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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroadby Fareed Zakaria
Synopses & Reviews
Democracy has reshaped politics, economics, and culture around the world. This provocative book asks, can you have too much of a good thing?
Today we judge the value of every idea, institution, and individual by one test: is it popular? Or, more practically, do the majority of those polled like it? This transformation has affected not just politics but also business, law, culture, and even religion. Every institution and profession in society must democratize or die. Democracy has gone from being a form of government to a way of life.
Like any broad transformation, however, the trends that democracy unleashes are not uniformly benign. Democracy has its dark sides, yet to question it has been to provoke instant criticism that you are "out of sync" with the times. No more. With an easy command of history, philosophy, and current affairs, Zakaria reinterprets our past and outlines our future. Woodrow Wilson said the challenge of the twentieth century was to make the world safe for democracy. This penetrating book challenges us to make democracy safe for the world.
"It is possible that many of those who find Zakaria's analysis troubling will agree that in some measure it is at least realistic. Surely it is true, after all, that political development and economic wealth are closely related. Surely dictatorships have been more effective promoters of economic growth than democracies. Surely economic growth has in turn been essential to the democratic progress. And so it may be worth pointing out that, according to the most thorough and recent studies of this issue — studies upon which Zakaria himself relies — the answer on both points seems to be no." Robert Kagan, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
"A very thoughtful and intelligent book which is important for all Americans and those who would make American policy." Peter Jennings, ABC News
"Zakaria covers an immense amount of ground in this eloquent examination....forces us to think in new ways about values that Americans take for granted." Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
"[O]ne of the most important books on global political trends to appear in the past decade. Its sobering analysis has vital lessons for all of us concerned with freedom's future in the world." Samuel P. Huntington, author of Clash of Civilizations
"At once fascinating and illuminating." Bernard Lewis
"A learned, tough-minded, and intellectually courageous warning that easy bromides about democracy, if taken as a literal guide to policy, could make the world a more dangerous and less pleasant place." Nicholas Lemann
"Zakaria, one of the most brilliant young writers, has produced a fascinating and thought-provoking book on the impact of Western constitutional principles on the global order." Henry Kissinger
"In this incisive book, Zakaria asks searching questions and offers provocative answers....an impressive contribution to our understanding of the crises of democracy that lie darkly ahead." Arthur Schlesinger
Today, every idea, institution and individual is judged by its popularity. Democracy has gone from being a form of government to a way of life. Zakaria explores democracy's darker side, questioning its supremacy in order to reinterpret our past and outline our future.
"A work of tremendous originality and insight. ... Makes you see the world differently."--Washington Post
A modern classic that uses historical analysis to shed light on the present, The Future of Freedom is, as the Chicago Tribune put it, "essential reading for anyone worried about the promotion and preservation of liberty." Hailed by the New York Times as "brave and ambitious...updated Tocqueville," it enjoyed extended stays on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller lists and has been translated into eighteen languages. Prescient in laying out the distinction between democracy and liberty, the book now contains a new afterword on the United States's occupation of Iraq.
"Intensely provocative and valuable," according to BusinessWeek, with an easy command of history, philosophy, and current affairs, The Future of Freedom calls for a restoration of the balance between liberty and democracy and shows how politics and government can be made effective and relevant for our time.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 257-267) and index.
About the Author
Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The democratic age — A brief history of human liberty — The twisted path — Illiberal democracy — The Islamic exception — Too much of a good thing — The death of authority — The way out.
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