Take some time to read this article in The Guardian by Yascha Mounk on the uncertain state of play of liberal democracy in the world today. It is hardly comforting that Malta is but a part of a worldwide trend.

The fact of the matter is anyone born after 1980 is not directly experienced in the alternatives to liberal democracy. You could say that for those that became aware of their surroundings after the end of the USSR, never mind those born after the collapse of fascism. You could say that of those for whom Nardu Debono and Raymond Caruana are as immediate as Dun Mikiel Xerri.

I was born 11 years after Winston Churchill died. That’s far enough to take a measure of the man and evaluate the good and the bad without the burden of loyalty and gratitude.

In 1947 he said “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”

The forms of government tried from time to time are for most voters today as far away from their personal experience as Cleopatra or Genghis Khan.

We often lament the lack of education on the meaning of citizenship, the common good, social solidarity, individual inalienable rights, world governance, and the perils of ennui with democratic life. We lament the failure of our education to keep alive the memory of just what to expect when democracy is given up.

And we are reminded of that other quote wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, as many quotes are: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”