Beyond Right and Left: Democratic Elitism in Mosca and by Maurice A . Finocchiaro

By Maurice A . Finocchiaro

A examine of the relationship among Gaetano Mosca and Antonio Gramsci, holding that they either belong to an analogous political culture of democratic elitism. It argues that Gramsci's political concept is a positive critique of Mosca's.

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Html6/20/2010 3:19:51 PM next page > page_20 < previous page page_20 next page > Page 20 proximation, whereas the obligation of a scholar is to try to penetrate beneath the surface of phenomena and to deepen the analysis of superficial appearances. In other words, Mosca is often viewed as a classic exponent of the Right. 21 We could almost speak of him as a patron saint of the Right, were it not that his life does not exhibit the tragedy and high drama that Gramsci had to endure, and so Mosca does not lend himself to being mythologized as readily as Gramsci.

Nor was he at fault for having made value judgments different from those made by others. It is useful at this point to give a sketch of Mosca's justification of these judgments. For in a certain sense he did indeed advance all three. " Now, not only is there an intimate connection between this justification and this elucidation, but it turns out that all three derive from or reflect the same fundamental principle. And this will be another avenue by which we shall, again, be led to examine the other elements of Mosca's political science, besides the fundamental elitist principle.

This argument would depend on the alternative explanation for the agreed-upon generalization. The distinction between an empirical fact and a theoretical explanation is an important and interesting one, and I am far from denying it. Thus one of Hook's points is acceptable. However, one problem with his criticism is that Mosca's explanation of his own "law" does not rely simply on an appeal to human nature. I believe his explanation, in the precise sense in which it is distinguished from the fact-to-be-explained, would be essentially the one put forward by Michels, which we have already summarized.

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