The Future of Western Democracies: Defending Freedom and Open Societies

Lecture | May 1 | 12-1 p.m. |  Moses Hall

 Ralf Fücks, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation

 Institute of European Studies

In his most recent book “In Defense of Freedom – How We Can Win the Battle for Our Open Societies”, Ralf Fuecks analyses the reasons behind racism, nationalism, and the collapse of the political center. We are in the midst of a crisis of liberal democracy. The widespread fear of economic decline, unchecked globalization, and uncontrolled migration is resulting in increasingly nationalist rhetoric and policies. Trust in democratic institutions is declining, populist demagogues are on the rise. What is behind this political revolt, and how can we counter it? These are the questions Ralf Fuecks addresses in his book. He depicts the long historical opposition against liberal modernity, and demonstrates that retreating into nationalist policies and turning away from open societies will lead us nowhere. The alternative he presents is a revitalization of the democratic republic: we need strong public institutions, which can secure societal cohesion, and citizens who defend the equal rights of all.

 heike@berkeley.edu, 510-6434558