Save Liberal Democracy

– In Love with Facts


Alexander Görlach

Alexander Görlach is the founder of the initiative He is a linguist and theologian who works on narratives of identity, politics, and religion, and liberal democracy, as well as secularism, pluralism, and cosmopolitanism. He was a visiting scholar to both Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Center for European Studies and a J. F. Kennedy Memorial Policy Fellow at that Center in the academic years 2014-2017. Alex is senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, a fellow at the Center for the Governance of Change at IE University in Madrid, a senior advisor to the Berggruen Institute, and a honorary professor of ethics and theology at Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany, and a senior research associate at Cambridge University’s Institute on Religion and International Studies. Prior to his current engagement at Cambridge University Alex served as a fellow to the Center for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). In the academic year 2017-2018, he was also invited as a visiting scholar to universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In East Asia Alex looked into the democracies of the region and how the cope with the rise of China. One narrative of identity he is particularly researching on is the narrative of work. Given the rise of AI, algorithms and an increasing automatisation it is crucial for him to reassess how individuals and societies perceive work and its impact on self-worth and identity. Today he is the editor in chief of, a magazine on technology, AI and ethics, an op-ed contributor to The New York Times and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, among others. He is also the founder of the debate-magazine The European and served as its editor-in-chief from 2009 until 2015.

The Amazon wildfire is a test case for practical cosmopolitanism

by Keeran Jani

The primary cause of wildfires in the Amazon is by no means new. Local farmers utilise a method called slash-and-burn, which is designed to yield fertile land to grow upon. Previously wooded areas are cut down to allow greater space for agriculture and the resultant vegetation is allowed to dry out. Afterwards, this matter is burned, rendering nutrient-rich ash that acts as a fertiliser on the underlying soil, as well as completely clearing that patch of land of vegetation, weeds, and pest species. Due to its short-term effectiveness, this practice has been popular amongst farmers for millennia. However, it is always bad for the ecosystem – unsurprising as it necessitates the removal of the species native to that land and its replacement with a fairly homogenous set of agriculturally desirable crops or cattle. It is also a practice which invites the risk of wildfires due to the abundance of kindling produced and the potential of controlled fires spreading. 

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We Need a Planetary Ethic for the Amazon

Homero Aridjis and Alexander Görlach in March 2019 in Mexico City

Consequences of its destruction will extend far beyond artificial national boundaries.

by Homero Aridjis

Governments often invoke national sovereignty as a justification for exploiting and devastating natural resources, asserting that the people will benefit if coal or oil or timber or copper or gold or whatever else is extracted from the Earth. The opposite is usually true: the people affected by the disappearance of their natural environment are often left in a worse state than before.

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Hong Kong, a renewed identity forged under Chinese pressure

by Yehmin Wu

Two months in and there is still no end in sight for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. With increasing bloodshed, any resolution is destined to be temporal, and the summer of 2019 will be marked as a historical moment that cast a long shadow into the future of East Asian geopolitics. 

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Cooperation Between Police and Gangsters in Hong Kong Draws Parallels to Taiwan

by Brian Hioe

Attacks on anti-extradition bill demonstrators in Hong Kong last week proved shocking for many, with individuals thought to be pro-Beijing gangsters attacking unarmed demonstrators and police, for the most part, turning a blind eye to their actions. Nevertheless, comparisons to Taiwan may be useful here.

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Donald Trump and the battle for the American nation

by Alexander Görlach

The upcoming census has caused turmoil in the US since President Trump requested a question be added to the questionnaire about the nationality of those surveyed. At first glance, it seems legitimate. After all, in Germany wee also want to know where the people who live here and have residence status come from.

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“Today we can say that Fukuyama was right”

In this conversation at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs Alexander Görlach, founder of Save Liberal Democracy and a senior fellow at the Council, discusses with Alex Woodson about the future of liberal democracy, the new two-block-world, and how we may live in democracy with AI and an the extended impact of automatisation.

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“Equality between us can only exist when China becomes a democracy.”

Interview with Joseph Wu 

Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, has only been in office since February 2018. Since then he has witnessed China’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric. In this interview with SLD’s Alexander Görlach, Wu discusses Chinese interference in elections, his country’s role in the alliance of liberal democracies and what Taiwan identity means in the 21st century.

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It’s Not a Democracy If You Don’t Vote

by Saad Amer

In theory, every citizen in a democracy would vote, ensuring that elected officials actually represent the values of their constituents. However, the US political system is far from that ideal. In America, midterm elections consistently yield voter turnouts less than 50%. In fact, the last time a midterm election reached a voter turnout over 50% was in 1914.

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Liberal democracy isn’t saved yet – what will the new year bring?

– by Alexander Görlach – What will the world look like in 2019? As every year, we ask ourselves what the new year might hold. In the past few years, that was an agitating affair. There’s a wave of nationalism and populism that has captured every part of the world, “Brexit”, the election of Donald Trump, the rise of China and the trade war between the United States and the People’s Republic. But where are we heading in 2019? Is everything going to be even worse? Or can humanity finally settle back and enjoy the dawn of a new era? 

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