William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Demon In Democracy by Legutko, Part I: History — WMBriggs Podcast

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For the next five weeks, we’re going to step through this book:
The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies by Ryszard Legutko.

The book is a must-read new work (newly translated, anyway) from one of our leading political philosophers. How could ex-communists from socialist countries immediately after the collapse of communism have adapted so easily to the liberal-democratic political systems which were imposed on them? Answer: there’s not much difference between the way socialism/communism and liberal-democracy works. The history of this thesis is explored this week. Next week: Utopia.

Audio only. Sorry.

13 Comments

  1. This sounds a bit like what +Fulton Sheen wrote (the common roots of capitalism and communism), but I’m looking forward to this very much. Great choice for detaching from the world for Advent!!!

  2. Well, the socialists always claimed they could create heaven on earth and the democrats know the government can solve all you problems so there would naturally be an affinity.
    https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Earth-Rise-Fall-Socialism/dp/1893554783

  3. Hi, I’m from Warsaw and I’ve recently started reading your ‘Uncertainty’ book (I found it fundamentally thought-provoking). Then I searched and discovered your blog. But what a surprise today! Before I started to listen to this podcast I wondered how I’d translate “Triumf cz?owieka pospolitego” (the polish title). Then I started to listen to the first part of your introduction to the book concerning the title. I think this ‘low’ sound of ‘common’ is more like ‘plain’, ‘rudimentary’, ‘unsophisticated’, ‘low-dimensional’ with neither appetite for highERbrow culture nor curiosity. Does it sound low enough?

  4. As the Prophet/Poet Mick once said:

    You can’t always get what you want

  5. Oh, brother, more of this silly nonsense. I know why “ex-communists from socialist countries immediately after the collapse of communism have adapted so easily to the liberal-democratic political systems…” It’s because most people are not insipid ideologues. In the USSR you HAD to be a member of the party and HAD to vow to support it to get any decent job. The same was true in Iraq, when that piece of pond scum feces, Rumsfeld, called all the “Baathists” “dead enders” who would have no place in the new Iraq. Because he, like you, made the stupid mistake of assuming people are all ideologues who just ‘must’ be truly communists or Baathists or what have you, even if they had no choice.

    Idiocy.

    You may understand statistics, but are utterly naive and mislead about politics.

    JMJ

  6. Briggs: Good job on the podcast, well, with the possible exception of the music. It did not detract too much but maybe you can play the Trump theme, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Maybe not.

    I was interested in the use of the word, dignity. As you said it is an earned quality. We are born with the right to earn dignity. Dignity earned will be in the eye of the beholder. So, do our bed wetting professors profess dignity, or not? In whose eyes does this dignity become manifest?

  7. “do our bed wetting professors profess dignity, or not? In whose eyes does this dignity become manifest?”

    should read, “do our bed wetting professors possess dignity, or not? In whose eyes does this dignity become manifest?”

    I blame it on autocorrect.

  8. Well, the bed wetting professors are also frustrated with the high overhead charges? What do you suggest they do? Give up their research because of the charges they have no control over? Don’t go where no man has gone before? Stop cultivating new ideas or generation of innovators and geniuses so who may engage in high level of R&D? Or universities can hire less of those costly republican administrators or managers to do secretarial jobs?

  9. Well, the bed wetting professors are also frustrated with the high overhead charges. What do you suggest they do? Give up their research because of the charges they have no control over? Don’t go where no man has gone before? Stop cultivating new ideas or generation of innovators and geniuses so who may engage in high level of R&D? Or universities can hire less of those costly republican administrators or managers to do secretarial jobs?

  10. I’ll go for the idea of firing those highly-paid secretarial managers.

  11. JMJ says ‘ It’s because most people are not insipid ideologues.”

    Granted most go along to get along but I think you’re missing
    the point. The EU is peppered with ex Eastern Bloc Communists
    who found a linear fit with the anti-democratic structure of the
    EU. The EU essentially operates via a closed Executive Commission
    of appointees that makes or rejects all final legislative decisions.
    This sits atop a token Parliament and Counsel, which since the
    Lisbon Treaty, no longer have veto power over the unelected Commission. There is little distinction between this form of governance and any of
    the now defunct Communist States that preceded it.

    The irony of this system being imposed upon the West, after seventy years
    of cold war, may be lost on some who would erect the straw man argument
    “that they were not all ideological Communists,” this is nothing more
    than a restatement of the obvious determined to miss the point entirely.
    Perhaps we should not be surprised by the EU’s structure when we
    consider that the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution was funded and manned by
    people right out of Wall Street. Financial interests seem to have little
    difficulty dispensing with Democracy when there’s power and profit
    to be had.

    I think it will be very interesting to hear from someone who knows
    and has worked inside of both systems.

    Soldier on Briggs.

  12. Sounds similar to Democracy the god that failed.

    https://mises.org/library/democracy-god-failed-1

    Sincerely — Wm Sears

  13. I spent most of my childhood in a socialist country in Eastern Europe. Briggs, I reckon you said that one had to actively praise the system to get anywhere, and that there was no criticism.
    Ehm. There were popular satirical magazines, popular radio shows on state radio, and so on, that criticised the system. They pulled some punches – and delivered many, many : strong punches, real punches. And yes, they promoted the message that *the system* *itself* is not what it is presented. That message was so clear that everyone could understand it.

    There were taboos. They were about 1) making fun of the state symbols, and the dozen or so most powerful ‘people’ 2) suggesting introduction of other systems.

    Briggs, you connected the disruption of children-parent relations with strengthening the dictatorial power of liberalism. … That’s also more complicated. Treating children dictatorially in itself doesn’t make them more critically minded about the social order. That’s one reason why the West was (and, to an extent, still is) attractive to the East and the rest.

    My third and last point: As the liberal democratic order is in a serious crisis. We are facing a certainty of a major economic collapse and its consequences. Hence, I am much more interested in these two things:

    * Struggling and surviving in the upcoming period of turmoil (a la Chinese “Warring States”)

    * Sowing seeds of a future civilisation

    How is the present system sick? Let liberals read about it. We, on the other hand, understand it is sick, we feel its sickness, and if there is any consolation for me, it is that I can save energy for something else. I’m going to continue following your presentation of Legutko just for entertainment.

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