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Democracy and Leadership

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  25 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
. . . one of the few truly important works of political thought.

—Russell Kirk

Irving Babbitt was a leader of the intellectual movement called American Humanism, or the New Humanism, and a distinguished professor of French literature at Harvard. Democracy and Leadership, first published in 1924, is his only directly political book, and in it he applies the principles of hu
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Paperback, 392 pages
Published July 1st 1979 by Liberty Fund Inc. (first published 1979)
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David Withun
Oct 05, 2016 David Withun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
As is frequently the case with Babbitt's work, his criticism of absolute democracy and accompanying call for meritocracy is heavy on substance even while remaining short on details. Many of Babbitt's criticisms of the impulse toward democracy, including especially its imperialistic and utopian bents, are spot on. Many of his statements on the course of democracy and prognostications of its future are surprisingly prescient. Similarly, his arguments in favor of the need for "standards" are sound. ...more
Coyle
Mar 13, 2009 Coyle rated it it was amazing
Ought to be read by anyone who a) claims to be a conservative; b) wants to respond to conservatism at its most thoughtful; c) is interested in the relationship between freedom and democracy; or d) is not a Christian but has an interest in conservatism (Babbitt himself leans towards Buddhism).

Some of the best lines in the book:

"Unfortunately when the real refuses to vanish in favor of the ideal, it is easy to persuade the simpleminded that the failure is due not to the ideal itself, but to some c
...more
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good history.
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Irving Babbitt (August 2, 1865 – July 15, 1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 to 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold, and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented ...more
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