Democracy in the early 21st century

by Elias Blum

My concerns are the following:

(i) That the moral, ethical, cultural foundations of democracy in the West are being eroded by ‘post-truth’ politics and by culture divided between relativist individualismĀ  and silly gatekeeping, purity-testing, SJW identity politics – both of which have little regard for real civic virtue or for a sense of public duty, without which free institutions cannot be maintained.

(ii) That the economic foundations of democracy (based on a broad middle class and general prosperity) have been undermined by neoliberal doctrines, increasing poverty and inequality.

(iii) That the legal-institutional and constitutional foundations of democracy are being ignored and undervalued, while precious and hard-won civil liberties are curtailed.

(iv) That democracy in its current form is failing to respond to the existential challenge of climate change and other long-term slow-burn environmental and technological challenges.

I therefore foresee four main areas of work for any democracy support programme:

(i) Democratic values, public ethos and strong citizenship;

(ii) Shared prosperity, economic democracy and effective public services;

(iii) Constitutional government, checks & balances, and human rights; and

(iv) Democratic sustainability, environmental stewardship and resilience.

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