It’s one of the greatest challenges facing modern democracies: how can diverse groups of people with different ideologies, backgrounds and beliefs live together in peace and equality? In April 2022 acclaimed political thinker Yascha Mounk came to Intelligence Squared to answer this question, drawing on the themes of his new book The Great Experiment.
It’s easy to be pessimistic about the possibility of making diverse democracies work, he contended. Despite what some see as progress towards greater social justice for minority groups in recent decades, he argued that a destructive narrative of ‘us versus them’ still prevails: Formerly subjugated groups want to triumph over their historical oppressors in an all-out struggle for power; while socially dominant groups seek ways to cling to power and maintain their privilege.
As western societies become ever more diverse, Mounk explained, they are faced with the challenge of creating something that has never before been achieved – democracies that offer true equality to all. And he will offer practical guidance to show how, while acknowledging the injustices of the past, we can move from mutual hostility towards conciliation and cooperation.
Mounk explained how, despite our racial and religious differences, we can build fair and thriving democracies for all.
‘Anyone interested in the future of liberal democracy should read this book’ – Anne Applebaum
‘Moves from insightful analysis of our current crisis to practical suggestions on how to mitigate conflicts over race and identity – a blueprint for a more optimistic future.’ – Francis Fukuyama
‘Yascha Mounk shows us our history, our psychology, our self-inflicted wounds, and our best hope for creating stable democracies that benefit from diversity. This magnificent book increases our odds of success.’ – Jonathan Haidt