Educate to Liberate

Open Societies Need Open Minds

The old college try: at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, November 2015 SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS

A populist wave is sweeping the Western world. In Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States, populist parties and candidates have entered the government. In France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, they have won record levels of support and reshaped the political landscape. What makes these victories so disturbing is the characteristic that unites all populists: their rejection of liberal values. If the world once seemed to be moving inexorably toward greater political and economic freedom, human dignity, tolerance, equality, nondiscrimination, open markets, and international cooperation, all are now under threat. That is bad enough, but the decline of liberalism will have consequences beyond a few individual countries. Because the countries that uphold the liberal international order, especially the United States, are turning against liberalism, they risk undermining the order they built, ushering in a more antagonistic and dangerous world.

Politicians and pundits have suggested

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