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Social scientist Yascha Mounk on American democracy and how we can find common ground

A woman wears a mask while walking past an American flag painted on a wall. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
A woman wears a mask while walking past an American flag painted on a wall. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Social scientist Yascha Mounk warned years ago that anti-democratic leaders were on the rise. He was right.

And yet today, he feels hopeful:

“I think the situation today is a mix of reasons to be very, very concerned in the midst of reasons to be optimistic,” he says.

Politics feels like a centrifugal force, pushing, tearing American democracy apart.

Mounk says there’s an opposite force — one that pulls even the most diverse democracy together: Underappreciated joys in all our daily lives.

“It’s a love of the cities and landscapes, of celebrities and TikTok stars and even silly aspects of contemporary culture.”

Today, On Point: Can that common ground hold?

Guests

Yascha Mounk, professor of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University. Contributing editor at The Atlantic. Author of The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure. (@Yascha_Mounk)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

Book Excerpt

From THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure by Yascha Mounk, published by Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2022 Yascha Mounk.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.