Alison McQueen’s book is a significant contribution to political theory and to the use of the history of political thought as a source of categories for thinking about current problems. Her central thesis revolves around three assumptions. First, the existence of “political realism” understood as a particular approach to evaluating politics—characterized by a defense of its own autonomy,1 political agonism,2 the rejection of both utopia and moralization in politics, and the preeminence of order and stability over any other criterion, including justice, in political decisions (10–12). This definition of “political realism” allows the author to group other writers who, though from dissimilar times and circumstances, are members of the same family: Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Morgenthau. The second assumption defines apocalypticism as the belief in an imminent end of the known world, the occurrence of the foregoing by means of a cataclysm, and the emergence—as a result of that end—of a radically new world. Again, this singular
definition also allows her to unite in the same group phenomena as diverse as millenarianism, the Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ sect, the fear of nuclear destruction, and the alarm regarding global warming and climate change.3 Third, that in three historical moments, three authors (represented by Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Morgenthau), seeing realism as antithetical to apocalypticism, pursue persistent and unsettled encounters with apocalypticism. At times, their realist commitments are deepened and enriched through these encounter .... None of these thinkers merely oppose or dismiss apocalypticism. They appreciate it, they confront it, and they use it. They see its dangers and its possibilities. (12) The author argues that, beyond the politically active religious whose mission is to save the whole of humanity, there are also trends of climate catastrophism (or otherwise) that require the knowledge on the contexts in which the apocalyptic operates. In addition to this contribution, the text provides historical insight into each of its cited authors and their epochs.
Kuschel, Gonzalo Bustamante
"Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 9, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol9/iss1/12
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