, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect, by Paul A.
The first was whether the absolute monarchies of Europe were monarchies or despotisms
in Montesquieu's use of the terms, and whether they should be models for the future.
Woods is a bad ally for libertarians, though his message may appeal to those who can't distinguish the flaws of America from those of outright despotisms
. Decentralization is an important libertarian value, but surely our first principle is individual liberty; and nothing is more inimical to liberty than slavery or totalitarianism.
Warmongering liberals have effectively been as great a bane to human liberty at home and abroad as any foreign dictator, and a considerable number of modern despotisms
have emerged from the wreckage of misguided liberal zeal.
If Vargas Llosa does not share the apparent naivete of his former socialist comrades-in-arms about the future of Latin America (and this despite the recent liberalization of many Latin American regimes in the 1980s and '90s), it is perhaps due to his conviction that the region has more than once before experienced the giddiness that comes with a seeming liberation from the weight of historically outmoded despotisms
. Having experienced firsthand, as a young writer and intellectual, the elation that followed Castro's sudden rise to influence in the early '60s, Vargas Llosa now refuses to forget that a similar euphoria swept Latin America in the early and mid-19th century following the wars of independence that freed much of the hemisphere from Spanish colonial rule.