Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
Karl Marx, 1843

§ 308. The second section of the Estates comprises the fluctuating element in civil society. This element can enter politics only through its deputies; the multiplicity of its members is an external reason for this, but the essential reason is the specific character of this element and its activity. Since these deputies are the deputies of civil society, it follows as a direct consequence that their appointment is made by the society as a society. That is to say, in making the appointment, society is not dispersed into atomic units, collected to perform only a single and temporary act, and kept together for a moment and no longer. On the contrary, it makes the appointment as a society, articulated into associations, communities, and Corporations, which although constituted already for other purposes, acquire in this way a connection with politics. The existence of the Estates and their assembly finds a constitutional guarantee of its own in the fact that this class is entitled to send deputies at the summons of the crown, while members of the former class are entitled to present themselves in person in the Estates (see § 307).

Here we find a new distinction within civil society and the Estates: the distinction between a fluctuating element and an immutable element (landed property). This distinction has also been presented as that of space and time, conservative and progressive, etc. On this, see Hegel's previous paragraphs. Incidentally, by means of the Corporations, associations, etc., Hegel has made the fluctuating element of society also a stable element.

The second distinction consists in the fact that the first element of the Estates as developed above, the owners of entailed estates, are, as such, legislators; that legislative power is an attribute of their empirical, personal existence; that they act not as deputies but as themselves; whereas in the second element of the Estates election and selection of deputies take place.

Hegel gives two reasons why this fluctuating element of civil society can enter the political state, or legislature, only through deputies. Hegel himself calls the first reason - namely, the multiplicity of its members - external, thereby relieving us of the need of giving the same reply.

But the essential reason, he says, is the specific character of this element and its activity. Political occupation and activity are alien to its specific character and activity.

Hegel replays his old song about these Estates being deputies of civil society. Civil society must make the appointments as a society. Rather, civil society must do this as what it is not, because it is unpolitical society, and is supposed to perform here a political act as something essential to it and arising from it. With that it is 'dispersed into atomic units', and collected to perform only a single and temporary act, and kept together for a moment and no longer'. First of all, its political act is a single and temporary act, and can therefore only appear as such in being carried out. It is an ecstasy, an act of political society which causes a stir, and must also appear as such. Secondly, Hegel was not disturbed by the fact - indeed, he argued its necessity - that civil society materially (merely as a second society deputised by it) separates itself from its civil actuality and establishes itself as what it is not. How can he now formally dispose of this?

He thinks that society's associations etc., which are constituted already for other purposes, acquire a connection with politics because society in its Corporations etc. appoints the deputies. But either they acquire a significance which is not their significance, or their connection as such is political, in which case it does not just 'acquire' the political tinge, as developed above, but rather in it politics acquires its connection. By designating only this part of the Estates as that of the deputy, Hegel has unwittingly stated the nature of the two Chambers (at the point where they actually have the relationship to one another he indicated). The Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Peers (or whatever they be called) are not, in the present case, different instances of the same principle) but derive from two essentially different principles and social positions. Here the Chamber of Deputies is the political constitution of civil society in the modern sense, while the Chamber of Peers is the political constitution of civil society in the sense proper to the Estates. The Chamber of Peers and the Chamber of Deputies are opposed here as the Estate- and the political-representation of civil society. The one is the existing estate principle of civil society, the other is the actualisation of civil society's abstract political existence. It is obvious, therefore, that the latter cannot come into existence again as the representation of the estates, Corporations, etc., for it simply does not represent civil society's existence qua estate, but rather its political existence. It is further obvious, then, that only the estate element of civil society, i.e., sovereign landed property or the hereditary nobility, is seated in the former Chamber, for it is not one estate among others. Rather, the estate principle of civil society as an actually social, and thus political, principle now exists only in that one element. It is the estate. Civil society, then, has in the Chamber of the estates the representative of its medieval existence, and in the Chamber of Deputies the representative of its political (modern) existence. The only advance beyond the Middle Ages consists in the fact that estate politics has been reduced to a particular political existence alongside the politics of citizenship. The empirical political existence Hegel has in mind (England) has, therefore, a meaning entirely other than the one he imputes to it.

The French Constitution also constitutes an advance in this regard. To be sure, it has reduced the Chamber of Peers to a pure nullity; but within the principle of constitutional kingship as Hegel has pretended to develop it, this Chamber can by its very nature be merely an empty vanity, the fiction of a harmony between the sovereign and civil society, or of the legislature or political state with itself, and a fiction, moreover, which has the form of a particular and thereby once more opposed existence.

The French have allowed the peers to retain life tenure in order to express their independence from both the regime and the people. But they did away with the medieval expression - hereditariness. Their advance consists in their no longer allowing the Chamber of Peers to proceed from actual civil society, but in creating it in abstraction from civil society. They have the choice of peers proceed from the existing political state, from the sovereign, without binding him to any other civil quality. In this constitution the honour of being a peer actually constitutes a class in civil society which is purely political, created from the standpoint of the abstraction of the political state; but it appears to be more a political decoration than an actual class endowed with particular rights. During the Restoration the Chamber of Peers was a reminiscence, while the Chamber of Peers resulting from the July Revolution is an actual creature of constitutional monarchy.

Since in modern times the idea of the state could appear only in the abstraction of the merely political state, or in the abstraction of civil society from itself and its actual condition, it is to the credit of the French that they have marked and produced this abstract actuality, and thereby have produced the political principle itself. The abstraction for which they are blamed is, then, a genuine consequence and product of a patriotism rediscovered, to be sure, only in an opposition, but in a necessary opposition. The merit of the French in this regard, then, is to have established the Chamber of Peers as the unique product of the political state, or in general, to have made the political principle in its uniqueness the determining and effective factor.

Hegel also remarks that in the deputation, as he constructs it, the existence of the Estates and their assembly finds a constitutional guarantee of its own in the fact that the Corporations etc. are entitled to send deputies. Thus, the guarantee of the existence of the Estates' assembly, their truly primitive existence, becomes the privilege of the Corporations etc. With this, Hegel reverts completely to the medieval standpoint and has abandoned entirely his abstraction of the political state as the sphere of the state as state, the actually existing universal.

In the modern sense, the existence of the Estates' assembly is the political existence of civil society, the guarantee of its political existence. To question the existence of the Estates' assembly is to question the existence of the state. Whereas patriotism, the essence of the legislature, finds its guarantee in independent private property according to Hegel, so the existence of the legislature finds its guarantee in the privileges of the Corporations.

But the one element in the Estates is much more the political privilege of civil society, or its privilege of being political. Therefore, that element can never be the privilege of a particular civil mode of civil society's existence, and can still less find its guarantee in that mode, because it is supposed to be, rather, the universal guarantee.

Thus Hegel is everywhere reduced to giving the political state a precarious actuality in a relationship of dependence upon another, rather than describing it as the highest, completely existing actuality of social existence; he is reduced to having it find its true existence in the other sphere rather than describing it as the true existence of the other sphere. The political state everywhere needs the guarantee of spheres lying outside it. It is not actualised power, but supported impotence. It is not the power over these supports, but the power of the support. The support is the seat of power.

What kind of lofty existent is it whose existence needs a guarantee outside itself, and which is supposed to be at the same time the universal existence - and thus the actual guarantee - of this very guarantee. In general, in his development of the legislature Hegel everywhere retreats from the philosophical standpoint to that other standpoint which fails to examine the matter in its own terms.

If the existence of the Estates requires a guarantee, then they are not an actual, but merely a fictitious political existence. In constitutional states, the guarantee for the existence of the Estates is the law. Thus, their existence is a legal existence, dependent on the universal nature of the state and not on the power or impotence of individual Corporations or associations; their existence is the actuality of the state as an association. (It is precisely here that the Corporations, etc., the particular spheres of civil society, should receive their universal existence for the first time. Again, Hegel anticipates this universal existence as the privilege and the existence of these particular spheres.)

Political right as the right of Corporations etc. completely contradicts political right as political, i.e., as the right of the state and of citizenship, for political right precisely should not be the right of this existence as a particular existence, not right as this particular existence.

Before we proceed to the category of election as the political act by which civil society decides upon its political choice, let us examine some additional statements from the Remark to this paragraph.

To hold that every single person should share in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern o the ground that all individuals are members of the state, that its concerns are their concerns, and that it is their right that what is done should be done with their knowledge and volition, is tantamount to a proposal to put the democratic element without any rational form into the organism of the state, although it is only in virtue of the possession of such a form that the state is an organism at all. This idea comes readily to mind because it does not go beyond the abstraction of 'being a member of the state'. and it is superficial thinking which clings to abstractions. [§ 308]

First of all, Hegel calls being a member of the state an abstraction, although according to the idea, [and therefore] the intention of his own doctrinal development, it is the highest and most concrete social determination of the legal person, of the member of the state. To stop at the abstraction of 'being a member of the state' and to conceive of individuals in terms of this abstraction does not therefore seem to be just superficial thinking which clings to abstractions. That the abstraction of 'being a member of the state' is really an abstraction is not, however, the fault of this thinking but of Hegel's line of argument and actual modern conditions, which presuppose the separation of actual life from political life and make the political quality an abstraction of actual participation in the state.

According to Hegel, the direct participation of all in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern admits the democratic element without any rational form into the organism of the state, although it is only in virtue of the possession of such a form that the state is an organism at all. That is to say, the democratic element can be admitted only as a formal element in a state organism that is merely a formalism of the state. The democratic element should be, rather, the actual element that acquires its rational form in the whole organism of the state. If the democratic element enters the state organism or state formalism as a particular element, then the rational form of its existence means a drill, an accommodation, a form, in which it does not exhibit what is characteristic of its essence. In other words, it would enter the state organism merely as a formal principle.

We have already pointed out that Hegel develops merely a state formalism. For him, the actual material principle is the Idea, the abstract thought-form of the state as a subject, the absolute Idea which has in it no passive or material moment. In contrast to the abstraction of this Idea the determinations of the actual, empirical state formalism appear as content; and hence the actual content (here actual man, actual society, etc.) appear as formless inorganic matter.

Hegel had established the essence of the Estates in the fact that in them empirical universality becomes the subject of the actually existing universal. Does this mean anything other than that matters of political concern 'are their concerns, and that it is their right that what is done should be done with their knowledge and volition'? And should not the Estates precisely constitute their actualised right? And is it surprising then that all seek the actuality of what is theirs by right?

To hold that every single person should share in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern...

In a really rational state one could answer, 'Not every single person should share in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern', because the individuals share in deliberating and deciding on matters of general concern as the 'all', that is to say, within and as members of the society. Not all individually, but the individuals as all.

Hegel presents himself with the dilemma: either civil society (the Many, the multitude) shares through deputies in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern or all [as] I individuals do this. This is no opposition of essence, as Hegel subsequently tries to present it, but of existence, and indeed of the most external existence, quantity. Thus, the basis which Hegel himself designated as external - the multiplicity of members - remains the best reason against the direct participation of all. The question of whether civil society should participate in the legislature either by entering it through deputies or by the direct participation of all as individuals is itself a question within the abstraction of the political state or within the abstract political state; it is an abstract political question.

It is in both cases, as Hegel himself has developed this, the political significance of 'empirical universality'.

In its proper form the opposition is this: the individuals participate as all, or the individuals participate as a few, as not all. In both cases allness remains merely an external plurality or totality of individuals. Allness is no essential, spiritual, actual quality of the individual. It is not something through which he would lose the character of abstract individuality. Rather, it is merely the sum total of individuality. One individuality, many individualities, all individualities. The one, the many, the all - none of these determinations changes the essence of the subject, individuality.

All as individuals should share in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern; that is to say, then, that all should share in this not as all but as individuals.

The question appears to contradict itself in two respects.

The political matters of general concern are the concern of the state, the state as actual concern. Deliberation and decision is the effectuation of the state as actual concern. It seems obvious then that all the members of the state have a relationship to the state as being their actual concern. The very notion of member of the state implies their being a member of the state, a part of it, and the state having them as its part. But if they are an integral part of the state, then it is obvious that their social existence is already their actual participation in it. They are not only integral parts of the state, but the state is their integral part. To be consciously an integral part of something is to participate consciously in it, to be consciously integral to it. Without this consciousness the member of the state would be an animal.

To say 'political matters of general concern' makes it appear that matters of general concern and the state are something different. But the state is the matter of general concern, thus really the matters of general concern.

Participation in political matters of general concern and participation in the state are, therefore, identical. It is a tautology [to say] that a member of the state, a part of the state, participates in the state, and that this participation can appear only as deliberation or decision, or related forms, and thus that every member of the state shares in deliberating and deciding (if these functions are taken to be the functions of actual participation in the state) the political matters of general concern. If we are talking about actual members of the state, then this participation cannot be regarded as a 'should'; otherwise we would be talking about subjects who should be and want to be members of the state, but actually are not.

On the other hand, if we are talking about definite concerns, about single political acts, then it is again obvious that not all as individuals accomplish them. Otherwise, the individual would be the true society, and would make society superfluous. The individual would have to do everything at once, while society would have him act for others just as it would have others act for him.

The question whether all as individuals should share in deliberating and deciding on political matters of general concern is a question that arises from the separation of the political state and civil society.

As we have seen, the state exists merely as political state. The totality of the political state is the legislature. To participate in the legislature is thus to participate in the political state and to prove and actualise one's existence as member of the political state, as member of the state. That all as individuals want to participate integrally in the legislature is nothing but the will of all to be actual (active) members of the state, or to give themselves a political existence, or to prove their existence as political and to effect it as such. We have further seen that the Estates are civil society as legislature, that they are its political existence. The fact, therefore, that civil society invades the sphere of legislative power en masse, and where possible totally, that actual civil society wishes to substitute itself for the fictional civil society of the legislature, is nothing but the drive of civil society to give itself political existence, or to make political existence its actual existence. The drive of civil society to transform itself into political society, or to make political society into the actual society, shows itself as the drive for the most fully possible universal participation in legislative power.

Here, quantity is not without importance. If the augmentation of the Estates is a physical and intellectual augmentation of one of the hostile forces - and we have seen that the various elements of the legislature oppose one another as hostile forces - then the question of whether all as individuals are members of the legislature or whether they should enter the legislature through deputies is the placing in question of the representative principle within the representative principle, i.e., within that fundamental conception of the political state which exists in constitutional monarchy. (1) The notion that the legislature is the totality of the political state is a notion of the abstraction of the political state. Because this one act is the sole political act of civil society, all should participate and want to participate in it at once. (2) All as individuals. In the Estates, legislative activity is not regarded as social, as a function of society, but rather as the act wherein the individuals first assume an actually and consciously social function, that is, a political function. Here the legislature is no derivative, no function of society, but simply its formation. This formation into a legislative power requires that all members of civil society regard themselves as individuals, that they actually face one another as individuals. The abstraction of 'being a member of the state' is their 'abstract definition', a definition that is not actualised in the actuality of their life.

There are two possibilities here: either the separation of the political state and civil society actually obtains, or civil society is actual political society. In the first case, it is impossible that all as individuals participate in the legislature, for the political state is an existent which is separated from civil society. On the one hand, civil society would abandon itself as such if all [its members] were legislators; on the other hand, the political state which stands over against it can tolerate it only if it has a form suitable to the standards of the state. In other words, the participation of civil society in the political state through deputies is precisely the expression of their separation and merely dualistic unity.

Given the second case, i.e., that civil society is actual political society, it is nonsense to make a claim which has resulted precisely from a notion of the political state as an existent separated from civil society, from the theological notion of the political state. In this situation, legislative power altogether loses the meaning of representative power. Here, the legislature is a representation in the same sense in which every function is representative. For example, the shoemaker is my representative in so far as he fulfils a social need, just as every definite social activity, because it is a species-activity, represents only the species; that is to say, it represents a determination of my own essence the way every man is the representative of the other. Here, he is representative not by virtue of something other than himself which he represents, but by virtue of what he is and does.

Legislative power is sought not for the sake of its content, but for the sake of its formal political significance. For example, executive power, in and for itself, has to be the object of popular desire much more than legislative power, which is the metaphysical political function. The legislative function is the will, not in its practical but in its theoretical energy. Here, the will should not pre-empt the law; rather, the actual law is to be discovered and formulated.

Out of this divided nature of the legislature - i.e., its nature as actual lawgiving function and at the same time representative, abstract-political function - stems a peculiarity which is especially prevalent in France, the land of political culture.

(We always find two things in the executive: the actual deed and the state's reason for this deed, as another actual consciousness, which in its total organisation is the bureaucracy.)

The actual content of legislative power (so long as the prevailing special interests do not come into significant conflict with the objectum quaestionis) is treated very much à part, as a matter of secondary importance.

A question attracts particular attention only when it becomes political, that is to say, either when it can be tied to a ministerial question, and thus becomes a question of the power of the legislature over the executive, or when it is a matter of rights in general, which are connected with the political formalism. How come this phenomenon? Because the legislature is at the same time the representation of civil society's political existence; because in general the political nature of a question consists in its relationship to the various powers of the political state; and finally, because the legislature represents political consciousness, which can manifest itself as political only in conflict with the executive. There is the essential demand that every social need, law, etc., be investigated and identified politically, that is to say, determined by the whole of the state in its social sense. But in the abstract political state this essential demand takes a new turn; specifically, it is given a formal change of expression in the direction of another power (content) besides its actual content. This is no abstraction of the French, but rather the inevitable consequence of the actual state's existing merely as the political state formalism examined above. The opposition within the representative power is the kat exohin political existence of the representative power. Within this representative constitution, however, the question under investigation takes a form other than that in which Hegel considered it. It is not a question of whether civil society should exercise legislative power through deputies or through all as individuals. Rather, it is a question of the extension and greatest possible universalisation of voting, of active as well as passive suffrage. This is the real point of dispute in the matter of political reform, in France as well as in England.

Voting is not considered philosophically, that is, not in terms of its proper nature, if it is considered in relation to the crown or the executive. The vote is the actual relation of actual civil society to the civil society of the legislature, to the representative element. In other words, the vote is the immediate, the direct, the existing and not simply imagined relation of civil society to the political state. It therefore goes without saying that the vote is the chief political interest of actual civil society. In unrestricted suffrage, both active and passive, civil society has actually raised itself for the first time to an abstraction of itself, to political existence as its true universal and essential existence. But the full achievement of this abstraction is at once also the transcendence [Aufhebung] of the abstraction. In actually establishing its political existence as its true existence civil society has simultaneously established its civil existence, in distinction from its political existence, as inessential. And with the one separated, the other, its opposite, falls. Within the abstract political state the reform of voting advances the dissolution [Auflösung] of this political state, but also the dissolution of civil society.

We will encounter the question of the reform of voting later under another aspect, namely, from the point of view of the interests. We will also discuss later the other conflicts which arise from the two-fold character of the legislature (being at one time the delegate, mandatory of civil society, at another time on the contrary primarily the political existence of civil society and a specific existent within the political formalism of the state).

In the meantime we return to the Remark to § 308.

The rational consideration of a topic, the consciousness of the Idea, is concrete and to that extent coincides with a genuine practical sense. The concrete state is the whole, articulated into its particular groups. The member of a state is a member of such a group, i.e., of a social class, and it is only as characterised in this objective way that he comes under consideration when we are dealing with the state.

We have already said all that is required concerning this.

His (the member of a state's), mere character as universal implies that he is at one and the same time both a private person and also a thinking consciousness, a will which wills the universal. This consciousness and will, however, lose their emptiness and acquire a content and a living actuality only when they are filled with particularity, and particularity means determinacy as particular and a particular class status; or, to put the matter otherwise, abstract individuality is a generic essence, but has its immanent universal actuality as the generic essence next higher in the scale.

Everything Hegel says is correct, with the restriction

1. that he assumes particular class status and determinacy as particular to be identical,

2. that this determinacy, the species, the generic essence next higher in the scale must also actually, not only implicitly but explicitly, be established as the species or specification of the universal generic essence.

But in the state, which he demonstrates to be the self-conscious existence of the moral spirit, Hegel tacitly accepts this moral spirit's being the determining thing only implicitly, that is, in accordance with the universal Idea. He does not allow society to become the actually determining thing, because for that an actual subject is required, and he has only an abstract, imaginary subject.

§ 309. Since deputies are elected to deliberate and decide on public affairs, the point about their election is that it is a choice of individuals on the strength of confidence felt in them, i.e., a choice of such individuals as have a better understanding of these affairs than their electors have and such also as essentially vindicate the universal interest, not the particular interest of a society or a Corporation in preference to that interest. Hence their relation to their electors is ,,or that of agents with a commission or specific instructions. A further bar to their being so is the fact that their assembly is meant to be a living body in which all members deliberate in common and reciprocally instruct and convince each other.

1. The deputies are supposed to be something other than agents with a commission or specific instructions, for they are supposed to be such as essentially vindicate the universal interest, not the particular interest of a society or a Corporation in preference to that interest. Hegel has constructed the representatives primarily as representatives of the Corporations etc., in order subsequently to reintroduce the other political determination, namely, that they are not to vindicate the particular interest of the Corporation etc. With that he abolishes his own determination, for he completely separates [the representatives], in their essential character as representatives, from their Corporation-existence. In so doing he also separates the Corporation from itself in its actual content, for it is supposed to vote not from its own point of view but from the state's point of view; that is to say, it is supposed to vote in its non-existence as Corporation. Hegel thus acknowledges the material actuality of the thing he formally converts into its opposite, namely, the abstraction of civil society from itself in its political act; and its political existence is nothing but this abstraction. Hegel gives as reason that the representatives are elected precisely to the activity of public affairs; but the Corporations are not instances of public affairs.

2. The point about their election is supposed to be that it is a choice of individuals on the strength of confidence felt in them, i.e., a choice of such individuals as have a better understanding of these affairs than their electors have; from which, once again, it is supposed to follow that the relationship which the deputies have to their electors is not that of agents.

Only by means of a sophism can Hegel declare that these individuals understand these affairs 'better' and not 'simply'., This conclusion [namely, that they understand these affairs better] could be drawn only if the electors had the option of deliberating and deciding themselves about public affairs or of delegating definite individuals to discharge these things, i.e., precisely if deputation, or representation, did not belong essentially to the character of civil society's legislature. But in the state constructed by Hegel, deputation, or representation, constitutes precisely the legislature's specific essence, precisely as realised.

This example is characteristic [of the way] Hegel proposes the thing half intentionally, and imputes to it in its narrow form the sense opposed to this narrowness.

Hegel gives the proper reason last. The deputies of civil society constitute themselves into an assembly, and only this assembly is the actual political existence and will of civil society. The separation of the political state from civil society appears as the separation of the deputies from their mandators. From itself, society delegates to its political existence only the elements.

The contradiction appears two-fold:

1. Formal. The delegates of civil society are a society whose members are connected by the form of instruction or commission with those who commission them. They are formally commissioned, but once they are actual they are no longer commissioned. They are supposed to be delegates, and they are not.

2. Material. [This is] in regard to the interests. We will come back to this point later. Here, we find the opposite of the formal contradiction. The delegates are commissioned to be representatives of public affairs, but they really represent particular affairs.

What is significant is that Hegel here designates trust as the substance of election, as the substantial relation between electors and deputies. Trust is a personal relationship. Concerning this, it says further in the Addition to § 309:

Representation is grounded on trust, but trusting another is something different from giving my vote myself in my own personal capacity. Hence majority voting runs counter to the principle that I should be personally present in anything which is to be obligatory on me. We have confidence in a man when we take him to be a man of discretion who will manage our affairs conscientiously and to the best of his knowledge, just as if they were his own.

§310. The guarantee that deputies will have the qualifications and disposition that accord with this end - since independent means attains its right in the first section of the Estates - is to be found so far as the second section is concerned - the section drawn from the fluctuating and changeable element in civil society - above all in the knowledge of the organisation and interests of the state and civil society, the temperament, and the skill which a deputy acquires as a result of the actual transaction of business in managerial or official positions, and then evinces in his actions. As a result, he also acquires and develops a managerial and political sense, tested by his experience, and this is a further guarantee of his suitability as a deputy.

First, the Upper Chamber, that of independent private property, was constructed for the sake of the Crown and the executive as a guarantee against the disposition of the Lower Chamber as the political existence of empirical universality; and now Hegel further requires a new guarantee which is supposed to guarantee the disposition of the Lower Chamber itself.

First, trust, the guarantee of the elector, was the guarantee of the deputy. Now this trust itself further requires the guarantee of the deputy's ability.

Hegel would rather have liked to make the Lower Chamber one of pensioned civil servants. He requires of the deputy not only political sense but also managerial, bureaucratic sense.

What he really wants here is that the legislature be the real governing power. He expresses this such that he twice requires the bureaucracy, once as representation of the Crown, at another time as representative of the people.

Even if officials are allowed to be deputies in constitutional states, this is only because there is on the whole an abstraction from class, from the civil quality, and the abstraction of state citizenship predominates.

With this Hegel forgets that he allowed representation to proceed from the Corporations, and that the executive directly opposes these. In this forgetfulness, which persists likewise in the following paragraph, he goes so far that he creates an essential distinction between the deputies of the Corporations and those of the classes.

In the Remark to this paragraph it says:

Subjective opinion, naturally enough, finds superfluous and even perhaps offensive the demand for such guarantees, if the demand is made with reference to what is called the 'people'. The state, however, is characterised by objectivity, not by a subjective opinion and its self-confidence. Hence it can recognise in individuals only their objectively recognisable and tested character, and it must be all the more careful on this point in connection with the second section of the Estates, since this section is rooted in interests and activities directed towards the particular, i.e., ill the sphere where chance, mutability, and caprice enjoy their right of free play.

Here, Hegel's thoughtless inconsistency and managerial sense become really disgusting. At the close of the Addition to the preceding paragraph [i.e., § 309] it says:

The electors require a guarantee that their deputy will further and secure this general interest (the task of the deputies described earlier).

This guarantee for the electors has underhandedly evolved into a guarantee against the electors, against their self-confidence. in the Estates, empirical universality was supposed to come to the moment of subjective formal freedom. Public consciousness was supposed to come to existence in that moment as the empirical universality of the opinions and thoughts of the Many. (§ 301.)

Now these opinions and thoughts must give proof beforehand to the executive that they are its opinions and thoughts. Unfortunately, Hegel here speaks of the state as a finished existence, although he is precisely now in the process of finishing the construction of the state within the Estates. He speaks of the state as a concrete subject which does not take offence at subjective opinion and its self-confidence, and for which the individuals have first made themselves recognisable and tested. The only thing he still lacks is a requirement that the Estates take an examination in the presence of the honourable executive. Here, Hegel goes almost to the point of servility. It is evident that he is thoroughly infected with the miserable arrogance of the world of Prussian officialdom which, distinguished in its bureaucratic narrow-mindedness, looks down on the self-confidence of the subjective opinion of the people regarding itself. Here, the state is at all times for Hegel identical with the Executive.

To be sure, in a real state mere trust or subjective opinion cannot suffice. But in the state which Hegel constructs the political sentiment of civil society is mere opinion precisely because its political existence is an abstraction from its actual existence, precisely because the state as a whole is not the objectification of the political sentiment. Had Hegel wished to be consistent, he would have bad to work much harder to construct the Estates in conformity with their essential definition (§ 3oi) as the explicit existence of public affairs in the thought etc. of the Many, and thus nothing less than fully independent of the other presuppositions of the political state.

Just as Hegel earlier called the presupposing of bad will in the executive etc. the view of the rabble, so just as much and even more is it the view of the rabble to presuppose bad will in the people. Hegel has no right to find it either superfluous or offensive when, among [the doctrines of] the theorists he scorns, guarantees are demanded in reference to what is called the state, the soi-disant state, the executive, when guarantees are demanded that the sentiment of the bureaucracy be the sentiment of the state.

§ 311. A further point about the election of deputies is that, since civil society is the electorate, the deputies should themselves be conversant with and participate in its special needs, difficulties, and particular interests. Owing to the nature of civil society, its deputies are the deputies of the various Corporations (see § 308), and this simple mode of appointment obviates any confusion due to conceiving the electorate abstractly and as an agglomeration of atoms. Hence the deputies eo ipso adopt the point of view of society, and their actual election is therefore either something wholly superfluous or else reduced to a trivial play of opinion and caprice.

First of all, Hegel joins the election in its determination as legislature (§§ 309, 310) to the fact that civil society is the electorate, i. e., he joins the legislature to its representative character, through a simple 'further'. And just as thoughtlessly he expresses the enormous contradictions which lie in this 'further'.

* According to § 309 the deputies should essentially vindicate the universal interest, not the particular interest of a society or a Corporation in preference to that interest.

* According to § 311 the deputies proceed from the Corporations, represent these particular interests and needs, and avoid confusion due to abstract conceptions - as if the universal interest were not also such an abstraction, an abstraction precisely from their Corporation, etc., interests.

* According to § 310 it is required that, as a result of the actual transaction of business etc., they have acquired and evinced a managerial and political sense. In §311 a Corporation and civil sense is required.

* In the Addition to § 309 it says, representation is grounded on trust. According to § 311 the actual election, this realisation of trust, its manifestation and appearance, is either something wholly superfluous or else reduced to a trivial play of opinion and caprice.

That on which representation is grounded, its essence, is thus either something wholly superfluous, etc. for representation. Thus in one breath Hegel establishes the absolute contradictions: Representation is grounded on trust, on the confidence of man in man, and it is not grounded on trust. This is simply a playing around with formalities.

The object of the representation is not the particular interest, but rather man and his state citizenship, i.e., the universal interest. On the other hand, the particular interest is the matter of the representation, and the spirit of this interest is the spirit of the representative.

In the Remark to this paragraph, which we examine now, these contradictions are still more glaringly carried through. At one time representation is representation of the man, at another time of the particular interest of particular matter.

It is obviously of advantage that the deputies should include representatives of each particular main branch of society (e.g. trade, manufactures, &c., &c.) - representatives who are thoroughly conversant with it and who themselves belong to it. The idea of free unrestricted election leaves this important consideration entirely at the mercy of chance. All such branches of society, however, have equal rights of representation. Deputies are sometimes regarded as 'representatives'; but they are representatives in an organic, rational sense only if they are representatives not of individuals or a conglomeration of them, but of one of the essential spheres of society and its large-scale interests. Hence representation cannot now be taken to mean simply the substitution of one man for another; the point is rather that the interest itself is actually present in its representative, while he himself is there to represent the objective element of his own being.

As for popular suffrage, it may be further remarked that especially in large states it leads inevitably to electoral indifference, since the casting of a single vote is of no significance where there is a multitude of electors. Even if a voting qualification is highly valued and esteemed by those who are entitled to it, they still do not enter the poring booth. Thus the result of an institution of this kind is more likely to be the opposite of what was intended; election actually falls into the power of a few, of a caucus, and so of the particular and contingent interest which is precisely what was to have been neutralised.

Both §§ 312 and 313 are taken care of by our earlier comments, and are worth no special discussion. So we simply put them down as is:

§ 312. Each class in the Estates (see §§ 305-8) contributes something peculiarly its own to the work of deliberation. Further, one moment in the class-element has in the sphere of politics the special function of mediation, mediation between two existing things. Hence this moment must likewise acquire a separate existence of its own. For this reason the assembly of the Estates is divided into two houses.

O jerum!

§ 313. This division, by providing chambers of the first and second instance, is a surer guarantee for ripeness of decision and it obviates the accidental character which a snap-division has and which a numerical majority may acquire. But the principal advantage of this arrangement is that there is less chance of the Estates being in direct opposition to the executive; or that, if the mediating element is at the same time on the side of the lower house, the weight of the lower house's opinion is all the stronger, because it appears less partisan and its opposition appears neutralised.

The manuscript ends. At the top of the following page, Marx wrote:

Concerning Hegel's Transition and Explication

Source: Joseph O'Malley's translation, Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Oxford University Press, 1970.