Culture Wars: How to stabilise liberal democracies and regain ground for the centre–right parties

In Western democracies the core principles of an open society are under threat from political polarisation, (self-)censorship and a decline in the opportunities for open public discourse. It is mainly centrist parties, particularly conservative–liberal and Christian Democratic ones, that have been hit by these deformations. The paper will analyse the genesis and characteristics of the current public debates on these issues and develop ideas from a conservative–liberal perspective on strengthening the political and ideological position of centre–right parties. It argues that it is not, first and foremost, the debates and divisions surrounding values in modern societies which pose the biggest challenge for modern democracies and democratic parties. Rather, it is the deliberate, culturally induced assault on free and rational public discourse that is damaging the core mechanism required for a functioning pluralistic society and multi-party system.

Download the publication