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The Demon in Democracy

Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies
Narrated by: Liam Gerrard
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: History, European
4.5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ryszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades - and he fought with the Polish anti-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar presuppositions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature.

In The Demon in Democracy, Legutko explores the shared objectives between these two political systems, and explains how liberal democracy has, over time, lurched towards the same goals as communism, albeit without Soviet-style brutality.

Both systems, says Legutko, reduce human nature to that of the common man, who is led to believe himself liberated from the obligations of the past. Both the communist man and the liberal democratic man refuse to admit that there exists anything of value outside the political systems to which they pledged their loyalty. And both systems refuse to undertake any critical examination of their ideological prejudices.

©2016 Ryszard Legutko (P)2017 Tantor

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 08-02-19

Important book on political philosophy

Polish political philosopher Ryszard Legutko very credibly compares the excesses of communism to those of liberal democracy of the type practiced by the European Union. He finds little to like about either. Legutko's arguments are strong and well documented. THE DEMON IS DEMOCRACY is a must read book for those interested in politics. Unfortunately narration by Liam Gerrard is not a good match for the contents of the book. This book is not a good fit for the audio format due to the very heavy subject matter and the depth of Ryszard Legutko's arguments.

I've written over 2300 reviews of Audible books and have refrained from negative comments about another review. However, the very negative review of this book by Tom S of London literally begs for a response. The review reeks of personal animosity toward the author. My advice to potential listeners of this book is to give the review the credit it deserves and ignore it completely.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Slow to start but riveting by the end

The narration is a bit dry, but hey, it’s an extended essay about political and ideological theory. Legutko‘s thesis and observations on modern liberal-democracy are penetrating, fresh, and insightful to those who have ears to hear.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Sore loser

There are real 'demons' or problems in democracy of which I had hoped to learn more. But the book quickly descends into the name dropping often seen to try to add legitimacy to poorly supported claims. The author uses it nonstop to reiterate his ideas, ad nauseum without achieving to make a compelling case.

I thought I'd finish it to see someone else's point but what a waste of time and money.

often his arguments start in a way that look like he has a point but leaves a lingering suspicion. Shortly thereafter, the argument's absurdity is displayed by cherry picked instances at best and outright distortions more usually.
Of course to him, who claims liberal democracy is a homogeneous block opposed to him, it is a quasi dictatorship.
Of course, to him, an academic, all other academics are blind and mindless.
When there is one fool in the room and you see many...

Regarding actual problems of democracy, his complaints would not fill a half page.

He is deeply anti European, claiming there can be no European society, willfully ignoring that not too long ago there was no German or Italian people, that the sense of community came with time and that today an Italian certainly thinks there is an Italian society.

if you are a right wing nutjob on the Alex Jones spectrum, maybe this is your echo chamber, that is if you believe that religious freedom and equality only counts for Christians and that according other religious groups the same right is discriminatory to your privileges then this is your guy. This guy also pretends that women and gays are privileged groups. Removing bigoted discrimination apparently makes those groups privileged rather than treated equal. So if you are a heterosexual man full of complexes that giving the 'weaker sex' the same position as men, worried about a war on you, you might find support here. Just don't try to explain away how the 'strong sex' has anything to fear from being given an equal starting point with the weak.

Oh yeah, if you like beating your wife, this is also for you. The author is outraged at the idea that a government intervene in matters of domestic violence. of course, written with plausible deniability.

I pity this man so thoroughly stuck in the far past by a profound fear of reality and the democracy that shapes it. A reality in which Christianity is less of a priority than in the dark ages. A reality in which he is a sore loser of a democratic process.

1 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Paula Wright
  • 10-11-18

Very important and timely book

Western civilization stands on the precipice of unprecedented success or collapse. This book helps nudge us towards success. A must read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony
  • 09-08-19

Deconstructing today's ruling ideology

For Legutko, the ideology ruling the modern West is "liberal democracy". (Perhaps "neo-Marxism" would be a more descriptive term for it.) He critiques this ideology, while revealing key similarities between it and Leninist Communism.