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Five of the best books about democracy in crisis

Five of the best books about democracy in crisis


The current situation has been dubbed the “permacrisis” – an ongoing state of instability that merges political strife with societal division and constantly whirls and swirls it all in a relentless flurry. It can be likened to being knocked down by a wave in the sea, disoriented and uncertain of which direction is up, with the fear of another wave hitting as soon as you resurface. The typical political interpretations fail to fully grasp the complexity of the situation. These books provide a more comprehensive analysis.

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

In order to have a shot at becoming a member of parliament, individuals must first go through a rigorous party selection process which often discourages highly qualified candidates. Once in office, they face barriers that discourage rational discussions and effective governing. Hardman’s research into the corrupting and demoralizing effects of a broken political system is thorough and objective, avoiding being overly biased while also maintaining a compassionate perspective.

The Failure of Politics by Ben Ansell

Ansell is professor of comparative democracy with a ferociously sharp mind and a genial turn of phrase. He has organised pretty much the whole of political practice and theory into five paradoxes (traps, he calls them) from which policymakers and voters around the world struggle to break free. This book is clinical, an MRI scan of the democratic soul in torment.

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

The issue of polarizing views and conflicts centered around culture is at the intersection of politics and psychology. Haidt utilizes the fields of psychology and evolutionary biology to show how our opinions become ingrained in our sense of self, forming the basis of identity politics. This is a crucial understanding when trying to persuade those with different political views, as it sheds light on what tactics are effective and which ones are not.

The Light that Failed by Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

For those of us who witnessed it, the deterioration of Russian democracy following the end of the cold war and its descent into neo-Soviet authoritarianism seemed unavoidable. However, it was also influenced by misconstrued cultural and ideological beliefs held by the West about Eastern Europe. This clear and nuanced examination of the triumphs and shortcomings of liberal pluralism in ex-communist nations sheds light on the broader and crucial issue of vulnerabilities within established democracies.

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James Ball’s writing titled “The Other Pandemic”.

The concept of going viral has become so ingrained in our online discourse that we often overlook the medical implications of this metaphor. In his account of the rise of QAnon, a radical conspiracy theory, James Ball exposes a troubling sickness within the political sphere and provides insight into the radicalization process and the powerful allure of irrational beliefs. With the advent of digital technology, politics is being upheaved much like it was with the introduction of television, railways, and the printing press. In fact, it may be the most influential change of all combined. Examining its detrimental effects on democracy is a crucial step in finding ways to improve the system.

Source: theguardian.com