Monday, May 30, 2011

Hegemony and So-Called Moral Leadership

hegemony A term that can be used in at least two (conflicting)
ways. Either it means domination through superior
power or force, or it means leadership usually with an
emphasis upon moral and intellectual qualities.
In the first of these uses – domination through force
and power – it can be said that in the twenty-first century
the USA exercises hegemony throughout the world.
China under Mao (between 1966 and 1976) frequently
charged the then USSR with great power hegemony, that
is the use of power to bully and coerce the weak.
The use of the term by Lenin, however, implies leadership
as in the notion of the workers exercising ‘hegemony’
over the peasantry.   Hoffman, John: A Glossary of Political Theory, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2007.

In the previous post, a characterization of 'hegemony' was introduced by virtue of dominance of the hegemon. This comprises both, being dominant through brute force up to subtle propaganda, including the cover-up through the wish to spread (a certain kind of) democracy around the world. There is no conflict. The hegemon in the role of a „moral leader“ might well be as unjust and unnerving as the one using brute force. In fact, most often both go hand in hand. 


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