The Limits of Pure Democracy

The Limits of Pure Democracy

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The 1910s was a decade in which theories of socialism, pacifism, and collectivism flowered. Publicists and playwrights from Sidney Webb to George Bernard Shaw expressed not just belief in "utopianism" but a vigorous assault on the existing political and economic order. Less well known is how a group of Tory thinkers laid the foundations of a conservative counter-attack expressed with equal literary and intellectual brilliance. Foremost among them was W. H. Mallock.

In The Limits of Pure Democracy he argued that the pseudo-populist leaders of the political party system promise everything but deliver only the end of parties as such. For Mallock, what starts with populism ends in dictatorship. The Russian Revolution was simply the historical outcome of utopian socialist visions that were more dedicated to destroying the present system of things than bringing about a revitalized future. Mallock's book explains how the modern free market succeeds through competition in increasing output, broadening occupational opportunities, and multiplying the numbers of skilled professionals. In contrast, welfare schemes serve to deepen poverty by spreading wealth so evenly that incentives to work decline and personal savings are eliminated. These arguments have become commonplace today. But at the time they served as an incendiary reminder that class warfare works in both directions.

Mallock was a remarkably talented writer who made the case against exaggerated expectations, a nascent welfare system, and mass political parties led by oligarchs. But he also offered a case for increasing a regard for work, advancing the cause of education as a method of entering the modern world, and for retaining a sense of religious codes that define the West. Mallock's search for an understanding of popular rule coincided with his appreciation and elucidation of the limitations of the emerging plebiscitarian spirit within democracy. The Limits of Pure Democracy will be of interest to political scientists, intellectual historians, and economists.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 428 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.65mm | 454g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0765808463
  • 9780765808462

Review quote

"***THE A LIST ... A reissue of a 1918 classic ... with a new introduction by Cheek, [this book] is recommended for collections in Economics, Education, Government, Labor, Philosophy, Scholarly and World History." --Today's Books -***THE A LIST ... A reissue of a 1918 classic ... with a new introduction by Cheek, [this book] is recommended for collections in Economics, Education, Government, Labor, Philosophy, Scholarly and World History.-

--Today's Books

-Mallock was a remarkably talented writer. . . . [his] search for an understanding of popular rule coincided with his appreciation and elucidation of the limitations of the emerging plebiscitarian spirit within democracy. The Limits of Pure Democracy will be of interest to political scientists, intellectual historians and economists.-

--H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Brewton-Parker College "***THE A LIST ... A reissue of a 1918 classic ... with a new introduction by Cheek, [this book] is recommended for collections in Economics, Education, Government, Labor, Philosophy, Scholarly and World History."

--Today's Books

"Mallock was a remarkably talented writer. . . . [his] search for an understanding of popular rule coincided with his appreciation and elucidation of the limitations of the emerging plebiscitarian spirit within democracy. The Limits of Pure Democracy will be of interest to political scientists, intellectual historians and economists."

--H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Brewton-Parker College "***THE A LIST ... A reissue of a 1918 classic ... with a new introduction by Cheek, [this book] is recommended for collections in Economics, Education, Government, Labor, Philosophy, Scholarly and World History."

--Today's Books

"Mallock was a remarkably talented writer. . . . [his] search for an understanding of popular rule coincided with his appreciation and elucidation of the limitations of the emerging plebiscitarian spirit within democracy. The Limits of Pure Democracy will be of interest to political scientists, intellectual historians and economists."

--H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Brewton-Parker College
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About William Hurrell Mallock

W. H. Mallock was the author of Religion as a Credible Doctrine, The Reconstruction of Belief. The Individualist, The Heart of Life, and A Human Document. H. Lee Cheek, Jr. is associate professor of political science at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. His books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal and Order and Legitimacy, both available from Transaction.
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