EAST-WEST: Democracy, Yes

A French critique of Utopia

Is democracy synonymous with decadence? France's indefatigable political pundit, Raymond Aron, 74, for one, answers a thunderous "No!" His 28th book, In Defense of Decadent Europe (Regnery/Gateway; $14.95), published in the U.S. in June, makes a formidable case for the democratic pluralism he has upheld for 30 years, often against periodic leftist tides in Western Europe. Perhaps best known for his ironic aphorism, "Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals," Aron has produced a challenging critique of the messianic illusions about a Communist Utopia.

Defense was originally written, as Aron concedes, to influence the 1978 French parliamentary...

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