Dean Rohrer

Solidarity in a Pluralist Age

Democratic societies cannot function beyond a certain level of mutual distrust or a sense on the part of some members that other members have abandoned them. But loss of identity and increasing individualism – a focus on one’s own ambitions and economic prosperity – are now undermining the very basis of what a modern democratic society is.

VIENNA – Solidarity is essential to democratic societies; otherwise, they fall apart. They cannot function beyond a certain level of mutual distrust or a sense on the part of some members that other members have abandoned them.

Many view the development of an individualistic outlook as the greatest threat to solidarity nowadays. But this is closely linked to a diminishing sense of common identity.

It is no accident, for example, that Europe’s most successful welfare states were created in ethnically homogeneous Scandinavia. People in those countries had the sense that they could understand their neighbors and fellow citizens, and that they shared a close link with them.

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