Sunday, February 11, 2024

Media review: Western democracy is declining and losing its value

    Sunday, February 11, 2024   No comments

Under the title “Democracy is declining in a number of countries that seek to achieve it and is losing its value in the democratic countries themselves,” Alain Frachon wrote in the French newspaper “Le Monde” an article in which he highlighted the decline of democracy in a number of countries, and considered that democracy has lost its ability to seduce. Its soft power was shaken under the weight of the blows received by Westerners as a result of their repeated betrayals of its principles.


Hail to democracy: In 2024, about half of the adults on this Earth are expected to vote. We can already hear skeptics about the results of this democratic activity even before it happens. Voting conditions are not the same in the United Kingdom and India under Narendra Modi and in the United States and Russia under Vladimir Putin if we take a few countries whose residents are asked to elect their rulers.

However, the call to go to the polls reflects an important dedication to the principle of democracy. The elections that will be held in several countries, in Azerbaijan, for example, which is ruled by Ilham Aliyev, the autocratic ruler believes that he is forced to hold them, even with his prior knowledge of the results.

Elections are a purely formal procedure, hypocritical, or whatever it is, but the tyrant sees it as a way to obtain the legitimacy and respect that the results of the ballot box give him, just as one puts on a tie or wears a hat to go to a wedding. It is certain that this process does not stem from a sincere belief in the principle of democracy, although it is felt as an obligation. Rather, it expresses a simple fact, even if in the subconscious mind, that the democratic character is taking a better turn.

This situation is not without contradictions. According to Janan Ganesh, a columnist for the Financial Times, the “man and woman of 2024” are the voters.

But democracy is “in decline,” according to American Larry Diamond, a professor at Stanford University. As for the number of countries that practice this system, it is declining. In the lands that established this system, especially in the West, this system lost its quality.

Democracy, in the broad sense of regular and fairly free elections, reached its peak in 2000, benefiting about 54% of the world's population, according to Freedom House, a non-governmental organization that conducts this type of statistics. This percentage then decreased to 50% in 2018, finally reaching 32% in 2019. This is mainly due to the reclassification of India, which today is the most populous country on this earth.

Only 34 countries are classified as liberal democracies, which includes elections, the rule of law, freedom of the press, powers, checks and balances, and minority rights, which in short constitute the complete and complex institutional arsenal of democratic life. American Samantha Power, who heads the US Agency for International Development, expressed this situation by saying: “For 17 years, freedom has been in decline.”

The export of democracy has declined, it has lost its ability to seduce, and its soft power has been shaken under the weight of the blows that Westerners are receiving as a result of their repeated betrayals of its principles. George W. Bush is considered one of the main contributors to changing the course of democracy after his invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Samantha Power continues by saying that the slide of some democracies towards authoritarianism puts us before a fundamental question about “which model [of government] will prevail in the coming years?” Estimates from the Cambridge University Center on the Future of Democracy indicate that China and Russia enjoy slightly more popularity than the United States. In the Global South, however, this information is difficult to confirm.

She adds that liberal democratic systems are eroding from within, which she calls "democracy fatigue." She believes that Western youth will move away from the chaotic and exhausting system, which decides slowly and always searches for short answers and confuses them with its ambiguous decisions. The contemporary voter decides according to what he wants from the list and not according to what is presented to him from the list. He is no longer loyal to his party affiliations; Accordingly, the popularity of the main institutions of democracy and political parties is declining.

Other risks loom in the digital environment, where the distinction between truth and falsehood is blurred by conspiracy theories and the dominance of social media over traditional journalism, as well as disinformation and manipulation of public opinion. According to what Lawrence Norden, an expert from New York University School of Law, told the New York Times, “Everything that has been threatening our democracy for some time may be exacerbated by generative artificial intelligence.” For example, false speeches attributed to President Joe Biden are circulating on the Internet.

According to opinion polls, the European Parliament elections that will be held in June herald the rise of far-right parties. In a climate that encourages taking advantage of elite parties' loss of credibility, these anti-investment parties are betting on contemporary problems, including immigration, economic and social disparity, and environmental restrictions.

These parties follow the approach of illiberal democracy, also known as “democracy,” and the champion of this democratic retreat was Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister.

The US elections scheduled for November 5 will determine whether the most powerful liberal democracies are willing to submit to “democracy” by returning Republican Donald Trump to the White House.

The dilemma of the times is that the announcement of this decline in liberal democracy comes at a time when it has proven its absolute superiority in its battle against the “Covid-19” pandemic. Also, the Polish "democracy" was defeated by the centrists led by Donald Tusk.

The West, which is described as a decadent and decadent entity, remains the preferred destination for an unprecedented migration movement. Crowds of hapless people from the Global South seem drawn to the promise of freedom and prosperity embodied by liberal democracy. Therefore, announcing her death seems very premature.

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