The Political Illusion by Jacques Ellul

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Jacques Ellul
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Book review

Named Best Book (Culture) in the 2004 Word Guild Canadian Writing Awards! The end of the Cold War has brought about more than the triumph of some political ideologies and the disappearance of others. In fact, the collapse of communism has created a vacuum quickly being filled by various alternative visions, ranging from ethnic nationalism to individualistic liberalism. But political ideologies are not merely a matter of governmental efficacy. Rather, political ideologies are intrinsically and inescapably religious--each carries certain assumptions about the nature of reality, individuals and society, as well as a particular vision for the common good. These fundamental beliefs transcend the political sphere, and the astute Christian observer should thus discern the subtle ways in which ideologies are rooted in idolatrous worldviews. In this comprehensive study, political scientist David Koyzis surveys the key political ideologies of our era, including liberalism, conservatism, nationalism, democracy and socialism. Each philosophy is given careful analysis and fair critique, unpacking the worldview issues inherent to each and pointing out essential strengths and weaknesses. Koyzis concludes by proposing alternative models that flow out of Christianity's historic engagement with the public square, retrieving approaches that hold promise for the complex political realities of the twenty-first century. Writing with broad, international perspective and keen analytical insight, Koyzis offers a sound guide for Christians working in the public square, culture watchers, political pundits and all students of modern political thought.


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