Leviathan, Inc
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How to Cite

Leviathan, Inc: Robert Nisbet on the Modern State. (2019). The Political Science Reviewer, 42(2), 469-488. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/555


Robert Nisbet’s primary scholarly focus was on the detrimental effect of the modern state on social groups and the psychological health of individuals. Three aspects of Nisbet’s criticism of the modern state stand out for analysis. First, Nisbet’s focus on Jean Jacques Rousseau’ political philosophy, which he argued provides justification for the state’s ever increasing power and intrusion into the lives of its citizens and the inner-workings of social groups. Second, as an antidote to Rousseau, Nisbet’s reliance on the work of Burke and Tocqueville to argue for the value of intermediary associations. Third, Nisbet’s concern with what he called the New Leviathan or the New Despotism, by which he meant the centralization of power in the modern state. This New Despotism is supported by a class of intellectuals, a political clerisy, that defends the modern state in the same way that the medieval clerisy defended the medieval Catholic Church.

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