The liberal world order that pulled millions out of poverty, freed countless others from the yoke of dictatorship, and continues to ensure our prosperity and security is under threat once more. But for the first time, the greatest threat that we face is internal - we have lost the confidence of our ideals. Just 30 percent of the millennial generation believes that living in a democracy is essential. Our faith has been shaken by fiscal crises, refugee crises, and rising income inequality. Sensing an opening, populist leaders across the world have found groups to blame and exploited our fears to gain power. Leaders from illiberal regimes have even begun to tout their own systems as superior to liberal democracy. They’ve begun to use our freedoms against us.
However, the rise of populism has also spurred defenders of liberal democracy into action. In each crisis lies opportunity, and it is our responsibility not to squander it. The free world continues to be on the upswing economically, culturally, and militarily, but that advantage is waning in the face of this asymmetric attack and our own refusal to defend ourselves, to take pride in what makes the free world such a success and such a target.
RDI was founded in 2017 in order to strengthen the intellectual, moral, and social case for liberal democracy and the ideals of the free world. We will achieve this by bringing together the center-left and center-right in defense of our mutually-held values. The road ahead won’t be an easy one; the challenges we face are real, but we believe that no matter how imperfect liberal democracy might be, it offers us the best chance at finding genuine and lasting solutions. By educating the public, uniting individuals and groups who still believe in liberal ideals, and influencing decision-makers, RDI will fight to revitalize and redefine the center while charting a new, more productive course ahead.