A Pulitzer Prize–winning historian explains, with electrifying clarity, why elites in democracies around the world are turning toward nationalism and authoritarianism. From the United States and Britain to continental Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege, while authoritarianism is on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, Anne Applebaum, an award-winning historian of Soviet atrocities who was one of the first American journalists to raise an alarm about antidemocratic trends in the West, explains the lure of nationalism and autocracy. In this captivating essay, she contends that political systems with radically simple beliefs are inherently appealing, especially when they benefit the loyal to the exclusion of everyone else. Despotic leaders do not rule alone; they rely on political allies, bureaucrats, and media figures to pave their way and support their rule. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have arisen within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. Applebaum describes many of the new advocates of illiberalism in countries around the world, showing how they use conspiracy theory, political polarization, social media, and even nostalgia to change their societies. Elegantly written and urgently argued, Twilight of Democracy is a brilliant dissection of a world-shaking shift and a stirring glimpse of the road back to democratic values.
Challenging conventional beliefs, a retired CIA analyst argues that democracy is an outdated and doomed form of government that cannot keep pace with rapid change, and that only highly trained technocrats with enormous authority are capable of guiding a nation. Tour.
In The Twilight of Democracy, Jennifer Van Bergen dissects the signs of something gone terribly wrong. A massive superstructure is being constructed, whose shape can be discerned by the 2000 election, the enactment of the PATRIOT Act, the detentions at Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq, the withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, the promotion of the FTAA, the eradication of environmental protections, and a policy of increasing secrecy. Jennifer Van Bergen helped raise the alarm with her six-part series “Repeal the Patriot Act.” She is an adjunct faculty member of the New School for Social Research in NYC since 1993. She lectures on the antiterrorism laws and the Constitution.
By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics. The Twilight of Equality?searches out these links through an analysis of the politics of the 1990s, the decade when neoliberalism-free market economics-became gospel. After a brilliant historical examination of how racial and gender inequities were woven into the very theoretical underpinnings of the neoliberal model of the state, Duggan shows how these inequities play out today. In a series of political case studies, Duggan reveals how neoliberal goals have been pursued, demonstrating that progressive arguments that separate identity politics and economic policy, cultural politics and affairs of state, can only fail. Ultimately,The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned but, more importantly, it shows a way to revitalize and unify progressive politics in the U.S. today.
On the heels of his national bestseller Worse Than Watergate, John Dean takes a critical look at the current conservative movement In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean places the conservative movement's inner circle of leaders in the Republican Party under scrutiny. Dean finds their policies and mind- set to be fundamentally authoritarian, and as such, a danger to democracy. By examining the legacies of such old-line conservatives as J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro Agnew, and Phyllis Schlafly and of such current figures as Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and leaders of the Religious Right, Dean presents an alarming record of abuses of power. His trenchant analysis of how conservatism has lost its bearings serves as a chilling warning and a stirring inspiration to safeguard constitutional principles.
Winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and Iron Curtain, winner of the Cundill Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award, a revelatory history of Stalin's greatest crime. In 1929, Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization -- in effect a second Russian revolution -- which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people perished between 1931 and 1933 in the U.S.S.R. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum reveals for the first time that three million of them died not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy, but because the state deliberately set out to kill them. Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: that Stalin set out to exterminate a vast swath of the Ukrainian population and replace them with more cooperative, Russian-speaking peasants. A peaceful Ukraine would provide the Soviets with a safe buffer between itself and Europe, and would be a bread basket region to feed Soviet cities and factory workers. When the province rebelled against collectivization, Stalin sealed the borders and began systematic food seizures. Starving, people ate anything: grass, tree bark, dogs, corpses. In some cases they killed one another for food. Devastating and definitive, Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil.
A landmark book that completely transforms our understanding of the crisis of liberalism, from two pre-eminent intellectuals Why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance? In the early 1990s, hopes for the eastward spread of liberal democracy were high. And yet the transformation of Eastern European countries gave rise to a bitter repudiation of liberalism itself, not only there but also back in the heartland of the West. In this brilliant work of political psychology, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argue that the supposed end of history turned out to be only the beginning of an Age of Imitation. Reckoning with the history of the last thirty years, they show that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe stems from resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernized. Through this prism, the Trump revolution represents an ironic fulfillment of the promise that the nations exiting from communist rule would come to resemble the United States. In a strange twist, Trump has elevated Putin's Russia and Orbán's Hungary into models for the United States. Written by two pre-eminent intellectuals bridging the East/West divide, The Light that Failed is a landmark book that sheds light on the extraordinary history of our Age of Imitation.
Julien Benda's classic study of 1920s Europe resonates today. The "treason of the intellectuals" is a phrase that evokes much but is inherently ambiguous. The book bearing this title is well known but little understood. This edition is introduced by Roger Kimball. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals were a breed apart. They were non-materialistic knowledge-seekers who believed in a universal humanism and represented a cornerstone of civilized society. According to Benda, this all began to change in the early twentieth century. In Europe in the 1920s, intellectuals began abandoning their attachment to traditional philosophical and scholarly ideals, and instead glorified particularisms and moral relativism. The "treason" of which Benda writes is the betrayal by the intellectuals of their unique vocation. He criticizes European intellectuals for allowing political commitment to insinuate itself into their understanding of the intellectual vocation, ushering the world into "the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds." From the savage flowering of ethnic and religious hatreds in the Middle East and throughout Europe today to the mendacious demand for political correctness and multiculturalism on college campuses everywhere in the West, the treason of the intellectuals continues to play out its unedifying drama.
“When Gessen speaks about autocracy, you listen.” —The New York Times “The Platonic ideal of the anti-Trump Trump book.” —The Washington Post As seen on MSNBC Morning Joe and heard on NPR All Things Considered: the bestselling, National Book Award-winning journalist offers an essential guide to understanding, resisting, and recovering from the ravages of our tumultuous times. In the run-up to the 2016 election, Masha Gessen stood out from other journalists for the ability to convey the ominous significance of Donald Trump’s speech and behavior, unprecedented in a national candidate. Within forty-eight hours of his victory, the essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, and Gessen’s coverage of his norm-smashing presidency became essential reading for a citizenry struggling to wrap their heads around the unimaginable. Thanks to the special perspective that is the legacy of a Soviet childhood and two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Gessen has a sixth sense for signs of autocracy—and the unique cross-cultural fluency to delineate its emergence to Americans. This incisive book provides an indispensable overview of the calamitous trajectory of the past few years. Gessen not only highlights the corrosion of the media, the judiciary, and the cultural norms we hoped would save us but also tells us the story of how a short few years have changed us, from a people who saw ourselves as a nation of immigrants to a populace haggling over a border wall, heirs to a degraded sense of truth, meaning, and possibility. Surviving Autocracy is an inventory of ravages but also a beacon to recovery—or to enduring, and resisting, an ongoing assault.
A passionate account of how the gulf between France’s metropolitan elites and its working classes are tearing the country apart Christophe Guilluy, a French geographer, makes the case that France has become an “American society”—one that is both increasingly multicultural and increasingly unequal. The divide between the global economy’s winners and losers in today’s France has replaced the old left‑right split, leaving many on “the periphery.” As Guilluy shows, there is no unified French economy, and those cut off from the country’s new economic citadels suffer disproportionately on both economic and social fronts. In Guilluy’s analysis, the lip service paid to the idea of an “open society” in France is a smoke screen meant to hide the emergence of a closed society, walled off for the benefit of the upper classes. The ruling classes in France are reaching a dangerous stage, he argues; without the stability of a growing economy, the hope for those excluded from growth is extinguished, undermining the legitimacy of a multicultural nation.