Summary of Against Democracy

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Against Democracy book summary
“Hobbits, hooligans and vulcans,” oh, my! Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love political apathy.


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Contrarian political philosopher Jason Brennan frets about democracy and the intellectual fitness of voters. The controversial Georgetown University professor argues for giving voting rights only to those who can pass a test or prove that they’re capable and competent. Brennan’s “epistocratic” vision is sacrilege to the world’s democracies and, despite his counterarguments, elitist, or at least exclusionary. Yet, to his credit, he manages to make a calm, logical case. Brennan’s analysis of how and why democracies go astray is worth reading. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his treatise to those policymakers, leaders and citizens who’d be intrigued by an out-of-the-mainstream analysis of modern politics.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What evidence showcases democracy’s flaws;
  • Why “hobbits, hooligans and vulcans” dominate the electorate; and
  • How a knowledge-based, “epistocratic” alternative to democracy might work.


“Hobbits, Hooligans and Vulcans”
Modern democracy is an imperfect system marked by high-minded talk of equality and undermined by apathy, voter ignorance and the vagaries of human nature.

In the late 1800s, voter turnout neared 80% for major US elections. Today, 60% reflects...
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About the Author

Georgetown University professor of strategy, economics, ethics and public policy Jason Brennan co-wrote Marketing without Limits with Peter Jaworkski, A Brief History of Liberty with David Schmidtz, and Compulsory Voting: For and Against with Lisa Hill. He also wrote The Ethics of Voting, Why Not Capitalism? and Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know.

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