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Basic Forms of Government: A Sketch and a Model by Bernard Crick

By Bernard Crick

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Hence censorship is a general but a negative institution, not a positive and total propaganda; hence there are proclamations, but neither regular nor even remotely objective and believable news; and therefore rumour, gossip and anonymous satires and 'libels' flourish as institutions. The regime itself gets into difficulties through flatterers and lack of proper 'feed-back', hence much spying and the odd institutions of barbers and court jesters (which Hitler and Nkrumah, in their different ways, used just as much as a Renaissance monarch).

G The predominance of the secular was asserted, even revelled in, but it did not abolish faith, it simply established a new and more clear-cut boundary; nor must one exaggerate the rationality of the new statecraft and philosophy of the state. aison 'd'Etat or staatsrason, as vernacular replaced latinity) held that there were some things which ordinary subjects should never question, indeed could never even know. The idea emerged of the 'arcana imperii', or 'mysteries' of power (as in medieval craft-guild mysteries): a prince needed reason and technical knowledge as never before, but this would be useless without strong will, the libido dominandi, and some inborn or God-given flair for government- almost a great artist's mixture of technique and inspiration.

But the attempt has led to a form of government quite unlike old tyranny and autocracy in its extent, and many of whose massive cruelties are only explicable in terms of the ideology, not in terms of political needs or sadistic caprice : the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews, Stalin's purges of the former bourgeoisie and the old peasantry, and the Chinese in like manner. The Nazis were defeated only by war; 60 the murderous paranoia of Stalin induced some kind of mutual tolerance in his successors - though almost entirely for their own benefit; and China, though tom with internal struggles, seems to grow more ideologically rigid, not less.

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