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Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of…

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (vuoden 2020 painos)

– tekijä: Anne Applebaum (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
243983,210 (3.99)9
Teoksen nimi:Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
Kirjailijat:Anne Applebaum (Tekijä)
Info:Signal (2020), 224 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (tekijä: Anne Applebaum)

Viimeisimmät tallentajatSuusan, yksityinen kirjasto, DEbertz, dvnmng, sc09132000, josejg, asgehrke, joevegan, pouignac, rivkat

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Center-right, Jewish, US-born wife of Polish politician writes about the new elites who promote and support authoritarian leaders, some of whom used to be her friends. She diagnoses them as people who resent meritocracy, and who generally didn’t do as well as some of the people they grew up with but aren’t poor, rural, or losing jobs to immigrants. Chapters on Poland, Hungary, Britain, and the US; in each, authoritarians use nationalism to cover up corruption. One set of elites offers a vision of ethnic community instead of competition (meritocratic or otherwise). Argues that authoritarian personalities, bothered by complexity, exist on both sides but acknowledges that the authoritarians with political power are right-wing. Social media comes in for its share too; she argues that things didn’t get really bad, despite immigration and economic decline, until the relentless firehose of modern communication got and kept us (us?) angry. As she points out, what really unites these so-called nationalists on the right is their dislike of the actual countries they live in and their fear of their fellow citizens. ( )
  rivkat | Mar 29, 2021 |
RAnt about the old journ mates but has some good points regarding the "simplicity desperation" of the masses leading to the watering down of the democratic universe pushing to autocracy.. my thoughts: post school education in civics may be the best solution. ( )
  Brumby18 | Mar 29, 2021 |
"The Twilight of Democracy" is an overly grandiose title for this book. It's easy to share the author's concern for the future of democracy, but I do not really understand what she wanted to say in this work.

I thought the first two chapters of the book were by far the best. She discusses briefly how the political systems of Poland and Hungary have been corrupted from the top and identifies one crucial factor behind these events: high political posts have been occupied by immoral people, and they have been able to staff the civil service and media with their stooges. Capable and independent employees have been pushed aside in favor of sycophants who gain personal benefit from being good at only one thing: loyal obedience without moral scruple. The author discusses a few of these Polish and Hungarian opportunists - she even interviewed one of them. This was quite interesting and I think the book could well have lived up to its title if the author had focused her studies only on Poland and Hungary.

But for some reason she decides to go further afield and the argument quickly loses its coherence. Without drawing any clear parallel to Poland and Hungary she spends chapter 3 on Brexit with a particular focus on Boris Johnson. This did not make any sense to me. I'm sure she considers Brexit to be an unfortunate event, but does it really portend the end of democracy in Britain? The author does not seem to hold such an extreme view, but she also does not explain why Brexit needs to be discussed. It becomes clear that she is displeased with some of her British acquaintances who have taken personal advantage of conspiracy theories and other nonsense, but I don't think these isolated cases of low integrity are really of any interest to the reader. British democracy will be in danger when an authoritarian leader takes charge, finds plenty of willing accomplices and puts them in high posts so that they can dismantle the institutions of the state from the inside. Assuming that the average member of the elite has more integrity than the author's ex-friends, the British state seems safe for now.

In chapters 4 and 5 the author continues in the same vein by presenting a few Spanish and American political opportunists who have gained minor political successes by peddling falsehoods and xenophobia. It is of course unfortunate that such things happen, but do we really need to be overly concerned about the state of Spanish and American democracy? Maybe we do in the case of America, but even though conspiracy theories and immoral lunatics abound in the Republican party, perhaps it would also be worth noting that Donald Trump failed in most of his attempts to spread rot through the army and civil services. He was not even close to finding enough accomplices among the elites to put state institutions under his control. To understand how the democratic state can be safeguarded, perhaps it would have been worthwhile to interview someone who was offered personal benefits in exchange for loyalty but declined the offer.

In general I think this book lacks a planned and well-considered argument. The fact that populists can take advantage of falsehoods through social media hardly needs to be repeated. Presenting examples of this from different countries does not really yield an interesting book. It certainly does not prove that modern democracy will come to an end in the near future. The danger is there, but if we want to understand it we should not just look here, there and everywhere for lies and bad people. Instead, we should look in more detail at what has happened in countries where democracy is clearly being extinguished. As I already mentioned above, it is a shame that the author did not focus only on Poland and Hungary, or even only on Poland. I believe that would have resulted in a much better book.
  thcson | Feb 13, 2021 |
Anne Applebaum is a great historian, a terrific journalist and a strong opponent of authoritarian regimes everywhere. But this book disappoints.

It begins with a party she and her Polish husband hosted in 1999. Their friends at the time were people who had participated the democratic movements that helped bring down Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe. Twenty years on, she says she would cross the street to avoid meeting half of them — and the feeling is mutual.

This is due to the fact that many of her former centre-right friends in places like Poland and Hungary are no longer centre-right; they now identify with what some call ‘populism’ and others call the ‘far right’ or ‘alt right’.

So far, so good. But the book offers little beyond anecdotes about Applebaum’s former friends, and why they are ‘former’. This includes stories of old friends reluctantly meeting her and then insisting on recording their conversation. Stuff like that.

Applebaum’s other books are rigorously researched and footnoted; this one reads more like something she might recount at one of her parties. It’s not without interest — most things she writes are interesting by default — but it’s not her best work by far. ( )
  ericlee | Jan 21, 2021 |
An overview of authoritarian political trends, focusing on Poland, England, and the USA. I knew almost nothing about Poland politics, a little about England's, and more than I'd like about the US. Still, I found much of value here, though the section on Trump and the GOP is the least substantial of the three (though perhaps that's an American POV). The resurgence of authoritarianism, nationalism, and far-right extremism is alarming. Scary stuff. ( )
  RandyRasa | Dec 3, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds. It will be one of its chief claims to notice in the moral history of humanity.

-Julien Benda, La trahison des clercs, 1927
We must accept the fact that this kind of rebellion against modernity lies latent in Western society . . . its confused, fantastic program, its irrational and unpolitical rhetoric, embodies aspirations just as genuine . . . as the aspirations in other and more familiar movements of reform.

-Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, 1961
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On December 31, 1999, we threw a party.
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