Professor Ralph Wood, the gifted writer and teacher, works his craft at Baylor University. Ralph recommended that I read The Demon in Democracy. I’m glad he did, though it was not a comforting read.
Legutko’s big idea is that the liberal democracy of our day shares many of the same features as communism. There are commonalities such as a penchant for utopianism. There is also an undying belief that one’s system of thought is perfect and so should be immune from critique.
Most of us simply accept that everything about liberal democracies is wonderful so questioning any part of it would be un-American. Actually, the opposite is true. Serious questioning of political institutions is at the heart and founding of our history, something most of us have forgotten.
Legutko teaches philosophy in his homeland of Poland. He is not opposed to progress per se, but finds a troubling hubris at the heart of many modern notions of progress.
More than once I put a marginal note of “no dissent allowed” to characterize the lack of scrutiny most Americans give to the modern notion of liberal democracy. And it is the modern notion, not the older versions of liberal democracy, that is in the author’s crosshairs.
If you want to know more about why serious thinking and free speech (on both the left and right) has gone the way of the Dodo bird, this book has much to offer.