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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas
170 occurrences of ideology
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170 occurrences of ideology
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8. Concluding Comments. Not all Hegelians have
opposed liberal forms of enterprise economy, for they
believe that the Whole is at work in every finite par-
ticular, and that the total Unity comes from struggle.
But all Hegelians have regarded the State as ultimate
and rational, as “mind on earth” (Hegel, Philosophie
des Rechts,
§270), or as more real than individual men
(Bosanquet, The Philosophical Theory of the State,
London, 1899). Hegel and Bosanquet, however, were
more impressed by the mind already at work in the
world, whereas Hegelians of the Left were anxious to
put it there, to realize the Idea by the force of a
revolutionary ardor or fanaticism that Hegel would
have regarded as abstract and destructive, “the fanati-
cism of destruction,” and “the fury of disturbance” as
marks of “negative freedom” (Philosophie des Rechts,
§5). Revolutionary transformation went well with the
Hegelian thesis that man and God are somehow identi-
cal. Hegel and his orthodox followers interpreted this
in Protestant or possibly mystical terms, but the step
from the unity of man and God to the positivist thesis
of Comte that mankind is God and should be wor-
shipped as such is easy to take, as Bradley pointed out
(Ethical Studies, last footnote).

Hegelianism has been regarded as a glorification of
the state and of militarism. Hegel said (Philosophie des
Rechts,
§338) that “in war, war itself is characterized
as something that ought to pass away,” but that
civilized peoples (e.g., agriculturalists) are justified in
regarding the rights of barbarians (e.g., pastoral peo-
ples) as inferior to their own, and the autonomy of


416

barbarians “as only a formality” (§351). To proceed
thus, Hegel held, is to secure the victory, not of force
but of reason (§342). This can be interpreted as a plea
to defend civilization by force or as an excuse on behalf
of existing and successful might. There is some am-
biguity, too, between saying that it is wrong for bar-
barians to destroy the civilized world and saying that
in the long run it is impossible. The Hegelian scholar,
Georg Lasson, writing, in his introduction to Hegel's
Lectures on the Philosophy of History (Werke, VIII,
Leipzig [1920], 172) referred to the First World War
in these words: “... it will not come to an end until
the nation to which Providence has given the task of
making the principle of the true cultivation of the state
at home in humanity throughout the world, has been
so physically strengthened and spiritually matured that
those powers which today fancy themselves to be justi-
fied in subjecting the planet to their inferior principles
can no longer resist it.”