There was a time when liberal democracy seemed like an inescapable force destined to conquer the world; now it's future doesn't seem so certain. We're only ten years into the smartphone era and we've already started to ask an uncomfortable question:
The assumption seems to be that democracy needs to be saved but what if it can’t be? What if democracy as we know it is simply incompatible with our new internet culture?
Democracy isn't just a voting system that can be grafted onto any type of society; it's a culture in and of itself with elaborate rituals and shared beliefs that extend far beyond the voting booth. Those common rituals and shared understandings seem to be unravelling the more connected we all become.
Maybe democracy, like nationalism, is just a hang over from the previous era; a stepping stone towards some new way of organizing society; something that is as alien to the ballot box traditions of the 19th century as artificial intelligence or smartphones. Is there any reason to believe that our great grandchildren are going to want to live within a system that was invented thousands of years before the light bulb?