Awakening An Empire of Liberty: Exploring The Roots of Socratic Inquiry and Political Nihilism In American Democracy


This book review timely examines Cornel West’s latest sequel to his 1992 best seller, Race Matters. In Democracy Matters, West unflinchingly examines the waning of democratic energies and nihilistic practices of private and public sector in our present age of democracy. This review takes a critical examination of the logic underpinning West’s arguments, his nomenclature of various nihilism plaguing our society, the sometimes clumsy employment of literary devices and his thesis regarding the ‘niggerization’ of America after 9/11 that can serve as a basis for unifying collective action against imperialism. West makes a compelling argument that the public needs to be heard more and awakened by plain speaking Socratic questioning, if it is to become an informed citizenry, or as Ancient Greeks called it, “paidea”. This is necessary in order for the perennial battle between empire and democracy—that reaches from Athens to America—to restore the proper balance in our democratic republic from tyranny and expansive imperialism. Otherwise, who is to say that the American empire of liberty will not tumble as a result of over-extended imperialism as was the case with Roman, Ottoman, Soviet and British empires?


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Human Rights Law | International Law | Law and Politics | Law and Society | Social Welfare Law

Date of this Version

February 2005