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How were Joseph-Marie de Maistre's ideas similar to Edmund Burke's?

Joseph-Marie de Maistre (1753-1821) was a Roman Catholic political theorist who sought to restore traditional society according to Thomism (the teachings of Thomas

British politician Edmund Burke was philosophically a pessimist, believing that equality among all people was an unachievable goal (Art Archive).

British politician Edmund Burke was philosophically a pessimist, believing that equality among all people was an unachievable goal (Art Archive).

Joseph-Marie de Maistre believed that the Catholic Church would eventually triumph over the objective, scientific ideas of the Enlightenment (Art Archive).

Joseph-Marie de Maistre believed that the Catholic Church would eventually triumph over the objective, scientific ideas of the Enlightenment (Art Archive).

Jonathan Swift, known for his satires such as Gulliver's Travels, did not believe that humans were particularly rational creatures (iStock).

Jonathan Swift, known for his satires such as Gulliver's Travels, did not believe that humans were particularly rational creatures (iStock).

Aquinas [c. 1225-1274]). He viewed the French Revolution as "satanic," in his 1796 Considerations on France. However, de Maistre went beyond Burke in his belief that the Catholic Church would triumph over Enlightenment philosophy. In his 1810 Essay on the Generating Principle of Political Constitutions, he described a fundamental human and God-ordained desire for order and discipline.

How important was Joseph-Marie de Maistre?

In his Freedom and Its Betrayal, philosopher and historian Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) listed de Maistre as a major opponent to liberty in the Enlightenment. In the nineteenth century, French literary critic fimile Faguet (1847-1916) described de Maistre as "a fierce absolutist, a furious theocrat, an intransigent legitimist, apostle of a monstrous trinity composed of Pope, King and Hangman, always and everywhere the champion of the hardest, narrowest and most inflexible dogmatism, a dark figure out of the Middle Ages, part learned doctor, part inquisitor, part executioner."

How was Jonathan Swift opposed to Enlightenment values?

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is considered to have been at heart a sincere Christian who did not believe in the rationality of human nature, but rather thought that whenever order is established, it then begins to disintegrate. In 1709, in A Project for the Advancement of Reason and the Reformation of Manners, he implored Queen Anne to begin a moral crusade against contemporary vice. However, the great irony about Swift was that his characteristic path to moral reform was through satire and sarcasm.

Did Jonathan Swift go mad?

Some thought he did, based on the scatological and prurient interests that his later writings expressed. For instance, in his 1732 poem "The Lady's Dressing Room," after morbidly describing a long list of disgusting physical effluvia from a woman's process of cleaning, grooming, dressing, and applying makeup, he wrote at the end: "Disgusted Strephon stole away / Repeating in his amorous Fits, / Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!

At the same time, Swift also wrote another strange poem, "A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed," which is about a woman who repulsively removes all the parts of herself, including prostheses, that made her seem attractive. Swift apparently had an obsession about the falseness of women. Although he was a priest in the Anglican Church, he had a 17-year love affair with Esther Vanhomrigh, a former tutee, whom he rejected for the younger Esther Johnson, known in his writings as "Stella." Esther Vanhomrigh, or "Vanessa" to Swift, was the friend who left money to George Berkeley (1685-1783). She died soon after Swift finally rejected her. Esther Johnson also died young.

In 1742, Swift was pronounced of unsound mind and memory, incapable of looking after himself or his affairs. When Swift died in 1745, he left his estate to found an insane asylum, but he was apparently not insane from psychological causes. Rather, he had labyrinthine vertigo, known as "Meniere's Disease," a physiological ailment that was not well understood in his day. His final words were, "I am a fool." Swift's Latin epitaph reads in English: "When savage indignation can no longer torture the heart, proceed, traveler, and, if you can, imitate the strenuous avenger of noble liberty."

He "sent up" the established respectability of his age through forays into fiction, as well as the rhetoric of a pamphleteer. Thus, when it became clear that he would not get support for the plight of the poor in Ireland, he and his friends founded the Scribelous Club for the sake of engaging in activity against the "dunces."

Swift is most famous for his 1726 satire, Gulliver's Travels. His 1729 "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public" was a shocking criticism of the treatment of the Irish poor in which he suggested that their babies be substituted for the traditional goose that graced the tables of absentee English landlords.

 
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