Democracy Paradox
Democracy Paradox
Jul 26, 2020
William S. Smith on Irving Babbitt
Play • 1 hr 6 min

This episode features William S. Smith, author of Democracy and Imperialism: Irving Babbitt and Warlike Democracies. Irving Babbitt is an underappreciated political theorist. He wrote the classic Democracy and Leadership in 1924 before the Behavioralist Revolution of the 1950s so his work is often overlooked by contemporary political scientists. Babbitt has an enormous influence on conservative political theory and philosophy. His ideas about democracy, leadership and imperialism are as relevant for discussion today than ever before. His focus on character and virtue in political leaders has never been more salient than it has been during the global pandemic.

The podcast discusses many important theorists of political thought and philosophy including Rousseau, Huntington and Hobbes. We discuss how some of Babbitt's thought applies to current and historical events. We discuss the Iraq War, Ukraine and touch on Trump's own style of leadership.

Take the time to visit my blog at I have written 70 reviews of both classic and contemporary works of political science with an emphasis on democracy. This week I reviewed Campaigns and Voters in Developing Democracies: Argentina in Comparative Perspective. Please visit the website and read my book reviews. And don't forget to subscribe to keep up with future episodes.

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