Civilization and Power

Freedom and Democracy

America has become the leader of the world, and Thomas Mann’s dream, a federation of European states, is coming true. At the same time, there are many, both inside and outside the West, who feel today that Western culture is untrue to its own ideal of civilisation, and that its universalism has degenerated into mere globalism. To these critics, the notion of freedom, which was central to Western democracy and which has become increasingly arbitrary, is no longer the fullest expression of human dignity. The question is: what is it that Europe can learn from America, and vice versa?