Debate "Housekeeping" (05:09)
Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on western democracy and introduces the panelists. Audience members record their preliminary votes.
Opening Statements For: Yascha Mounk (06:42)
New America Senior Fellow and lecturer at Harvard University, Mounk feels disgust with politics. People are falling out of love with democracy and are becoming more open to alternatives. Mounk cites statistics and examples of harm done to democracy.
Opening Statements Against: Clive Crook (06:21)
"Bloomberg View" Columnist, Crook agrees that many things in politics are disturbing, but democracy leaves power in the hands of the people. He considers the implications of Donald Trump as U.S. president; Brexit was also a protest vote.
Opening Statements For: Bernard-Henri Lévy (06:49)
Philosopher and author, Levy explains why Brexit, populism in continental Europe, and Trump are against democracy. He considers political forces that are on the rise.
Opening Statements Against: Kori Schake (06:27)
Hoover Institute Research Fellow, Schake considers change in the international order. She agrees the West is not currently excelling; democracy is messy but we get to change the outcomes.
Is Democracy Built to Correct Mistakes? (06:10)
Donvan explains voting and summarizes opening statements. Mounk argues that democracy is a brittle set of institutions and overturning an authoritarian populace is difficult. Schake agrees with Mounk's assessment of Poland but counters that democracy is functioning as it was designed.
Protest Votes (06:29)
Lévy argues all populist, extreme rights, and past fascist votes were protest votes; the Trump presidency is a sign of decay. Crook counters that Brexit was a protest in support of democratic values.
Democratic Failure (03:08)
Schake questions why long-standing democratic societies would fail to solve difficult problems now. Lévy believes the opponents underestimate any regime's capacity to die; there is a current climate for democratic death.
Threatening Democratic Confidence (04:06)
Donvan quotes John le Carré's comments about the rise of fascism. Schake agrees we are in a tumultuous time but it is possible to over analyze the moment. An apathetic attitude toward government concerns Mounk.
QA: Hitler was Democratically Elected (09:18)
Schake explains why what happened in Germany is different from what is happening in the United States. Lévy believes democracy is difficult and fragile, and is not the most desirable political good in the world. Crook counters that western democracy is robust.
QA: How Do We Have an Antidote? (01:21)
California residents removed the State Senate's ability to set electoral districts; democracy allows the capacity to make changes.
QA: Effectiveness vs. Focus (08:09)
Clive states that democracy is robust in the face of bad politicians. Donvan cites the political situation in Catalonia and asks Mounk how it fits into the debate. Schake believes the cases in Spain, Poland, and Hungary are important, but cannot be generalized.
QA: Choices and Accountability (04:05)
Lévy states cases in Spain, Poland, and Hungary are good examples of how democracy can be misunderstood. Clive cites the purpose of democracy. Lévy counters that democracy works on two sides.
QA: Checks and Balances in Modern Government (05:18)
Schake states that elections have consequences; the ability to make changes is proof the democratic system is working. Mounk counters that checks and balances only work when all parts of government agree on a common purpose.
Concluding Statement For: Mounk (02:48)
Scope conditions dictate behavior. We cannot use conclusions from history to predict the future of democracy.
Concluding Statement Against: Crook (02:11)
Crook does not deny populist movements attract a fringe of anti-democrats, but they are a small minority.
Concluding Statement For: Lévy (02:32)
Lévy cites examples of political changes. Alexis de Tocqueville said democracy was the vote, rule of law, and a form of civilization.
Concluding Statement Against: Schake (02:27)
The United States is not newly a society with friction, economic problems, and social problems inadequately addressed; the U.S. gets many things right, including democracy.
Audience Vote Results (03:45)
Donvan thanks participants and explains how to support Intelligence Squared. Pre-Debate - For: 41% - Against: 31% - Undecided: 28%
Post-Debate - For: 57% - Against: 37% - Undecided: 6%
Credits: Western Democracy Is Threatening Suicide: A Debate (00:09)
Credits: Western Democracy Is Threatening Suicide: A Debate
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