Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 315
Fareed Zakaria's best-selling book explores the concept of democracy and its pros and cons as a global system of government and social structure. Published in 2003, the book is still extremely relevant as issues of immigration, global economic struggles, and climate change affect our changing government systems around the world. Zakaria's concept of "illiberal democracy" is becoming particularly timely as accusations of election fraud and tampering are emerging in the wake of the Trump presidential win, pointing to more challenging struggles for a more democratic world.
Zakaria is an articulate speaker and political commentator and this eloquence is reflected in his book as well. This quote seems to apply generally to how politics works in connection to social issues:
No successful political transition can take place without leaders and movements that demand and press for freedom.
Here Zakaria seems to suggest that as important as effective leaders and candidates are to establish and maintain democracy, social movements must also support democracy, and those movements often arise from people outside the political sphere: that is, the voting public, which may include traditionally disenfranchised individuals who have suffered various forms of institutional inequality.
I like this quote from the book as well:
Legitimacy is the elixir of political power.
This seemingly poetic statement describes how legitimacy is important to the rise of political figures and movements. It would be interesting to explore what Zakaria means by "legitimacy" here: is it authenticity? Legacy? Entitlement? By referring to it as an "elixir" he seems to suggest that it is an idea that is intoxicating; that a movement can find this idea of "legitimacy" alluring.
One example of this legitimacy might be a political figure's personal experience within a realm that is part of his or her platform—for example, a candidate who pushes for programs to help children in poverty who themselves grew up in poverty, like President Bill Clinton.
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