Nationalism Against the Liberal Democracy

In the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, some of the societies of the West find themselves at a critical point in their development from the point of view of the values that have historically shaped them. Over the last century, these values have made it possible to create states with limited governance, with pluralism, political competition, individual freedoms, and prosperity for the citizens. In short, this is the essence of the term “liberal democracy.” It has been in intensive use over the last three decades, but in recent years, it has also become loaded with negative interpretations from various internal and external factors of the Western society.

Viewed from within, liberal democracy in Western countries resembles a thin sheet of paper that has ended up between the blades of a pair of political scissors, between right-wing and left-wing radicals. It is under constant attack by ideologically confused far leftists, so-called “conservatives,” and nationalist parties.

The left, especially the orthodox socialists and Marxists, are eternally suspicious of liberals. They see them as defenders of deregulated markets, of a limited role for the government, and of a reduced role for trade unions, as well as other economic and political values inherent in capitalism. Those perceived as conservatives, on the other hand, both support the functioning of a maximally deregulated national market and declare themselves protectionists and against free trade. Nationalists and national (right-wing) populists rely on statism and protectionism and are a constant source of xenophobia and racism. These three political groups have pushed liberalism into the corner of the political systems inside Western nation-states.

From the outside, liberal democracy has been subjected to continuous attacks and systematic attempts at delegitimization by post-communist and authoritarian states and theocratic regimes. In the decade since 2010, there has been propaganda working to turn “liberalism” and “liberal democracy” from concepts that describe the political philosophy and structure of the Western democracy into negative political labels. Focused on attacking globalization and halting ethnic, racial, and cultural changes in their own countries, some politicians in the Western world have “declared war” on the political traditions and achievements of their own countries.