Scott Atran in Aeon:
Whether alt-Right or radical Islam, the values of liberal and open democracy increasingly appear to be losing ground around the world to those of narrow, xenophobic ethno-nationalisms and radical ideologies. Our research team at Artis International and the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University has found that these forces are clobbering free societies today much like fascists and communists did back in the 1920s and ’30s. In Hungary, we find that youth strongly support the government’s call for restoring ‘national cohesion’, lost with the fall of Miklós Horthy’s fascist and pro-Nazi regime; the call to root out ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘globalist’ values is strong. In Iraq, we find that nearly all of the young people we have interviewed who are coming out from under Islamic State rule in Mosul initially welcomed it for stability and security amid the chaos following the US invasion – until they were alienated by the ever-increasing brutality.
According to the World Values Survey, the majority of Europeans do not believe that living in a democratic country is ‘absolutely important’ for them. This includes most young Germans under age 30, and especially their elders in former communist East Germany who, in September, voted into Parliament the Right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany. Last April, Marine Le Pen’s hard-Right National Front and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s hard-Left Unbowed France together captured nearly half of the French vote of people age 18-34 in first-round national elections. And in the US, political scientists Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk find that nearly half of American citizens lack faith in democracy; more than one-third of young high-income earners actually favour army rule, presumably to halt rising social unrest linked to income inequality, job insecurity, and persistent failures in racial integration and cultural assimilation in an age of identity politics.