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Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies

by

Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A demagogue is a tyrant who owes his initial rise to the democratic support of the masses. Huey Long, Hugo Chavez, and Moqtada al-Sadr are all clear examples of this dangerous byproduct of democracy. Demagogue takes a long view of the fight to defend democracy from within, from the brutal general Cleon in ancient Athens, the demagogues who plagued the bloody French Revolution, George W. Bush's naïve democratic experiment in Iraq, and beyond. This compelling narrative weaves stories about some of history's most fascinating figures, including Adolf Hitler, Senator Joe McCarthy, and General Douglas Macarthur, and explains how humanity's urge for liberty can give rise to dark forces that threaten that very freedom. To find the solution to democracy's demagogue problem, the book delves into the stories of four great thinkers who all personally struggled with democracy--Plato, Alexis de Tocqueville, Leo Strauss, and Hannah Arendt.

Review:

"Signer, senior policy adviser at the Center for American Progress, delivers hope, confidence and a vision for diplomacy amid a discussion of why the United States has eluded the grip of the demagogue via its collective 'constitutional conscience.' While the U.S. has created opportunities for demagogues abroad, it has consistently marginalized and suffocated demagogues at home, from Huey Long to George W. Bush, not by definition a demagogue, but whose attempts to trump the Constitution met with 'vigilance against... [his] bullying.' According to the author, these charismatic leaders typically emerge during times of national crises; their identification with the common people elicits deep emotional responses — yet societies can be immune if the rule of law supersedes the power of the individual charged with enforcing it. The book signals the need for a new direction in foreign policy, revealing how the U.S. frequently gives demagogues just 'what they seek... an easily hated enemy for them to agitate the masses against.' 'The story of America's struggle with demagogues,' Signer writes, 'is the story of America herself.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Michael Signer is Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for American Progress and Senior National Security Policy Fellow at the think tank Third Way. He was Senator John Edwards' foreign policy advisor on his presidential campaign. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and he has been interviewed by The Washington Post, NPR, and MSNBC, among others. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Freedom at the Brink

PART I: THE CYCLE OF REGIMES

The Founding Fathers' Nightmare

Defining the Demagogue

Democracy's Own Worst Enemy

Cleon of Athens

An Enemy of the People

The Student Rebels

A City Learns

PART II: DEMAGOGUERY IN AMERICA

George W. Bush: Demagogue?

Watering the Tree of Liberty

A Peculiar Institution

'King Mob'

The Reign of Terror

The Demagogue and the Devil

America's Achilles Heel

Americans Fight Back

A Red-Baiter and an American Caesar

PART III: THE MODERN STRUGGLE

Ignoring Iraqis

The Cycle Begins Again

A Philosopher-King?

The Neoconservative Père et Fils

Democratic Dominion

The End of Complicity

Seduction and Resolution

PART IV: DEFYING THE DEMAGOGUE

Constitutionalism

The Errors of the Past

Moving Forward

Theory and Practice

From Hubris to Strength

CONCLUSION: AMERICA THE EXCEPTIONAL

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780230606241
Author:
Signer, Michael
Publisher:
Palgrave MacMillan
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Fascism & Totalitarianism
Subject:
Political culture
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.45 x 1.09 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General

Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$34.99 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Palgrave MacMillan - English 9780230606241 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Signer, senior policy adviser at the Center for American Progress, delivers hope, confidence and a vision for diplomacy amid a discussion of why the United States has eluded the grip of the demagogue via its collective 'constitutional conscience.' While the U.S. has created opportunities for demagogues abroad, it has consistently marginalized and suffocated demagogues at home, from Huey Long to George W. Bush, not by definition a demagogue, but whose attempts to trump the Constitution met with 'vigilance against... [his] bullying.' According to the author, these charismatic leaders typically emerge during times of national crises; their identification with the common people elicits deep emotional responses — yet societies can be immune if the rule of law supersedes the power of the individual charged with enforcing it. The book signals the need for a new direction in foreign policy, revealing how the U.S. frequently gives demagogues just 'what they seek... an easily hated enemy for them to agitate the masses against.' 'The story of America's struggle with demagogues,' Signer writes, 'is the story of America herself.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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