. Indeed, he believes in the Straussian notion of esoteric textual knowledge, and writes to this end: you are supposed to find the true meaning of his work below the surface of his extremely verbose, unnecessarily difficult prose.

He is naturally hailed by only a small cadre of supporters (usually neoconservative) who are on the fringes of academia for a reason. I studied at Hillsdale College under a professor who was a graduate student under Mansfield, and not one moment was spent trying to justify his methods, because, really, they can't be justified.

Although there are indeed insightful observations to be found when Mansfield writes about Machiavelli especially, the chapter on Aristotle is simply inscrutable. This book is not worth your time, and if it is required reading for a political science course, you have my sympathies.