by Everett Dean Martin

A philosophical history of liberty from a classical liberal point of view. It has a good critique of Rousseau and the whole democratic political ideology. Martin shows that liberty and culture go together, but democracy elevates the mass man and caters to vulgar prejudices at the expense of culture and liberty.

This book helps explain the basis for skepticism of such libertarians as Mencken and Nock. Even if the ruling class suddenly disappeared, we would still have to contend with the illiberal masses.

The book has the usual fawning attitude toward the Constitution, little awareness of the ruling class and their economic motives. Its focus is on the civilized man of reason who is contrasted with the masses who are, perhaps, unfit for liberty. The book ends with an unwelcome attack on the intuitionists, which links them with Rousseau.

Year Read: 1975

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