This piece by IWP professor Joshua Muravchik and Jeffrey Gedmin was published in the Washington Post.
Freedom diminished around the world in 2016 for the 11th consecutive year, according to Freedom House. These years saw the devastating failure of the “Arab Spring” and the sad turn of Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union back to dictatorship. Russia, China and Iran are increasingly assertive in their regions. And illiberal populist parties — nearly four dozen of various stripes – are on the rise in Europe in parallel with a new angry nationalism in the United States. Taken together, it’s hard not to at least contemplate whether democracy might be an endangered species.
To Americans, democracy is a given. But to the rest of the world, it’s a fairly recent invention — a creature of the past two centuries. This is a relatively narrow slice of recorded history, briefer than the Ming or Song dynasties in China or various other dynasties elsewhere that appear as mere blips in historical memory. Maybe this democratic moment is just another phase.