Leadership, Populism, and Resistance
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Leadership, Populism, and Resistance

Edited by Kristin M.S. Bezio and George R. Goethals

Leadership, Populism, and Resistance draws upon the study of history, politics, policy, media, virtue, and heroism to examine the ways in which populism and popular movements have evolved, what we have learned (and failed to learn) from them, how we depict and discuss them through popular media and the press, and, finally, how we can understand virtue and heroism as a consequence—or reaction—to populism and popularity.
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Chapter 4: Eric Voegelin on the seemliness of symbols: Shayss Rebellion

Nathan Harter and Cydney Clark


Eric Voegelin credited Xenophanes with a lesson about the seemliness of symbols: that moment when available symbolizations no longer adequately reflect the order of being. When someone struggles to extricate himself or herself from unseemly symbols, not only is there an opportunity to adopt symbols more attuned to the order of being, but the order of being itself is transformed. In the meantime, the social order founded on those unseemly symbols will fade into illegitimacy unless there is some kind of renewal. The problem is that those responsible for defending the prevailing order regard the person who rejects the prevailing symbolization as a threat, which in a sense he is. A case in point is Shays’s Rebellion. Veterans from the Revolutionary War relied on those symbols to justify their own defiance, 10 years after the Declaration of Independence, rendering it an open question as to what they had originally fought for.

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