Fear and freedom: is Western democracy in danger?


Could democracy die in the US? Is a new wave of authoritarianism sweeping the world? Is the west about to be engulfed by civil conflict? FT columnist Gideon Rachman asks:

Questions such as these would have seemed hysterical as recently as 2015. But they are now the subject of mainstream political discussion. The three books under review – The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, by Yascha Mounk; Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy, by William Galston; The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, by Timothy Snyder – come from academics based at some of the most prestigious universities and think-tanks in the US. They all start from the belief that the democratic system in America is under threat — and that this is part of a broader global crisis.

“But beyond Europe and North America, there is an even broader international context that all three books largely neglect,” he adds. “The counterpoint to a crisis in the west is the rise of the east — and, in particular, China. The crisis of confidence in both Europe and America is closely connected to a sometimes inchoate sense that centuries of western domination of the global order are coming to a close.” RTWT

At a forthcoming National Endowment for Democracy forum, Galston and Mounk discuss the factors fueling populism’s rise and how democracies can effectively respond. Both Galston and Mounk have written articles addressing these questions that will appear in the April 2018 issue of the NED’s Journal of Democracy. The event will also celebrate the appearance of newly published books by each of these authors: Galston’s Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy (above) and Mounk’s The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It.

A book launch celebration featuring

William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair, Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program

Author, Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy


Yascha Mounk, Lecturer on Political Theory, Harvard University

Author, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It

moderated by

Marc F. Plattner

Editor, Journal of Democracy

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

11:45 a.m.– 1:45 p.m.

(lunch will be served from 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.)

1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004

Telephone: 202-378-9675

 Twitter: Follow @ThinkDemocracy and use #NEDEvents to join the conversation. Copies of the books will be available for purchase at the event. All cameras and media must register with NED public affairs. Please email press@ned.org to register as a member of the press.


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