On the future of freedom, and a wish not to go back too far

Just finished Fareed Zakaria’s lightly named tome The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. It’s billed as an update of Tocqueville and I am not the one to dispute that claim.

Zakaria figures we’ve all had way too much democratization. In our political systems, in our institutions (churches, industry, associations, clubs) and even in concepts such as ‘information’ and the ‘media’.

Needless to say, Zakaria is no fan of ‘direct democracy’. He lays out in a wide ranging section on the rise of the referendum in U.S. states and how they have negatively impacted politics and led to voter apathy and distrust of politicians.

Oh well, now I’ll move on to a less weighty subject. I’m starting Mao: The Unknown Story. It’s billed as a chronicle of the 70 million people that died at the hands of the Chinese dictator.

Yes, my wife keeps telling me to read more fiction. I have been trying. I finished last week House of Meetings. With this book, I was able to cross reference with my fascination with early 20th century Sovietism with a well known writer of fiction – Martin Amis. It’s primarily the tale of two brothers and their time in the Gulag. Apparently, it has a fairly broad appeal. It was #2 on MacLean’s best seller list last week for fiction. It was a great read. After reading over a dozen books on the Soviet Union, this work of fiction brought it to life. Ouch.