Review: “Is Democracy Possible Here?” by Ronald Dworkin

I read this book because it was written by a liberal legal philosopher I was trying to understand (see the previous review) and it promised to discuss the author’s theory of equality with specific examples from recent political developments. I was disappointed after all because, although it does discuss several topics that are still controversial, it doesn’t present very many insights I hadn’t already heard about.

The first thing I would say about this book is that Dworkin has a point about the inability of Americans to discuss controversial issues without acting like children and getting mad. He is correct in being skeptical that this situation can be addressed without something really dire occurring.

The second point is that he is fair and balanced, presenting the conservative view so well that, in most cases, it could almost convince one to change their opinion on many topics. Unfortunately, this is the case because he invokes what he considers statements of fact which are not facts at all, but only his beliefs stated as facts. Not very convincing.

Overall, it is a good, fairly short, discussion of several important topics: Terrorism and human rights; religion and dignity; and taxes and legitimacy. These are timeless and will always be disputed. But if the reader is looking for an original and thorough discussion of whether democracy can survive in America, this is not the book for you.

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