Thursday, January 17, 2019


Burckhardt's Philosophy

H.R. Trevor-Roper (1914-2003), "The Faustian Historian: Jacob Burckhardt," Historical Essays (London: Macmillan & Co Ltd, 1963), pp. 273-278 (at 275):
For if one looks for the heart of Burckhardt's philosophy, it always comes back to this: civilisation is a delicate and precarious thing which only an educated and perhaps unscrupulously self-preserving hierarchy can protect against the numerical revolt of the masses with their materialism, their indifference to liberty, their ready surrender to demagogic power; and the crises of civilisation consist in precisely that revolt of the masses which, however, can never prevail against the strength of conservative institutions unless it is aided from within by moral and intellectual decay.

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