Two More Books About Democracy

Lewis Lapham’s Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy and Robert Byrd’s Losing America are reviewed in the NY Times. The review says both books make good points about the curtailing of civil liberties and the passivity of political figures, but concludes

But in the end the reader would like to know more from both authors about the dilemma in which we find ourselves today as a nation. Why, for example, was the Senate so timid during the first two years of the Bush presidency when for much of that time it was not under the control of the president’s party? What should we make of the willingness of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to challenge the factual justification for the war in Iraq? Can we count on the federal judiciary to preserve the Constitution and the Bill of Rights during a time of national anxiety?