Is Democracy Worth It?

In the sobering aftermath of the Arab Spring, old questions about the pursuit of political freedom have come into fresh focus. Are the risks too great? Is the time too soon?

More Stories from this Issue

Voting Against Freedom

Joshua Kucera

Recent history in the countries of the former USSR suggests that the appetite for freedom may not be as strong everywhere as we assume.

What Democracy Looks Like, According to Three Afghan women

Norwan, Mariam, and Nasima

Three Afghan women write about violence and shelter, the Taliban, and getting to vote.

Africa’s Long Spring

Steve McDonald

In a process almost unnoticed by the rest of the world, Africa has become significantly more democratic since the early 1990s. Its transition toward political freedom offers both inspiration and cautionary lessons.

The Gridlock Illusion

R. Shep Melnick

If Washington seems to get much less done than it once did, it is partly because it is trying to do so much more.

Why do kids develop autism?

The Wilson Quarterly

Some researchers think “systematic thinking” plays a role.

The real value of rare books: cultural, not monetary

The Wilson Quarterly

Rare books tell us much about our cultural history.

A nightclub fire’s unseen burns

The Wilson Quarterly

In 2003, Rhode Island suffered one of the deadliest nightclub fires in U.S. history. What was the longterm toll on the survivors?

Is America’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ a bad idea?

The Wilson Quarterly

In short, the pivot appears to be a dangerous flop.

What video games tell us about why it’s easy to fall into debt

The Wilson Quarterly

Call it the ‘tunnel vision of scarcity.’

Does watching football take away our compassion?

The Wilson Quarterly

Knowing the physical toll the game takes, is it ethical to be a fan?

Greatness and the mere politician

The Wilson Quarterly

One thing that made Lincoln unique: his sometimes disorderly leadership style.

India’s Billionaire Boom

The Wilson Quarterly

Where do India’s billionaires come from?

America’s military academies have really changed. Is that a bad thing?

The Wilson Quarterly

“Gone are the days of ‘shape up or ship out,’” says one concerned observer.

Why does China have so many copycats?

The Wilson Quarterly

A look at China’s copycat economy.

Management styles fail and fail again — and that's okay

The Wilson Quarterly

The great management debate!

The case against blaming greedy bankers for the financial crisis

The Wilson Quarterly

Inside the hidden roots of the financial crisis.

Mentoring is great, but has mixed long-term results

The Wilson Quarterly

The limits of mentoring.

What Wikipedia's "War of 1812" entry tells us about Wikipedia

The Wilson Quarterly

"Wikipedians are running out of new material to write — and argue — about, and the number of dedicated editors is dwindling."

The way we think about the Enlightenment is Eurocentric and wrong

The Wilson Quarterly

The way we think about the Enlightenment is not enlightened.

The climate debate isn't about science. It's about culture & emotion.

The Wilson Quarterly

It's not the science, stupid.

The surge in Afghanistan had some awful side-effects

The Wilson Quarterly

The surge goes awry.

Mere Anarchy

Nick Gillespie

Looking at the world through an 'anarchist squint.'

Guerilla warfare's epic history

Martin Walker

Just because they're guerillas doesn't mean they're primitive.

What a decades-long Harvard study tells us about mental health

Charles Barber

"The best predictors of adult success and well-being are a childhood in which one feels accepted and nurtured; an empathic coping style at ages 20 through 35; and warm adult relationships."

Loving children who are flawed in the eyes of the world

Sarah L. Courteau

Love and its costs.