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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,024 ratings  ·  174 reviews
With an easy command of history, philosophy and current affairs, 'The Future of Freedom' calls for a restoration of the balance between liberty and democracy, and shows how liberal democracy has to be made effective and relevant for our time.
Paperback, 295 pages
Published November 25th 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published August 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hamid
کتاب سعی میکنه بگه چطور دموکراسی که همه این سالها مساوی با آزادی در نظر گرفته شده، گاهی سد راه آزادی میشه. چه وقتی که تو کشورهایی که زمینه مساعدی برای تشکیل دموکراسی ندارند پیاده میشه و استبداد اکثریت رو شکل میده، مثل ایران. و چه وقتی که این روند افراطی دموکراتیزه کردن همه نهادهای قدرت تو دموکراسیهای لیبرالی مثل آمریکا باعث هرج و مرج و تحمیل هزینههای اقتصادی و اجتماعی مختلف به کشور میشه. نویسنده میخواد بگه لیبرالیزه کردن حکومت به دموکراتیزه کردناش تقدم داره. نشون میده که خیلی حکومتهای غیر دموکرا ...more
Patrick
Zakaria points out that there is a difference between democracy and constitutional liberalism that Western people take for granted because we assume that they are one and the same. While democracy refers to government elected by the majority of its people, constitutional liberalism refers to the rule of law, separation of powers, instituional check and balances, and most importantly individual rights.

The History of Human Liberty:

The basic gist is the decentralization of power in favor of human l
...more
liz
None of the facts or points in this book are especially new or shocking, but what is unusual and nice is seeing them all organized in the same place. What Zakaria sets out to do (and in my opinion, succeeds at) is to examine countries with institutionalized freedoms, and what political and economic conditions guarantee them, historically and at the present time. Shocker: Democracy is not automatically the answer. When doesn't it work and why, and why do Americans have so little faith in democrac ...more
Jeremy
Jan 07, 2008 Jeremy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the state of our government
This is an extremely interesting book about the theory, history, and evolution of democracy all over world. Zakaria talks about what is required for democracy, why it doesnt always work, and how a country can become too democratic. Most interestingly he goes into our own contries failures in "spreading democracy" and what historical facts US administrators could have learned from. Furthermore he discusses detail of our own democracy and how it is a shadow of what it once was.
Andrew
I've always been impressed with Zakaria whenever he's on TV as a commentator/pundit - this book only confirmed what a deep thinker he is. His basic premise is that democracy in and of itself is not sufficient to promote "freedom & liberty" - but that it must be paired with constitutional liberalism (in the classic sense of the word). He shows how many countries that have some elements of constitutional liberalism, but not direct election democracy are better off than countries that lack thos ...more
Christopher
According to the copy I've borrowed from my local library, this book was published in about 2003, 2004. 8 or 9 years later, this book could still be about the problems that the world and America face today. In this stunning, against-the-current book, Mr. Zakaria makes a compelling case that many of the problems we face today is not because of too little democracy, but too much democracy. Though written far in advance of the Arab Spring, Mr. Zakaria points how Islamic populism, when left unchecke ...more
Kathy
Sep 05, 2008 Kathy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathy by: required reading for American Government course


In writing The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, Fareed Zakaria hopes to show the reader that true freedom requires more than elections in which all citizens of a country participate; it also requires what Mr. Zakaria calls constitutional liberalism. Constitutional liberalism is marked by existence of a “bundle of freedoms”, which includes rule of the law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. Constitu
...more
Kylewong
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Don Weidinger
62% democracy rate, quantity over quality, Rome limited govt and rule of law, Catholic Church cracked the code for individual liberty, European geography vs Asian and African early development, strict restrictive Reformation roots vs liberal Protestantism, 30 year war ended at Westphalia, 1688 British rev strengthened and 1789 French disintegrated, capitalism destroyed feudalism and previous hierarchical structures, rev when raise taxes w/o consent of governed, explosion of entrepreneurial power ...more
Arabian Rihanna
Like a graduate course on freedom and democracy, this book teaches you, challenges your knowledge, opens your eyes and mind, but does not give you a ready-made opinion ― it invites you to elaborate your own.

And just like a graduate course, the book gets really boring sometimes; it focus too much on meaningless details or quickly skips through important information. But what's trivial for some is primordial for others, and not all students (/readers) have the same background knowledge on the subj
...more
Adam
I knew a lot of people who didn't like this book. Then again, many of the people I know are contrarians. If something's popular, they are sure not to like it. So I'm not sure how much you can take from that.

I liked this book because it brought to my attention interesting ways of looking at issues I thought I was familiar with. I was most interested in the discussion of the "at Home" portion of the discussion: the discussion of how our democracy is potentially being paralyzed from being "too open
...more
Alan
Fareed Zakaria has never been on my “A-list” of intellectuals worthy of respect. In his many television appearances he has always struck me as a bit of a windbag.

After reading his 2003 book The Future of Freedom, I may have to rethink the matter. It’s a good, thought-provoking book.

Here is his book’s essential point: democracy and freedom are not twins delivered at the same birth. He trots out examples of authoritarian rule creating the order, domestic tranquility and—--most important, he theori
...more
Aaron Records
This was a good book to read to apply a lot of ethical thought to modern American politics and international affairs. At this point it can sometimes seem a little dated, especially because the 'new' afterword was written in 2007. Because of this, Zakaria does not discuss the end of the Iraq War, Obama's administration, the Arab Spring, the Great Recession, or the fact that China has twice as large of a GDP than it did when he wrote this. Not only that, but I'm sure the recent crisis in Thailand ...more
Todd
Unreal. The way Fareed gets you to think about democracy is a brilliant analysis of a political system we enjoy but tend not to understand. We like to consider liberalism, freedom, and democracy to be synonymous, but are they really? Zakaria's historical overview of the history of democracy worldwide shows that changes in the system have been responsible for changes in our relationship with our form of government. I have a much greater understanding of our political gridlock and beliefs in civic ...more
Doug Vanderweide
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
N
1) ''Founded as a republic that believed in a balance between the will of the majority and the rights of the minority - or, more broadly, between liberty and democracy - America is increasingly embracing a single-minded populism that values popularity and openness as the key measures of legitimacy.''
2) ''Delegated democracy, in the view of many of America's founders, would produce better government because it would be exercised by people interested and experienced in public affairs and still acc
...more
jxdollarsignha
A very interesting read, especially in the wake of my country's elections, which have only concluded recently. Throughout the book, Zakaria holds up Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew, the strongman who wraught economic success without constitutional liberalism but even so, the tides are changing as we speak. Granted that he wrote this a few years back, but I'd like to hear what Mr Zakaria has to say in lieu of the fact that Mr Lee has just stepped down.

I found the ideas that were discussed in this book
...more
Nate Cooley
Recent history has highlighted the term "Democratization." With the fall of Eastern Bloc socialism and totalitarianism, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed "The End of History." Shortly thereafter, Samuel Huntington described this process as historically happening in "waves." Currently, the word "Democratization" connotes images of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and USAID personnel scattered thorughout the less-devleoped world.

In "The Furture of Freedom," Fareed Zakaria tackles the ov
...more
Susan
Jul 16, 2008 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks the country is on the "wrong track"
Recommended to Susan by: Amazon
I really enjoyed this book, although I find Zakaria's writing more challenging (obviously!) than the usual summer fluff I fill my head with, which is why it took me awhile!

As interesting as all of his insight into democracy abroad was, and I particularly appreciated his views as a native on India's rise from colonial power to illiberal democracy/economic powerhouse, I really found his commentary on the American political/cultural scene most interesting. He really helped me to clarify my own tho
...more
Arjun Mishra
If you are a regular watcher of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the ideas he advances in this book are the intellectual currency of the material he discusses on the show. I understand the themes and topics on his show better from this book.

He makes many important points concerning illiberal democracy abroad, the most poignant being that democracy is a great term but without liberty and individual rights, it run amok. Whenever a country is democratizing, elections are a priority and rightly so. However, ther
...more
Daniel
for much of modern history, what characterized governments in Europe and North America, and differentiated them from those around the world, was not democracy but constitutional liberalism. The "western model of government" is best symbolized not by the mass plebiscite but the impartial judge. [20.]

what is distinctive about the American system is not how democratic it is but rather how undemocratic it is, placing as it does multiple constraints on electoral majorities. [22:]

the French under the
...more
Emily Humbert
"But like any broad transformation, democracy has its dark sides. Yet we rarely speak about them." (p.16)


"...constitutional liberalism argues that human beings have certain natural rights and that governments must accept a basic law, limiting its own powers, to secure them." (p.20)


"...if you want to succeed economically in the modern world, the key is simple--be Jewish, be Indian, but above all, be Chinese." (p.53)



The Saudi royal family offers its subjects a different kind of bargain: " We don't
...more
Ehsan Asghari Ghara
دنیای ما دنیای تحولات عجیب سیاسی شده نمونه ش هم حوادث اخیر در کشورمون و حوادث موسوم به بهار عربی در کشور های اطراف، و این کتاب شاید کمکی باشد برای درک بهتر تمام این حوادث.
البته کتاب در ستایش لیبرالیسم قانون سالار هست. به شیوه ای ژورنالیستی به استدلال ارجحیت لیبرالیسم بر دموکراسی می پردازد و با ارائه شواهد آن را تقویت می کند. و در نهایت به دفاع از دموکراسی نمایندگی در برابر دموکراسی مستقیم نظیر آنچه در کالیفرنیا می گذرد می پردازد. کتاب یاد می دهد در دنیای واقعیت همیشه آنچه صحیح و زیبا می پنداری
...more
Broodingferret
Zakaria, despite having a tendency to overstate his case, makes a number of interesting points in this book, and he backs them up with some compelling arguments. Essentially he argues that liberalism (free press, rule of law, capitalism, etc.) and democracy are distinct entities and that the establishment of the former is vital to the effective establishment of the latter; in fact, he argues, democracy attempted to quickly typically leads to tyranny, and too much democracy can actually be detrim ...more
cover72
Brifly put, Zakaria has the same little flaw as many of the "Urban Liberal" writers (Marcuse etc.): he offers brilliant, breathtaking critique of what is wrong in the society and how it came to it... And then offers "solution", which is, erm, unreal and would only lead to more trouble.
For that "critique" part, I give him 5 stars.
For the "solution" part, I give him 0 stars: history already proved him wrong (for instance, Zakaria praised FED for fighting inflation and EU for being small and free-t
...more
Jacob
This is one of those few and far between books that really challenges our understanding of modern society. It speaks what most fear to say: democracy is failing. This is not to say that it is bad. In Mr. Zakaria's words, "democracy, with all its flaws, represents the 'last best hope' for people around the world." However, it has become an ugly and inefficient organization and is frankly becoming discredited here at home in the United States.

The book initially presents its premise as a critique
...more
Joshua
Nov 01, 2007 Joshua rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: small d democrats
The book has an interesting idea at the beginning -- that "democracy" is more than just elections, and that forcing developing countries to have elections doesn't make them free if minority rights, freedom of speech etc., are not also protected. Free elections can take place only after a country has a functioning capitalist economy that will lead to these freedoms. Sort of like Karl Marx's idea, except that they have disagreements about what happens after that.

That's the first 100 pages or so.
...more
Stephen Bird
This was book was just as good as "The Post-American World" by the same author, and even easier to understand. Here once again, Mr. Zakaria simplifies complex issues without sacrificing their essential components. Highlights include an excellent analysis of the Arab world: ""The Arab world is a political desert with no real political parties, no free press, and few pathways for dissent. As a result, the mosque became the place to discuss politics. As the only place that cannot be banned in Musli ...more
John
This book has both the interesting and the mundane. The interesting is the idea that too much democracy may be bad for us. That position is usually arrived at by one of two roads: either we should trust the people we elect to get things done without a lot of exposure (Zakaria's position) or the people are too dumb to be allowed to participate in the running of the country (my position). While the idea that limiting openness in government is fascinating, it's not given a thorough enough examinati ...more
Rex
Zakaria argues that there can be and is such a thing as too much democracy. While the rapid expansion of democracy throughout the world has led to overall remarkable results, not all the effects of its proliferation are completely benign. More specifically, “The Future of Freedom” laments and pessimistically foresees the rise of illiberal democracies--democracies that deny their citizens basic human liberties--instead of alternative forms of government that promote constitutional liberalism.

Per
...more
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Fareed Zakaria was named editor of Newsweek International in October 2000, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. The magazine reaches an audience of 24 million worldwide. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and fortnightly in the Washington Post. He also hosts an international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which airs Sundays worldwide o ...more
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