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ISBN: 1933859245

"Not just a brilliant anatomy of how capitalism nurtures political freedom, but also a wise and penetrating analysis of the manifold illusions besetting modern culture, from the temptations of totalitarian ideology to the desiccations of radical secularism. As erudite as it is readable, Brian Anderson’s new book is sure to take its place as a contemporary classic."

Roger Kimball, coeditor and publisher, The New Criterion






Democratic Capitalism and
Its Discontents

(ISI Books, 2007)

By Brian C. Anderson

Despite its victory over the messianic creeds of communism and national socialism, democratic capitalism, the economic-political system that has provided the nations of the West with an unprecedented degree of prosperity and freedom, faces extraordinary challenges in the new millennium. Not only has a fanatical form of Islam disrupted the peace of the postcommunist era, which some had wrongly heralded as the "end of history," Western societies also remain haunted by internal demons: egalitarian fantasies, moral libertinism, an arid and unsustainable secularism, a suicide of culture.

Yet, in Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents, Brian C. Anderson argues that nothing ordains the triumph of these demons over the democratic capitalist prospect. Drawing on a rich anti-utopian tradition of political thought, he defends the real achievements of the free society against an array of critics, from Jean-Paul Sartre and John Gray to John Rawls and Antonio Negri.

Anderson pays particularly close attention to the United States, the democratic capitalist nation par excellence, showing how it differs from other liberal democracies in its robust religiosity, vigorous civil society, and constitutionalism—all under threat from the American Left. Finally, Anderson explores the thought of some of the most insightful friends of the modern regime of liberty, including the brilliant French political theorist Pierre Manent and the godfather of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol.

Crisply and vividly presented, Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents is an essential guide to the conflicts of our time.

* * *


"Thoughtful, meaty, finely honed essays from one of the rising intellectual stars of American public life. Brian Anderson’s work should be required reading for culture-war combatants who want a powerful demonstration of how ideas really do have consequences, for good and for ill."
George Weigel, senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"Anyone interested in understanding our political conversation will find Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents an invaluable guide. In vigorous and clear prose, Brian Anderson surveys the important ideas and thinkers that for good or ill underlie political issues from judicial activism to civil society. His defense of democratic capitalism is all the more persuasive for its honest recognition of liberal democracy’s weaknesses. This is the book every voter should read before the next election."
Bruce S. Thornton, author of Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization

"Brian Anderson always brings great intelligence and clarity—and even wisdom—to whatever he touches. This book shows the scope of his vision and the qualities that have made him one of our most prominent younger social commentators."
Robert Royal, president, Faith & Reason Institute



City Journal