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The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies Paperback – 12 Jul 2018

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; Reprint, Translation edition (12 July 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594039917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594039911
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


“Ryszard Legutko is a prophet. He fought communism as a young man, and today, he fights communism's far more sophisticated successors. Anyone who wants to know how to read the signs of our times must first read Legutko. The Demon in Democracy is one of those rare books with the power to utterly change the way you see the world.”

―Rod Dreher, senior editor of The American Conservative, author of The Benedict Option

“Ryszard Legutko has written the indispensable book about the current crisis of liberalism and the relationship of liberalism to democracy. Incisive and deeply learned, steeped in the history and thought of Europe, it has proven widely influential in America and beyond.”

―Adrian Vermeule, Ralph S. Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

“In this wonderfully thoughtful and provocative book, Ryszard Legutko defends the moral contents of life (among them the Church and religion, the nation, classical metaphysics, moral conservatism, and the family) against a destructive ideology that has usurped the name of democracy. In graceful and pungent prose, he shows that the health and well-being of democracy depends on these humanizing and ennobling contents of life that are threatened by a utopian and politically correct form of ‘democracy.’ This is the conundrum that Legutko’s book explores. It is as relevant to the United States and Western Europe as it is to those in the former Soviet Bloc who are mistakenly trying to ‘catch up’ to a West that is in the process of losing its soul. This book deserves the widest readership.”

―Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College

“No one is better qualified, whether by practical experience of totalitarianism, historical knowledge or philosophical depth, than Ryszard Legutko to cast a cool, impartial and ironic eye on the condition of modern liberal democracy. Always readable, he manages to avoid complacency without surrendering to despair.”

―Anthony Daniels, author and contributing editor of City Journal

“Legutko's compact study of the totalitarian tendencies of modern democracy is a work of scintillating brilliance. Every page is brimming with insights that at first surprise, but once digested, strike one as obvious. Legutko is a deeply learned but accessible guide through the apparent contradictions of liberalism's assault on liberty, democracy's dismissiveness toward ordinary people, and the anti-politics of a world obsessed by politics. I underlined most of the book upon first reading, and have underlined nearly all the rest during several re-readings. It is the most insightful work of political philosophy during this still young, but troubled century.”

―Patrick J. Deneen, David A. Potenziani Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

From the Author

Ryszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades―and he fought with the Polish anti-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar presuppositions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature. 

In The Demon in Democracy, Legutko explores the shared objectives between these two political systems, and explains how liberal democracy has over time lurched towards the same goals as communism, albeit without Soviet style brutality. 

Both systems, says Legutko, reduce human nature to that of the common man, who is led to believe himself liberated from the obligations of the past. Both the communist man and the liberal democratic man refuse to admit that there exists anything of value outside the political systems to which they pledged their loyalty. And both systems refuse to undertake any critical examination of their ideological prejudices. 

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