One of the major distinctions between the eighteenth century and its predecessor is its awareness of the need to remake the structures of government and even, in the minds of more radical thinkers, to remake society itself. Instead of “need,” one should perhaps use the word “inevitability.” Ideologies did not yet exist. Nevertheless, from the vantage point of a later age, one can see the developments that flowed out of the eighteenth century, the tendencies of which it was not itself clearly aware; to us those tendencies appear self-evidently “liberal,” “collectivist,” “totalitarian,” and so on.
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