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?
Why wait for democracy?
One after another, arguments that non-Western countries are not “ready” for democracy have been upended by experience.
More Stories From This Issue
Voting Against Freedom
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
Three Afghan women write about violence and shelter, the Taliban, and getting to vote.
Africa’s Long Spring
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
If Washington seems to get much less done than it once did, it is partly because it is trying to do so much more.
The real value of rare books: cultural, not monetary
Rare books tell us much about our cultural history.
A nightclub fire’s unseen burns
In 2003, Rhode Island suffered one of the deadliest nightclub fires in U.S. history. What was the longterm toll on the survivors?
What video games tell us about why it’s easy to fall into debt
Call it the ‘tunnel vision of scarcity.’
Does watching football take away our compassion?
Knowing the physical toll the game takes, is it ethical to be a fan?
Greatness and the mere politician
One thing that made Lincoln unique: his sometimes disorderly leadership style.
America’s military academies have really changed. Is that a bad thing?
“Gone are the days of ‘shape up or ship out,’” says one concerned observer.
The case against blaming greedy bankers for the financial crisis
Inside the hidden roots of the financial crisis.
What Wikipedia's "War of 1812" entry tells us about Wikipedia
"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 way we think about the Enlightenment is not enlightened.
What a decades-long Harvard study tells us about mental health
"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."