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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 265

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Themes of The Future of Freedom include the difference between liberty and democracy, whether democracy is being perverted to allow for the rule of illegitimate governments, and how democratization affected the religious landscape in America.

Fahreed Zakaria explains that liberty and democracy are two different things even though they're often conflated. Democracy is simply the system of having elections where people vote for a candidate to represent them. Liberty is living according to a set of principles that say that all people should have basic freedoms. Some of these rights are outlined in the Constitution. For example, the Constitution states that people shouldn't be subject to unlawful search and seizure.

Zakaria explains that governments that aren't truly democracies are able to thrive under the illusion of being a democracy. One example he gives is in Russia, where elections are held, but the result is known before anyone ever goes to the polls. Many countries operate as democracies that aren't actually democracies in spirit. Zakaria refers to these as illiberal democracies. The fact that they elect their leader doesn't mean that they operate like a true democracy. Many countries operate under the guise of being democracies but don't actually give their citizens rights and liberties.

One side effect of increasing democracy in America is the rise of populist churches that have replaced less democratic churches. People like having the freedom to elect their representatives, and they want organizations that are also affected by their beliefs and desires. Churches also wield political power by choosing issues that transcend denominations and appeal to many who follow the faith.


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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 136

Democracy is a primary theme of this work, with French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville considering the fact that it has sometimes led to dictatorship, and yet did not in other circumstances.

Human liberty is a second theme which is analyzed, with Fareed Zakaria arguing that the idea of liberty from a Western point of view came about as a result of the split of the Roman empire.

Capitalism is another prominent theme, with it being argued that this further advanced the liberty of individuals by compromising the traditional powers of monarchies and the feudal system.

Yet another theme that arises is the relationship between liberty and Islam, with Zakaria arguing that the fact that the Middle East is not characterized by liberal democracy is not the result of a cultural clash between the two notions.