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Francis Fukuyama on Global Chaos (and Why You Don't Need to Despair About It)
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Francis Fukuyama on Global Chaos (and Why You Don't Need to Despair About It)

Yascha Mounk and Francis Fukuyama discuss the state of democracy around the world.
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Francis Fukuyama is a political scientist, author, and the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Fukuyama’s notable works include The End of History and the Last Man and The Origins of Political Order. His latest book is Liberalism and Its Discontents.

In this week’s conversation, Yascha Mounk and Francis Fukuyama discuss the triumph of the French far-right in the country’s first round of legislative elections; President Biden’s disastrous debate performance and what it may portend for the 2024 election; and the state of democracy from India to Ukraine.

The transcript has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.


Yascha Mounk: These are interesting times to say the least. It’s been a couple of days since the first round of the French legislative elections, with close to a majority for the far-right Rassemblement National; the alliance of the left, which goes from the center left to the far left, in second place; and Macron’s political force is much diminished in third place. We are still reeling from the American presidential debate and the revelation that, as seemed evident before, but was not quite as visible to our eyes as it was last Thursday, Joe Biden has serious issues of cognitive decline. And yet it looks like the Democratic Party is insisting on keeping him on as the candidate. 

Help us make sense of what’s going on right now. How do you see these turns of events in the United States and France? 

Francis Fukuyama: Well, I’m not sure that you can make sense of everything because you have some very contradictory trends. I think the worst developments are those that are going on in the United States.

You could also add the Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity that just came down where the court, 6-3, has basically endorsed some limited degree of presidential immunity that will certainly make a trial impossible before the election. So you can add that to your list. So if we go to a global level, I am not as pessimistic about the outcomes of this year of elections as some people are because I think that democracy has actually turned out to be reasonably robust in a number of places. So there are very worrisome countries, in particular France and the United States. But, for example, in the European parliamentary elections, Poland and Hungary both continue to reject or diminish the support for their populist leaders. You’ve had other elections around the world that have actually gone pretty well. Narendra Modi lost his majority in the Indian election. People are very worried about Claudia Sheinbaum winning by such a large margin in Mexico, but I actually think that that’s not the right takeaway because actually Mexican democracy, I think, has proven to be quite resilient. The reason that she’s popular is that her predecessor, AMLO, was the first leftist president of Mexico ever elected, and he actually did something for poor people. And so I think there’s a kind of substantive background to that and people are projecting forward their fears about what she could do with that kind of parliamentary majority. But that hasn’t happened yet. So it’s a very mixed picture that really began with the Polish election last year where the liberals gained power and stopped the PiS. So we need to then focus on the really problematic cases—France and the United States. 

There’s, of course, several uncertainties. There are two possible outcomes after the second round of the French election, one which I sort of think is the most likely is a kind of a forced cohabitation of Macron with some coalition. But you have to remember that the Rassemblement National did not win a majority. They’ve got some thirty percent of the vote and the seats in parliament. It’s not going to be easy for them to form a coalition either with Macron’s party or with La France insoumise, the leftist coalition, because they really disagree on some pretty fundamental policy issues. And so you may have more of a chaotic France rather than a France dominated by a unified and determined party. The other thing that we don’t know about France is really where Marine Le Pen stands right now. She has been working very hard over the past several years to move to the center to try to cast off the truly fascist legacy of her father. There’s another truly right-wing party to her right. This is Éric Zemmour’s party that has actually absorbed a lot of the hardcore right-wing support that her father used to get. And in Europe as a whole, there’s this interesting situation where Giorgia Meloni in Italy has emerged as the kingmaker, because she is somebody that was broadly suspected of being hard right. She’s, especially in foreign policy, proven not to be that. And in any event, once these right-wing parties decide that they’re not going to follow Britain and try to exit the EU, just staying in the EU, actually provides a number of institutional checks on how far individual member states can go.

Mounk: In France, we’ve had the first round of the presidential election. As I understand it, it is likely that no single formation is going to have an outright majority, but it is possible that the far right will somehow manage to squeak out enough votes in these strange two-way, three-way, and even four-way runoffs they have this coming Sunday to actually win outright. 

So how should we think about Marine Le Pen? She comes from a political party that clearly was, after its founding, by Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, nostalgic for the Third Reich in certain ways, apologetic of France’s actions in the Vichy regime, quite openly anti-Semitic, openly racist. Marine Le Pen has at this point for 15 or so years been trying to moderate the party. The project of detoxifying it is of long standing. And so the question is was that a genuine political shift? If the Rassemblement National somehow wins the majority in the Assemblée nationale or, as it seems quite likely at the moment, Marine Le Pen conquers the Élysée Palace three years from now, should we expect her to be a French version of Georgia Meloni? Or should we expect her to go in the direction of somebody like Viktor Orbán or somebody of a different kind of traditional far-right orientation? And to what extent would that pose a threat to French democratic institutions?

Fukuyama: Well, look, there’s no way of knowing what that future holds. I think that it will depend heavily on some other factors that are outside of France. For example, if Donald Trump and the Republicans win big in November, I think that’s going to affect politics everywhere. Every populist anywhere in the world is going to take heart and they will get the support of Trump and his allies here in the U.S. If the Russians do better in their fight against Ukraine, that’s also going to affect things because it will look like strongman authoritarianism is on the move and it’s going to give comfort and it’s going to shift, I think, a lot of populists to the right. As we’re saying, you know, right now the ones in the EU have to operate under EU rules, but challenging the EU and its democratic values may be more widespread. So that’s my answer. We don’t know how this is going to work.

Whether Marine Le Pen is sincere or not, I think, is the wrong question because these countries still remain democracies where people have to get votes. And so she moved to the center because the French public, after several failures, indicated that they were not going to enthusiastically support a hard-right politician. And so she’s making a political calculation; every politician in human history has. 

Mounk: What do you expect for France in the next year? Clearly, Macron is not going to have his own majority in the Assemblée nationale. Either there will be no clear majority in the assembly or it’ll be a majority that is quite hostile to Macron.

Do you think that that is going to somewhat complicate the work of the European Union and Europe’s effectiveness in confronting Russia and Ukraine and other things, but ultimately be the kind of problem that countries often go through? Or do you think this is really a major concern as France is basically out of action for the coming years?

Fukuyama: Well, the French president is very powerful with regard to foreign policy and defense policy. I mean, that was really the point of the Fifth Republic. And so Macron will still be in charge of things like support for Ukraine. Now, he’s got to get people to vote for budgets. That’s going to be difficult. But I don’t think there’ll be a sudden reversal of French foreign policy. The main problems I think will be for France as a society; he finally managed to get through this pension reform. I still can’t get over the fact that French people think that it’s a burden to have to retire at age 64 or 63, whatever they moved it to. But the pension system is not sustainable. And he was doing something that was actually quite responsible. And I think both the left and the right have vowed to undo that. His effort to create a moderate middle in French politics has unfortunately collapsed and I think a lot of that is his own fault. He’s a very personalistic politician. He managed to undermine the socialists and the Republicans and the other mainstream parties but he didn’t create his own durable party. Everything was about him. And as a result, nothing is going to survive him.

Mounk: Clearly, there was a project that Emmanuel Macron pushed forward, which was interesting. It was to have a new kind of political center, to be innovative in terms of the form of a political party and the appeal to the public while being moderate in ideological orientation. And this was in the first instance a huge success. He managed to pulverize the old party system and get elected president twice, and at least the first time around with a significant majority in the National Assembly as well.

That project has now faltered. And one set of reasons for it faltering is what you’ve pointed out, that Macron thinks that everything should revolve around him. He has not built up his political party as a sufficiently independent agent to be able to outlast his own popularity. And there are sort of specific reasons for that failure, right? You might say that the second set of reasons is perhaps a little bit more significant if you think that that is important. You can say, well, perhaps there’s just inherently a problem with trying to have one political force occupy that kind of center.

The most extreme kind of interpretation would be that this project of a new kind of liberal political movement could never succeed because it’s liberalism itself that is somehow out of tune with this political moment, or something like that. If we interpret, as I would, the election in France as effectively the end of Macron’s presidency; he will remain in the Élysée for another three years, and he still has quite a lot of power, but as a sort of genuine generative political force, he appears to be spent. And if you see it as the failure of a very interesting attempt at creating a moderate political space that is exciting, how meaningful do you think an indicator this is for the prospects of that kind of political space? Or to what extent does it just reflect Macron’s idiosyncratic failings as a politician?

Fukuyama: I tend to think it’s more the latter than the former because as I said, moderate parties have done well in other parts of Europe. I don’t think that there’s a rejection of either liberalism or moderation in general. A lot of the people we like around the world have failed as institution builders. Political scientists like you and me think that institutions are important. Not everybody does. Macron is a prime example of that; yes, he wanted to create a durable center, but he didn’t actually create a party. He didn’t delegate authority. He didn’t spend enough time building party organizations in every department in France. Apparently, he didn’t tell his prime minister that he was going to call this snap election. This was all just his spur of the moment decision. And that's not the way that you do anything durable. 

The other one that’s like this is Zelensky: Unfortunately, Zelensky does not understand institutions and he centralized decision-making in Ukraine in a very worrisome way. And it’s not clear what’s going to be there if he departs one way or the other. 

Mounk: Tell me more about Zelensky. It’s not quite what I was intending to talk about, but it’s a very interesting point. How is it that he is failing to build institutions and what kind of consequences has that had in the war so far and what might it have on longer-term prospects for consolidating democracy in Ukraine?

Fukuyama: Well, after the war began, he basically centralized power in the presidency and shut down virtually everything. And so all of the existing media channels that were privately owned are now folded into one national channel where the government really has control over it. The parliament has been sidelined. His party, the Servant of the People party, had a huge majority because people really didn’t like the corruption of the existing parties, but they have no institutional coherence right now. There is no kind of a check. Everything is centralized through not just the executive branch as a whole, but the office of the president. So his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, is accused of being a kind of mini-dictator because he controls access to Zelensky and really makes all of the important decisions in the country. They should have had elections a couple of months ago by the Constitution, but those elections have been suspended. I understand why; they have argued that because they’ve got 8 million people displaced, and under wartime conditions voting is very difficult. So all of that is correct, but there doesn’t seem to be any real thought or urgency to legitimating his continued rule through some kind of a popular mandate. And so all of that is quite worrisome, as are the evidences of a lot of palace politics now that’s really replaced democratic politics in terms of sacking senior officers, relieving people of their positions, like our friend Mustafa Nayyem who is heading reconstruction, for very mysterious reasons. So the lack of transparency is ultimately going to turn into a lack of legitimacy.

Mounk: You clearly are a strong supporter of Ukraine. You think that it is very important for Western countries to help Ukraine see off the Russian invasion. If people point to the things that you’ve just enumerated and say, look, the claim here is that this is a fight between democracy and authoritarianism. But once you look under the hood, you see all of these problems, you see the lack of democratic legitimacy for Zelensky. You see the concentration of power in the presidency. They might argue that the entire premise for helping Ukraine was wrong and naive and fraudulent. How would you respond to them? 

Fukuyama: The fundamental justification is wartime exigency. They’re in an existential fight for their lives, and that still goes a long way in excusing this lack of institutionalization. I think at a certain time, they’re going to have to confront this problem, particularly if they have to make a very hard decision like negotiating a ceasefire. I think they are going to need to bring more people into the conversation. 

But Ukraine still is a fundamentally free society. You can criticize Zelensky, as many people do. You can be an independent journalist without being worried about being arrested or thrown out of the country. You can run a civil society organization that looks after transparency. So the kinds of restrictions on individual freedoms that you see in a genuine illiberal dictatorship really don’t apply. But the democracy part I think at some point is going to need to be strengthened because that is important for continued support from the United States, from Europe, from all of Ukraine’s outside partners.

Mounk: What is the end game for this war? Do you still hold out hope that Ukraine might be able to repel Russian forces from its territory? Or do you think a negotiated settlement is now inevitable? 

Fukuyama: Well, I think that the main card that Ukraine holds at the moment is Crimea. Now that the Biden administration and other European partners have agreed to allow—I mean, it was stupid to forbid them to attack Russian targets in Crimea because it’s their own country, it’s their own territory. But now that they’ve been given longer-range weapons like the ATACMs (they’re going to get F-16s sometime this summer) they can raise the cost to Russia. And I think Crimea really matters a lot to Putin. That was, in a way, more important than the Donbas even in terms of his war objectives. And they can really make life pretty miserable in Crimea. I don’t think that leads to any kind of a peace settlement. I just don’t see any way that any Ukrainian government is going to accept basically legitimizing a transfer of territory to Russia, but you could get to a ceasefire where both sides are exhausted and they’re not giving up on their war aims, but they’re saying, okay, we just need to stop. And again, people have compared this to the Korean armistice; as you know, there's never been a settlement of the Korean War. They’re still technically at war, North and South Korea. They’ve had an armistice in place for 54 years. It’s provided stability, but it hasn't resolved the political question about who rules Korea. So I think that that is kind of where you would end up, where you could get a ceasefire, no Ukrainian concessions in principle of any territory, but it would bring the active fighting to a halt. And that’s important because the Russians still are able to attack Ukrainian cities with rockets, glide bombs, with impunity, and that’s not a very sustainable situation for the Ukrainians.

Mounk: We’ve taken a long while to get to the United States. You know, I was very saddened to see the debate. I was very saddened to see that somebody who has served his country very honorably and with distinction like Joe Biden is clearly no longer fully in control of his mental faculties. But I’m also very worried about what that means both, frankly, for his conduct in office at the moment but also for the ability of the Democratic Party to beat Donald Trump come November.

I assumed on Thursday night that it would be a matter of days until Joe Biden announces his intention not to run for president, because I assumed that most of the key players in the Democratic Party would make it clear to him either publicly or privately that he is simply no longer in a state to run. It’s been striking to observe in the days since the debate that the senior leaders of the Democratic Party have circled the wagons, publicly defending Joe Biden, and clearly intending to go forward with him as a candidate.

What should we make of all of this? And do you still at this point see many realistic paths to avert Donald Trump being reelected this November?

Fukuyama: I’ve really liked the pieces that you’ve written, including the one you did calling for him to step down. I agree with the conclusion. I think that there are many people in the Democratic Party, many donors, many politicians, that feel the way you do. I think right now it’s a collective action problem, because if any governor, Gavin Newsom or Gretchen Whitmer, were to come out saying he needed to step down, it would be very bad for them because everybody in the party is going to pounce on them. But getting a coordinated effort is difficult. If you strike at the king, you better kill him, if you’re really going to make that effort. But I think that there’s a lot we don’t know. Jamie Raskin was saying that a lot of conversations have been going on ever since the debate. And I think that if there is a conspiracy within the party to actually collectively ask him to step down, we wouldn’t know about it right now. And so I guess that’s my major hope that somebody in the party is actually plotting in this fashion. And at a certain point, it could be after the next round of polls come out, and if there’s a really disastrous drop in support, maybe that will be the occasion for unveiling the conspiracy and really making a concentrated push.

Mounk: Yeah, I was wondering, certainly when Barack Obama, for example, tweeted, in one of the most embarrassing tweets by somebody who normally is very, very thoughtful in everything he does and says, that we all have had bad debate nights; implying that his subpar performance against Mitt Romney in the first of three presidential debates was in some ways comparable to Joe Biden’s disastrous performance last Thursday. Of course, it wasn’t in any way. Obama was clearly extremely competent even in that debate, and then did much better in the second and third debates. I did think that perhaps he is saying this publicly because he feels that he is only going to have room to actually influence Biden if Biden feels that he’s not being publicly undermined. Perhaps that sort of show of public fealty was a price that Obama felt he needed to pay in order to have any real purchase in private conversations to push Joe Biden off the ledger. But all of the reporting we are seeing so far—and I agree with you that perhaps there’s a lot of things going on that reporters haven’t been able to get to yet—seems to suggest a general circling of the wagons; Certainly, all the reporting suggests that Joe Biden’s family members seem determined for him to run, whether they generally think that that is in the interest of Joe Biden or whether they are letting their own interests supersede, in continuing to have proximity to power and the perks that come with it, their concern for an octogenarian relative who clearly, from my vantage point, appears to be in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. 

I guess I am quite worried at this point that what we’re seeing in public may be what’s actually going on, that any private efforts to exert power on Joe Biden may be a lot less coordinated and coming from much less senior people. But I don’t know, Frank. I mean, I guess the proof is going to be in the pudding. We’ll know a few weeks from now. 

If Joe Biden does step down, what do you think the likelihood is that Kamala Harris would then become the nominee? Do you think there’s a way of getting around that? How disastrous do you think a contested convention would be? I sort of floated the idea, which I know is half-baked (though any course of action at this point is half-baked), of having a kind of one-day consultative vote that the Democratic Party could organize, allowing voters in all states on the same day to express their preference between whatever candidates have declared at that point. They would have a kind of democratic legitimacy and it would inform what they might do when the Democratic Party meets for its convention. Do you have any better ideas? What should Democrats do at this point?

Fukuyama: I think that they’ve got six weeks until the convention, which is a long time. British elections take place within a six-week window from start to finish.

I don’t completely understand the rules, but it seems to me that if Biden announced that he was stepping down as candidate and he released all of his delegates and he did not endorse Kamala Harris, that basically it’s an open convention. And I think at that point, normal politics takes over, so you’ll get ten people that announce that they’re going to throw their hat in the ring. And then you have just a lot of intense politicking where they say what they’re going to do and what positions they’ll support. And then all of those released delegates can choose among a much broader menu. I’m not quite sure that Kamala Harris has necessarily a leg up on this because I think that, at this point, the main objective of most Democrats is to beat Trump. And if you’re going to get Joe Biden out of the way, I’m not sure why you would go to a candidate that is even less popular than him. And I’m not sure that identity politics is such a trump card that she plays that it’s going to overcome a lot of Democrats’ doubts about her abilities. So maybe that’s an excessively rosy scenario. I’m not sure I like the idea of a kind of a snap vote because I really do think that you have to have a lot of negotiation, deliberation, and alternative candidates. I personally feel that some combination of Josh Shapiro and Gretchen Whitmer would be a dream team. They’re both successful, very popular governors of important key swing states, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But nobody knows them. I think that you just need time for something to come out so that there’s some public persona that people can associate with them. That’s why I think that the six weeks until the convention would be very useful for that to happen. But with every day that passes, that becomes less and less likely.

Six weeks would give you time to really get to know people. I’m still not sure that you need that long. I think that DeSantis tanked the moment he opened his mouth because it turned out that he had a kind of negative charisma. He never smiled. He never showed any human warmth. People could see pretty quickly that he simply wasn’t going to be very appealing to people other than extreme ideologues. I think that six weeks is still enough time for those kinds of faults to come out. I mean, it is enough time for opposition research to surface.

But at this point, I would take that gamble. The Democratic Party’s got a lot of younger talent, and I think that it’s such an uphill slog for Biden to get elected that I would really prefer to go with an unknown quantity and let the chips fall where they may.

Mounk: I strongly agree. Even though I was favorable to Joe Biden’s candidacy in 2020, I was never his biggest fan. I was never excited by him. But I did think that out of a candidate pool that was left standing towards the end of that primary process, he was the right choice. And he did manage to win against Trump in 2020. At this point, I just think it’s political malpractice to imagine that you can force American voters to pick him. So it does now seem that in a very unpredictable election in which we’re not even sure who the candidates are going to be, there is a very, very real chance that Donald Trump will get re-elected. 

I remember you writing in 2016 that Trump’s election at that time would be a kind of natural experiment, that it would put to the test whether what makes up the core of a political system is its institutions or the public-spiritedness of its leading office holders. If it’s the former, then you predicted American democracy would hold up pretty well. And I think that’s what at the time you believed would happen. If it’s the latter, then Donald Trump would be able to inflict serious damage on the American republic. How do you think the natural experiment played out in the first Trump term, with about three and a half years of hindsight? And how do you think that natural experiment would be likely to play out if Trump does get reelected for a second?

Fukuyama: Well, I think that the second term is likely to be much, much worse than the first term. In the first term, I don’t think he expected to win the election and he didn’t come prepared. Hillary Clinton had like 700 campaign advisors that were ready to immediately move into positions of authority had she won and Donald Trump didn’t have anybody. He got rid of Chris Christie as his transition advisor. He was probably the most unprepared president ever in American history. But that’s not the case right now. 

I’m busy working on a project to counter a revival of Schedule F. The Heritage Foundation has been working on this Project 2025 in order precisely to overcome the kind of weaknesses that existed in the first Trump term, so they want to revive the Schedule F executive order that was issued right at the end of the first Trump administration that essentially would have allowed them to fire any civil servant in the executive branch that they wanted. They are compiling lists of people that are chosen primarily on the basis of their personal loyalty to Trump to replace them. And the numbers they’re talking about sometimes go as high as 50,000. I mean, imagine if you replace, for example, the head of the IRS with a Trump loyalist. Is that person going to be willing to audit a journalist that Trump gets annoyed at? So I think that the institutions, especially the judiciary, were pretty strong in the first Trump term, but I think that he’s going to weaken those institutions on day one if he’s re-elected. We’re facing a much, much bigger challenge.

I am much less confident about institutions holding simply because there’s been a learning process on the part of both Trump and the Republican party. The really worrisome thing is that he’s realized that it’s not just a matter of his decisions. It is a question of institutions. And if he doesn’t get hold of those institutions, then he’s not going to be successful in his second term. 

Mounk: This week the Supreme Court decided to grant Trump partial immunity from prosecution. What do you think of that ruling and how do you see the role of the court shaping up over the next years? 

I’ve found that suggestions that the court is completely partisan, that it is willing to undermine American democracy, have so far been unfounded. The most obvious example is that they quashed all attempts by the Trump campaign to overturn the 2020 election. The ruling in this case perhaps goes the furthest so far in creating the space for Trump to be a genuine threat to American institutions. How do you see this ruling, and how do you interpret the broader course of action of the Supreme Court in the last years?

Fukuyama: I’m very disappointed in the ruling both substantively and in terms of the effect on the election because, at a very minimum, what it does is it sets up a whole other set of hearings that Judge Chutkan has to hold in her court, which can then be appealed. There’s going to be this endless cascade of delays, which means that, in this case, we’ll never hear it before the election. And if Trump is elected, he can simply pardon himself and bring the whole thing to a close. I think the court has actually been a little bit more open to certain ideas than its many liberal critics believe. Amy Coney Barrett, for example, has actually, I thought, issued some fairly interesting disagreements with her conservative members. And there are a number of decisions where they didn’t take the Republican side, for example in a Louisiana redistricting case and a few others. But on the whole, I think they’re very political. And I unfortunately think that in this case, politics was one of the overwhelming drivers of the decision.

Mounk: Let’s broaden this back out to the state of democracy around the world. We are now well into the second decade of a global democratic recession, with more countries moving away from democracy than towards it. We are potentially facing a situation in which Trump is the President of the United States, Marine Le Pen is the President of France; the so-called illiberal international is really gaining in strength around the world. 

At the same time, as you’ve pointed out, there has been significantly good news from countries like Poland and Hungary. We’ve seen in India the resilience of a democracy in which Modi won a much less convincing majority than many expected. How do you think the conversation about democracy will look in five or ten years? What are the reasons for optimism in dark times?

Fukuyama: I think that the resilience of democracy cannot be taken for granted, but it can also be underestimated. There really is no systematic alternative political system that rearranges political institutions in a fundamental way that is not democratic. There’s obviously Russia and China that are just pretty unapologetically authoritarian systems. But for most of the rest of the world, democracy, the voice of the people, still matters. What’s come under greater stress is liberalism—that is to say a set of constitutional rules or the rule of law that try to limit government power. I think most of the threats have come in that sphere. But there are reasons for having continued confidence in the resilience of liberal democracy because the failure to consult, the failure to get broad approval, the failure to observe limits, oftentimes leads to policy failure. We’ve had a couple of them in recent years, big ones: The Ukraine war, where Putin didn’t listen to anyone other than his own inner voice telling him he was the new Peter the Great. And I think zero COVID and the way that Xi has been handling the Chinese economy are both in defiance of what I think other leaders in that society would have advised. So I think that the alternatives to democracy have opportunities to show their own weaknesses and I think that the advantages of having democratic restraints on power are still things that are valued by people. However, I do think that what happens in the United States is really, really important for global democracy given America’s power and given the role that it has played in setting an international agenda over the past five, six, seven decades. And I think that with the weakening of liberalism in the United States, you are going to start changing more fundamental things, the ideas that underlie what had been a kind of assumption that liberalism was the only way to organize a society.

I’m very troubled that there are certain signs in the wind that are very dangerous. People are openly talking about things that had been completely verboten. I’ve been reading reports in Germany that, although this got one of the AfD leaders in trouble, actually praising National Socialism is something that’s heard on the extreme right more frequently in the United States. There’s been a kind of mini-revival of the Confederacy, people saying, well, maybe the Confederacy wasn’t so terrible after all. And this is something that’s really not been apparent in many, many decades. So I think we’ve got to worry about those things, but also have a certain amount of confidence in our own democratic institutions because if we don’t believe in them, who else is going to? Certainly not democracies’ enemies.


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