The progressive development of civilization is subject to a natural and irrevocable course, derived from the laws of human organisation, which in turn becomes the supreme law of all political phenomena. (Comte,  1998: 93)
As Auguste Comte vigorously critiqued liberalism, it was only to be expected that a counter- critique would be returned. It is clear that Comte remains as relevant today as Spencer and Marx. They share the common project of developing a science of society, and this took a new form in the nineteenth century. After a long period in which Comte and Spencer were considered merely proto- social scientists, they re- emerged with the rise of neo- liberalism's attack on social planning as crucial references. Comte's own analyses of European history identified a number of pathways from feudalism to industrialism, and he predicted the rise of a new autocratic system in which an intellectual elite would oversee and govern a temporal order run by a patrician stratum. The parliamentary democratic order would be a transitional phase to a “sociocratic” one (Gane, 2016). Against Spencer and Marx, Comte argued the state would not wither away: The democratic state, which he called the metaphysical polity based on principles of equality and human rights, would be replaced by a new hierarchical system legitimated by social science (a thematic developed from Saint- Simon). If we examine the main players in the politics of the world today, America, Europe, Russia, India and China, for example, it is clear that the entry of neo- liberal economics has created new and rather strange combinations— a new condition of “post- democracy,” new levels of inequality, the rise of new autocracies. It is instructive to view this new condition through the Comtean optic. Before discussing the critiques of Comte, it is necessary, however, to contextualize the emergence of his theories, and then finally turn to the relevance of Comte today.
Essential Context: Revolution
The revolution that began in 1789 in France was an event that dominated the political theatre of Europe at the opening of the nineteenth century. The radical theory written by Mary Wollstonecraft in the early 1790s, influential on the young Comte, was beginning to pose the revolution in the framework of social progression: “An aristocracy […] is naturally the first form of government.