In this episode of Talks at GS, Anne Applebaum discusses her book, Twilight of Democracy, the historical struggle between democracy and dictatorship, and the rise of populism and the deterioration of democratic institutions in the 21st century.
On the rise of populism in the 21st century: “Our politics had become somewhat a realm of professionalization. It's almost like politics was something that happened among a specialized political class and ordinary people didn't really think about it or care much about it. It seemed like something that happened far away... And that meant that a lot of people began to feel unrepresented by their government and didn't see themselves in the leadership of their countries or they didn't feel that the leadership was somehow responsible to them or responsive to them in the way that they felt it should be.
On what makes her hopeful for the future of democracy: “What makes me hopeful is the level of civic engagement that I see on the rise around the US, for example, but also in other countries like here in Poland. The number of people who have begun to understand that politics isn't just like tap water—you just get it and you don't have to think about where it comes from or who cleaned it—but it's actually something you might have to work for.”