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  • Writer's pictureAndreas Bøe

1 in 7 Continents is Lonely This Christmas

It is not uncommon to feel lonely during Christmas times. Just ask Europe.

Putin has given us the ultimate reminder of how important the liberal democracy is. At the same time, China’s influence of other countries is continuously growing with their investments all over the world. The protests against Qatar and the World Cup united an Eastern world to stand up against western opinions. These are just some examples on how authoritarian countries have succeeded in their mission to make Europe terribly alone with its democratic mindset.

I don’t even think it would be an overstatement to claim that Europe is the final hope for the world’s liberal democracies. On top of this, Poland and Hungary are doing their best to dismantle Western values and the European project. The West may have won the ideological battle in the 1990’s, but we are now about to lose the war.

This observation is shared by Francis Fukuyama, the man who claimed that the liberal democracy – at The End of History – is superior to any other forms of government. He is still claiming this in his last book, but he also observes how several countries are moving in the opposite direction of liberal democracy. To Fukuyama, knowledge and human behavior are important elements in a liberal democracy. The values in society must have their foundation in science. In addition, those who present these values must tolerate that several arguments can be equally legitimate.

We have during the last years witnessed how liberal democracies have turned increasingly polarized, and the arguments from influential politicians have not exactly been based on scientific objectivity (Trump, I’m looking at you). Many of the arguments in public politics today are not really meant to enlighten the citizens at all. The target is not to achieve a better society, it is to provoke opponents and please supporters. According to Fukuyama, a liberal democracy demands a certain politeness and dignity in a discourse. These qualities are nowhere to be seen in western public debate today.

A good example of the democratic recession in Europe can be found in the freedom of speech. The tendency is not anymore to allow all opinions, so that we through discussion can identify the best arguments.

Instead, Western societies are more concerned about cancelling opinions that are not approved by the leaders of the public debate.

However, we can find comfort in noticing how several populist leaders have suffered losses during the last months. Boris Johnson has lost his dominant position in British politics, Jair Bolsonaro got removed as Brazilian president, and the midterm elections in USA provided a solid setback for Trump-supported candidates.

So, the liberal democracy is still experiencing victories. It is, however, under massive pressure. The only way to defend it is to fight for its values through a polite and scientifically based debate. Listen to other opinions. Argue in the pursuit of the objective truth, not your own truth. Only then, we can achieve the best society. The liberal democratic society.

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