In 1938, fascism was on the rise in Europe, and Communism held a strong attraction for some Western intellectuals. Some believed that the establishment of totalitarian government in what is now called the Anglosphere was only a matter of time. The British historian Christopher Dawson disagreed. He thought that a different kind of state was more likely: equally authoritarian, perhaps, but backed by the coddling of a welfare state instead of brute force. Pure popular democracy presents the possibility of a different yet critical danger to the kind of free society that had been characteristic of Western political history: “It may be harder to resist a totalitarian state which relies on free milk and birth control clinics than one which relies on castor oil and concentration camps.” Resistance would be even more difficult because such states use language that is comfortable to democratic...


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