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Western Civiliztion

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In 1875, which of these four political philosophies best addresses the political realities of
Europe? Why?
1. A group of Austrian conservatives, adherents to the principles advocated by
Prince Clemens von Metternich: Our best model for a good society lies in the
past. Enlightenment ideas have brought to Europe events like the French
Revolution and the revolutions of 1848, all of which were violent and led to a
breakdown of order. Before the Enlightenment, society was stable, predictable
and run by benevolent, paternalistic leaders. We should preserve as much of that
old order as possible during these uncertain times.

2. A community of French liberals, admirers of the writings of Alexis de
Tocqueville: The best society is one in which those who govern do so with the
consent of the governed. This is not equivalent to government by the mob
(sometimes called “democracy”), which can create a “tyranny of the majority.”
Instead, we want to create a constitutional government based on Enlightenment
ideas that allows the most qualified leaders to rule, regardless of obsolete
distinctions such as noble titles.

3. A cadre of socialist revolutionaries from the German Confederation,
followers of the philosophies of Karl Marx: Industrial society creates a vast
class of workers who are degraded and transformed into little more than tools.
We must help the working classes understand their alienation and oppression. Then they will rise up and destroy the structures of power, leading to a better

4. A gathering of German nationalists, supporters of Emperor Wilhelm I and
Otto von Bismarck: Lofty liberal or conservative political ideals are not as
important as the practical tasks of creating national political unity. Today in 1875, the only political ‘philosophy’ that matters is Realpolitik. Socialism is the
most dangerous ideology here because it divides nations along class lines.

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