The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism

July 2017

A look at liberal democracy’s complex historical evolution shows that elite fantasies of liberalism without democracy are ill-founded. Authoritarian legacies and democratic deficits lie at the core of trends that threaten liberal rights.

The Specter Haunting Europe: The Lost Left

October 2016

Post-1945 Western Europe benefited greatly from center-left parties offering real solutions to real problems. Where has that left gone?

Making Democratic Waves

April 2016
A review of Making Waves: Democratic Contention in Europe and Latin America Since the Revolutions of 1848 by Kurt Weyland.

European Disintegration? Warnings from History

October 2012

The irony at the heart of Europe’s current crisis is that although the EU originated as part of a post-1945 effort to consolidate democracy in Western Europe, the Union’s travails are now pushing the continent in the opposite direction instead.

Books in Review: Fukuyama’s Grand Vision

October 2011

A review of The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama.

Taming Extremist Parties: Lessons from Europe

January 2008

The history of twentieth-century European communist parties shows that extremists can be moderated by robust democratic institutions. Without them, however, the inclusion of extremist parties may undermine democracy.

The Vain Hope for "Correct" Timing

July 2007

The history of many of today’s established democracies shows that “out-of-sequence” democratization can lead to eventual success.

How Democracies Emerge: Lessons from Europe

January 2007

Those who argue that democracy requires preconditions often cite the example of gradual unfolding set by the established democracies. A glance at history, however, shows that even today's most placid democracies have "backstories" as turbulent as anything found in the developing world today.