Yascha Mounk and Matthias Matthijs discuss the rule-of-law crises roiling the European Union and the persistence of right-wing populism across the continent.
I enjoyed your conversation with Prof. Matthijs very much, but he made one comment (incidental to the discussion) that bothered me: You pointed out that emigration of young intellectuals from EU "problem" countries ironically buttresses the standing of the populist authoritarian leader, by skewing the voting base. Matthijs agreed, and drew an analogy with Red states in the US. Indeed internal population shifts, driven to a very limited degree by state-level politics, may have contributed to polarization within the US, but implying that this is unique to Republican-leaning states is false. I think the implicit suggestion that it might represent a plot to maintain electoral dominance is ludicrous, perhaps reflecting a tendency among US academics to live in a cultural bubble alienated from the conservative half of the US electorate. I would not want to live in Texas or Florida, in part because of an annoying cultural climate, but likewise I would not want to live in California for similar reasons; none of these states has an authoritarian government, despite rhetoric to the contrary.
Yascha's point that "Germany is the major democracy in the world that seems by many metrics politically to be doing the best" seems a good rebuttal to the idea that national cultures are genetic or unchangeable, doesn't it?