Against Democracy

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Against Democracy
Against Democracy.jpg
AuthorJason Brennan
CountryUnited States
SubjectPolitical Philosophy
Published2016 (Princeton University Press)
Media typePrint

Against Democracy is a 2016 book by political philosopher Jason Brennan.[1]

The book challenges the belief that the simplified version of democracy used nowadays is good and moral.

In his work, Brennan primarily suggests that voters tend to be irrational and ignorant about politics.[2] He believes that there is little incentive for voters to inform themselves about politics, as they believe (correctly) that one vote will not make a great difference in the overall election results. Moreover, he states that voters tend to make decisions that are ideologically inclined and easily manipulated.

Brennan presents and discusses different alternatives of "the rule of the knowledgeable" (epistocracy), where only the most knowledgeable voters get to elect our leaders.[3][4]


Reviewing the book for The Volokh Conspiracy in The Washington Post, law professor Ilya Somin described it as an "important new book" whose "analysis of epistocratic alternatives to democracy is worth serious consideration – even if most of these ideas are nowhere near ready for large-scale implementation".[5] Los Angeles Times reviewer Molly Sauter found the book's premises "solidly argued, even lively, but not particularly novel" and would have liked Brennan to give more attention to the underlying causes of the problems it describes.[6] New York Magazine's journalist Jesse Singal challenges Brennan's position, in particular the premise that a more qualified electorate would necessarily produce better decisions.[7][disputed ] Kirkus Reviews said that the book is "Sure to cause howls of disagreement, but in the current toxic partisan climate, Brennan's polemic is as worth weighing as any other."[8]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Brennan, J.: Against Democracy (eBook and Hardcover)". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  2. ^ Brennan, Jason. Against Democracy.
  3. ^ Purdy, Jedediah. "Votes of No Confidence". Book Forum. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  4. ^ Maitra, Sumantra (2016-09-10). "The Paradox of Democracy". Quillette. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  5. ^ Ilya Somin, "Democracy vs. Epistocracy", September 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Molly Sauter, "How do we make America great? 'Necessary Trouble' and 'Against Democracy' take contrasting views", Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Jesse Singal, "What a Georgetown Professor Got Wrong When He Argued That Maybe Dumb People Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Vote", New York, October 5, 2016.
  8. ^ Against Democracy by Jason Brennan, Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2016