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Congressman Tom Perriello | by Center for American Progress Action Fund
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Congressman Tom Perriello

Please join us for a provocative dicussion about the future of democracy in the post-Bush years. Michael Signer's debut book Demagogue illuminates how humanity's urge for liberty can triumph over the dark forces that threaten our freedom. The demagogue is a dangerous byproduct of democracy, an authoritarian leader who owes his initial rise to the democratic support of the masses and who will go to almost any extreme to expand his power. This book describes not only these fascinating, often violent usurpers of freedom, from Cleon of Athens to Huey Long to Adolf Hitler, but also the heroes who have resisted them, from Aristophanes to Thomas Jefferson to Hannah Arendt.


Demagogue also unravels the mystery of how 21st century leaders have made such profound mistakes in Iraq and elsewhere, unleashing democracy's ancient enemy rather than securing a new democratic world. Signer presents a bold new theory of democracy and American power, "exemplarism," revealing a host of new, innovative measures that can undermine demagogues, strengthen democracy, and create a freer world.


In the end, Signer presciently reveals how America's historic victory over the demagogue at home can help a new generation of leaders rescue democracy across the world.


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Taken on February 3, 2009