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Why Communism Failed and Liberal Democracy Prospered


Published: April 2, 2020

Liberal democracy triumphs where communism fails because it limits the government’s ability to make important decisions on behalf of its citizens. Communism undermines individual choice by putting government power before individual rights. Liberal democracy successfully balances individual rights with majority rule. By respecting and protecting equality and fundamental rights, liberal democracy allows humans to thrive.

Discussion Questions

  1. Marx argued that social and political disharmony would vanish under communism. What methods have communist governments used to ensure Marx’s vision of harmony?
  2. Liberal democracy has been criticized for protecting only the interests of the wealthy. In what ways does liberal democracy protect all individuals, regardless of class?

Additional Resources

  • Read “Capitalism, Socialism, and Freedom” by Peter Berkowitz, available here.
  • Listen to "Challenges to Liberal Democracy" with Larry Diamond, available here.
  • Read "Communism's Bloody Century" by Stephen Kotkin, available here.