Unit I: Homework Study Questions
Directions. Once you have read the lecture notes and studied the primary source documents, you are ready to attack the study questions. The questions are arranged in roughly chronological order, so that you can follow the travails of liberalism in the lecture notes and the “political question” over time. Answer them thoroughly and in complete sentences and thoughts. Answer in 3-4 sentences per question.
Liberalism’s Critics and Crises:
Burke, on the French Revolution (1789)
1. Burke’s text reflects some key elements of conservatism, such as antisemitic sentiment and nostalgia for the good old days. But first he paints a portrait of revolution, in the first couple of paragraphs. What is Burke’s view of revolution? (Hint: it is not heroic, principled, and just.)
2. Importantly, Burke links the march of the Parisian women on Versailles to the
Enlightenment and its philosophers. What is Burke’s view of the Enlightenment?
Pope Pius IX, The Syllabus of Errors (1864)
1. In Proposition #2, we have some pushback on Enlightenment liberalism’s
distancing of “God” from the events of mankind (see lecture notes on this). Why would it be important to both liberals, and to the Pope, to determine whether God is playing a role in shaping human events?
2. Liberalism was seen by the Church as a dangerous enemy to religious authority. Recall that liberalism emphasizes man-made constitutions, law, and rationalism in the gathering of knowledge. Which Propositions bring forth the conflict between religion and science, reason and belief?
Freud, “The Dream Work,” from The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
1. Freud’s analysis of how dreams do “work” has had such huge cultural influence
that we hardly even notice it now. One of its effects was to question the
supposedly rational core of us all, and instead to use the rationalistic tools of
“science” to examine the irrationalism that is our true selves and that is manifest in our dreams. How, in the second paragraph, does Freud set up the possibility of making sense of our crazy dreams?
2. What does “condensation” mean here, and why is it important?
Mussolini, Fascist Doctrine (1932)
1. To fascist theorists like the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, liberalism was the most awful of ideologies. The Great War of 1914-1918 gave Mussolini an opportunity to attack liberalism straight on. How does he use the war in his critique?
2. What is liberalism, in Mussolini’s view (hint: liberalism comes up several times, so
this answer will be lengthy?
3. What will fascism do to improve upon liberalism and destroy it?
Burke views revolution as violent and destructive, lacking any principles or morality. He sees it as a mob uprising, driven by greed and a desire for power, rather than any noble or heroic motivations.
Burke views the Enlightenment as a force of destruction and chaos, responsible for spreading revolutionary ideas and undermining traditional social order. He links the march of the Parisian women on Versailles to the Enlightenment, suggesting that it is a product of the Enlightenment’s influence.
It is important to both liberals and the Pope to determine whether God is playing a role in shaping human events because it affects how they view the source of authority and power in society. For liberals, a belief in God’s involvement in human affairs may challenge their ideas of individual autonomy and rationality. For the Pope, it is important to assert the Church’s authority and maintain its power in society.
Proposition #5 states that “Divine revelation cannot be submitted to human reason,” Proposition #6 states that “It is not necessary that human reason should demonstrate the existence of God,” and Proposition #7 states that “The assent of faith is not a free act, but necessarily follows from the proof of the authority of God revealing.” These Propositions bring forth the conflict between religion and science, reason and belief by suggesting that human reason and science cannot be trusted, and that faith and authority of the Church should be relied on instead.
In the second paragraph, Freud sets up the possibility of making sense of our crazy dreams by suggesting that they are not random or meaningless, but rather that they reveal deeper thoughts and feelings that are hidden in our unconscious mind. He believes that by analyzing the symbols and images in our dreams, we can gain insight into our unconscious desires and motivations.
In “The Dream Work,” condensation refers to the process by which the mind combines multiple thoughts and memories into a single image or symbol in a dream. It is important because it allows the mind to express multiple thoughts and feelings in a single image, making the dream more powerful and meaningful.
Mussolini uses the Great War of 1914-1918 to attack liberalism by arguing that the war was caused by the weakness and decadence of liberal societies, and that fascism is needed to restore strength and order to the nation.
In Mussolini’s view, liberalism is an ideology that emphasizes individualism, democracy, and civil rights. He sees it as a weakness, responsible for the chaos and decadence of the liberal societies, and argues that fascism is needed to restore strength and order to the nation.
Mussolini argues that fascism will improve upon liberalism by creating a strong, centralized state that can efficiently mobilize resources and quickly respond to crisis. He also suggests that fascism will destroy liberalism by suppressing individualism and democracy and replacing them with authoritarian rule and national unity.