Some Thoughts On “Democracy Incorporated”


I finished reading “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” by  the now deceased Sheldon S. Wolin. It is written as a series of thoughtful essays, and it provided me with some new thoughts and facts to chew over. If you actually think America is still (or ever really was) a democracy, then I highly recommend reading this book with wide open eyes. It may help you start questioning our modern lives with a little bit more scrutiny. The notion of inverted totalitarianism is an apt describer of our current state, I think.

However, I don’t think the author went far enough. He points out the problems without really looking into the mechanics or offering any concrete solutions. He is almost an apologist for the Democratic party, effectually laying the evil, power-hungry blame on the Republican elite while claiming the Democrats were merely weak and ineffectual, and almost willfully ignoring the Clinton years (there was maybe one paragraph in the entire book). To ignore the fact that the ruling elite has it’s fingers in both parties is perilous to enacting any real change. And I don’t know if he really kept his blinders on and believed that if only the Democrats were stronger, everything would’ve turned out different, or if it was a deliberate attempt on his part.

Anyway, again, the book is still relevant today, and I would have been interested to know Sheldon’s true thoughts of the years he lived during Obama’s administration. He’s someone I would have loved to have drinks with and really probe his mind.


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