From the United States and Britain to continental Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege, while authoritarianism is on the rise. In her recent book, “The Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism,” Anne Applebaum, an award-winning historian of Soviet atrocities who was one of the first American journalists to raise an alarm about anti-democratic trends in the West, explains the lure of nationalism and autocracy.
In this program, Applebaum will discuss the inherent appeal to political systems with radically simple beliefs, especially when they benefit the loyal to the exclusion of everyone else. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have arisen within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. Applebaum will address the patterns that link the new advocates of illiberalism and chart how they use conspiracy theory, political polarization, social media and nostalgia to change their societies.