Nancy Rosenblum’s Items contribution is based on her response to Charles Taylor’s October Roosevelt House lecture, "Ways Democracy Can Slip Away," and also appears in The Democracy Papers. A member of the Anxieties of Democracy program’s Advisory Committee, Rosenblum reflects on Taylor’s arguments through the lenses of history and political philosophy. She ends on a note of contingent hope, emphasizing that democracy’s contemporary vulnerabilities are related to genuine advances in the quality of democracy over time.
Can representative democracies be strengthened to govern more effectively? The SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy (AOD) program is motivated by a concern about whether the core institutions of established democracies that connect citizens and civil society to the political system—elections, mass media, political parties, interest groups, social movements, and, especially, legislatures—can capably address large problems in the public interest. The Democracy Papers makes available short essays and works-in-progress from the events AOD organizes and the broad network of scholars and practitioners it mobilizes. Previously located on AOD’s website, past Democracy Papers are available there while new ones will be published as part of SSRC’s Items essay forum.