Review: Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect

5 Star, Civil Society, Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Justice (Failure, Reform), Power (Pathologies & Utilization)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Erudition Demanding Concentration–Need Lay Chapter or Pamphlet
October 12, 2009
Paul A. Rahe
This is an extraordinary book offering a very detailed and superbly integrated examination of the consistencies and differences among Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Tocqueville, both to illuminate precisely what was in the Founding Father's minds when they sought to create a Republic of, by, and for We the People; and how distant we have migrated from that ideal.

As other reviewers have noted, this is not for the lay person or even the average Libertarian, for whom I would like to see (and would benefit myself) a pamphlet or article version. This is erudition in its highest form, offering a painstakingly devised integration and application of the works of three author's to the question: “what is the ideal state of unfettered democracy, and where does the USA stand in that regard?”

The book begins with an utterly devastating full page quote from Tocqueville in which I underline the words “petty and vulgar pleasures,” “elevated an immense, tutelary power,” “a network of petty regulations,” and “it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born.”

Published in 2009 this book is totally current with our recent financial collapse based on Congressional failures of integrity combined with Wall Street moral hazard and bad judgment, and the author notes that as of 2008 25% or more of US citizens were not happy with the state of America or its government. I believe a more telling statistic is the migration of over 44% of the population away from the two-party tyranny and toward declared Independent status. See also:

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Journal: Paul Rahe and Charles Gasparino on Obama’s Implosion

Government, Policies, Policy, Reform, Strategy

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Burned by Obama:Wall St. execs feel betrayed

By CHARLES GASPARINO,September 29, 2009

Obama, according to Wall Street people who regularly deal with his economic and budget officials, is acting as if he has a blank check to do what he wants, while ignoring the longterm costs of his policies.

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Paul Rahe: Obama's wrecking crew

September 30, 200

When I was working on my book Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift, I read a work that Walter Lippmann, the co-founder of The New Republic, published in 1937. In it, with an eye to the New Deal, he observed that, while

the partisans who are now fighting for the mastery of the modern world wear shirts of different colors, their weapons are drawn from the same armory, their doctrines are variations of the same theme, and they go forth to battle singing the same tune with slightly different words. . . .

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