Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yascha Mounk

Yascha Mounk is a Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University's Government Department and author of a new academic book, The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice and the Welfare State.

From his December 2016 Q&A with Zachary Laub for the Council on Foreign Relations:

Are illiberal politicians and states more effective messengers than their liberal counterparts?

It’s always easier in politics to be critical than to be constructive. But the establishment has to take this as a serious wake-up call, and they face a difficult task. They have to communicate clearly that many things about how the political system has functioned for the last twenty-five years need to change, and to be a credible messenger on this, they have to show that they really are dismayed with the status quo. At the same time, they need to combine this criticism with a positive vision for what measures they want to enact to improve people’s lives, and to make a passionate case for what about the current system needs to be preserved—liberal norms like the separation of powers or the insistence on treating all citizens equally.

We’ve seen a lot of cross-border connections among these parties, like Brexit leader Nigel Farage campaigning for Trump in Mississippi. How are these parties and candidates linked?

First are the empirical linkages. Russia is financially supporting a lot of radical parties in the West, both on the far left and far right. And of course Russia’s email hacks helped get Trump elected.

But that matters less than what sociologists would call diffusion. Five years ago, I was already worried about people falling out of love with democracy....[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue