5. The Estates
§ 304. The Estates, as an element in political life, still retain in their own function the class distinctions already present in the lower spheres of civil life. The position of the classes is abstract to begin with, i.e., in contrast with the whole principle of monarchy or the crown, their position is that of an extreme — empirical universality. This extreme opposition implies the possibility, though no more, of harmonisation, and the equally likely possibility of set hostility. This abstract position changes into a rational relation (into a syllogism, see Remark to § 302) only if the middle term between the opposites comes into existence. From the point of view of the crown, the executive already has this character (see § 300). So, from the point of view of the classes, one moment in them must be adapted to the task of existing as in essence the moment of mediation.
§ 305. The principle of one of the classes of civil society is in itself capable of adaptation to this political position. The class in question is the one whose ethical life is natural, whose basis is family life, and, so far as its livelihood is concerned, the possession of land. Its particular members attain their position by birth, just as the monarch does, and, in common with him, they possess a will which rests on itself al6ne.
§ 306. This class is more particularly fitted for political position and significance in that its capital is independent alike of the state's capital, the uncertainty of business, the quest for profit, and any sort of fluctuation in possessions. It is likewise independent of favour, whether from the executive or the mob. It is even fortified against its own wilfulness, because those members of this class who are called to political life are not entitled, as other citizens are, either to dispose of their entire property at will, or to the assurance that it will pass to their children, whom they love equally, in similarly equal divisions. Hence their wealth becomes inalienable, entailed, and burdened by primogeniture.
Addition: This class has a volition of a more independent character. On the whole, the class of landed-property owners is divided into an educated section and a section of farmers. But over against both of these sorts of people there stands the business class, which is dependent on needs and concentrated on their satisfaction, and the civil servant class, which is essentially dependent on the state. The security and stability of the agricultural class may be still further increased by the institution of primogeniture, though this institution is desirable only from the point of view of politics, since it entails a sacrifice for the political end of giving the eldest son a life of independence. Primogeniture is grounded on the fact that the state should be able to reckon not on the bare possibility of political inclinations, but on something necessary. Now an inclination for politics is of course not bound up with wealth, but there is a relatively necessary connection between the two, because a man with independent means is not hemmed in by external circumstances and so there is nothing to prevent him from entering politics and working for the state. Where Political institutions are lacking, however, the foundation and encouragement of primogeniture is nothing but a chain on the freedom of private rights, and either political meaning must be given to it, or else it will in due course disappear.
§ 307. The right of this section of the agriculture class is thus based in a way on the natural principle of the family. But this principle is at the same time reversed owing to hard sacrifices made for political ends, and thereby the activity of this class is essentially directed to those ends. As a consequence of this, this class is summoned and entitled to its political vocation by birth without the hazards of election. It therefore has the fixed substantive position between the subjective wilfulness or contingency of both extremes; and while it mirrors in itself. . . 1 the moment of the monarchical power, it also shares in other respects the needs and rights of the other extreme [i.e., civil society], and hence it becomes a support at once of the throne and society.
Hegel has accomplished the masterpiece: he has developed peerage by birthright, wealth by inheritance, etc. etc., this support of the throne and society, on top of the absolute Idea.
Hegel's keenest insight lies in his sensing the separation of civil and political society to be a contradiction. But his error is that he contents himself with the appearance of its dissolution, and passes it off as the real thing; while the 'so-called theories' which he despises demand the separation of the civil and political classes, and rightly, for they express a consequence of modern society, in that here the political Estates are precisely nothing but the factual expression of the actual relationship of state and civil society — their separation.
Hegel has failed to identify the issue in question here. It is the issue of representative versus Estate constitution. The representative constitution is a great advance, for it is the open, genuine, consistent expression of the condition of the modern state. It is the unconcealed contradiction.
Before we take up this matter itself, let's take another look at this Hegelian presentation.
In the Estates as an element in the legislative power, the unofficial class acquires its political significance.
Earlier (in the Remark to § 301) it was said:
Hence the specific function which the concept assigns to the Estates is to be sought in the fact that in them ... the private judgment and private will of the sphere called 'civil society' in this book come into existence integrally related to the state.
The meaning of these two, taken in combination, is as follows: Civil society is the unofficial class, or, the unofficial class is the immediate, essential, concrete class of civil society. Only within the Estates as an element of the legislative power does it acquire political significance and efficacy. This is a new endowment, a particular function, for precisely its character as unofficial class expresses its opposition to political significance and efficacy, the privation of political character, and the fact that civil society actually lacks political significance and efficacy. The unofficial class is the class of civil society, or civil society is the unofficial class. Thus, in consequence, Hegel also excludes the universal class from the Estates as an element of the legislative power:
The universal class, or, more precisely, the class of civil servants, must purely in virtue of its character as universal, have the universal as the end of its essential activity.
In virtue of its character, civil society, or the unofficial class, does not have the universal as the end of its essential activity. Its essential activity is not a determination of the universal; it has no universal character. The unofficial class is the class of civil society as opposed to the [political] class.' The class of civil society is not a political class.
In declaring civil society to be the unofficial class, Hegel has declared the class differences of civil society to be non-political differences and civil and political life to be heterogeneous in character, even antitheses. How then does he proceed?
[The unofficial class] appears, therefore, in the Estates neither as a mere indiscriminate multitude nor as an aggregate dispersed into its atoms, but as what it already is, namely a class subdivided into two, one sub-class [the agricultural class] being based on a tie of substance between its members, and the other [the business class] on particular needs and the work whereby these are met (see § 201 ff.). It is only in this way that there is a genuine link between the particular which is effective in the state and the universal.
To be sure, civil society (the unofficial class), in its legislative activity in the Estates, cannot appear as a mere indiscriminate multitude because the mere indiscriminate multitude exists only in imagination or fantasy, but not in actuality. What actually exists is only accidental multitudes of various sizes (cities, villages, etc.). These multitudes, or this aggregate not only appears but everywhere really is an aggregate dispersed into its atoms; and when it appears in its political-class activity it must appear as this atomistic thing. The unofficial class, civil society, cannot appear here as what it already is. For what is it already? Unofficial class, i.e., opposition to and separation from the state. In order to achieve political significance and efficacy it must rather renounce itself as what it already is, as unofficial class. Only through this does it acquire its political significance and efficacy. This political act is a complete transubstantiation. In this political act civil society must completely renounce itself as such, as unofficial class, and assert a part of its essence which not only has nothing in common with the actual civil existence of its essence, but directly opposes it.
What the universal law is appears here in the individual. Civil society and the state are separated. Consequently the citizen of the state and the member of civil society are also separated. The individual must thus undertake an essential schism within himself As actual citizen he finds himself in a two-fold organisation: [a] the bureaucratic, which is an external formal determination of the otherworldly state, of the executive power, which does not touch him and his independent actuality; [b] the social, the organisation of civil society, within which he stands outside the state as a private man, for civil society does not touch upon the political state as such. The former [the bureaucratic] is an organisation of the state to which he continually contributes the material. The latter [the social] is a civil organisation whose material is not the state. In the former the state relates to him as formal opposition; in the latter he himself relates to the state as material opposition. Thus, in order to behave as actual citizen of the state, to acquire political significance and efficacy, he must abandon his civil actuality, abstract from it, and retire from this entire organisation into his individuality. He must do this because the only existence that he finds for his state-citizenship is his pure, bare individuality, for the existence of the state as executive is complete without him, and his existence in civil society is complete without the state. Only in opposition to these exclusively existing communities, only as an individual, can he be a citizen of the state. His existence as citizen is an existence lying outside the realm of his communal existences, and is hence purely individual. The legislature as a power is precisely the organisation, the communal embodiment, which his political existence is supposed to receive. Prior to the legislature, civil society, or the unofficial class, does not exist as political organisation. In order that it come to existence as such, its actual organisation, actual civil life, must be established as non-existing, for the Estates as an element of the legislative power have precisely the character of rendering the unofficial class, civil society, non-existent. The separation of civil society and the political state appears necessarily to be a separation of the political citizen, the citizen of the state, from civil society, i.e., from his own actual, empirical reality; for as a state-idealist he is a being who is completely other, distinct, different from and opposed to his own actuality. Here civil society effects within itself the relationship of the state and civil society, a relationship which already exists on the other side [i.e., within the state] as the bureaucracy. in the Estates the universal becomes actually, explicitly [für sich] what it is implicitly [an sich], namely, opposition to the particular. The citizen must renounce his class, civil society, the unofficial class, in order to achieve political significance and efficacy; for it is precisely this class which stands between the individual and the political state.
If Hegel already contrasts the whole of civil society as unofficial class to the political state, then it is self-evident that the distinctions within the unofficial class, i.e., the various civil classes, have only an unofficial significance with regard to the state; in other words, they have no political significance. For the various civil classes are simply the actualisation, the existence, of the principle, i.e., of the unofficial class as of the principle of civil society. If, however, the principle must be abandoned, then it is self-evident that still more the schisms within this principle are non-existent for the political state.
'It is only in this way', says Hegel in concluding the paragraph, 'that there is a genuine link between the particular which is effective in the state and the universal.' But here Hegel confuses the state as the whole of a people's existence with the political state. That particular is not the particular in, but rather outside the state, namely, the political state. It is not only not the particular which is effective in the state, but also the ineffectiveness [Unwirklichkeit] of the state. What Hegel wants to establish is that the classes of civil society are political classes; and in order to prove this he asserts that the classes of civil society are the particularity of the political state, that is to say, that civil society is political society. The expression, 'The particular in the state', can here only mean the particularity of the state. A bad conscience causes Hegel to choose the vague expression. Not only has he himself developed just the opposite, but he even ratifies it in this paragraph by characterising civil society as the 'unofficial class'. His statement that the particular is 'linked' to the universal is very cautious. The most dissimilar things can be linked. But here we are not dealing with a gradual transition but with a transubstantiation, and it is useless to ignore deliberately this cleft which has been jumped over and yet manifested by the very jump.
In the Remark Hegel says: 'This runs counter to another prevalent idea' etc. We have just shown how this prevalent idea is consequently and inevitably a necessary idea of the people's present development, and how Hegel's idea, despite its also being very prevalent in certain circles, is nevertheless untrue.
Returning to this prevalent idea Hegel says: 'This atomistic and abstract point of view vanishes at the stage of the family' etc. etc. 'The state, however, is' etc. This point of view is undeniably abstract, but it is the abstraction of the political state as Hegel himself develops it. It is atomistic too, but it is the atomism of society itself. The point of view cannot be concrete when the object of the point of view is abstract. The atomism into which civil society is driven by its political act results necessarily from the fact that the commonwealth [das Gemeinwesen], the communal being [das kommunistische Wesen], within which the individual exists, is [reduced to] civil society separated from the state, or in other words, that the political state is an abstraction of civil society.'
This atomistic point of view, although it already vanishes in the family, and perhaps (??) also in civil society, recurs in the political state precisely because the political state is an abstraction of the family and civil society. But the reverse is also true. By expressing the strangeness [das Befremdliche] of this occurrence Hegel has not eliminated the estrangement [die Entfremdung].
The circles of association in civil society, Hegel continues, are already communities. To picture these communities as once more breaking up into a mere conglomeration of individuals as soon as they enter the field of politics, i.e., the field of the highest concrete universality, is eo ipso to hold civil and political life apart from one another and as it were to hang the latter in the air, because its basis could then only be the abstract individuality of caprice and opinion, and hence it would be grounded on chance and not on what is absolutely stable and justified.
This picturing [of these communities as breaking up] does not hold civil and political life apart; it is simply the picturing of an actually existing separation.
Nor does this picturing hang political life in the air; rather, political life is the life in the air, the ethereal region of civil society.
Now we turn to the representative and the Estate systems.
It is a development of history that has transformed the political classes into social classes such that, just as the Christians are equal in heaven yet unequal on earth, so the individual members of a people are equal in the heaven of their political world yet unequal in the earthly existence of society. The real transformation of the political classes into civil classes took place under the absolute monarchy. The bureaucracy asserted the idea of unity over against the various states within the state. Nevertheless, even alongside the bureaucracy of the absolute executive, the social difference of the classes remained a political difference, political within and alongside the bureaucracy of the absolute executive. Only the French Revolution completed the transformation of the political classes into social classes, in other words, made the class distinctions of civil society into merely social distinctions, pertaining to private life but meaningless in political life. With that, the separation of political life and civil society was completed.
At the same time the classes of civil society were likewise transformed: civil society underwent a change by reason of its separation from political society. Class in the medieval sense remained only within the bureaucracy itself, where civil and political positions are immediately identical. Over against this stands civil society as unofficial class. Here class distinction is no longer one of need and of labor as an independent body. The sole general, superficial and formal distinction which remains is that of town and country. But within civil society itself the distinctions take shape in changeable, unfixed spheres whose principle is arbitrariness. Money and education are the prevalent criteria. Yet it's not here, but in the critique of Hegel's treatment of civil society that this should be developed. Enough said. Class in civil society has neither need — and therefore a natural impulse — nor politics for its principle. It is a division of the masses whose development is unstable and whose very structure is arbitrary and in no sense an organisation.
The sole characteristic thing is that the lack of property, and the class in need of immediate labor, of concrete labor, forms less a class of civil society than the basis upon which the spheres of civil society rest and move. The sole class in which political and civil positions coincide is that of the members of the executive power. The present social class already manifests a distinction from the former class of civil society by the fact that it does not, as was formerly the case, regard the individual as a communal in individual, as a communal being [ein Gemeinwesen]; rather, it is partly chance, partly labor, etc., of the individual which determines whether he remains in his class or not, a class which is, further, only an external determination of this individual; for he neither inheres in his work nor does the class relate to him as an objective communal being organised according to firm laws and related firmly to him. Moreover, he stands in no actual relation to his substantial activity, to his actual class. The medical man, for instance, forms no particular class in civil society. one businessman belongs to a class different than that of another businessman, i.e., he belongs to another social position. Just as civil society is separated from political society, so within itself civil society is separated into class and social position, even though some relations obtain between the two. The principle of the civil class, or of civil society, is enjoyment and the capacity to enjoy. In his political role the member of civil society rids himself of his class, of his actual private position; by this alone does he acquire significance as man. in other words, his character as a member of the state, as a social being, appears to be his human character. For all of his other characteristics in civil society appear to be unessential to the man, the individual; that is, they appear to be external characteristics which are indeed necessary to his existence within the whole, i.e., as being a bond with the whole, but a bond that he can just as well throw off. (Present civil society is the accomplished principle of individualism: individual existence is the final end, while activity, labor, content, etc., are merely means.)
The Estate-constitution, when not a tradition of the Middle Ages, is the attempt, partly within the political sphere itself, to thrust man back into the limitation of his private sphere, to make his particularity his substantial consciousness and, by means of the political character of class difference, also to make him once more into a social being.
The actual man is the private man of the present-day political constitution.
In general, the significance of the estate is that it makes difference, separation, subsistence, things pertaining to the individual as such.' His manner of life, activity, etc. is his privilege, and instead of making him a functional member of society, it makes him an exception from society. The fact that this difference is not only individual but also established as community, estate, corporation, not only fails to abolish the exclusiveness of its nature, but is rather its expression. Instead of the particular function being a function of society, the particular function is made into a society for itself.
Not only is the estate based on the separation of society as the governing principle, but it separates man from his universal nature; it makes him an animal whose being coincides immediately with its determinate character. The Middle Ages constitutes the animal history of mankind, its zoology.
Modern times, civilisation, commits the opposite mistake. It separates man s objective essence from him, taking it to be merely external and material. Man's content is not taken to be his true actuality.
Anything further regarding this is to be developed in the section on 'Civil Society'.
Now we come to
§ 304. The Estates, as an element in political life, still retain in their own significance, the class distinctions already present in the lower spheres of civil life.
We have already shown that the class distinctions already present in the lower spheres of life have no significance for the political spheres, or if so, then only the significance of private, hence non-political, distinctions. But according to Hegel here they do not even have their already present significance (their significance in civil society). Rather, the Estates as an element in political life affirms its essence by embodying these distinctions within itself; and, thus immersed in political life, they receive a significance of their 'own' which belongs not to them but to this element.
As long as the organisation of civil society remained political, and the political state and civil society were one, this separation, this duplication of the estates' significance was not present. The estates did not signify one thing in the civil world and something other in the political world. They acquired no [additional] significance in the political world, but signified only themselves. The duality of civil society and the political state, which the Estate-constitution purports to resolve through a reminiscence, appears within that constitution itself, in that class difference (the differentiation within civil society) acquires in the political sphere a significance different than in the civil sphere. There is apparent identity here: the same subject, but in an essentially different determination, and thus in fact a double subject. And this illusory identity (surely an illusory identity because, in fact, the actual subject, man, remains constantly himself, does not lose his identity in the various determinations of his being; but here man is not the subject, rather he is identified with a predicate — the class — and at the same time it is asserted that he exists in this definite determination and in another determination, that he is, as this definite, exempted and restricted thing, something other than this restricted thing) is artificially maintained through that reflection [mentioned earlier], by at one time having civil class distinction as such assume a character which should accrue to it only in the political sphere, and at another time reversing things and having the class distinction in the political sphere acquire a character which issues not from the political sphere but from the subject of the civil sphere. In order to present the one limited subject, the definite class (the class distinction), as the essential subject of both predicates, or in order to prove the identity of the two predicates, both are mystified and developed in an illusory and vague dimorphism [Doppelgestalt].
Here the same subject is taken in different meanings, but the meaning is not a self-determination [of the subject]; rather, it is an allegorical determination foisted on the subject. One could use the same meaning for a different concrete subject, or another meaning for the same subject. The significance that civil class distinction acquires in the political sphere is not its own, but proceeds from the political sphere; and even here it could have a different significance, as was historically the case. The reverse is also true. This is the uncritical, the mystical way of interpreting an old world-view in terms of a new one, through which it becomes nothing but an unhappy hybrid in which the form betrays the meaning and the meaning the form, and neither does the form achieve significance, thus becoming actual form, nor the significance become form, thus becoming actual significance. This uncritical spirit, this mysticism, is the enigma of the modern constitution (kat exohin the Estate-constitution) as well as the mystery of Hegelian philosophy, especially the Philosophy of Right and the Philosophy of Religion.
The best way to rid oneself of this illusion is to take the significance as what it is, i.e., as the actual determination, then as such make it the subject, and consider whether its ostensibly proper subject is its actual predicate, i.e., whether this ostensibly proper subject expresses its [the actual determination's] essence and true actualisation.
The position of the classes (the Estates as an element in political life), is abstract to begin with, i.e., in contrast with the whole principle of monarchy or the crown, their position is that of an extreme — empirical universality. This extreme opposition implies the possibility, though no more, of harmonisation, and the equally likely possibility of set hostility. This abstract position changes into a rational relation (into a syllogism, see Remark to § 302) only if the middle term between the opposites comes into existence.
We have already seen that the Estates, in common with the executive power, form the middle term between the principle of monarchy and the people, between the will of the state existing as one and as many empirical Wills, and between empirical singularity and empirical universality. Just as he had to define the will of civil society as empirical universality, so Hegel had to define the sovereign will as empirical singularity; but he does not articulate the antithesis in all of its sharpness.
From the point of view of the crown, the executive already has this character (see § 300). So, from the point of view of the classes, one moment in them must be adapted to the task of existing as in essence the moment of mediation.
The true antitheses, however, are the sovereign and civil society. And as we have already seen, the Estates have the same significance from the people's point of view as the executive has from the point of view of the sovereign. Just as the executive emanates in an elaborate circular system, so the people condenses into a miniature edition; for the constitutional monarchy can get along well only with the people en miniature. The Estates, from the point of view of civil society, are the very same abstraction of the political state as is the executive from the sovereign's point of view. Thus it appears that the mediation has been fully achieved. Both extremes have left their obstinacy behind, each has imparted the spirit of its particular essence into a fusion with that of the other; and the legislature, whose elements are the executive as well as the Estates, appears not to be that which must first allow this mediation to come to existence, but to be itself the already existing mediation. Also, Hegel has already [§ 302] declared the Estates in common with the executive to be the middle term between the people and the sovereign (the same way the Estates are the middle term between civil society and the executive, etc.). Thus the rational relation, the syllogism, appears to be complete. The legislature, the middle term, is a mixtum compositum of both extremes: the sovereign-principle and civil society, empirical singularity and empirical universality, subject and predicate. In general, Hegel conceives of the syllogism as middle term, to be a mixtum compositum. We can say that in his development of the rational syllogism all of the transcendence and mystical dualism of his system becomes apparent. The middle term is the wooden sword, the concealed opposition between universality and singularity.
To begin with, we notice in regard to this whole development that the mediation Hegel wants to establish here is not derived from the essence of the legislature, from its own character, but rather with regard to an existence lying outside its essential character. It is a construction of reference. The legislature is chiefly developed with regard only to a third [party]. Hence, it is primarily the construction of its formal existence which receives all the attention. The legislature is constructed very diplomatically. This results from the false, illusory kat exohin political position given to the legislature in the modern state (whose interpreter is Hegel himself). What follows immediately is that this is no true state, because in it the determinate functions of the state, one of which is the legislature, must not be regarded in and for themselves, not theoretically, but rather practically; they must not be regarded as independent powers, but as powers bound up with an opposite, and this in accordance with the rules of convention rather than by the nature of things.
Thus the Estates, in common with the executive, should actually be the middle term between the will of empirical singularity, i.e., the sovereign, and the will of empirical universality, i.e., civil society. But in fact their position is really 'abstract to begin with, i.e., in contrast with the whole principle of monarchy or the crown, their position is that of an extreme empirical universality. This extreme opposition implies the possibility, though no more, of harmonisation, and the equally likely possibility of set hostility. In other words their position, as Hegel quite rightly remarks, is an abstract position.
It appears at first that neither the extreme of empirical universality nor the principle of monarchy or the crown, i.e., the extreme of empirical singularity, are opposed to one another. For from the point of view of civil society the Estates are delegated just as the executive is from the point of view of the sovereign. Just as the principle of the crown ceases, in the delegated executive power, to be the extreme of empirical singularity, surrendering its self-determined will and lowering itself to the finitude of knowledge, responsibility, and thought, so civil society appears in the Estates to be no longer an empirical universality, but a very definite whole which has political and administrative sense and temper, and no less a sense for the interests of individuals and particular groups (§ 302). Civil society, in its miniature edition as the Estates, has ceased to be empirical universality. Rather, it has been reduced to a delegated committee of very definite number. If the sovereign assumes empirical universality in the executive power, then civil society assumes empirical singularity or particularity in the Estates. Both have become a particular.
The only opposition which remains possible appears to be that between the two emanations, between the executive- and the Estate-elements within the legislature. It appears, therefore, to be an opposition within the legislature itself. And these elements which mediate 'in common' seem quite prone to get into one another's hair. In the executive element of the legislature the inaccessible empirical singularity of the sovereign has come down to earth in a number of limited, tangible, responsible personalities; and in the Estates, civil society has exalted itself into a number of political men. Both sides have lost their inaccessibility. The crown — the inaccessible, exclusive, empirical One — has lost its obstinacy, while civil society — the inaccessible, vague, empirical All — has lost its fluidity. In the Estates on the one hand, and the executive element of the legislature on the other, which together would mediate between civil society and the sovereign, the opposition thus appears to have become, first of all, a refereed opposition, but also an irreconcilable contradiction.
As for this mediation, it is therefore, as Hegel rightly argues, all the more necessary that the middle term between the opposites comes into existence; for it is itself much more the existence of the contradiction than of the mediation.
That this mediation will be effected by the Estates seems to be maintained by Hegel without any foundation. He says:
From the point of view of the crown, the executive already has this character (see § 300). So, from the point of view of the classes, one moment in them must be adapted to the task of existing as in essence the moment of mediation.
But we have already seen that Hegel arbitrarily and inconsistently posits the sovereign and the Estates as opposed extremes. As the executive has this character from the point of view of the crown, so the Estates have it from the point of view of civil society. Not only do [the Estates] stand, in common with the executive, between the sovereign and civil society, but also between the executive in general and the people (§ 302). They do more on behalf of civil society than the executive does on behalf of the crown, which is itself in opposition to the people. Thus they have accomplished their full measure of mediation. Why make these asses bear still more? Why should they always be made the donkey-bridge, even between themselves and their own adversaries? Why must they always perform the self-sacrifice? Should they cut off one of their hands when both are needed to withstand their adversary, the executive element of the legislature?
In addition, Hegel first has the Estates arise from the Corporations, class distinctions, etc., lest they be a mere empirical universality; and now he reverses the process, and makes them mere empirical universality in order to have class distinction arise from them! just as the sovereign is mediated with civil society through the executive, so society is mediated with the executive through the Estates — the executive thus acting as society's Christ, and the Estates as its priests.
Now it appears all the more that the role of the extremes — the crown (empirical singularity) and civil society (empirical universality) - must be that of mediating as the middle term between the opposites; all the more because 'it is one of the most important discoveries of logic that a specific moment which, by standing in an opposition, has the position of an extreme, ceases to be such and is a moment in an organic whole by being at the same time the mean' (Remark to § 302). Civil society appears to be unable to play this role, for civil society as itself, as an extreme, occupies no seat in the legislature. The other extreme, the sovereign principle, exists as an extreme within the legislature, and thus apparently must be the mediator between the Estate- and the executive-elements. And it appears to have all the qualifications; for, on the one hand, the whole of the state, and therefore also civil society, is represented within it, and, more specifically, it has empirical singularity of will in common with the Estates, since empirical universality is actual only as empirical singularity. Furthermore, the sovereign principle does not merely op pose civil society as a kind of formula, as state-consciousness, the way the executive does. It is itself the state; it has the material, natural moment in common with civil society. On the other hand, it is the head and the representative of the executive. (Hegel, who inverts everything, makes the executive the representative, the emanation, of the sovereign. When he considers the idea whose existence the sovereign is supposed to be, Hegel has in mind not the actual idea of the executive, the executive as idea, but rather the subject of the Absolute Idea which exists corporeally in the sovereign; hence the executive becomes a mystical continuation of the soul existing in his body - the sovereign body.)
The sovereign, then, had to be the middle term in the legislature between the executive and the Estates; but, of course, the executive is the middle term between him and the Estates, and the Estates between him and civil society. How is he to mediate between what he himself needs as a mean lest his own existence become a one-sided extreme? Now the complete absurdity of these extremes, which interchangeably play now the part of the extreme and now the part of the mean, becomes apparent. They are like Janus with two-faced heads, which now show themselves from the front and now from the back, with a diverse character at either side. What was first intended to be the mean between two extremes now itself occurs as an extreme; and the other of the two extremes, which had just been mediated by it, now intervenes as an extreme' (because of its distinction from the other extreme) between its extreme and its mean. This is a kind of mutual reconciliation society. It is as if a man stepped between two opponents, only to have one of them immediately step between the mediator and the other opponent. It is like the story of the man and wife who quarrelled and the doctor who wished to mediate between them, whereupon the wife soon had to step between the doctor and her husband, and then the husband between his wife and the doctor. It is like the lion in A Midsummer Night's Dream who exclaims: 'I am the lion, and I am not the lion, but Snug.' So here each extreme is sometimes the lion of opposition and sometimes the Snug of mediation. When the one extreme cries: 'Now I am the mean', then the other two may not touch it, but rather only swing at the one that was just the extreme. As one can see, this is a society pugnacious at heart but too afraid of bruises to ever really fight. The two who want to fight arrange it so that the third who steps between them will get the beating, but immediately one of the two appears as the third, and because of all this caution they never arrive at a decision. We find this system of mediation in effect also where the very man who wishes to beat an opponent has at the same time to protect him from a beating at the hands of other opponents, and because of this double pursuit never manages to execute his own business. It is remarkable that Hegel, who reduces this absurdity of mediation to its abstract logical, and hence pure and irreducible, expression, calls it at the same time the speculative mystery of logic, the rational relationship, the rational syllogism. Actual extremes cannot be mediated with each other precisely because they are actual extremes. But neither are they in need of mediation, because they are opposed in essence. They have nothing in common with one another; they neither need nor complement one another. The one does not carry in its womb the yearning, the need, the anticipation of the other. (When Hegel treats universality and singularity, the abstract moments of the syllogism, as actual opposites, this is precisely the fundamental dualism of his logic. Anything further regarding this belongs in the critique of Hegelian logic.)
This appears to be in opposition to the principle: Les extrêmes se touchent. The North and South Poles attract each other; the female and male sexes also attract each other, and only through the union of their extreme differences does man result.
On the other hand, each extreme is its other extreme. Abstract spiritualism is abstract materialism; abstract materialism is the abstract spiritualism of matter.
In regard to the former, both North and South Poles are poles; their essence is identical. In the same way both female and male gender are of one species, one nature, i.e., human nature. North and South Poles are opposed determinations of one essence, the variation of one essence brought to its highest degree of development. They are the differentiated essence. They are what they are only as differentiated determinations; that is, each is this differentiated determination of the one same essence. Truly in real extremes would be Pole and non-Pole, human and non-human gender. Difference here is one of existence, whereas there [i.e., in the case of Pole and non-Pole, etc.,] difference is one of essence, i.e., the difference between two essences. in regard to the second [i.e. where each extreme is its other extreme], the chief characteristic lies in the fact that a concept (existence, etc.) is taken abstractly, and that it does not have significance as independent but rather as an abstraction from another, and only as this abstraction. Thus, for example, spirit is only the abstraction from matter. It is evident that precisely because this form is to be the content of the concept, its real essence is rather the abstract opposite, i.e., the object from which it abstracts taken in its abstraction — in this case, abstract materialism.
Had the difference within the existence of one essence not been confused, in part, with the abstraction given independence (an abstraction not from another, of course, but from itself) and, in part, with the actual opposition of mutually exclusive essences, then a three-fold error could have been avoided, namely:
1. that because only the extreme is true, every abstraction and one-sidedness takes itself to be the truth, whereby a principle appears to be only an abstraction from another instead of a totality in itself;
2. that the decisiveness of actual opposites, their formation into extremes, which is nothing other than their self-knowledge as well as their inflammation to the decision to fight, is thought to be something which should be prevented if possible, in other words, something harmful;
3. that their mediation is attempted. For no matter how firmly both extremes appear, in their existence, to be actual and to be extremes, it still lies only in the essence of the one to be an extreme, and it does not have for the other the meaning of true actuality.
The one infringes upon the other, but they do not occupy a common position. For example, Christianity, or religion in general, and philosophy are extremes. But in fact religion is not a true opposite to philosophy, for philosophy comprehends religion in its illusory actuality. Thus, for philosophy — in so far as it seeks to be an actuality — religion is dissolved in itself. There is no actual duality of essence. More on this later.
The question arises, why does Hegel need a new mediation on the side of the Estates at all? Or does he share with [others] 'the popular, but not dangerous prejudice, which regards the Estates principally from the point of view of their opposition to the executive, as if that were their essential attitude'? (Remark to § 302.)
The fact of the matter is simply this: On the one hand we have seen that it is only in the legislature that civil society as the element of the Estates, and the power of the crown as the element of the executive have taken on the spirit of actual, immediately practical opposition.
On the other hand, the legislature is the totality. In it we find (1) the deputation of the sovereign principle, i.e., the executive; (2) the deputation of civil society, i.e., the Estates; but in addition, (3) the one extreme as such, i.e., the sovereign principle; while the other extreme, civil society, does not exist in it as such. It is only because of this that the Estates become the extreme to the sovereign principle, when civil society really should be. As we have seen, only as Estates does civil society organise itself into a political existence. The Estates are its political existence, its transubstantiation into the political state. Again as we have seen, only the legislature is, therefore, the actual political state in its totality. Here, then, there is (1) sovereign principle, (2) executive, (3) civil society. The Estates are the civil society of the political state, i.e., the legislature. The extreme to the sovereign, which civil society was supposed to have been, is therefore the Estates. (Because civil society is the non-actuality of political existence, the political existence of civil society is its own dissolution, its separation from itself.) Therefore it also constitutes an opposition to t executive.
Hegel, therefore, again designates the Estates as the extreme of empirical universality, which is actually civil society itself. (Hence he unnecessarily allows the Estates, as an element in political life, to proceed from the Corporations and different classes. This procedure would make sense only if the distinct classes as such were in fact the legislative classes, if, accordingly, the distinction of civil society — i.e., its civil character - were re vera the political character. We would then not have a legislature of the state as a whole, but rather a legislature of the various estates, Corporations, and classes over the state as a whole. The estates [or classes] of civil society would receive no political character, but would rather determine the political state. They would make their particularity a power determining the whole. They would be the power of the particular over the universal. And we would not have one legislature, but several, which would come to terms among themselves and with the executive. However, Hegel has in mind the Estates in the modern sense, namely the actualisation of state citizenship, or of the Bourgeois. He does not want the actual universal, the political state, to be determined by civil society, but rather civil society to be determined by the state. Thus while he accepts the Estates in their medieval form, he gives them the opposite significance, namely, that of being determined by the political state. The Estates as representatives of the Corporations, etc., would not be empirical universality, but rather empirical particularity, i.e., the particularity of the empirical!) The legislature, therefore, needs mediation within itself, that is to say, a concealment of the opposition. And this mediation must come from the Estates because in the legislature the Estates lose their significance of being the representation of civil society and become the primary element, the very civil society of the legislature. The legislature is the totality of the political state and, precisely because of this, the contradiction of the political state brought forcibly to appearance. Thus it is also its established dissolution. Entirely different principles collide within it. To be sure, it appears to be the opposition between the two elements, that of the sovereign principle and that of the Estates, and so forth. But in fact it is the antinomy of political state and civil society, the self-contradiction of the abstract political state. The legislature is the established revolt. (Hegel's chief mistake consists in the fact that he conceives of the contradiction in appearance as being a unity in essence, i.e., in the Idea; whereas it certainly has something more profound in its essence, namely, an essential contradiction. For example here, the contradiction in the legislature itself is nothing other than the contradiction of the political state, and thus also the self-contradiction of civil society.
Vulgar criticism falls into an opposite dogmatic error. Thus, for example, it criticises the constitution, drawing attention to the opposition Of the powers etc. It finds contradictions everywhere. But criticism that struggles with its opposite remains dogmatic criticism, as for example in earlier times, when the dogma of the Blessed Trinity was set aside by appealing to the contradiction between 1 and 3. True criticism, however, shows the internal genesis of the Blessed Trinity in the human mind. it describes the act of its birth. Thus, true philosophical criticism of the present state constitution not only shows the contradictions as existing, but clarifies them, grasps their essence and necessity. It comprehends their own proper significance. However, this comprehension does not, as Hegel thinks, consist in everywhere recognising the determinations of the logical concept, but rather in grasping the proper logic of the proper object.)
As Hegel expresses it, the position of the political Estates relative to the sovereign implies the possibility, though no more, of harmonisation, and the equally likely possibility of set hostility.
The possibility of hostility is implied everywhere different volitions meet. Hegel himself says that the possibility of harmonisation is the possibility of hostility. Thus, he must now construct an element which is both the impossibility of hostility and the actuality of harmonisation. For him, such an element would be the freedom of decision and thought in face of the sovereign will and the executive. Thus it would no longer be an element belonging to the Estates as an element in political life. Rather, it would be an element of the sovereign will and the executive, and would stand in the same opposition to the actual Estates as does the executive itself
This demand is already quite muted by the conclusion of the paragraph:
From the point of view of the crown, the executive already has this character (see § 300). So, from the point of view of the classes, one moment in them must be adapted to the task of existing as in essence the moment of mediation.
The moment which is dispatched from the estates [or classes] must have a character the reverse of that which the executive has from the point of view of the sovereign, since the sovereign and the estates are opposite extremes. Just as the sovereign democratises himself in the executive, so this estate element must monarchise itself in its deputation. Thus what Hegel wants is a moment of sovereignty issuing from the estates. Just as the executive has an estate-moment on behalf of the sovereign, so there should also be a sovereign-moment on behalf of the estates.
The actuality of harmonisation and the impossibility of hostility converts into the following demand: 'So, from the point of view of the classes, one moment in them must be adapted to the task of existing as in essence the moment of mediation.' Adapted to the task! According to § 302 the Estates as a whole have this task. It should not say 'task' but rather 'certainty'. And what kind of task is this anyway which exists as in essence the moment of mediation — being in 'essence' Buridan's ass?
The fact of the matter is simply this:
The Estates are supposed to be the mediation between the crown and the executive on the one hand, and the crown and the people on the other. But they are not this, but rather the organised political opposition to civil society. The legislature in itself is in need of mediation, and indeed a mediation coming from the Estates, as has been shown. The presupposed moral harmonisation of the two wills, the will of the state as sovereign will and the will of the state as the will of civil society, does not suffice. Indeed only the legislature is the organised, total political state; yet, precisely in it appears, because it is in its highest degree of development, the open contradiction of the political state with itself. Thus, the appearance of a real identity of the sovereign and Estate wills must be established. Either the Estates must be established as the sovereign will or the sovereign will established as the Estates. The Estates must establish themselves as the actuality of a will which is not the will of the Estates. The unity which is non-existent in essence (otherwise it would have to prove itself by the Estates' efficacy and not by their mode of existing) must at least be present in existence, or else an existing instance of the legislature (of the Estates) has the task of being the unity of what is not united. This moment of the Estates, the Chamber of Peers, the Upper House, etc., is the highest synthesis of the political state in the organisation just considered. With that, however, Hegel does not achieve what he wants, namely, the actuality of harmonisation and the impossibility of set hostility; rather, the whole thing remains at the point of the possibility of harmonisation. However, it is the established illusion of the internal unity of the political state (of the sovereign will and that of the Estates, and furthermore of the principle of the political state and that of civil society), the illusion of this unity as material principle, that is to say, such that not only two opposed principles unite but that the unity is that of one nature or existential ground. The Estates, as this moment, are the romanticism of the political state, the dreams of its substantiality or internal harmony. They are an allegorical existence.
Whether this illusion is an effective illusion or a conscious self-deception depends now on the actual status quo of the relationship between the Estate and sovereign-elements. As long as the Estates and the crown in fact harmonise, or get along together, the illusion in its essential unity is an actual, and thus effective illusion. But on the other hand, should the truth of the illusion become manifest, then it becomes a conscious lie and a ridicule.
§ 305. The principle of one of the classes of civil society is in itself capable of adaptation to this political position. The class in question is the one whose ethical life is natural, whose basis is family life, and, so far as its livelihood is concerned, the possession of land. Its particular members attain their position by birth, just as the monarch does, and, in common with him, they possess a will which rests on itself alone.
We have already demonstrated Hegel's inconsistencies: (1) conceiving of the Estates in their modern abstraction from civil society etc., after having them proceed from Corporations; (2) determining them now once again according to the class distinction of civil society, after having already determined the political Estates as such to be the extreme of empirical universality.
To be consistent one would have to examine the political Estates by themselves as a new element, and then construct out of them the mediation which was demanded in § 304.
But now we see how Hegel reintroduces civil class distinction and, at the same time, makes it appear that it is not the actuality and particular nature of civil class distinction which determines the highest political sphere, the legislature, but rather the reverse, that civil class distinction declines to a pure matter which the political sphere forms and constructs in accordance with its need, a need which arises out of the political sphere itself.
The principle of one of the classes of civil society is in itself capable of adaptation to this political position. The class in question is one whose ethical life is natural. (The agricultural class.)
What, then, does this principle capability, or capability in principle of the agricultural class consist in?
Its basis is family life, and, so far as its livelihood is concerned, the possession of land. Its particular members attain their position by birth, just as the monarch does, and, in common with him, they possess a will which rests on itself alone.
The will which rests on itself alone is related to its livelihood, i.e., the possession of land, to its position by birth which it has in common with the monarch, and to family life, as its basis.
Livelihood as possession of land and a will which rests on itself alone are two quite different things. One should rather say a will which rests on ground and soil. One should rather speak of a will resting on the disposition of the state, not of one resting on itself but in the whole. The possession of land takes the place of the disposition, or the possession of political spirit.
Furthermore, in regard to family life as basis, the social ethical life of civil society appears to occupy a higher position than this natural ethical life. Moreover, family life is the natural ethical life of the other classes, of the civil as well as the agricultural class of civil society. But the fact that 'family life' is, in the case of the agricultural class, not only the principle of the family but also the basis of this class' social existence in general, seems to disqualify it for the highest political task; for this class will apply patriarchal laws to a non-patriarchal sphere, and will think and act in terms of child or father, master and servant, where the real questions are the political state and political citizenship.
Regarding the monarch's position by birth, Hegel has not developed a patriarchal but rather a modern constitutional king. His position by birth consists in his being the bodily representative of the state and in being born as king, or in the kingdom being his family inheritance. But what does this have in common with family life as the basis of the agricultural class; and what does natural ethical-life have in common with position by birth as such? The king has this in common with a horse, namely, just as the horse is born a horse so the king is born a king.
Had Hegel made the class distinction, which he already accepted, a political distinction, then the agricultural class as such would already be an independent part of the Estates; and if it is as such a moment of mediation with the principality, why would the construction of a new mediation be necessary? And why separate it off from the actual moment of the Estates, since this moment achieves its abstract position vis-a-vis the crown only because of this separation? After he has developed the political Estates as a specific element, as a transubstantiation of the unofficial class into state citizenship, and precisely because of this has found the mediation to be a necessity, by what right does Hegel dissolve this organism once more into the distinction of the unofficial class, and thus into the unofficial class, and then derive from it the political state's mediation with itself?
In any case, what an anomaly, that the highest synthesis of the political state is nothing but the synthesis of landed property and family life!
In a word:
If civil classes as such are political classes, then the mediation is not needed; and if this mediation is needed, then the civil class is not political, and thus also not this mediation. The member of the agricultural class is not as such, but as state citizen, a part of the political Estates; while in the opposite case (i.e., where he, as member of the agricultural class, is state citizen, or as state citizen is member of this class), his state citizenship is membership in the agricultural class; and then he is not, as member of this class, a state citizen, but is as state citizen a member of this class!
Here, then, we find one of Hegel's inconsistencies within his own way of viewing things; and such an inconsistency is an accommodation. The political Estates in the modern sense, which is the sense developed by Hegel, constitute the frilly established separation of civil society from its unofficial class and its distinctions. How can Hegel make the unofficial class the solution of the antinomies which the legislature has within itself? Hegel wants the medieval system of Estates, but in the modern sense of the legislature; and he wants the modern legislature, but within the framework of the medieval system of Estates! This is syncretism at its worst.
The beginning of § 304 reads:
The Estates, as an element in political life, still retail). in their own function the class distinctions already present in the lower spheres of civil life.
But in their own function, the Estates, as an element in political life, retain this distinction only by annulling it, negating it within themselves, abstracting themselves from it.
Should the agricultural class — or, as we will hear later, the empowered agricultural class, aristocratic landed property — become as such, and as described, the mediation of the total political state, i.e., of the legislature within itself, then it is certainly the mediation of the political Estates with the crown, in the sense of being the dissolution of the political Estates as an actual political clement. Not the agricultural class, but class, the unofficial class, the analysis (reduction) of the political Estates into the unofficial class, constitutes here the re-established unity of the political state with itself. (The mediation here is not the agricultural class as such, but rather its separation from the political Estates in its quality as civil unofficial class; that is, its unofficial class [reality] gives it a separate position within the political Estates, whereupon the other section of the political Estates is also given the position of a particular unofficial class, and, therefore, it ceases to represent the state citizenship of civil society.) Here then, the political state no longer exists as two opposed wills; rather, on the one side stands the political state (the executive and the sovereign), and on the other side stands civil society in its distinction from the political state (the various classes). With that, then, the political state as a totality is abolished.
The other sense of the duplication of the political Estates within themselves as a mediation with the crown is, in general, this: the internal separation of the political Estates, their own inner opposition, is a re-established unity with the crown. The fundamental dualism between the crown and the Estates as an element in the legislature is neutralised by the dualism within the Estates themselves. With Hegel, however, this neutralisation is effected by the political Estates separating themselves from their political element.
We will return later to the subject of possession of land as livelihood, which is supposed to accord with sovereignty of Will, i.e., the sovereignty of the crown, and to family life as the basis of the agricultural class, which is supposed to accord with the position by birth of the crown. What is developed here in § 305 is the principle of the agricultural class which is in itself capable of adaptation to this political position.
§ 306 deals with the adaption to political position and significance; it reduces to the following: 'Their wealth becomes inalienable, entailed, and burdened by primogeniture. Thus, primogeniture would be the adaption of the agricultural class to politics.
Primogeniture is grounded, so it says in the Addition, on the fact that the state should be able to reckon not on the bare possibility of political inclinations, but on something necessary. Now an inclination for politics is of course not bound up with wealth, but there is a relatively necessary connection between the two, because a man with independent means is not hemmed in by external circumstances and so there is nothing to prevent him from entering politics and working for the state.
First sentence: The state is not content with the bare possibility of political inclinations, but should be able to reckon on something necessary.
Second sentence: An inclination for politics is of course not bound up with wealth; that is, the inclination for politics in those of wealth is a bare possibility.
Third sentence: But there is a relatively necessary connection, namely, a man with independent means etc. finds nothing to prevent him from working for the state; that is, the means provide the possibility of political inclinations. But according to the first sentence, this possibility precisely does not suffice.
In addition, Hegel has failed to show that possession of land is the sole independent means.
The adaption of its means to independence is the adaption of the agricultural class to political position and significance. In other words, independent means is its political position and significance.
This independence is further developed as follows:
Its wealth is independent of the state's capital. 'State's capital' here apparently means the government treasury. In this respect the universal class, as essentially dependent on the state, stands in opposition.
As it says in the Preface:
Apart from anything else philosophy with us is not, as it was with the Greeks for instance, pursued in private like an art, but has an existence in the open, in contact with the public, and especially, or even only, in the service of the state.
Thus, philosophy is also essentially dependent upon the government treasury.
Its ['the agricultural class'] wealth is independent of the uncertainty of business, the quest for profit, and any sort of fluctuation in possessions. From this aspect it is opposed by the business class as the one which is dependent on needs and concentrated on their satisfaction.
This wealth is independent of favour, whether from the executive or the mob.
Finally, it is even fortified against its own wilfulness, because those members of this class who are called to political life are not entitled, as other citizens are, either to dispose of their entire property at will, or to the assurance that it will pass to their children, whom they love equally, in similarly equal divisions.
Here the oppositions have taken on an entirely new and materialistic form such as we would hardly expect to find in the heaven of the political state.
In sharpest terms, the opposition, as Hegel develops it, is the opposition of private property and wealth.
The possession of land is private property kat exohin true private property. Its exact private nature is prominent (1) as independence from state capital, from favour from the executive, from property existing as universal property of the political state, a particular wealth which, alongside of other wealth, is in accordance with the construction of the political state; (2) as independence from the need of society or the social wealth, from favour from the mob. (Equally significant is the fact that a share in state capital is understood as favour from the executive just as a share in the social wealth is understood as favour from the mob.) Neither the wealth of the universal class nor that of the business class is true private property, because such wealth is occasioned, in the former case directly, in the latter case indirectly, by the connection with the universal wealth, or property as social property; both are a participation in it, and therefore both are mediated through favour, that is, through the contingency of will. In opposition to that stands the possession of land as sovereign private property, which has not yet acquired the form of wealth, i.e., property established by the social will.
Thus, at its highest point the political constitution is the constitution of private property. The highest political inclination is the inclination of private property. Primogeniture is merely the external appearance of the internal nature of the possession of land. Because it is inalienable, its social nerves have been severed and- its isolation from civil society is secured. By not passing on to the children whom they love equally, it is independent even of the smallest society, the natural society, the family. By having withdrawn from the volition and laws of the family it thus safeguards its rough nature of private property against the transition into family wealth.
In § 305, Hegel declared the class of landed property to be capable of adaption to the political position because family life would be its basis. But he himself has declared love to be the basis, the principle, the spirit of family life. The class whose basis is family life thus lacks the basis of family life, i.e., love, as the actual and thus effective and determining principle. It is spiritless family life, the illusion of family life. In its highest form of development, the principle of private property contradicts the principle of the family. Family life in civil society becomes family life, the life of love, only in opposition to the class of natural ethical life, [which is, according to Hegel] the class of family life. This latter is, rather, the barbarism of private property against family life.
This, then, would be the sovereign splendour of private property, of possession of land, about which so many sentimentalities have recently been uttered and on behalf of which so many multi-colored crocodile tears have been shed. It does not help Hegel to say that primogeniture would be merely a requirement of politics and would have to be understood in its political position and significance. Neither does it help him to say: 'The security and stability of the agricultural class may be still further increased by the institution of primogeniture, though this institution is desirable only from the point of view of politics, since it entails a sacrifice for the political end of giving the eldest son a life of independence. There is a certain decency of mind in Hegel. He does not want primogeniture in and for itself, but only in reference to something else, not as something self-determined but as something determined by another, not as an end but as a means for justifying and constructing an end. In fact, primogeniture is a consequence of the exact possession of land; it is petrified private property, private property (quand même) in the highest independence and sharpness of its development. What Hegel presents as the end, the determining factor, the prima causa, of primogeniture is, instead, an effect, a consequence of the power of abstract private property over the political state, while Hegel presents primogeniture as the power of the political state over private property. He makes the cause the effect and the effect the cause, the determining that which has been determined and that which has been determined the determining.
What then is the content of political adaption, of the political end: what is the end of this end, what is its substance? Primogeniture, the superlative of private property, sovereign private property. What kind of power does the political state exercise over private property in primogeniture? Does the state isolate it from the family and society and bring it to its abstract autonomy? What then is the power of the political state over private property? Private property's own power, its essence brought to existence. What remains to the political state in opposition to this essence? The illusion that it determines when it is rather determined. indeed, it breaks the will of the family and of society, but merely in order to give existence to the will of private property lacking family and society, and to acknowledge this existence as the highest existence of the political state, as the highest ethical existence.
Let us consider the various elements as they relate here in the legislature to the total state, the state having achieved actuality, consistency, and consciousness, i.e., to the actual political state in connection with the ideal or what ought be, with the logical character and form of these elements.
(Primogeniture is not, as Hegel says, a chain on the freedom of private rights; it is rather the freedom of private rights which has freed itself from all social and ethical chains.) (The highest political construction is the construction of abstract private property.)
Before we make this comparison we should first consider more closely one statement of the paragraph, namely, that because of primogeniture the wealth of the agricultural class, possession of land, private property, is even fortified against its own wilfulness, because those members of this class who are called to political life are not entitled, as other citizens are, to dispose of their entire property at will'.
We have already indicated how the social nerves of private property are severed because of the inalienability of landed property. Private property (landed property) is fortified against the owner's own wilfulness by having the sphere of his wilfulness suddenly changed from a universal human sphere into the specific wilfulness of private property. In other words, private property has become the subject of the will, and the will is merely the predicate of private property. Private property is no longer a determined object of wilfulness, but rather wilfulness is the determined predicate of private property. Yet let us compare this with what Hegel himself says about the sphere of private rights:
§ 65. The reason I can alienate my property is that it is mine only in so far as I put my will into it ... provided always that the thing in question is a thing external by nature.
§ 66. Therefore those goods, or rather substantive characteristics, which constitute my own private personality and the universal essence of my self-consciousness are inalienable and my right to them is imprescriptible. Such characteristics are my personality as such, my universal freedom of will, my ethical life, my religion.
Therefore in primogeniture landed property, exact private property, becomes an inalienable good, thus a substantive characteristic which constitutes the very private personality and universal essence of self-consciousness of the class of noble entailed estates, its personality as such, its universal freedom of will, its ethical life, its religion. Thus it is also consistent to say that where private property, landed property, is inalienable, universal freedom of will (to which also belongs free disposition of something alienable, like landed property) and ethical life (to which also belongs love as the actual spirit of the family, the spirit which is also identified with the actual law of the family) are alienable. in general then, the inalienability of private property is the alienability of universal freedom of will and ethical life. Here it is no longer the case that property is in so far as I put my will into it, but rather my will is in so far as it is in property. Here my will does not own but is owned. This is precisely the romantic itch of the nobility of primogeniture, namely, that here private property, and thus private wilfulness in its most abstract form - the totally ignorant, unethical, crude will — appears to be the highest synthesis of the political state, the highest renunciation of wilfulness, the hardest and most self-sacrificing struggle with human weakness; for what appears here to be human weakness is actually the humanising, the humanisation of private property.
Primogeniture is private property which has become a religion for itself, which has become absorbed in itself, enchanted with its autonomy and nobility. Just as primogeniture is derived from direct alienation, so too it is derived from the contract. Hegel presents the transition from property to contract in the following manner:
§ 71. Existence as determinate being is in essence being for another;... One aspect of property is that it is an existent as an external thing, and in this respect property exists for other external things and is connected with their necessity and contingency. But it is also an existent as an embodiment of will, and from this point of view the 'other' for which it exists can only be the will of another person. This relation of will to will is the true and proper ground in which freedom is existent. — The sphere of contract is made up of this mediation whereby I hold property not merely by means of a thing and my subjective will but by means of another person's will as well and so hold it in virtue of my participation in a common will.
(In primogeniture it has been made a state law to hold property not in one common will, but merely by means of a thing and my subjective will.) While Hegel here perceives in private rights the alienability and dependence of private property on a common will as its true idealism, in state rights, on the other hand, he praises the imaginary nobility of independent property as opposed to the uncertainty of business, the quest for profit, any sort of fluctuation in possessions, and dependence on the state's capital. What kind of state is this that cannot even tolerate the idealism of private rights? And what kind of philosophy of right is this in which the independence of private property has diverse meanings in the spheres of private and state rights?
Over against the crude stupidity of independent private property, the uncertainty of business is elegiac, the quest for profit solemn (dramatic), fluctuation in possessions a serious fatum (tragic), dependence on the state's capital ethical. In short, in all of these qualities the human heart pulses throughout the property, which is the dependence of man on man. No matter how it may be constituted it is human toward the slave who believes himself to be free, because the sphere that limits him is not society but the soil. The freedom of this will is its emptiness of content other than that of private property.
To define monstrosities like primogeniture as a determination of private property by the state is absolutely unavoidable if one interprets an old world view in terms of a new one, if one attributes to a thing, as in this case to private property, a double meaning, one in the court of abstract right and an opposed one in the heaven of the political state.
Now we come to the comparison mentioned earlier. § 257 says:
The state is the actuality of the ethical Idea. It is ethical mind qua the substantial will manifest and revealed to itself.. The state exists immediately in custom, mediately in individual self-consciousness ... while self-consciousness in virtue of its sentiment towards the state finds in the state, as its essence and the end and product of its activity, its substantive freedom.
§ 268 says:
The political sentiment, patriotism pure and simple, is assured conviction with truth as its basis... and a volition which has become habitual. In this sense it is simply a product of the institutions subsisting in the state, since rationality is actually present in the state, while action in conformity with these institutions gives rationality its practical proof. This sentiment is, in general, trust (which may pass over into a greater or lesser degree of educated insight), or the consciousness that my interest, both substantive and particular, is contained and preserved in another's (i.e., in the state's) interest and end, i.e., in the other's relation to me as an individual. In this way, this very other is immediately not another in my eyes, and in being conscious of this fact I am free.
Here, the actuality of the ethical Idea appears as the religion of private property (because in primogeniture private property relates to itself in a religious manner, so it happens that in our modern times religion in general has become a quality inherent in landed property, and that all of the writings on the nobility of primogeniture are full of religious unction. Religion is the highest thought form of this brutality.) The substantial will manifest and revealed to itself changes into a will dark and broken on the soil, a will enraptured precisely with the impenetrability of the element to which it is attached. The assured conviction with truth as its basis, which is political sentiment, is the conviction standing on 'its own ground' (in the literal sense). The political volition which has become habitual no longer remains simply a product [of the institutions subsisting in the state], but rather an institution subsisting outside the state. The political sentiment is no longer trust but rather the reliance, the consciousness that my interest, both substantive and particular, is independent of another's (i.e., the state's) interest and end, i.e., in the other's relation to me as an individual. This is the consciousness of my freedom from the state.
The maintenance of the state's universal interest etc. was (§ 289) the task of the executive. In it resided the consciousness of right and the developed intelligence of the mass of the people (§ 297). It actually makes the Estates superfluous, for even without the Estates they [i.e., the highest civil servants] are able to do what is best, just as they also continually have to do while the Estates are in session (Remark to § 301). The universal class, or, more precisely, the class of civil servants, must, purely in virtue of its character as universal, have the universal as the end of its essential activity [§ 303].
And how does the universal class, the executive, appear now? As essentially dependent upon the state, as wealth dependent upon the favour of the executive. The very same transformation has occurred within civil society, which earlier achieved its ethical life in the Corporation. It is a wealth dependent upon the uncertainty of business etc., upon the favour of the mob.
What then is the quality which ostensibly specifies the owners of entailed estates? And what, in any case, constitutes the ethical quality of an inalienable wealth? Incorruptibility. Incorruptibility appears to be the highest political virtue, an abstract virtue. Yet, incorruptibility in the state as constructed by Hegel is something so uncommon that it has to be built up into a particular political power; which precisely proves, that incorruptibility is not the spirit of the political state, not the rule but the exception, and is constructed as such. The owners of entailed estates are corrupted by their independent property in order that they be preserved from corruption. While according to the idea dependence upon the state and the feeling of this dependence is supposed to be the highest political freedom, here the independent private person is constructed; because political freedom is the private person's feeling of being an abstract, dependent person, whereas he feels and should feel independent only as a citizen. Its capital is independent alike of the state's capital, the uncertainty of business, etc. In opposition to it stands the business class, which is dependent on needs and concentrated on their satisfaction, and the civil servant class, which is essentially dependent upon the state. Here, therefore, independence from the state and civil society and this actualised abstraction of both, which in reality is the crudest dependence on the soil, forms in the legislature the mediation and the unity of both. Independent private wealth, i.e., abstract private wealth and the corresponding private person, are the highest political construction of the state. Political independence is constructed as independent private property and the person of this independent private property. We shall see in the following paragraph what the situation is re vera regarding this independence and incorruptibility, and the political sentiment arising from them.
The fact that primogeniture is inherited, or entailed wealth speaks for itself. More about this later. The fact that it accrues to the first-born is, as Hegel notes in the Addition, purely historical.
§ 307. The right of this section of the agricultural class is thus based in a way on the natural principle of the family. But this principle is at the same time reversed owing to hard sacrifices made for political ends, and thereby the activity of this class is essentially directed to those ends. As a consequence of this, this class is summoned and entitled to its political vocation by birth without the hazards of election.
Hegel has failed to develop the way in which the right of this agricultural class is based on the natural principle of the family, unless by this he understands that landed property exists as entailed or inherited wealth. That, however, establishes no right of this class in the political sense, but only the birthright of the owners of entailed estates to landed property. 'This', i.e., the natural principle of the family, is 'at the same time reversed owing to hard sacrifices made for political ends'. We have certainly seen how the natural principle of the family is reversed; this, however, is no hard sacrifice made for political ends, but rather the actualised abstraction of private property. But with this reversal of the natural principle of the family the political ends are likewise reversed, 'thereby (?) the activity of this class is essentially directed to those ends' — because private property received independence? - and 'as a consequence of this, this class is summoned and entitled to its political vocation by birth without the hazards of election'.
Here then participation in the legislature is an innate human right. Here we have born legislators, i.e., born mediation of the political state with itself. innate human rights have been mocked, especially on behalf of the owners of entailed estates. Isn't it even more humorous that one particular group of men is entrusted with the right to the highest honour, the legislature? In Hegel's treatment of the summons to the legislator, to the representative of state citizenship, there is nothing more ridiculous than his opposing summons by birth to summons by the hazards of election. As if election, the conscious product of civil trust, would not stand in a completely different necessary connection with the political ends than does the physical accident of birth. Hegel everywhere falls from his political spiritualism into the crassest materialism. At the summit of the political state it is always birth that makes determinate individuals into embodiments of the highest political tasks. The highest political activities coincide with individuals by reason of birth, Just like an animal's position, character, way of life, etc. are immediately inborn. in its highest functions the state acquires an animal actuality. Nature takes revenge on Hegel for the disdain he showed it. If matter is supposed to constitute no longer anything for itself over against the human will, the human will no longer retains anything for itself except the matter.
The false identity, the fragmentary and sporadic identity of nature and spirit, body and soul, appears as incarnation. Since birth gives man only an individual existence and establishes him merely as a natural individual, and since the functions of the state - as for instance the legislature, etc. are social products, i.e., births of society and not procreations of the natural individual, then what is striking and miraculous is precisely the immediate identity, the sudden coincidence, of the individual's birth with the individual as individuation of a certain social position, function, etc. — In this system, nature immediately creates kings, peers, etc. Just as it creates eyes and noses. What is striking is to see as immediate product of the physical species what is only the product of the self-conscious species. I am man by birth, without the agreement of society; yet only through universal agreement does this determinate birth become peer or king. Only the agreement makes the birth of this man the birth of a king. It is therefore the agreement, not birth, that makes the king. If birth, in distinction from other determinations, immediately endows man with a position, then his body makes him this determined social functionary. His body is his social right. In this system, the physical dignity of man, or the dignity of the human body (with further elaboration, meaning: the dignity of the physical natural element of the state), appears in such a form that determinate dignities, specifically the highest social dignities, are the dignities of certain bodies which are determined and predestined by birth to be such. This is, of course, why we find in the aristocracy such pride in blood and descent, in short, in the life history of their body. It is this zoological point of view which has its corresponding science in heraldry. The secret of aristocracy is zoology.
Two moments in hereditary primogeniture are to be stressed:
1. That which is permanent is entailed wealth, landed property. This is the preserving moment in the relation — the substance. The master of the entailed estate, the owner, is really a mere accident. Landed property anthropomorphises itself in the various generations. Landed property always inherits, as it were, the first born of the house as an attribute linked to it. Every first born in the line of land owners is the inheritance, the property, of the inalienable landed property, which is the predestined substance of his will and activity. The subject is the thing and the predicate is the man. The will becomes the property of the property.
2. The political quality of the owner of the entailed estate is the political quality of his inherited wealth, a political quality inhering in his inherited wealth. Here, therefore, the political quality appears also as the property of landed property, as a quality which is ascribed directly to the bare physical earth (nature).
Regarding the first point, it follows that the owner of the entailed estate is the serf of the landed property, and that in the serfs who are subordinated to him there appears only the practical consequence of the theoretical relationship with landed property in which he himself stands. The depth of German subjectivity appears everywhere as the crudity of a mindless objectivity.
Here we must analyse (1) the relation between private property and inheritance, (2) the relation between private property, inheritance, and, thereby, the privilege of certain generations to participate in political sovereignty, (3) the actual historical relation, or the Germanic relation.
We have seen that primogeniture is the abstraction of independent private property. A second consequence follows from this. Independence, autonomy, in the political state whose construction we have followed so far, is private property, which at its peak appears as inalienable landed property. Political independence thus flows not ex proprio sinu of the political state; it is not a gift of the political state to its members, nor is it the animating spirit [of the political state]. Rather, the members of the political state receive their independence from a being which is not the being of the political state, from a being of abstract private right, namely, from abstract private property. Political independence is an accident of private property and not the substance of the political state. The political state — and within it the legislature, as we have seen — is the unveiled mystery of the true value and essence of the moments of the state. The significance that private property has in the political state is its essential, its true significance; the significance that class distinction has in the political state is the essential significance of class distinction. In the same way, the essence of the sovereign and of the executive come to appearance in the legislature. It is here, in the sphere of the political state, that the individual moments of the state relate to themselves as to the being of the species, the 'species-being'; because the political state is the sphere of their universal character, i.e., their religious sphere. The political state is the mirror of truth for the various moments of the concrete state.
Thus, if independent private property in the political state, in the legislature, has the significance of political independence, then it is the political independence of the state. Independent private property, or actual private property is then not only the support of the constitution but the constitution itself. And isn't the support of the constitution nothing other than the constitution of constitutions, the primary, the actual constitution?
Hegel himself was surprised about the immanent development of science, the derivation of its entire content from the concept in its simplicity (Remark to § 279), when he was constructing the hereditary monarch, and made the following remark:
Hence it is the basic moment of personality, abstract at the start in immediate rights, which has matured itself through its various forms of subjectivity, and now — at the stage of absolute rights, of the state, of the completely concrete objectivity of the will — has become the personality of the state, its certainty of itself.
That is, in the political state it comes to appearance that abstract personality is the highest political personality, the political basis of the entire state. Likewise, in primogeniture, the right of this abstract personality, its objectivity, abstract private property, comes into existence as the highest objectivity of the state, i.e., as its highest right.
The state is hereditary monarch; abstract personality means nothing other than that the personality of the state is abstract, or that it is the state of abstract personality, just as the Romans developed the rights of the monarch purely within the norms of private rights, or private rights as the highest norm of state, or political rights.
The Romans are the rationalists, the Germans the mystics of sovereign private property.
Hegel calls private rights the rights of abstract personality, or abstract rights. And indeed they have to be developed as the abstraction, and thus the illusory rights, of abstract personality, just as the moral doctrine developed by Hegel is the illusory existence of abstract subjectivity. Hegel develops private rights and morals as such abstractions, from which it does not follow, for him, that the state or ethical life of which they are the presuppositions can be nothing but the society (the social life) of these illusions; rather, he concludes that they are subalternate moments of this ethical life. But what are private rights except the rights of these subjects of the state, and what is morality except their morality? In other words, the person of private rights and the subject of morals are the person and the subject of the state. Hegel has been widely criticised for his development of morality. He has done nothing but develop the morality of the modern state and modern private rights. A more complete separation of morality from the state, its fuller emancipation, was desired. What did that prove except that the separation of the present-day state from morals is moral, that morals are non-political and that the state is not moral? It is rather a great, though from one aspect (namely, from the aspect that Hegel declares the state, whose presupposition is such a morality, to be the realistic idea of ethical life) an unconscious service of Hegel to have assigned to modern morality its true position.
In the constitution, wherein primogeniture is a guarantee, private property is the guarantee of the political constitution. In primogeniture, it appears that this guarantee is a particular kind of private property. Primogeniture is merely a particular existence of the universal relationship of private property and the political state. Primogeniture is the political sense of private property, private property in its political significance, that is to say, in its universal significance. Thus the constitution here is the constitution of private property.
With the Germanic peoples, where we encounter primogeniture in its classical formation, we also find the constitution of private property. Private property is a universal category, the universal bond of the state. Even the universal functions appear as the private property sometimes of a Corporation, sometimes of an estate.
Trade and business in their particular nuances were the private property of particular Corporations. Royal offices, jurisdiction, etc., were the private property of particular estates. The various provinces were the private property of individual princes etc. Service for the realm was the private property of the ruler. The spirit was the private property of the spiritual authority.' One's loyal activity was the private property of another, just as one's right was, once again, a particular private property. Sovereignty, here nationality, was the private property of the Emperor.
It has often been said that in the Middle Ages every form of right, of freedom, of social existence, appears as a privilege, an exception from the rule. The empirical fact that all these privileges appear in the form of private property could thus not have been overlooked. What is the universal reason for this coincidence? Private property is the species-existence of privilege, of right as an exception.
Where the sovereigns, as in France for instance, attacked the independence of private property, they directed their attention more to the property of the Corporations than to that of individuals. But in attacking the private property of the Corporations they attacked private property as Corporations, i.e., as the social bond.
In the feudal reign it almost appears that the power of the crown is the power of private property, and that the mystery of the nature of the universal power, the power of all spheres of the state, is deposited in the sovereign.
(The powerfulness of the state is expressed in the sovereign as the representative of the power of the state. The constitutional sovereign, therefore, expresses the idea of the constitutional state in its sharpest abstraction. On the one hand he is the idea of the state, the sanctified majesty of the state, and precisely as this person. At the same time he is a pure imagination; as person and as sovereign he has neither actual power nor actual function. Here, the separation of the political and the actual, the formal and the material, the universal and the particular person, Of man and social man, is expressed in its highest contradiction.)
Private property is a child of Roman intellect and Germanic heart. At this point it will be valuable to undertake a comparison of these two extreme developments. This will help solve the political problem as discussed.
The Romans were the first to have formulated the right of private property, i.e., the abstract right, the private right, the right of the abstract person. The Roman conception of private right is private right in its classical formulation. Yet nowhere with the Romans do we find that the right of private property was mystified as in the case of the Germans. Nowhere does it become right of the state.
The right of private property is jus utendi et abutendi, the right of wilfulness in disposing of a thing. The main interest of the Romans lay in developing the relationships, and in determining which ones resulted in abstract relations of private property. The actual basis of private property, the property, is a factum, an unexplainable factum, and no right. Only through legal determinations, which the society attributes to the factual property, does it receive the quality of rightful property, private property.
Regarding the connection between the political constitution and private property with the Romans, it appears that:
1. Man (as slave), as is generally the case with ancient peoples, is the object of private property.
This is nothing specific.
2. Conquered countries are treated as private property, jus utendi et abutendi being asserted in their case.
3. In their history itself, there appears the struggle between the poor and the rich (Patricians and Plebians) etc.
In other respects, private property as a whole, as with the ancient classical peoples in general, is asserted to be public property, either as the republic's expenditure — as in good times — or as luxurious and universal benefaction (baths, etc.) towards the mob.
Slavery finds its explanation in the rights of war, the rights of occupation: men are slaves precisely because their political existence is destroyed.
We especially stress two relationships in distinction from the Germans.
1. The imperial power was not the power of private property, but rather the sovereignty of the empirical will as such, which was far from regarding private property as the bond between itself and its subjects; on the contrary, it dealt with private property as it did with all other social goods. The imperial power, therefore, was nothing other than factually hereditary. The highest formation of the right of private property, of private right, indeed belongs to the imperial epoch; however, it is a consequence of the political dissolution rather than the political dissolution being a consequence of private property. Furthermore, when private right achieved full development in Rome, state right was abolished, [or] was in the process of its dissolution, while in Germany the opposite was the case.
2. In Rome, state honours are never hereditary; that is to say, private property is not the dominant category of the state.
3. Contrary to German primogeniture etc., in Rome the wilfulness of the testator appears to be the derivative of private property. In this latter antithesis lies the entire difference between the German and the Roman development of private property.
(In primogeniture it appears that private property is the relationship to the function of the state which is such that the existence of the state is something inhering in, or is an accident of, direct private property, i.e., landed property. At its highest levels the state appears as private property, whereas private property should appear as property of the state. Instead of making private property a civil quality, Hegel makes political citizenship, existence, and sentiment a quality of private property.)