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Public Choice

, Volume 170, Issue 1–2, pp 171–173 | Cite as

Jason Brennan, against democracy

Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2016, ix + 288 p., USD 29.95 (cloth)
  • Alexander William Salter
Book Review

Jason Brennan’s newest book challenges the widely held assumptions of scholars and laypeople alike concerning the justice and efficacy of democracy. Chapter 1 sets the stage by presenting a controversial thesis: “political liberty and participation are, on the whole, harmful” (p. 6). More specifically, Brennan argues that political participation is usually not valuable, that there is no right to vote or run for office, and that there is no necessary connection between democracy and justice. Brennan also says he will defend “epistocracy,” a system of rule by the knowledgeable (pp. 14–15). This can take several different forms, such as a restricted franchise or weighted voting. The final pages of the introductory chapter outline the many parts of the argument, each a chapter, which Brennan develops and defends his thesis.

Chapter 2 shows that voters are “ignorant, irrational, misinformed nationalists” (p. 23) Surveying more than 50 years’ worth of empirical political science and...

References

  1. Buchanan, J. M. (1975). The limits of liberty: between anarchy and leviathan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Buchanan, J. M. (1988). Economics: between predictive science and moral philosophy. College Station: Texas A&M Press.Google Scholar
  3. Salter, A. W. (2015). Rights to the realm: Reconsidering Western political development. American Political Science Review, 109, 725–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Salter, A. W., & Young, A. T. (2016). Market-preserving federalism as polycentric sovereignty. Working paper.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rawls College of BusinessTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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