Conservatism Liberalism

Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst by Michael Signer

By Michael Signer

A demagogue is a tyrant who owes his preliminary upward push to the democratic aid of the hundreds. Huey lengthy, Hugo Chavez, and Moqtada al-Sadr are all transparent examples of this risky byproduct of democracy. Demagogue takes an extended view of the struggle to shield democracy from inside of, from the brutal normal Cleon in historical Athens, the demagogues who plagued the bloody French Revolution, George W. Bush's na?ve democratic scan in Iraq, and past. This compelling narrative weaves tales approximately a few of history's so much interesting figures, together with Adolf Hitler, Senator Joe McCarthy, and common Douglas Macarthur, and explains how humanity's urge for liberty may give upward push to darkish forces that threaten that very freedom. To find the answer to democracy's demagogue challenge, the ebook delves into the tales of 4 nice thinkers who all individually struggled with democracy--Plato, Alexis de Tocqueville, Leo Strauss, and Hannah Arendt.

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But Cleon discovered and asserted an untraveled path to power—oratory. During a meeting of the Assembly, he staged an attack on Pericles for the “misuse of public funds”—corruption. Such inquiries were common in Athens’ extremely litigious society, and Pericles had escaped them before. But this time he was entangled in the people’s anger. Led by Cleon, the Assembly fined Pericles the great sum of fifty talents. 40 Athens now entered the wilderness of the demagogue. Pericles recovered his generalship when the demos, fickle as always, voted him back into office several months later.

9 To understand the concerns that drove the formulation of the American Constitution and that linger in our thoughts even today (though we might not realize it), we need to understand the intimate connection between the most hopeful of political ideas and the most dreaded political villain. ♦ DEFINING THE DEMAGOGUE A FEW DEFINITIONS WILL FIRST BE HELPFUL. LET’S BEGIN WITH democracy. At its simplest level, democracy is a political system that grants power based on what large groups of people want.

Plato’s solution to the problems he watched in Athens was to create a state where a group of “Guardians” made every important political decision. Each young potential Guardian was culled from the general population at a young age and carefully cultivated—like a kind of human orchid—his entire adult life, until he was adjudicated competent to become one of the rulers of the city. This certifiably nutty scheme has entranced generations of thinkers with a penchant for authoritarianism and a distrust of the messiness and unpredictability of mass decision making.

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