The Modern State and Its Enemies: Democracy, Nationalism and Antisemitism



‘The Modern State and Its Enemies’ considers the historical intellectual developments that provided the fundaments of the modern state and analyses the dark sides of the enemies of democracy.
... The mobilization of power and success of exclusionary populists around the world relies on their ability to present the world as an us versus them scenario, in which the pure people are set against and the corrupt elite that does not address the grievances of the masses (Salzborn 2020, p. 66, cf. Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2013). ...
This review follows the structure of the book, exploring the key elements raised by the author, starting with the introduction and proceeding through each of the three sections. The introduction discusses the limits of the friend versus foe narrative in the absence of clarity by drawing upon the theoretical lit- erature on populism and its relationship to democracy (Canovan, 1999; Urbinati, 2014, 2019). This review will focus the discussion around the main themes of each section, namely; the tensions between freedom and sovereignty in the first section, nationalism and antisemitism over time in the second section, and the rejection of the emancipatory promise of modernity by reactionary elements of the radical right in the third section. This review will conclude by assessing the limits and potential of the book, drawing on Popper’s paradox of tolerance (Popper, 2020).
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