Another "MUST READ" book for RJers

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    Jun 21, 2008 2:41 AM GMT
    The Future of Freedom - Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria


    This is another cool book with lots of information in it.

    The first part of the book gives a real quick history of the development of liberty and democracy. We tend to conflate the two but they are not and their development is separate.

    One of the neat things you learn is that you can actually predict the likelihood of success of democracy in a county by its per capita income:

    Under $1500...democratic regime life expectency: 8 years
    Betw. $1500 and $3000...18 years
    Over $6000..."highly resilient"

    And also, basically, no middle class, no democracy. And the middle class has to earn its way there. This is explained in the book

    In America: No America without democracy, No democracy without politics, No politics without parties.

    Liberty is the freedom from abitrary authority, equal treatment under the law. Democracy can actually be deterimental to liberty in those societies with the lower per capita income. Liberal autocracy can actually better facilitate the development and maintenance of the institutions of democracy until there is a stable middle class with sufficient wealth.

    The second part of the book examines how liberty has decreased as democracy has increased. More democracy isnt always good for maintaining liberty.

    One bad aspect of democracy that we as gay have first hand knowledge of is "tyranny of the majority." This is recognized as a potential problem by James Madison and written about in the Federalist Papers. It is also why JM described the United States as a republic, not a democracy.

    Unrestrained democracy can overwhelm and destroy liberties and tear a society apart as the politicians start pandering to definite segments of the society in order to get elected. We see this with gay rights. No politician will stand up for gay rights as long as it is likely to keep him/her from getting elected. State constitutions ...and maybe someday the federal constitution... can be amended to deny the full rights of society to a minority by a democratic majority.

    There is much, much more in this book developing these and related topics.

    ...and you thought all I did was post in RJ and puruse LOLcats....harumph!
    I heartily recommend this book as one that has so much information in such a short read. It can expand a reader's understanding of the topics so much, so quickly, and so easily.

    I hope all members of RJ will get it and read it.

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    Jun 21, 2008 2:53 PM GMT
    Let me pop this back up here, since I posted it so late and I really think the book is a valuable read.