Magazine December 31, 2019, Issue

Are Americans Overdoing Democracy?

A runner at sunrise in Washington, D.C., December 19, 2019 (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in Its Place, by Robert B. Talisse (Oxford University Press, 216 pp., $29.95)

For the past several years, there has been a flood of commentary about how politics is poisoning social life, from first-person stories about “surviving” holidays or breaking off romantic relationships to surveys about the precipitous drop in inter-partisan friendships on college campuses. There are many who think this is a reasonable state of affairs: that “the personal is political” and that it is therefore only natural that all of a person’s social perceptions and choices be suffused with the eerie light of political analysis. But there are also those who dissent. These dissenters say that Americans need to relearn how

This article appears as “Too Much Democracy?” in the December 31, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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Some cadets made a gesture during the Army–Navy football game, and that led to an investigation of their ‘intention.’

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