Power, Performance, and Legitimacy

Issue Date April 2024
Volume 35
Issue 2
Page Numbers 5–22
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Read the full essay here.

Democracies today remain in a potent and protracted recession, and they have retreated from the ideological struggle against autocracy. We can renew the world’s democratic momentum through power, performance, and legitimacy. Democracies must generate economic prosperity and opportunity while containing corruption, crime, and abuses of power, to reinvigorate support for democracy across regions and generations. Liberal democracies cannot be weak or retreat; they must exert their power to safeguard free and fair elections, independent media, and the rule of law. Nowhere in the world where dictatorships repress rights, censor information, and propagate disinformation can democracy be secure. Every defense of democracy is a source of inspiration and instruction. We must get serious again about promoting the values, experiences, requirements, and institutions of democracy. And we must do so on the scale, with the scope and ease of access in many languages, required to save it.

About the Author

Larry Diamond is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, and founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy.

View all work by Larry Diamond

Image Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images