Books on Democracy and Liberty

On the road I’ve re-read Carl Schmitt’s most interesting challenge to liberalism, The Concept of the Political, which will be discussed at a conference I’m organizing in France later this summer. It’s a maddeningly strange book at times, but presents one of the best full-frontal assaults on liberalism (well, on civilization, in my opinion) I’ve ever read. (To get the full sense of what Schmitt is about, I also recommend reading Ernst Jünger’s In the Storm of Steel, which presents a gritty glorification of militarism and “the Ideals of 1914.”)

Another very interesting book, which I read in preparation for my talk in New Delhi on “Enduring Democracy and Limited Government,” is Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s insightful, daring, and highly intelligent The Burden of Democracy, which offers an economically, sociologically, and psychologically rich discussion of liberal democracy, with special attention to the context and history of India. Mehta’s short and very readable book (I warn that you will have to ask Mr. Google or Mr. Yahoo for help with some of the Indian political references) reminds me of the better sociologically-oriented essays of Joseph Schumpeter.

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3 Responses to “Books on Democracy and Liberty”

  1. I share your cold admiration for Schmitt. Btw, his philosophy has recently bridge theoretically Fascism/Nazism and Marxism, given birth in some circles in Europe to a Schmittian Marxism. Where will the conference be held?

  2. I remember how we discussed Carl Schmitt at one of our internship seminars…I suppose, in New Delhi you considered such controversial issues as democracy and freedom, equality and liberty, the rule of majority and individual rights, public good (welfare) and privacy. Or maybe I’ve mistaken.

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