In this timely and important work, eminent political theorist John Dunn argues that democracy is not synonymous with good government. The author explores the labyrinthine reality behind the basic concept of democracy, demonstrating how the political system that people in the West generally view as straightforward and obvious is, in fact, deeply unclear and, in many cases, dysfunctional. Consisting of four thought-provoking lectures, Dunn's book sketches the path by which democracy became the only form of government with moral legitimacy, analyzes the contradictions and pitfalls of modern American democracy, and challenges the academic world to take responsibility for giving the world a more coherent understanding of this widely misrepresented political institution. Suggesting that the supposedly ideal marriage of liberal economics with liberal democracy can neither ensure its continuance nor even address the problems of contemporary life, this courageous analysis attempts to show how we came to be so gripped by democracy's spell and why we must now learn to break it.
Publisher: Yale University Press