Saturday, 14 January 2012

Democracy, Republic, Representation

by Jacques  Rancière, 2006

The democratic scandal consists simply in revealing this: there will never be, under the name of politics, a single principle of community that legitimates the actions of those who govern on the basis of laws inherent in the coming together of human communities. Rousseau was right to denounce the vicious circle of Hobbes, who claimed to prove the natural unsociability of men on the basis of court intrigues and the backbiting of the
salons. But in describing nature according to the model of society, Hobbes also showed that it is vain to look for the origin of political community in some innate virtue of sociability. If the search for origins freely mixes before and after, it is because it always comes after the fact. The philosophy that looks for the principle of good government or the reasons for which men give themselves governments comes after democracy, which
itself comes after, interrupting the ageless logic according to which communities are governed by those who have the right to exercise their authority over those who are predisposed to be subjected to it.

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