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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad | [Fareed Zakaria]

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

American democracy is, in many people's minds, the model for the rest of the world. Fareed Zakaria points out that the American form of democracy is one of the least democratic in use today. Members of the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve, institutions that fundamentally shape our lives, are appointed, not elected. The Bill of Rights enumerates a set of privileges to which citizens are entitled, no matter what the majority says. By restricting our democracy, we enhance our freedom.
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Publisher's Summary

More democracy means more freedom. Or does it?

American democracy is, in many people's minds, the model for the rest of the world. Fareed Zakaria points out that the American form of democracy is one of the least democratic in use today. Members of the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve, institutions that fundamentally shape our lives, are appointed, not elected. The Bill of Rights enumerates a set of privileges to which citizens are entitled, no matter what the majority says. By restricting our democracy, we enhance our freedom.

©2003 Fareed Zakaria; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A work of tremendous originality and insight." (Washington Post)
"Thought-provoking and timely." (Publishers Weekly)
"A very thoughtful and intelligent book." (Peter Jennings)
"A provocative critique of political trends fast democratizing the entire globe." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (162 )
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  •  
    G Barth Cambridge, MA, United States 03-26-04
    G Barth Cambridge, MA, United States 03-26-04 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb Survey of Modern Democratic Issues"

    First, it is a disappointment that Fareed Zakaria doesn't read this--he has an engaging voice. Regardless, this is an important, rich, thoughful and nuanced work. About the best quick preparation for understanding the roots of democracies and republics and the challenges we face on a global scale in making the case for 'our' form of government. Fascinating history, too!

    22 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Plymouth, MN, United States 12-07-05
    Robert Plymouth, MN, United States 12-07-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Great Insight to the U.S. political system"

    It takes a while to get started but the background is necessary to understanding and appreciate the author's analysis of how the best of intentions to increase freedoms and political participation by more people have not gone as planned. The author offers some insight as to the problems sought to be corrected, what went wrong, and some ideas of what needs to be done. A very good book for those interested in the political processes taking place in America today

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Great Falls, VA, USA 05-05-05
    Bruce Great Falls, VA, USA 05-05-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Excellent review of democracy and liberty"

    I won't bother to summarize. Listen to the book. I can't believe some of the other reviewers actually listened to this book. The author is very careful to define democracy and republic, and to distinguish between the different types of democracies. He emphasizes how constitutional safeguards to liberty are essential, and how "too much" democracy can undermine these. But don't rely on my feeble attempts to describe it. Listen to it. You'll be glad you did.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew WASHINGTON, DC, United States 11-28-12
    Matthew WASHINGTON, DC, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Great Book... Terrible Narrator"
    What did you love best about The Future of Freedom?

    Great arguements. Very relevant to the disfunction we are seeing today in many democracies. Very engaging style of writing.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ned Schmidtke’s performances?

    Definitely not. Worst narrator I have ever heard. Could not even pronounce the author's name. Got several place names very wrong (such as Mumbai) and the occasional word too. Worst was IRA (the retirement plan)... "Ira [Hayes]". I listened to the book


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline 05-11-09
    Caroline 05-11-09
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    "TERRIBLE READER"

    The content of Mr. Zakaria's work is great but the reader is one of the worst I've heard to date. His over-emphasis on enunciation of every consonant and syllable of every word is distracting (particularly w/the word "democratic" which occurs frequently). He reads too slow and in a tone of voice that makes me feel like I'm back in Sunday school. I have to struggle to pay attention and NOT just want to turn it off, go buy the book, and read it myself! I would rather have listened to Mr Zakaria himself.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Austin, TX, USA 05-02-04
    Kelly Austin, TX, USA 05-02-04
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    "The Future of Freedom"

    This was an excellent study of what liberty is really about. Democracy does not ensure liberty and the author outlines the necessary elements to a successful LIBERAL Democracy.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drayton Boston, MA, USA 04-25-04
    Drayton Boston, MA, USA 04-25-04
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    "Excellent Audio Book"

    This book ties-in so well with current events. Although the US attempt to create a democratic government in Iraq is not specifically covered, this book will definitely help clarify the challenges the US faces in attempting to create a "democratic Iraq". Of course, many other "current events" topics will come to mind as you listen to this fascinating book.

    Excellent narrator... very interesting topics... I highly recommend this audio book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHESTER LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-02-14
    CHESTER LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-02-14 Member Since 2007

    Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.

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    "FREEDOM IN DEMOCRACY"

    Fareed Zakaria published “The Future of Freedom” in 2003; a lot has happened since then. However, this Indian born, Yale and Harvard educated government policy wonk has written an interesting treatise on a glaring weakness of democracy that continues to resonate in 2014.

    Zakaria believes the ideal of democracy, rule by the people with one-person-one-vote, distorts the founding principles of the original framers of the American Constitution. His compelling argument is that an unexpected consequence of sunshine, sunset, initiative referendum, and election campaign laws have changed the way elected officials represent their constituency by allowing lobbyists, population poling, and campaign financing, rather than individual conscience, determine legislative decision.

    Opinion-poll-decision-making, and election financing are distorting the original framer's intent for government to be a representative balance of powers with three distinct branches that deliberatively guide legislative action. Democracy is in danger of dissolving into a chaos of unpredictability and dysfunction because our Republic has become too democratic.

    Zakaria touches the themes of many books that have been critiqued in previous book reviews; i.e. beginning with an essay on the fiction of Charlotte Bronte in “A Woman of Substance”, 7/16/2011 and non –fiction reviews titled “Capitalism” (10/1/2011), “Occupy Wall Street” (11/2/2011), and "Wake up America".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wade T. Brooks Portland, OR, USA 06-25-12
    Wade T. Brooks Portland, OR, USA 06-25-12
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    "An Amazing Book - A Must Read"

    An absolutely amazing book every American needs to read. Discussed is the difference between a democracy, a representative republic, and a constitutional republic. Why constitutions are good at defending individual freedoms and why democracy and majority rule (w/out a constitution) tend to degrade them.

    It is not only a philosophical discussion; there is a historical and practical focus on how governments have implemented these principles across the globe with a strong focus on the U.S. It dives as deep as the referendum process allowing the people to directly pass and recall legislation in California and how that circumvention of the elected officials can lead to the mass pandering, ineffective government we have today.

    One of the most interesting aspects was the economic statistical characteristics present when democratic governments fail or succeed.

    One of my top 10 recommended reads.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-02-10
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-02-10 Member Since 2008
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    "excellent"

    good observations about weaknesses of democracy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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