James Burnham’s second attempt to purge himself of the misunderstood Marxism of his earlier Pareto is the last of the Machiavellians interpreted by Burnham. James Burnham (November 22, – July 28, ) was an American philosopher and .. In a later book, The Machiavellians, he argued and developed his theory that the emerging new élite would better serve its own interests if it retained. Results 1 – 27 of 27 The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by Burnham, James and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at.

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The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham

Burnham argued three possible futures for capitalism: The Emperor should stand above the Pope names the same time, since he is chosen by God to rule the world. Whoever does not want to change society, will look for its strong points. I really enjoyed reading this book. As an independent force, they make no sense in his theory. It proved its merit, and I can only regret the wait.

The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom

It is only when there are several different major social forces, not wholly subordinated to any one social force, that there can be an assurance of liberty, since only then is there the mutual check and balance that is able to chain power. More importantly, all citizens who value and cherish liberty should heed its warnings about the dangers posed by the growth of concentrated state power and the necessity of maintaining and nourishing strong, vigorous institutional opposition to state power.

They are fully conscious of what they are doing and of the distinction between an art and a science. Paperbackpages. Here the process of production masters man, instead of being mastered by him.


At any rate, he does not trouble himself to find out in what situations the life-conditions of the non-elite may be improved by way of the struggle between the out-elite and the in-elite, and under what conditions the struggle of elites is unable to affect the life of the masses in other ways than negative ones.

To propagate a myth or to utilize science in order to get the masses into motion for the abolishment of present-day society are equally unrealistic. But no direct conclusions with regard to past and present realities and the possibilities of the future can be drawn from these general concepts.

Of course, it is not enough to keep the elite more or less flexible. What most people seek for in political theory is not reality but a rationalization for their own wishful thinking.

James Burnham

After all this while, men have no reached any generally accepted conclusions, and there is no indication that we have advanced in these matters a single step beyond the reasoning of the ancient Greek and Romans. Burnham thought th terms of a unipolar world, instead of a balance of power:. The state itself, Burnham suggests vaguely, could be decentralized or organizations along syndicalist and corporative lines could be instituted.

But what is the evidence of the past? This book is the best resource I’ve yet found on that.

Before dealing with Michels and Pareto, Burnham finds it necessary to say a few things about Sorel and the function of myth and violence. Whether one or the other should be employed can be found out only by concrete investigation. The restlessness of society itself prevents Marxism from crystallizing into a dogma. It is one of the few books I’ve read that deals with Sorel in any detail.


This Burnham’s work is a sort of superior modern update to Machiavelli’s The Prince. Recommended by George F. If men made them, they can unmake them. There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. Inhe allied with the Trotskyist wing of that party and favored fusion with the Socialist Party of America.

Thus the pluralistic approach boils bkrnham to a monistic psychological theory of history.

There was, for example, a pre-capitalist division of labor which differed from the division of labor under capitalism which will differ from the division of labor under socialism.

The Guelphs were strongest in the city states of Northern Italy and were backed by the Pope.

The elite is never static. Without certain raw materials, furthermore, certain technical and social relations could not have been possible.

Excellent book, especially interesting are the sections on Pareto and Sorel. But to keep them there, the means of destruction are now placed in the hands of jame masses. In later years Burnham left Marxism and became a public intellectual of the American conservative movement. Social life cannot dispense with organization, it is true, but from this it does not follow that social life cannot dispense with classes.

Their acceptance of the ruling ideology indicates their lack of power. In this work, Burnham, starts by dismissing the claims of Dante’s De Monarchia as anything other than at attempt to cover a naked political agenda.