Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Death of Democracy predicted, news at 11
device
jducoeur
The subject line is flip, to keep some perspective, but nagging in the back of my mind, I'm concerned about a growing meme.

Politics in the Western world this year has been dominated by two stories, Brexit and the Trump nomination. And there's been a quiet but steady drumbeat of response to both stories, to the tune of, "The Voters Got It Wrong".

Of course, there's nothing new about whining about the results of a vote, or Monday-morning quarterbacking. But it's coming more than usual from the intelligentsia, who are traditionally the flag-bearers of Western democracy. And that's worrying.

It's just a meme for now, but it's the sort of meme that authoritarians down the ages have been good at mining. Combine that with deep economic uncertainty -- of the three Great Economic Disasters predicted as plausible this year, one has happened and the other two are still quite possible -- and you've got a recipe for Something Has To Be Done About It thinking, which usually goes horribly wrong.

So far, it's just a possible concern, and hopefully the rest of the year will turn out okay. But I do find myself slightly nervous about the trend lines...
Tags:

  • 1
Democracy has never been purely about Vox Populi.

It has been much more representative than that.

There are decent arguments on both sides.

Indeed, even saying "both sides" is rather reductionist. The number of points of view bearing on the issue is, when I stop to consider, staggering.

What are the three great economic disasters predicted?

Perhaps Trump and Brexit will be wake up calls for people to go out and vote.

The biggest headline economic concerns are Brexit (happened), a Trump presidency (still getting a worrying 25% from the odds-makers), and the Chinese economy stumbling (several possible vectors there, but the biggest concern is the sky-high levels of debt).

Hmm. I think there is a strong sense of the voters made the wrong choice, but not necessarily that they got it wrong in the sense of blaming the voters or the democratic process. At least, listening to The Economist and The Atlantic, there are a number of voices on the other side of the results who are saying that the real problem is that the voters are not being listened to and responded to appropriately, and have finally started to take actions which reflect that. In this sense, they're supporting democracy, not trying to move to the death of it. The vote is the most effective tool in a democracy for being heard, and that is what they are saying has happened.

Now the worrying thing is if others don't take that message and do try to Do Something About It, like changing the rules of the RNC convention process, or negotiating free trade and labor agreements with the EU. These run the risk of perpetuating the problem of not listening, and if you invalidate the vote as a vehicle for voice, there will be ... other ways people express themselves.

So, yes, there is that possible trendline, but equally there are others trying to understand root causes and address the diseases, not the symptoms.

I have, for much of the past year, been severely worried that we are living in Wiemar America.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account