From India to Turkey, from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. Two core components of liberal democracy--individual rights and the popular will--are at war, putting democracy itself at risk. In plain language, Yascha Mounk describes how we got here, where we need to go, and why there is little time left to waste.
Mounk is a clear and often forceful writer, if not an especially stylish one; he favors the step-by-step explication and the tidy formulation. His prose seems to reflect his preferred mode of politics: earnest, respectful and pragmatic.
Mr. Mounk proposes what he calls “inclusive patriotism,” which after many pages of description sounds like ordinary left-liberalism but with an admission that securing a nation’s borders isn’t a terrible idea.
The comprehensiveness of Mounk’s analysis of populism’s advance is valuable, helping get beyond narratives that focus on a few especially colorful or nasty political figures or movements. Yet in painting analytically with such broad strokes and bold colors, Mounk sometimes sacrifices nuance.