Condorcet’s Error – State and Democracy under Threat

Marquis Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-1794) is one of the fathers of modern democracy. Writing his intellectual testament while hiding from the security police during the French Revolution, Condorcet outlined an optimistic vision of humanity liberated from the yoke of ignorance and political and religious oppression.

In our time universal suffrage is the norm across the globe, and basic education is considered a human right and the global economy continues to grow. Yet political freedom is declining. Religious fundamentalism is on the rise, and anti-liberal parties have gained momentum in both new and old democracies.

So what became of Condorcet’s vision? Per Molander’s latest work shows that Enlightenment values such as rationality, democracy and freedom are as brittle as equality. „The natural regime in the province of human beings is neither rational nor democratic.“ The development and defence of the modern regime requires an institution with the capacity of carrying out these tasks – a strong state.

A strong state is needed to defend democracy, rationality and equality – period.

“Why are all societies unequal–and can you do something about it? Per Molander scrutinizes the issue with astonishing erudition … brilliant and relevant.” Dagens Nyheter

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