We see the modern State as the most rational form of governing yet devised, and one which properly recognises our inherent individual rights. However, as the histories of colonialism and imprisonment reveal, it is also an intruder into the lives of generally unwilling individuals, constraining rights.
This book looks beneath the contradiction to see an entity willingly sustained by all individuals and for which we forgo our responsibility to and for ourselves. We place ourselves in the hands of those interests that promise to deal with our fears and desires the best.
Probing the work of political thinkers from Hobbes to Rawls, the book discovers a State that is a real, mythological entity, spreading across social and geographic space and concerned first with satisfying our two passions. Understanding this mythology may allow reason to emerge from its service to fear and desire, so that the modern State could become truly modern.
This book will be of interest to scholars in Sociology, Politics, Philosophy, and Law.
Preface. Acknowledgments. Part I: The Nature of Political Mythology 1. Introduction 2. The Past as a Figure of the Present and Future Part II: Establishment and Refinement 3. The Leviathan, the Calling and their Separation 4. Imagining a General Will 5. The Reason of Protestant Politics Part III: Modernisation 6. Reason and the Myth of Justice 7. The Liberalism of the Market 8. Freedom is the State 9. Defending the State against Scepticism Part IV: Embodiment 10. The State as Civilisation 11. Governmentality, The Market and Liberalism. Notes. References. Index.