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Two decades ago, I wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs that described an unusual and worrying trend – the rise of illiberal democracy.Today, I worry that we might be watching the rise of illiberal democracy in America – something that should concern anyone, Republican or Democrat, Trump supporter or critic.What we think of as democracy in the modern world is really the fusing of two different traditions. In the West, these two traditions – liberty and law on the one hand, and popular participation on the other – became intertwined, creating what we call liberal democracy. In these countries, the rich and varied inner stuffing of liberal democracy is vanishing, leaving just the outer, democratic shell.This culture of liberal democracy is waning in America today.The Founding Fathers were skeptical of democracy and conceived of America as a republic to mitigate some of the dangers of illiberal democracy. Who and what remain to nourish and preserve the common good, civic life and liberal democracy?
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