December 2005
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Day December 18, 2005

Book #61: C.B. Macpherson, The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy

Along with Robert Dahl, I first read C.B. MacPherson’s book “The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy” in a UW political science course in the mid-1980’s. Unlike Dahl, which made a definite and lasting impression, I only recall being impressed with Macpherson, and have lost the details of his argument. So it was with pleasure that I re-read this slim volume, written in the shadow of 1970’s “stagflation” and the energy crisis. In it, Macpherson outlines four “formal” models of liberal democracy, in historical sequence beginning with Jeremy Bentham and James Mill.