[Marxism] Herbert Spencer

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri Dec 24 13:33:31 MST 2004

According to one site,

"Spencer maintained that government action requires not only individual 
consent, but that the model for political association should be that of a 
"joint stock company", where the 'directors' can never act for a certain 
good except on the explicit wishes of its 'shareholders'. When parliaments 
attempt to do more than protect the rights of their citizens by, for 
example, 'imposing' a conception of the good--be it only on a 
minority--Spencer suggested that they are no different from tyrannies."

...which I didn't know before. That would jell well with neoliberal 
ideology. The snag is of course that a joint-stock company can also "impose" 
a conception of the good, or fail to act according to the good. But you 
could go all ways with the argument, because, if a government does not 
impose any conception of the good, what ensures that the citizenry will 
serve the cause of the good? I haven't read Spencer's "The Man versus the 
State" but a missing element in his formula seems to be a real, effective 
political dialogue between the citizenry and the politicians.


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