The Significance of the Critique of the Aristocratic Elite in the 18th Century for the Formation of Modern Liberalism and its Current Global Repercussions

A conversation with Dirk Schuck

The basic conflict between “Personal Dependency” and “Rise of the Market” is fundamental as a perfect historical background to understand the two early economic models, mercantilism and early liberalism, and the new requirements for leadership. Economy is the core of the social network that the human being has established and it is the more basic issue of human nature than any other artificial political sovereignty.

Mr. Dirk Schuck is an Associate Researcher at the centerMarc Bloch in Berlin and on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Socio-Empirical Research Project “Strangers in Their Own Land” of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Leipzig.  His latest Book Publication, which got released by the German Society for Research in the 18th Century, carries the title: “The Internalization of Social Nature: On the Relation of Freedom and Empathy in the Social Psychology of Early Liberalism.” Schuck poster .jpg

At the very beginning of the meeting it has been fundamental a general historical background from the 16th-17thcenturies when Europe was living a state of “Great Political Instability”. The Holy Roman Empire of Germanic Nations are collapsing into permanent Warfare, meanwhile from a social point of view, aristocratic rebellions and civil wars shake France and England. The link among all this factors is the economic part related tofeudalism that is challenged by expanding merchant networks and new enterprises in Holland (ideal for early independent capital). The conflict raised between the “two phantom sub societies” carried to new developments for the future social structure: thanks to the rise of the Third Estate there was the opening of trade routes all over the Europe and the rest of the world.

In this period the new requirements for an effective leadership system converges into an interesting path from Humanism (nowadays seen as a “moralist tradition) to a complicity between Moralism and Idealism; integrity is fundamental for leadership and needed for a political and social stability. The main factors that influence the process in the “modern diplomacy” strictly related to the reality of everyday life and the “political leadership” dependent from knowledge and ability of people. Humanism is a Realist Tradition, it deals with the improvement of living conditions for humans, using virtue:virtuous leadership is necessary to keep Civil Society from collapsing. In this case, international relations can help maintaining peace and promoting a mutual interest for States, in their political and social stability.

The determination of an individual’s worth by work was granted by a huge shift between feudalism and modern society; decontextualizing the process, it traced back to long before part of early Christianity. It collides with old aristocracy’s attitude.

The new mindset of people was enriched by this new awareness about the self-determination made by economic contribution. Common people became special individuals able to change the system in which they lived. Humanism is a Realist Tradition, it deals with the improvement of living conditions for humans, using virtue:virtuous leadership.

Dirk Schuck.jpgThe crisis of modern liberalism rooted itself in income and wealth differences linked with large immigration flows which created insecurity. Moreover, liberalism is deeply rooted in American soil(the years after the II World War have been fundamental) and it is the first principle that moved the economy of more than a half of world countries. these days it is losing credibility and confidence.

Modern democratic liberalismdeveloped out of the more egalitarian aspects of the tradition and serves as the basis of contemporary liberal politics.




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