A collection of America’s top political scientists gathered at Yale University this past October to ask a very poignant question: "Is American democracy in decline?" Sean Illing, retired politics & philosophy professor, Air Force veteran, and interviews writer for Vox sat in on several lectures and produced a fascinating article for Vox.com. You can read the full article through the link below, but I wanted to share a few of the "hot takes" quoted in his article...
Yascha Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard University, summed it up well: “If current trends continue for another 20 or 30 years, democracy will be toast.”
Nancy Bermeo, a politics professor at Princeton and Harvard, began her talk with a jarring reminder: Democracies don’t merely collapse, as that “implies a process devoid of will.” Democracies die because of deliberate decisions made by human beings.
Adam Przeworski, a democratic theorist at New York University, suggested that democratic erosion in America begins with a breakdown in what he calls the “class compromise.”
Daniel Ziblatt, a politics professor at Harvard, identified what he calls two “master norms.” The first is mutual toleration — whether we “accept the basic legitimacy of our opponents.” The second is institutional forbearance — whether politicians responsibly wield the power of the institutions they’re elected to control.
Timur Kuran, a professor of economics and politics at Duke University, argued that the real danger we face isn’t that we no longer trust the government but that we no longer trust each other.
Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian, talked about time as a kind of political construct. His thesis was that you can tell a lot about the health of a democracy based on how its leaders — and citizens — orient themselves in time.
But what do you think? Is the current political climate fertile ground for alarmists? Or do we have to consider the possibility that democracy is not as unassailable as many believe?