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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 254

The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria, analyzes the concept of liberal democracy and explores the conditions that allow a democracy to develop and thrive. Zakaria argues not only that it is possible for a liberal democracy to form from a liberal autocracy, but that when it does, it is more likely to last than if a country were made democratic first, before it was liberated. Furthermore, he argues that the democratization of American society has led to failure of the government and widespread dissatisfaction with the American political system.

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Zakaria is not anti-democracy, per se, but he believes that the rise of democracy has been detrimental to liberty and, in fact, has led to the degeneration of American society. Zakaria’s book examines the dark side of democracy, in other words. It explains that Western democracy succeeded not because it was rapid but because it grew solely in a capitalist environment where institutions gained power independent of the State. Zakaria promotes the idea of republicanism, rather than democracy, and he appears to advocate a return to republicanism and constitutionalism—a system in which people delegate power to a government that remains separate from society and works solely in the national interest. He thinks that illiberal democracies develop when countries are ruled by too many people, rather than a select few. In essence, he believes that too much democracy leads to too little freedom, and he cites this problem at the reason for dysfunction in the US government and dissatisfaction among the American people.

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