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.
Keywords: Liberal democracy; crisis of liberal democracy; liberalism; populism; democracy; oligarchy; demagogy; anarchy; economic democracy; political theory; political philosophy; postliberalism; global politics; elitism; monopoly.