Democracy and its discontents: charting a path of renewal


Surveying America’s political history, Larry Diamond of Stanford University divines “a general pattern of resilience, punctuated by dark periods of authoritarian temptation,” The Economist notes:

Indeed the two are related; America’s democracy has tended to emerge stronger after each moment of testing. After Roosevelt, the Supreme Court’s independence was affirmed; after Watergate, Americans embraced transparency.

Three new books engage with the threats to a liberal society, notes analyst Arthur Goldhammer:

What the current moment demands is insight like Tocqueville’s into the way in which successful democracies rely on a blend of contradictory ingredients, not all of which can be labeled “democratic.” Indeed, it was the heart of Tocqueville’s argument that a successful democracy must incorporate elements of its opposite, which he called “the aristocratic social state.”

….. he writes for The American Prospect, in a review of How Democracies DieSteven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt; Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American RepublicDavid Frum; and The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save ItYascha Mounk [a contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy.] RTWT

We find ourselves in a season of democratic disorientation, evident on both sides of the Atlantic, The Ethics and Public Policy Center notes:

History is, clearly, not over, and the prospect of the political history of the West taking some nasty turns cannot be precluded. Charting a path of democratic renewal requires a sober assessment of democracy’s present discontents and a refresher course in some basic truths about the nature of the democratic project and the conditions for its flourishing.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center cordially invites you to attend the 17th annual William E. Simon Lecture Democracy and Its Discontent, delivered by George Weigel (left), EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow [and National Endowment for Democracy board member]

Tue, March 6, 2018, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST Add to Calendar

The Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20036 View Map

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