It is the internal transformation of both democratic and authoritarian regimes, rather than transition to democracy or tyranny, that will be the real political legacy of Covid-19, says a prominent analyst.
In other words, the change that Covid-19 brings is not a new version—either authoritarian or democratic—of “the end of history”; what it may bring is a less ideological but a more unstable world, political scientist Ivan Krastev writes for Persuasion.
As Rachel Kleinfeld’s research demonstrates, while the coronavirus pandemic intensified the competitive propaganda between democratic and authoritarian systems, the global response to the coronavirus blurred the borders between different types of regimes, adds Journal of Democracy contributor Krastev, whose new book, Is it Tomorrow Yet? Paradoxes of the Pandemic, is published on Oct. 29. Democratic regimes were just as willing to violate the privacy of their citizens as authoritarian ones. At the same time, it was clear that authoritarian rulers were just as interested in the responses of the public as democratic politicians who fear the next election.
In the words of political philosopher David Runciman, “Under a lockdown, democracies reveal what they have in common with other political regimes: here too politics is ultimately about power and order.” RTWT