Liberal democracy | THE UNIVERSAL

The European and American nineteenth century was dominated by two ideological narratives: conservatism (monarchism, traditionalism) and liberalism or progressivism (Kirk). Faced with the threat of socialism, the two came together, allowing the emergence of much more peaceful and moderate narratives: liberal conservatism (champions of individual liberties, market economy and private property) and progressive liberalism (defenders of the welfare state and social and economic rights).

In the 20th century, three fables dominated the scene: fascism, socialism, and liberalism (Harari). The first became extinct after the Second World War and, at the end of the century, socialism stagnated, so that, from 1990, the consensus was around liberal democracy (Rawls), in which power alternated the center-left (political participation, minority rights, progressivism, global warming) and the center-right (more freedom, more free markets and planetary circulation of people, ideas and goods). That seemed to be the correct side of the story. However, contrary to what was predicted, the 21st century has witnessed the advance of radicalisms (anti-liberal) of the left (neo-communists, anarcho-communists and popular socialists) and of the right (neo-conservatives, anti-communists and neo-fascists) and the retreat of the ideals of liberalism: limitations on migration, human rights violations, resurgence of caudillismo and nationalisms. Brexit, the arrival of Trump to the Presidency and the consolidation of hegemonic ideological projects of the right (Europe) and the left (Latin America), seemed to confirm the end of the liberal fable. But liberalism has survived everything: the criticisms of Burker and Hooker (XVIII), religious and monarchical conservatism (XIX) and imperialism, fascism and communism (XX). And everything seems to indicate that, like the Phoenix, it rises again from its ashes. The election of Biden and Harris – supported by Democrats and moderate Republicans – seems to indicate so. Choice that sends clear messages, which will take effect in the short term. Among others: (i) that the ideological debate will take place in the moderate center; (ii) that the way out of our reasonable disagreements (ethical or political) is rational consensus and tolerance, not violence, not authoritarianism, not blind left or right dogmatism; (iii) that the global and regional political agenda will be dominated by real problems: human rights, migration, climate change, clean energy, bio-info-nano-technology, inequality, poverty, among others; (iv) that democracy presupposes respect for the rules, traditions and procedures established in the law and the Constitution, and (v) that for women, the future is today, the future of their rights, of inclusion and the rise to royal power.


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