When the Círculo de Empresarios was founded some forty-three years ago, our main concern and aim was centered upon ensuring that economic freedom would develop in tandem with increased political freedom. Our founders understood that we would be unable to enjoy liberty in general if our political freedom did not extend to all aspects of public life. Although after all this time, more than four decades later, it may seem that the safeguarding of these freedoms is a task already accomplished, the defense of both political and economic freedom is as urgent today as in those times. Fortunately, today we enjoy the protection guaranteed by our membership of the European Union.
The current threats to liberal democracy mean that we must be particularly vigilant in protecting these precious freedoms. Just when we thought we had surfed the wave of interventionism derived from the 2008 crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, inflicting poverty, unemployment and recession, threatens to become the perfect breeding ground for increased demagoguery, interventionism and populism that could jeopardize our freedoms. The truth is that we are already headed down that road. A reading of newspaper headlines on any day is sufficient to demonstrate this.
The initiative of the book “How to save liberal democracies” was launched just over a year ago with the aspiration, in the spirit and tradition of the Círculo, of contributing to the public debate on matters that concern Spanish society as a whole. Covid-19 reared its head just as the authors had completed their first drafts. We of course had to reformulate our approach to the subject, though remained convinced that the new circumstances brought about by the virus would only reinforce our initial fear: that liberal democracies are in danger, including our own youthful democracy. What can we do to protect them?