The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu: Humanitarian Despotism and the Conditions of Modern Tyranny (Applications of Political Theory)
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Author note: John S. Waggoner (Translator)
Publish Year note: First published 1864
The Dialogue in Hell between Montesquieu and Machiavelli is the source of the world's most infamous literary forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. John Waggoner's superb translation of and commentary on Joly's Dialogue—the first faithful translation in English—seeks not only to update the sordid legacy of the Protocols but to redeem Joly's original work for serious study in its own right, rather than through the lens of antisemitism.
Waggoner's work vindicates a man who was neither an antisemite nor a supporter of the kind of tyrannical politics the Protocols subsequently served and presents Maurice Joly, once much maligned and too long ignored, as one of the nineteenth century's foremost political thinkers.
different sides in the conflict. Access to oil complicates matters and could prove persuasive in settling dispositions. A wider war in the Middle East is no longer inconceivable and it could occasion a truly destructive rift between the countries of the Atlantic Alliance. Given weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the sworn enemies of Israel, is even another Holocaust inconceivable? There are those who say that Israel's "obsessive" concern with security is at the core of problems which
Machiavelli: I fully expect to be up to the challenge. Montesquieu: In a few hours, maybe we'll be separated. You're unfamiliar with this place. Follow me along this winding, dark footpath. For several more hours we can avoid the surging crowd of spirits over there. * * * *The Spirit of the Laws XXXI 4. Seventh Dialogue Machiavelli: We can stop here. Montesquieu: I'm listening. Machiavelli: First, I must tell you that you are completely mistaken about what my principles imply. You
only the people who speak this way. It is the middle class, industrialists, the educated, the rich, the men of letters—all those who are in a position to appreciate your lofty doctrines of public right. They will thank me. They will cry out that I have saved them, and that the people are mere children, incapable of directing their own lives. Hey, nations have a kind of hidden love for vigorous and powerful geniuses as long as they demonstrate skillful deception. With respect to all those violent
single organization whose chief I would name. Then I would be in a position to control the various revolutionary elements in the country. These societies are made up of people from every nation, every class, and every social rank. I will be privy to the most obscure political intrigues. It will be like an auxiliary unit of my police. I will speak further about them in a short while. The underground world of secret societies is filled with empty-heads who don't concern me in the least. But they
monarchic governments. Machiavelli: A simple law can change that. In the future, such officials will be appointed by the government. Montesquieu: Will you also appoint the nation's representatives? Machiavelli: You know that is not possible. Montesquieu: That's a real pity. If suffrage is left free, and you fail to contrive the outcome of elections, a popularly elected Assembly, under the influence of various parties, will soon be filled with deputies hostile to your power. Machiavelli: But