Persuasion: Democracy’s defenders now ‘full of passionate intensity’?


Over recent years, the political and intellectual energy has been with illiberal movements. Too often, the advocates of free speech and free institutions have been passive, even fatalistic. It is high time for those who believe in these enduring ideals to stand up for democratic convictions, according to a new nonpartisan initiative:

Persuasion is a platform for publishing interesting ideas. It is a convener of pressing debates. Most importantly, it is the nucleus for a community that seeks to shake the defenders of the free society out of their complacency….Persuasion is a publication and community for everyone who shares three basic convictions:

  • We seek to build a free society in which all individuals get to pursue a meaningful life irrespective of who they are.
  • We believe in the importance of the social practice of persuasion, and are determined to defend free speech and free inquiry against all its enemies.
  • We seek to persuade, rather than to mock or troll, those who disagree with us.

Persuasion will feature:

  • Former NED board member Francis Fukuyama backs the initiative

    A biweekly newsletter on the threats to the free society—and reflections on how to fight back—by Yascha Mounk, a contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy.

  • Regular guest contributions by some authors you already love, and others whom you are yet to discover.
  • A bimonthly podcast in which leading thinkers discuss the most urgent questions of the day without chasing yesterday’s headlines.
  • Live events in which speakers who share a commitment to the values of a free society passionately debate what policies and practices can best realize them.
  • Book clubs in which well-known authors lead discussions of their favorite works.


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