Walter Bagehot Physics and Politics

ISBN 13: 9781566632218

Physics and Politics

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9781566632218: Physics and Politics
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One of the great short masterpieces of nineteenth-century thought, Physics and Politics is in essence a brilliant essay in social psychology. It defines with grim humor the conditions of stability and social progress. “Physics” in Bagehot's book, refers to natural science; “politics” to social science. His vastly stimulating analysis was the first important effort to comprehend the implications of the new science (especially Darwinism) for the study of political affairs. In the process, Bagehot makes unforgettably clear the complex, often tragic relation between individual and collective happiness. Roger Kimball's introduction and notes place Bagehot's ideas in perspective for today's reader and evaluate the continuing usefulness of his observations. "We go to Bagehot for something that seems very difficult to convey accurately through mere definition or single examples―the true character of political man. This character, in turn, is important to discover, because on it depends the possibility of leading a life above ‘physics,' a life better than that of the jungle."―Jacques Barzun.

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About the Author:

Banker, editor, political thinker, and literary critic, Walter Bagehot (1826–1877) edited the Economist for the last seventeen years of his life and enjoyed intimate friendships with the leading political figures of his day. He also wrote The English Constitution and Lombard Street. Roger Kimball is managing editor of The New Criterion and author of Tenured Radicals (also published by Ivan R. Dee).

Review:

Finely imaginative...a remarkable book. (H.S. Jones H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

Unflinching...a perfect antidote to the omni-present, thought-destroying political correctness that afflicts our culture. (Gregory J. Sullivan The Trenton Times)

We go to Bagehot for something that seems very difficult: the true character of political man. (Jacques Barzun)

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