Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Illiberal Temptation | American Interest

Liberal democracies are once again under assault from without and within. During the Cold War, the internal challenge came from the totalitarian Left. Powerful Communist parties, all of them loyal to the Soviet Union, could be found in the leading European liberal democracies. But the existence of such parties presented a puzzle. By 1973, when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume Gulag Archipelago was first published, so much was already known about the purges, the terror, the camps, the artificial famines, one would have thought it indisputable among all thinking people that the god of Communism had failed. But the Stalinist model, despite its glaring defects, continued to appeal to millions. In his 1976 The Totalitarian Temptation, Jean-François Revel attempted to unravel the mystery. “Why are democratic societies, inside and outside their area, vilified much more than totalitarian states?” was one of the questions he asked.

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The Illiberal Temptation | The American Interest

Liberal democracies are once again under assault from without and within. During the Cold War, the internal challenge came from the totalitarian Left. Powerful Communist parties, all of them loyal to the Soviet Union, could be found in the leading European liberal democracies. But the existence of such parties presented a puzzle. By 1973, when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume Gulag Archipelago was first published, so much was already known about the purges, the terror, the camps, the artificial famines, one would have thought it indisputable among all thinking people that the god of Communism had failed. But the Stalinist model, despite its glaring defects, continued to appeal to millions. In his 1976 The Totalitarian Temptation, Jean-François Revel attempted to unravel the mystery. “Why are democratic societies, inside and outside their area, vilified much more than totalitarian states?” was one of the questions he asked.

Continue reading

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Filed under Stuff