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. . . one of the few truly important works of political thought.
Irving Babbitt was a leader of the intellectual movement called American Humanism, or the New Humanism, and a distinguished professor of French literature at Harvard. Democracy and Leadership, first published in 1924, is his only directly political book, and in it he applies the principles of humanism to the civil social order.
Babbitt rejects all deterministic philosophies of history, whether they be the older type found in Saint Augustine or Bossuet, which tends to make of man the puppet of God, or the new type, which tends in all its varieties to make of man the puppet of nature. He offers a compelling critique of unchecked majoritarianism and addresses the great problem of how to discover leaders with standards.