Ò Read  The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy by Albert O. Hirschman µ formresponse.co.uk

Ò Read  The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy by Albert O. Hirschman µ I am not sure that I m fully convinced by Hirschman s attempt to expose the simplicity of reactionary rhetoric I guess I could find some really powerful argumentation among them, even if I am much inclined to side with progressives in most cases Hirschman is too brief on individual thinkers But I liked the book in the idea that there are identifiable similar recurring structures of rhetorics in political thought and think it is an important text in intellectual history.
ALBERT HIRSCHMANN Gericili in Reaksiyonerli in Muhafazkarl n Retori i lerici ve muhafazakarlar n, kesin olmayan fikirlerle anlaml tart malar yapt dost a demokrasi istemeliyiz Bamberg Katedrali ndeki Tart an ki Peygamber fig r gibi Muhafazak rl k arg man sadece Emir Kipleri ile bi imlenegelmi tir ve reform devrimlere u kategorilerinden sald r r AKS TES RE YOL A AR Frans z Devrimi sonras nda Bonapartizm e yani despotizme yol a m t r , BO UNADIR Bir ey de ilmez Pareto nun %80 %20 kural hep ge erlidir bir olay n %80 nedeninden %20 etken sorumludur %80 para g %20 de toplan r MEVCUDU TEHL KEYE ATAR 1832 ve 67 Britanya Oy Hakk Reformlar nda, Britanya Anayasas K lt denilen Krall k Aristokrasi Demokrasi hassas dengesini tehlikeye atar gerek esiyle liberal ve muhafazak rlar n birlikte davranm t r En temel sald r eksenleri 2 gruptad r YURTTA LIK ve GENEL OY HAKLARI Kalitesizlik, S r i g d s yle hareket, se me de il se tirme, aptal o unlu un y netimi ve devletin h kim s n flar n ya ma makinesi haline getirilmesi REFAH DEVLET Sosyal haklar, sizlik Sigortas ve sigortadan vergi al nmamas , tembellik ve ahlaks zl k yarat r, alt s n flar daha da fakirle tirir Muhafazak r savunman n temsilcilerinden rnekler Burke, Schiller, Malthus, Dickens, Nietzsche, Bentham, Ricardo, Tocqueville, Pareto, Flaubert, Max Scheler, Friedman, Hayek, Huntington.
With Engaging Wit And Subtle Irony, Albert Hirschman Maps The Diffuse And Treacherous World Of Reactionary Rhetoric In Which Conservative Public Figures, Thinkers, And Polemicists Have Been Arguing Against Progressive Agendas And Reforms For The Past Two Hundred YearsHirschman Draws His Examples From Three Successive Waves Of Reactive Thought That Arose In Response To The Liberal Ideas Of The French Revolution And The Declaration Of The Rights Of Man, To Democratization And The Drive Toward Universal Suffrage In The Nineteenth Century, And To The Welfare State In Our Own Century In Each Case He Identifies Three Principal Arguments Invariably Used The Perversity Thesis, Whereby Any Action To Improve Some Feature Of The Political, Social, Or Economic Order Is Alleged To Result In The Exact Opposite Of What Was Intended The Futility Thesis, Which Predicts That Attempts At Social Transformation Will Produce No Effects Whatever Will Simply Be Incapable Of Making A Dent In The Status Quo The Jeopardy Thesis, Holding That The Cost Of The Proposed Reform Is Unacceptable Because It Will Endanger Previous Hard Won Accomplishments He Illustrates These Propositions By Citing Writers Across The Centuries From Alexis De Tocqueville To George Stigler, Herbert Spencer To Jay Forrester, Edmund Burke To Charles Murray Finally, In A Lightning Turnabout, He Shows That Progressives Are Frequently Apt To Employ Closely Related Rhetorical Postures, Which Are As Biased As Their Reactionary Counterparts For Those Who Aspire To The Genuine Dialogue That Characterizes A Truly Democratic Society, Hirschman Points Out That Both Types Of Rhetoric Function, In Effect, As Contraptions Designed To Make Debate Impossible In The Process, His Book Makes An original Contribution To Democratic Thought The Rhetoric Of Reaction Is A Delightful Handbook For All Discussions Of Public Affairs, The Welfare State, And The History Of Social, Economic, And Political Thought, Whether Conducted By Ordinary Citizens Or Academics Interesting framework to evaluate political debate fallacies Especially the last chapter is a masterclass.
This is a terrific short book by the author of Exit, Voice,Loyalty and like it combines some penetrating thought with historical examples of political and economic rhetoric The point is to show how discourse that is strongly opposed to political economic change has some standard lines of attack that can be identified acrosso a wide range of changes The first is perversity that change will lead to the opposite of what those initiating change want an unintended consequences argument The second argument is futility that the change cannot work and so is a great waste of time and effort The third argument is jeopardy namely that the costs of change will be significantly higher than the benefits and put the status quo at risk The key takeaway is that these arguments are generic and seldom depend on the data situation at hand.
This is a very thoughtful book and a fairly quick read for economic tracts at least.
Pretty easy read Great analysis of political rhetoric in the modern times The same basic arguments have been made since the French Revolution regarding trying to make political progress towards democracy, liberalism, better living working conditions The three types of arguments is that a specific political economic change will make things worse perversity , that trying to make such a change will not make things any better futility or that it will put all progress so far made into jeopardy Sometimes the people trying to make these changes adopt the same rhetoric This isn t really a partisan book It is easy to detect where Hirschman s sympathies lie, and what he thinks the truth about the historical record is, but he is concerned to show that this sort of rhetoric, from either side, doesn t represent useful political discourse Good perspective, a great again, fairly easy and quick read Unlike most historians philosophers, Hirschman writes pretty simply and straightforwardly.
An excellent look at the arguments reactionaries make in response to various kinds of political reform, as well as, in a later chapter, arguments made by progressives Hirschman critiques reactionary arguments and discusses why such arguments are made and why they are often accepted Highly recommended for anyone interested in political rhetoric.
A short, useful, and insightful book about political rhetoric Hirschman s The Rhetoric of Reaction was published in 1991, a time when those on the left and center left were trying to understand the conservative turn in politics of the past decade Hirschman focuses not on the conservatives themselves the psychoanalyzing of political ideology that one can often see , but on their arguments To do this, he analyzes the responses from reactionaries to three different waves of progress 1 the wave that produced civil rights, or the rise of individual liberties, starting with the French Revolution, 2 the wave that led to political rights, namely, democracy universal suffrage, and 3 the wave that led to social rights, i.
e.
, the welfare state In examining the arguments used to oppose each wave of progress, he comes up with another triad perversity, futility, and jeopardy And he presents examples from each period, noting as well how the arguments can work together or coexist despite seeming incompatibility The perversity thesis is that the contemplated action will have disastrous consequences it will, in fact, move in the opposite direction of what its proponents claim One of the most notable examples of this is Burke s writings on the French Revolution But this was seen as well in how reactionaries claimed that democracy would lead to bureaucratic tyranny or that the welfare state would corrupt its beneficiaries or that a minimum wage increase leaves workers worse off The perversity thesis presents a volatile world in which providence shatters any good intentions humans may have.
The futility thesis is that the contemplated action will run up against permanent structural characteristics laws of the social order and, thus, end up ineffective With this focus on laws, the futility thesis often has a social scientific bent to it Examples include Alexis de Tocqueville s writings on the French Revolution in which he claimed that the positive advances were already happening in the first place , Mosca and Pareto s writings of democracy which argued that divides between the rulers and the ruled or between the elite and the non elite would resurface regardless of political form , and the writings of conservative economists who claim that money allocated to help the poor will just end up in the hands of the middle class The jeopardy thesis argues that the contemplated action, even if desirable in itself, involves unacceptable costs or consequences of one sort or another We can see this in how opponents of universal suffrage claimed that democracy would be a threat to political liberty and how people like Samuel Huntington and Friedrich Hayek claimed that the welfare state was a threat to democracy Although Hirschman starts the book with a focus on reactionary arguments, he spends some time toward the end analyzing simplistic and common arguments used in favor of progressive change They function as inverses of the reactionary arguments Rather than arguing that taking action will have disastrous consequences, progressives say that inaction will have disastrous consequences imminent danger Rather than arguing that social laws render changes futile, progressives say that social laws make change inevitable history is on our side Rather than arguing that a change will risk past advances, progressives argue for a relationship of mutual support between new and old advances synergy illusion And the progressive mentality itself is the antipode of the perversity thesis in viewing the possibility of rebuilding society according to the dictates of reason It s a handy framework for analyzing political rhetoric especially amidst an election season like now and an encouragement to strengthen and add nuance to one s own lines of argumentation 4.
5 stars

A slim and extremely useful meditation on the forms that reactionary arguments which Hirschman cleverly defines as those arguments which deny not so much the validity of an aspiration to change, but simply the practicality, safety, or governability of a recommended alteration in the status quo routinely, almost deterministically fall into His point here is to show that reactionary arguments are not the product of case specific reasoning against a given social, political, or economic change, but rather revert to simplistic meta framings often implicitly reliant on mythological topoi Oedipus, Nemesis, or hubris For all that, the study is not psychoanalytic but straightforwardly rhetorical it bases its counterarguments on essentially prima facie readings of classic conservative texts Burke, de Maistre, Hayek, et al I really enjoy the way that Hirschman proceeds through his evidence, and I find the trio of reactionary arguments perversity, futility, or jeopardy that Hirschman elaborates very helpful in parsing the cant that I encounter on a day to day basis in the media, or in listening to relatives or friends I am surprised to find that historians and political scientists or journalists for that matter do not make use of this book Its lucidity would be a great model for many writers and its content a valuable resource in political argumentation.
I almost do not want to give this book four stars, for Hirschman is at times too brief His statements about the flaws in certain reactionary arguments are short and therefore lack bite Yet, he does a fair job of exploring three common conservative arguments against reform and revolution His most effective passage is on the perverse effect of Burke s argument in favor of slow change and minor reforms, the perverse effect being that it can spurn radical change in places where slow reform is botched and there is no history of rights and reform.