It makes sense to take a close look at Germany in this context.
Not because it is exceptionally successful at fending off populism—in fact, the right-wing party Alternative for Germany (Af D) is currently polling at around 11 percent—but because the recognition that free democracy cannot be taken for granted is ingrained in the German Constitution.
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The fragile institutions of the Weimar Republic proved unable to halt the rise of fascism in the 1930s.
And Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, famously derided the German political system for having “provided its mortal enemies with the means through which it was annihilated.” In response to this dark past, the German Constitution from 1949, the Basic Law, reads like a compendium of lessons learned the hard way.
Its authors wanted to ensure that the country would never slide into tyranny again.
This key premise is epitomized by the principle of a “militant democracy,” meaning that a robust democracy ought to be able to fight fire with fire in order to persist.