July 6, 2010


The state is totalitarian by its essence.
Total despotism is the form towards which it spontaneously tends.

Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección, p. 241


  1. The original Spanish is:

    El estado es totalitario por esencia.
    El despotismo total es la forma hacia la cual espontáneamente tiende.

  2. Gómez Dávila develops this thought in greater detail in Textos I, pp. 76-79. He traces the doctrine of sovereignty in the modern state back to Jean Bodin and the French absolutists, who did all they could to abolish the intermediary structures of feudalism and to make the (early) modern state supreme/sovereign.

    Here is a short paragraph (p. 77) that gives an idea of where Gómez Dávila is headed:

    "By proclaiming the sovereignty of the state, Bodin grants man the right to arrange his destiny. The sovereign state is the first democratic victory...The monarch fights the feudal powers, the provinces' jurisdiction, the Church's privileges, so that nothing might restrain his sovereignty, because the state must abolish any right that claims to precede it, any liberty that claims to limit it."