condemn him to the irrelevance that affected federalism

kcip

Member
Chinese
Hello!
I have difficulty in understanding the bold part in the following paragraph:

On the other hand, Monnet was a stranger to the democratic process, as conventionally understood. He never faced a crowd or ran for office. Shunning any direct contact with electorates, he worked among elites only. From Milward's standpoint, in which European integration flowed from the popular consensus inside each nation-state, as expressed at the polls, this was in itself enough to condemn him to the irrelevance that affected federalism more largely. ...
(source: Perry Anderson, The New Old World)

Does the word 'condemn' means 'force (someone) to endure or accept something unpleasant'? And does the word 'affect' mean 'influence' or something else here?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Does the word 'condemn' means 'force (someone) to endure or accept something unpleasant'?
    It doesn't really mean that here. It is just a dramatic way to say that Milward thought Monnet was irrelevant.

    If irrelevance "affects Federalism", then Federalism is wholly or partly irrelevant. This is a literary way to say that Milward thought Federalism or parts of Federalism were irrelevant.
     

    kcip

    Member
    Chinese
    It doesn't really mean that here. It is just a dramatic way to say that Milward thought Monnet was irrelevant.

    If irrelevance "affects Federalism", then Federalism is wholly or partly irrelevant. This is a literary way to say that Milward thought Federalism or parts of Federalism were irrelevant.
    Thank you for your reply! Then can I say it in this way: Milward thought that Monnet was irrelevant, and federalism more irrelevant?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome.

    Thank you for your reply! Then can I say it in this way: Milward thought that Monnet was irrelevant, and federalism more irrelevant?
    I'm not sure what Anderson means by "more largely." My best guess is that he's trying to say that Milward thought Monnet was irrelevant and that irrelevance affected all of Federalism. I don't think he's trying to say that Milward thought Federalism was more irrelevant than Monnet was.

    Edit: changed mind.
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks for your good wishes, kcip, but I changed my mind and my answer shortly after you saw that post. I no longer believe that your version is completely accurate.
     

    kcip

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for your good wishes, kcip, but I changed my mind and my answer shortly after you saw that post. I no longer believe that your version is completely accurate.
    Thank you for thinking over this sentence!=) I've read your revised reply, but I still cannot understand 'irrelevance affects federalism more largely'... Is 'affect' the equivalent of 'influence' or 'attack or infect' here?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome. You will probably find a lot of vague, long-winded language in this source :rolleyes:, and I advise you not to worry too much about its meaning.

    As I understand the sentence, "affect" is probably closer to "influence" than it is to "attack" or "infect" here. The real meaning of the whole passage is that Anderson believes that Milward thought that both Monnet and Federalism were somehow irrelevant. You may find some reason for this belief earlier or later in the text.
     
    You're welcome. You will probably find a lot of vague, long-winded language in this source :rolleyes:, and I advise you not to worry too much about its meaning.

    As I understand the sentence, "affect" is probably closer to "influence" than it is to "attack" or "infect" here. The real meaning of the whole passage is that Anderson believes that Milward thought that both Monnet and Federalism were somehow irrelevant. You may find some reason for this belief earlier or later in the text.
    :tick:

    Also, I think 'irrelevance affects federalism more largely' probably means, "since feudalism was the platform influencing many European states, and since I see feudalism as being irrelevant but having a huge impact of millions of people, it hardly matters that one person like Monnet --who I don't think was very relevant anyway--got involved with it, but since he did, I now dismiss him as not worthy of further attention or discussion. His impact was zero, feudalism's was large." (or maybe something like that.:rolleyes:)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Your comments are always refreshing and helpful, Dale. You probably hit the nail on the head with your thoughts about what Anderson was trying to express in that passage. :cool:
     

    kcip

    Member
    Chinese
    :tick:

    Also, I think 'irrelevance affects federalism more largely' probably means, "since feudalism was the platform influencing many European states, and since I see feudalism as being irrelevant but having a huge impact of millions of people, it hardly matters that one person like Monnet --who I don't think was very relevant anyway--got involved with it, but since he did, I now dismiss him as not worthy of further attention or discussion. His impact was zero, feudalism's was large." (or maybe something like that.:rolleyes:)
    Your comments are always refreshing and helpful, Dale. You probably hit the nail on the head with your thoughts about what Anderson was trying to express in that passage. :cool:
    Many thanks to both of you!! Wow, it seems that the author condensed so many ideas to so few words.XD Anyway, the irrelevance of Monnet and federalism in his opinion is quite certain. I wish there won't be any other saying in this book as vague as this one... (quite impossible)
    Have a nice day!
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Also, I think 'irrelevance affects federalism more largely' probably means, "since feudalism was the platform influencing many European states, and since I see feudalism as being irrelevant but having a huge impact of millions of people, it hardly matters that one person like Monnet --who I don't think was very relevant anyway--got involved with it, but since he did, I now dismiss him as not worthy of further attention or discussion. His impact was zero, feudalism's was large." (or maybe something like that.:rolleyes:)
    More context is useful to understand the meaning -- and the context shows that Dale's interpretation is not quite correct. This is about federalism, not feudalism. In this context federalism refers to European integration, and the idea of a European federal union, as opposed to national sovereignty. Jean Monnet is known as the "founding father" of the European Union, and was one of the leading federalists. It is therefore unlikely that someone would regard Monnet as less important than the principle of federalism.

    As far as I can see, the meaning is simply that Milward thought that Monnet (the main proponent of federalism) was irrelevant, and so was federalism in general.
     

    kcip

    Member
    Chinese
    More context is useful to understand the meaning -- and the context shows that Dale's interpretation is not quite correct. This is about federalism, not feudalism. In this context federalism refers to European integration, and the idea of a European federal union, as opposed to national sovereignty. Jean Monnet is known as the "founding father" of the European Union, and was one of the leading federalists. It is therefore unlikely that someone would regard Monnet as less important than the principle of federalism.

    As far as I can see, the meaning is simply that Milward thought that Monnet (the main proponent of federalism) was irrelevant, and so was federalism in general.
    Your description of Monnet and federalism is so illuminating. Thank you for helping to clarify its meaning! =)
     
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