One of our most essential political thinkers offers a vital account of democracy in the twenty-first century
After the acrimony of Brexit, the shock of Trump, and the continued pull of Putin and Xi it seems that democracy is in a state of decay. And as governments around the world struggle to combat the coronavirus - often adopting draconian measures as a response - there is a sense, a panic, that democracy's decline may be terminal. But how many of us are certain about what democracy actually is?
Acclaimed political philosopher Jan-Werner Müller lucidly argues that in order for us to understand the true risks of our current moment, we must first establish an understanding of first principles. What is essential for democracy to flourish? How can we defend it without forever distorting its DNA?
In this elegant volume, he explains how democracy is founded not just on liberty and equality, but also on uncertainty. Drawing on history, art and examples from around the globe, he shows that we need to
re-invigorate political parties and free media, the institutions that have been essential for democracy's success ever since the nineteenth century. Challenging conventional wisdom, Müller suggests concretely how democracy's crucial institutions could be renovated, re-empowering citizens while also preserving a place for professionals such as journalists and judges.
Taking on many of the most difficult political questions we face, this book is a vital rethinking of what democracy can mean in an age of big data, curated news feeds, collapsing parties and social alienation - and how we can reinvent our democratic social contract.