Adler On


Two points are of philosophical interest here. One is the necessity of government exercising coercive force. (On this subject, see Anarchy.) The other point is the classification of the four major forms of government. (On this subject, see Democracy.)

Of these forms, the most thoroughly unjust is tyrannical despotism. The most thoroughly just is socialist democracy. Between these two are benevolent despotism and constitutional government, the latter of which is oligarchical rather than democratic.

Government and Constitution
What Is Government and When Is Anyone Governed?
The Necessity of Government
War and Peace
The Modes and Forms of Government
The Mixed Regime
Resistance to Government
The Idea of Civil Police
A Vision of the Future (1984), Chapter 6.
Democracy and Citizenship
Why Did It Take So Long?
The Only Perfectly Just Form of Government
The Conflict Between Justice and Expediency
Will Democracy Survive, Spread, and Prosper?
A Vision of the Future (1984), Chapter 7.
Recommended Readings on Politics: Man and the State

Adapted from
Adler's Philosophical Dictionary (1995)
Great Ideas from the Great Books (1963)
by Mortimer J. Adler

Revised 15 December 2000