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Lawrence B. Jung Chang. Doris Sommer. Yanis Varoufakis. James O'Brien. Branko Milanovic. Paul Collier. Neil McNaughton. Cathy O'neil. Arlie Russell Hochschild. Joseph A Schumpeter. Pascal Bruckner. Kishore Mahbubani.

Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies by Michael Signer

Simone Weil. Andrew Breitbart. Saul David Alinsky. Andrew Heywood. Harry M. Kimberley Strassel. Tomislav Sunic. Francis Fukuyama.

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Susan Neiman. Can history be transcended by budgetary adjustment? We are left only vaguely hopeful.

Demagogue : the fight to save democracy from its worst enemies /

Although Signer was not victorious himself, his approach to democracy promotion is already winning adherents in the Obama administration. Signer has been rightly praised for reminding us that just when we think liberal democracy is on an inevitable march, demagogues can swipe the rug out from beneath its feet. Arguably, in his belief that democracy will prevail without military might, he is even more confident than the neoconservatives he pillories. Confidence in democracy promotion may still hold steady in American foreign policy. But it calls for tremendous patience, and in the meantime, the waiting requires what can only be called a measure of faith.


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However, that is a faith President Obama seems prepared to accept. Powered by WordPress. Citizens were required to take an oath: I shall kill by word and deed, by vote and with my own hand, if I can, anyone who subverts the democracy of Athens…and whoever tries to become a tyrant or helps to install one. As political scientist Robert Dahl has explained : To assume that this country has remained a democracy because of its Constitution seems to me an obvious reversal of the relation; it is much more plausible to suppose that the Constitution has remained because our society is essentially democratic.

Search Search for:. Against Criticism. Three Poems. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Not as scholarly and well written as it should have been but popular level and timely in light of the threat Mr. Trump poses to our democracy and the rule of law. Jan 29, Michael Austin rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in Michel Signer's Demagogue is the sort of book that ought to be very good, because it deals with an extremely important topic, and the author is very well read and is a good writer to boot.

I found it only pretty good, though, because it lacked the focus that very good books require, and it ends up overshooting its own argument and landing somewhere else.

Politics Book Review: Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies by Michael Si...

The book begins as a historical survey of demagogues--those characters who come to power in a democracy by flattering people the people and then Michel Signer's Demagogue is the sort of book that ought to be very good, because it deals with an extremely important topic, and the author is very well read and is a good writer to boot. The book begins as a historical survey of demagogues--those characters who come to power in a democracy by flattering people the people and then try to change the rules once they are in office. Hitler was a demagogue.

Andrew Jackson was sort of a demagogue, but he didn't meet quite all of the criteria, so Signer gives him a pass. Donald Trump is definitely a demagogue, but this book was written in , so it can be forgiven for not mentioning the new guy. In the introduction, Signer gives four criteria for identifying demagogues, which he draws from James Fenimore Cooper's essay "On Demagogues.

The four statements he derives are there, but they are not listed as criteria, and they are mixed in with other potential criteria that Signer ignores. But the ones he gives work pretty well: As Cooper recognized, true demagogues meet four rules: 1 They fashion themselves as a man or woman of the common people, as opposed to the elites; 2 their politics depends on a powerful, visceral connection with the people that dramatically transcends ordinary political popularity; 3 they manipulate this connection, and the raging popularity it affords, for their own benefit and ambition; and 4 they threaten or outright break established rules of conduct, institutions, and even the law.