By Stuart Isaacs
Targeting the old context within which political theorists have built their pondering, this textbook presents a useful advent to scholars of political proposal. The authors handle a chain of canonical significant thinkers within the context of 3 world-changing epochs: the English, French and commercial revolutions. The theorists' principles are assessed on the subject of the politics in their time and express how they answered to, or interacted with, the political occasions and problems with their day.
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Additional resources for Political Theorists in Context
The regular practice of analysing argument would allow the people to develop their rational sensibilities and, in time, false argument would be rejected. Censorship eradicates the propagation of ‘false doctrine’, but at the expense of allowing people to understand why it is false. The intensity of Milton’s argument stems from its theological origins, but ﬁnds its political expression in the argument for a recognisably liberal political order. The theological dimension leads Milton to give a stark warning to Parliament over its renewal of censorship.
The problem may be put as follows: the ethical ideal of Protestant liberalism is for a political order to be founded in the free choice and willing participation of each and every citizen. However, experience shows that the arguments of the citizens frequently lack the depth of understanding necessary to make good judgements about the condition and needs of the polity, and the activities of the citizens frequently undermine its constitution. Milton, recognising this problem, opted for a ruling elect to act in the citizens’ best interests – even if it meant overriding their wills.
This intriguing act indicates that Milton’s exploration of the Protestant theology in which he passionately believed gave him an insight that, as a protest against the Church and against the state as a political order which enforced the principles of the Church, Protestantism was actually rooted in a suspicion of religion itself. Here we see the seeds of the secularism that has eventually expelled theology from the centre ground of liberal political thought. A much more recent attempt to reinstate Milton to the ranks of political writers is Christopher Hill’s Milton and the English Revolution (1988).