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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
Author: Fareed Zakaria
ISBN 13: 9780393047646
ISBN 10: 393047644
Edition: 1st
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2003-04
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
List Price: $24.95

Liberty and Democracy. The two go hand in hand in popular thinking, fused by more than two hundred years of U.S. history. More democracy means more freedom. Or does it? At a time when democracy is transcendent, the one political system whose legitimacy is unquestioned, this deeply important book points out the tensions between democracy and freedom. It ranges widely through the past and present to remind us that we can have too much of a good thing. Take American democracy, in many peoples' minds the model for the rest of the world. Fareed Zakaria points out that the American form of democracy is one of the least democratic in use today. Members of the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve -- institutions that fundamentally shape our lives -- are appointed, not elected. The Bill of Rights enumerates a set of privileges to which citizens are entitled no matter what the majority says. By restricting our democracy, we enhance our freedom. Nonetheless, we fall into the mistake of thinking, both at home and abroad, that the answer to our problems is always more democracy. But look at the post-Watergate reforms, which opened up politics. They brought into the halls of Congress not the voice of the people but the cries of special interests, well-organized minorities, and money. American government today is more democratic than ever before -- and also more dysfunctional. Abroad, the problem is that the spread of democracy has not produced a corresponding growth of liberty. We are seeing in many parts of the world, from Russia to Venezuela to the Palestinian Authority, a strange creature -- the elected autocrat. In the Arab world in particular we see societies trapped between repressive dictatorships and fanatical masses. Is there a way out? There is. Zakaria calls for a restoration of the balance between liberty and democracy and shows how liberal democracy has to be made effective and relevant for our times. Woodrow Wilson said the challenge of the twentieth century w

The New York Times Sunday Book Review

In his brave and ambitious book, Fareed Zakaria has updated Tocqueville. The Future of Freedom is brave because its central conclusion — that liberty is threatened by an excess of democracy — is deeply unfashionable and easily misrepresented. — Niall Ferguson