Though it may sound awkward to ask whether the political sovereign is happy or unhappy, the question is relevant to political theory, especially within a political theological perspective. Because man was created in the image of God, human happiness needs to be a reflection of divine beatitude, and as divine sovereignty is, at least analogically, related to political sovereignty, the conceptual coherence is secured. The main argument is, however, that the analogy does not hold. I shall show how St Thomas Aquinas’s short treatment of God’s beatitude may mislead us about power, fame, riches, and dignity being essential to happiness, based on an analysis of Franz Kafka’s major novel, The Castle, and a few other writings by him. I shall argue that our tradition of political thinking and behavior remains ambivalent on this issue. The political sovereign is born out of our unhappy condition, yet its power, fame, riches, and glory suggest to us that it has appropriated our happiness. But for this very reason it cannot be happy, and it therefore suggests a false analogy between the divine and the political sovereign. It is fundamentally at variance with our happiness, which incites us to abandon, reject, and eventually, kill it.
Balazs, Z. (2021). The Sovereign’s Beatitude. POLITICAL THEORY. https://doi.org/10.1177/00905917211042047
SJR 2020: 0.478
Q2 (Sociology and Political Science)
AIp 2020: 81