Yascha Mounk - The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It

Join us on Saturday, March 31st at 3 pm
for a reading and discussion with


Yascha Mounk
author of
The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It

in conversation with Damon Linker, 
contributing editor for the New Republic and 
Senior Writing Fellow in the Center for Critical Writing at the University of Pennsylvania.


“Yascha Mounk is sounding a tocsin that we must heed. Minority rights and majority rule are not irrevocably yoked together; as they diverge, the future of liberal democracy is in peril. Everyone worried about the state of contemporary politics should read this book.”  —Anne-Marie Slaughter

"The world is in turmoil. From India to Turkey and from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. As a result, Yascha Mounk shows, democracy itself may now be at risk.

​Two core components of liberal democracy—individual rights and the popular will—are increasingly at war with each other. As the role of money in politics soared and important issues were taken out of public contestation, a system of “rights without democracy” took hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of “democracy without rights.”

​The consequence, Mounk shows in The People vs. Democracy, is that trust in politics is dwindling. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few.

​The People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy."

Yascha Mounk is a writer, academic and public speaker known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. Born in Germany to Polish parents, Yascha received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge, and his PhD in Government from Harvard University. He is now a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and Executive Director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Yascha has written three books: Stranger in My Own Country - A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, a memoir about Germany’s fraught attempts to deal with its past; The Age of Responsibility – Luck, Choice and the Welfare State, which argues that a growing obsession with the concept of individual responsibility has transformed western welfare states; and The People versus Democracy – Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, which explains the causes of the populist rise and investigates how to renew liberal democracy.To get a better sense of Yascha’s work, listen to his podcast, read his weekly column, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Or check out these recent profiles of him and his work:

​The New York Times, "How Stable Are Democracies? Warning Signs are Flashing Red", November 2016.
The Atlantic, "Containing Trump", March 2017.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Can Yascha Mounk Save Liberal Democracy?", April 2017.

Event date: 

Saturday, March 31, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Event address: 

130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674976825
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvard University Press - March 5th, 2018