- With Trumpism, a kind of virulent racism and sectarianism in public discourse in the name of a response to political correctness raised in the form of Islamophobia
- Ideally we speak of a democracy when individuals and groups are not stigmatised on account of their origins, their race, their religion.
- Nationalism is not an old war. It came into being because monarchies were collapsing in Europe and people were afraid that in the absence of a royal dynasty mediating between the heavens and the earth no one could retain the allegiance of the people towards the State.
- For the last 1000 years the main joined activity of Europeans had been killing each other. Then came the European Union. The recent economic crisis and refugee crisis showed a lack of unity and solidarity once again. All people, not only the elite need to come together, says Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells and actively share practice and solidarity and not just an idea of a united Europe. Otherwise Europe will remain just an ideology.
- How to develop democracy in Latin America or Africa, not just applying Western ideas but adapting local culture? Asks von Vacano: “if we understand theories across cultures we might be able to develop more permanent conceptions and constitutions that are democratic. Example: all inclusion of minorities – where already the ancient Athenian democracy model failed – Bolivia today has incorporated the indigenous groups, applying its cultural roots into democratic theory and constitution.”
- Our classical liberal tradition in the United States is stronger than in Europe, says Macedo. The interesting ideas of contemporary republicans, deliberative democrats and the ideas of progressive liberals are highly convergent and mutually complementary and not in opposition to one another. This other tradition, we tend to call libertarian, is much more free market oriented, but progressive liberalism and European moderate, left ideas to overlap.
- How to deal with social controversies in the case of Charlie Hebdo in France? Ask Stephen Macedo from Princeton. In Europe, there are more laws that are protective of particular groups against hateful speech. In the US we tend not to have those laws, but we have self-restraint which results from living in society of immigrants. Not offending one another has become a normal way of behaving in society.
- People that organize protests in the streets, the “Square People”, seem to create a re-legitimation of the status quo rather than positive change, says Ivan Krastev: today’s street protests are not necessarily a sign of more democratisation but signalise political mistrust and a disconnection between protest and representation. On the other hand, it feeds populism on a global scale by leaving aside the traditional political parties.
- Cultures need to learn from each other and so does democratic theory. We need new tools, democratic tools to tame violence, says Ramin Jahanbegloo from York University, Toronto and it is Gandhi who can inspire us once again. And we need democratic passion, civic education and cross cultural, non-violent ideas.