It may not be closely connected to my other topics, but yesterday we had a wonderful conversation about one of the most inspiring and most controversial politico-theological thinkers of the 19th century, Joseph de Maistre. The apropos was the 200th anniversary of his death, which we commemorated with the leading Maistre scholar of our time, Carolina Armenteros from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra.
This time I will not return to the old “why Maistre was not a bloodthirsty reactionary” issue, for it is something that’s all too obvious to those who actually read his works and inapprehensible to those who don’t. (And won’t, because they already know that Maistre was a bloodthirsty reactionary.) Yesterday we discussed instead the revolutionary counter-revolutionism of Maistre, his advocacy for liberty in face of the French Revolution’s not exactly liberal developments, his contribution to anti-imperial thought, or his ideas of national and popular sovereignty. As for the latter, I myself wrote a chapter on the French counterrevolutionaries’ and liberals’ common fears of majority tyranny in my book The Tyranny of the Majority republished last year in paperback.