Subject: Liberalism

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April 2018, Volume 29, Issue 2

The Undemocratic Dilemma

The ability of liberal democracies around the world to translate popular views into public policy has been declining. Yet there is no easy way to overcome this trend without weakening the capacity of governments to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the coming decades.

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July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism

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.

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April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

The 2016 U.S. Election: The Populist Moment

Rising populism in the U.S. and beyond is calling into question the liberal-democratic bargain that has defined the postwar era. What led to Americans’ present revolt against elites, and what are its implications?

July 2015, Volume 26, Issue 3

The Medieval Roots of Democracy

Europe in the Middle Ages was hardly democratic, but it did have law-based institutions that could and did stay the hands of kings, laying a crucial basis for future state-building and democracy-building alike.

January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

The Crisis of Liberalism

Liberalism as a governing order is barely two centuries old. A response to the great alternatives presented by Europe’s political history, it represents a unique synthesis of the ancient and the modern. But globalization has cast a deep shadow across liberalism’s future.

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April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

Tunisia’s Transition and the Twin Tolerations

Of all the “Arab Spring” countries, so far only Tunisia has managed to make a transition to democracy. Tunisians now have a chance to show the world a new example of how religion, society, and the state can relate to one another under democratic conditions.

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January 2012, Volume 23, Issue 1

Morocco: Outfoxing the Opposition

Morocco was not immune to the 2011 upheavals in the Arab world, but the country’s monarchy deftly managed the crisis through cosmetic constitutional reform.

January 2012, Volume 23, Issue 1

Turkey Under the AKP: Are Civil Liberties Safe?

In the West, Turkey is considered a model for a secular democracy in the Muslim world, yet the country finds itself mired in a crisis of civil rights and liberties under a third term of the pro-Islamic AKP government. Ironically, while the government maintains a discourse on political reform—including constitutional amendments—the country is bitterly divided…

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April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Democracy and Deep Divides

How do democracies deal with the deep divisions created by race, ethnicity, religion, and language? The cases of Canada, India, and the United States show that democratic institutions—notably, competitive elections and independent judiciaries—can bridge divides and build stability, but they must find a way to manage the tension between individual and group equality.

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January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Populism, Pluralism, and Liberal Democracy

In recent years, scholars have begun to focus on the sources of "authoritarian resilience." But democracy has also shown surprising resilience, in part because the disorders to which it is prone tend to counteract each other.

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July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Authoritarian Impermanence

Like all contemporary nondemocratic systems, the Chinese system suffers from weak legitimacy at the level of regime type. The most likely form of transition for China remains the model of Tiananmen, when three elements came together: a robust plurality of disaffected citizens, a catalytic event, and a split in the leadership. Had China chosen the…

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Religion and Democracy

The secularization hypothesis has failed, and failed spectacularly. We must find a new paradigm to help us understand the complexities of the relationship between religion and democracy.

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January 2009, Volume 20, Issue 1

Is Democracy Possible?

While the belief in democracy has spread around the world, it has begun to crumble in some of the West’s finest academic institutions.

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January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

How Democracies Emerge: Lessons from Europe

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.

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October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

Reviving Middle Eastern Liberalism

For about a century after 1850, the Middle East enjoyed an imperfect yet real "Liberal Age." The roots of some of the key institutions of that era remain today. Can they be nurtured into a second spring?

January 2002, Volume 13, Issue 1

Books in Review: Reconstructing Afghanistan

A review of “Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban,” by Larry P. Goodson; and “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia,” by Ahmed Rashid.