I am jealous of editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell for his having known the great French thinker/writer Jean-Francois Revel personally. Tyrrell's tribute to the now-late Monsieur Revel on today's web site is a must read. Brilliant, perceptive stuff (as usual), and written with a charming fondness.
Revel's 1983 book How Democracies Perish has long sat on my bookshelf within easy reach. It must be admitted that he was too pessimistic about the ultimate triumph of republican nations in the face of the Communist threat. The first line of his book was a necessary warning, but fortunately incorrect as a prediction: "Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes." But while our civilization was not and is not doomed, Revel's diagnosis of its weaknesses was right on target. Hence the brilliantly concise and perspicacious opening line of the book's second chapter: "Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is working to destroy it."