Seymour Martin Lipset – Continental Divide

Let us get past the surface level topics which Continental Divide revolves. It is easy to become distracted in Lipset’s depiction of Canada and America. He recognized both societies had undergone dramatic change throughout the twentieth century that transformed their political images. The book is now thirty years old. It’s almost as old as I…

Jonathan Hopkin – Anti-System Politics

As populism and polarization have become part of the common vocabulary of political writings, their meaning has become less provocative. There is a general acceptance of its existence which no longer shocks the senses. But anti-system retains a powerful emotive force for the political scientist. It catches the reader off guard and gains their immediate…

A. C. Grayling – The Good State

The line between political science and philosophy is not always clear. Sometimes I find I pretend I am a political philosopher, while other times I imagine I am a political scientist. Political theory is perhaps a delicate balance between the two. And yet there are some who focus more on philosophy and others who rely…

Garett Jones – 10% Less Democracy

Robert Dahl is the great theorist of democracy. Late in his career he wrote about the intellectual challenges to democracy. Among these critiques, the most significant was what he described as Guardianship. Plato’s Republic gave the leadership of the state to a group who was chosen through their innate talent for an education designed to…

Samuel Huntington – The Third Wave

It is impossible to study the subject of democracy without coming across Huntington’s Third Wave. It is a landmark study of democratization. Moreover, it has a scholarly thoroughness which is rarely matched. Every author has a distinctive style. Dahl has an awkward optimism. Fukuyama has a teacher’s approach where he tries to bring complex subjects…