The Demons of Liberal Democracy
The Demons of Liberal Democracy

Liberals blame the global retreat of liberal democracy on globalisation and authoritarian leaders. Only liberalism, so they assume, can defend democratic rule against multinationals or populists at home and abroad. In this provocative book, Adrian Pabst contends that liberal democracy is illiberal and undemocratic – intolerant about the values of ordinary people while concentrating power and wealth in the hands of unaccountable elites.

Under the influence of contemporary liberalism, democracy is sliding into oligarchy, demagogy and anarchy. Liberals, far from defending open markets and free speech, promote monopolies such as the new tech giants that undermine competition and democratic debate. Liberal individualism has eroded the social bonds and civic duties on which democracy depends for trust and cooperation. To banish liberal democracy’s demons, Pabst proposes radical ideas for economic democracy, a politics of persuasion and a better balance of personal freedom with social solidarity.

This book’s defence of democratic politics against both liberals and populists will speak to all readers trying to understand our age of upheaval.

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  • April 2019
  • 160 pages
  • 140 x 223 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509528448
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509528455
  • Open eBook $12.99
  • 9781509528486
About the Author

Adrian Pabst is Reader in Politics at the University of Kent, a leading thinker in the ‘Blue Labour’ movement, and co-author of The Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future.

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‘History has been up-ended. Western liberal democracy is in crisis. This book is a brilliant, concise diagnosis of this state of modern affairs. It is essential reading, whether you’re a political philosopher, practising politician or concerned citizen.’
Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham

‘Instead of avoiding the implications of the revolt against elites of our time, this book proposes a highly provocative return to recessive elements of the liberal tradition that emphasised the necessity of community and solidarity. Only if it confronts its demons, Adrian Pabst says, can democracy survive its moment of crisis.’
Samuel Moyn, Yale University

‘Hard-hitting, polemical at times, and makes a powerful case.’
Andrew Gamble, University of Sheffield

"A brief but thorough and highly readable diagnosis of our times. Pabst’s book is a pithy, nuanced, and provocative take on the travails of Western liberalism."
Front Porch Republic

“Pabst offers an eminent analysis of the numerous flaws of liberal democracy […] This is a solid diagnosis of our times, and it is full of alarm bells.”
Hans Henrik Fafner, Ny Tid – The Oslo Review of Books and Docs


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