How do democracies die? Not at the hands of generals, but of elected leaders – presidents or prime ministers who subvert the very process that brought them to power. That is the unsettling conclusion of Harvard professor Daniel Ziblatt’s highly praised book How Democracies Die. He will be speaking about it at the John Adams on January 16th. “A brilliant, wise and nuanced book,” according to Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times.
Ziblatt and his co-author Steven Levitsky have analyzed the collapse of various democracies in recent history, and compare them to the state of the US government today. Is our democracy in danger? Yes, says Ziblatt. He warns us against politicians who reject the democratic rules of the game; who deny the legitimacy of opponents; who tolerate or encourage violence; and who indicate a willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents, including the media.
In the past thirty years, norms that are fundamental to democracy – such as mutual tolerance, forbearance, and restraint in deploying institutional prerogatives – have been seriously undermined, and even abandoned entirely. Join us on Jan. 16th to hear from Daniel Ziblatt whether there is a way out, and if so, what it is.
Moderator Chris Kijne delivered the following introduction to Daniel Ziblatt.
Moderator: Chris Kijne