Realm of Lesser Evil / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $49.92
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 23%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $49.92   
  • New (5) from $49.92   
  • Used (1) from $59.34   


Winston Churchill said of democracy that it was the worst from of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. The same could be said of liberalism. While liberalism displays an unfailing optimism with regard to the capacity of human beings to make themselves masters and possessors of nature, it displays a profound pessimism when it comes to appreciating their moral capacity to build a decent world for themselves.

As Michéa shows, the roots of this pessimism lie in the idea - an eminently modern one - that the desire to establish the reign of the Good lies at the origin of all the ills besetting the human race. Liberalism's critique of the 'tyranny of the Good' naturally had its costs. It created a view of modern politics as a purely negative art - that of defining the least bad society possible. It is in this sense that liberalism has to be understood, and understands itself, as the 'politics of lesser evil'.

And yet, while liberalism set out to be a realism without illusions, today liberalism presents itself as something else. With its celebration of the market among other things, contemporary liberalism has taken over some of the features of its oldest enemy. By unravelling the logic that lies at the heart of the liberal project, Michéa is able to shed fresh light on one of the key ideas that have shaped the civilization of the West.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this highly original study of contemporary free-trade liberalism, Jean-Claude Michea develops and brings to a conclusion his decade-long duel with the bankrupt thinking of the institutionalized Left. The originality of Michea's approach consists in his strenuous effort to discover and unravel the original populist themes in Marx's work, themes that return - recycled and somewhat refashioned - in present-day liberal individualism. This allows him to rewrite, in a controversial yet fascinating manner, the history of modernity. The result is a book that should be widely read and discussed and should stir up debate across the social sciences, drowning as they now are in a stale concoction of yesterday's intellectual fashions."
Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of the University of Leeds
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745646206
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Claude Mich?a is Professor of Philosophy at Lyc?e Joffre in Montpellier.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The Unity of Liberalism 1

2 Questions of Method 40

3 The 'Open Society' and the Politics of Necessity 48

4 Tractatus Juridico-Economicus 59

5 Egoism and Common Decency 88

6 The Unconscious of Modern Societies 112

7 From the Realm of Lesser Evil to the Best of Worlds 138

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)