Liberal Democracy Needs a Cause Worth Fighting for to Survive

Liberal Democracy Needs a Cause Worth Fighting for to Survive
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., April 4, 2013 (AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez).

The emergence of nativist movements and populist leaders in Europe and America has had Western liberal democracy on the ropes over the past few years. Two developments in the past week suggest that things could get worse before they get better.

The implications of the first development were clear. The two most formidable long-term challengers and counterweights to Western power—Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin—were returned to office, perhaps indefinitely.

The second might take some time to sort through and make sense of. Revelations about the practices of a British political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, have put the spotlight on the potential uses and abuses of the massive amounts of user information generated—and ostensibly safeguarded—by Facebook, as well as other social media and Big Data giants.

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