How to dismantle a democracy



How to dismantle a democracy

Four signs that democracy is under attack

Posted by The Economist on Sunday, August 18, 2019


There are four key signs that democracy is under attack, The Economist observes.

The protests in Hong Kong and Russia highlight a paradox: In two of the most authoritarian countries on the planet, unprecedented pro-democracy demonstrations are now unfolding, inspiring precisely the same generation that is bored by democracy in the West, notes analyst Anne Applebaum.

There are some obvious explanations for this East-West paradox. Clearly, the inhabitants of stable democracies find it hard to appreciate what they have. Like wealth, or health, political freedom may simply be something that people don’t value if they’ve always had it, she writes for The Washington Post:

But it may also be that the young protesters of Russia and China are simply ahead of us. We’ve gotten used to the idea that political influence flows from West to East, but are we so sure that is still true? A generation of Eastern dissidents has thought harder than we have about how to self-organize, about how to operate in a world run by secretive, kleptocratic elites who go out of their way to create distraction and apathy. Remember that they, too, are fighting regimes that seem in hock to moneyed interests and wrestling to cope with the pace of technological change.

It may be that we in the West simply haven’t thought about what tactics ordinary people need to deploy to compete in a world where money is offshore, power is invisible and apathy is widespread. It may be that we need to learn from people who have, adds Applebaum, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.

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