Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose
‘This is the inside story of the slow death of democracy – a loss of power for ordinary people which is occurring almost without comment and, even more worrying, without real protest.’
‘A timely book, laying out the myriad problems with modern democracy in plain English. Anyone concerned with the lack of participation in our modern democracies must read this.’
Electronic Frontier Foundation
‘A refreshing, and highly timely, tour de force, putting both conventional apologetics and hoary critiques to shame. It dares us to rethink the myth, and perhaps even to, finally, infuse some real content to it – before we are all entrapped in an irreversible oligarchy’
‘Beasts and Gods provides a fascinating contrast between democracy in theory and democracy in practice. It deconstructs the assumptions underlying representative democracy, and debunks the fiction that modern elections are “free and fair.” ’
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
‘a timely and provocative look behind the clichés of Western politics.’
The Irish Times
From the Publisher:
Democracy does not deliver on the things we have assumed are its natural outcomes. Equal opportunity and the individual’s ability to have an impact on decision-making are a mirage. This, coupled with a growing sense of malaise in both new and established democracies forms the basis to the assertion made by some, that these are not democracies at all.
Through considerable, impressive empirical analysis of a variety of voting methods, across twenty different nations, Roslyn Fuller presents the data that makes this contention indisputable. Proving that the party which forms the government rarely receives the majority of the popular vote, that electoral systems regularly produce manufactured majorities and that the better funded side invariably wins such contests in both elections and referenda, Fuller’s findings challenge the most fundamental elements of both national politics and broader society.
Coupled with a radical and rigorous reviewing of modern limitations on representation and participation at the national level, Fuller goes on to show how restrictions compound at the international level, as delegated power is delegated yet again.
But there is hope for our world. Beast and Gods argues for a return to democracy as perceived by the ancient Athenians. Boldly arguing for the necessity of the Aristotelian assumption that citizens are agents whose wishes and aims can be attained through participation in politics, and through an examination of what “goods” are provided by democracy, Fuller offers a powerful challenge to the contemporary liberal view that there are no “goods” in politics, only individual citizens seeking to fulfil their particular interests.