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Against Democracy Hardcover – September 6, 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"A brash, well-argued diatribe against the democratic system. ...Brennan makes the compelling argument that politics as currently practiced make us 'situational enemies.' Sure to cause howls of disagreement, but in the current toxic partisan climate, Brennan's polemic is as worth weighing as any other." --Kirkus Reviews.

Brennan has a bright, pugilistic style, and he takes a sportsman's pleasure in upsetting pieties and demolishing weak logic. Voting rights may happen to signify human dignity to us, he writes, but corpse-eating once signified respect for the dead among the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea. To him, our faith in the ennobling power of political debate is no more well grounded than the supposition that college fraternities build character.
--Caleb Crain, The New Yorker

Jason Brennan's Against Democracy seems scarily prescient today. Writing well before the twin shocks of the Brexit and the U.S. elections, the Georgetown political scientist makes a powerful case that popular democracy can be dangerous--and, provocatively, that irrational and incompetent voters should be excluded from democratic decision-making. The case for elitism in governance never read so well.
--Zócalo Public Square, "
"Zócalo's 10 Favorite Books of 2016"


"Jason Brennan is a marvel: a brilliant philosopher who scrupulously studies the facts before he moralizes. In Against Democracy, his elegant method leads to the contrarian conclusion that democratic participation prompts human beings to forget common sense and common decency. Voting does not ennoble us; it tests the virtue of the best, and brings out the worst in the rest."―Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter

Product details

  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
  • Product Dimensions : 6.1 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • ISBN-10 : 0691162603
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691162607
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; First Edition (September 6, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
94 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Tom the Tomahawk
5.0 out of 5 stars Unnerving
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2017
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2 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars he makes a good case for representative democracy as opposed to a direct ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2016
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5 people found this helpful
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Lee Morrissey
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly compelling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2017
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3 people found this helpful
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Giuseppe Cacciatore
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and rigorous case against "democracy at all costs"
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2017
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2 people found this helpful
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Terra X
5.0 out of 5 stars Verheerende Kritik an der Demokratie
Reviewed in Germany on August 27, 2019
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