Twenty years ago, Fareed Zakaria analyzed the rise of “illiberal democracy” — a form of government with free and fair elections but without “the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property.” Now illiberal democracy seems to be rising, so that even long-standing liberal democracies in Western Europe and the United States seem to be falling under its spell.
Some people blame democracy for empowering a mass of “people” whom elites look at with fear. Books and articles questioning rule by “the people” have proliferated, as have arguments that democracy ought to be limited.… Seguir leyendo »
Most Western countries are seeing increased dissatisfaction with the economic and political status quo. This has fed the rise of populism, destabilizing party systems and even democracy. The most recent twists in the French presidential race reflect this as well as some distinctive new features of French politics.
France’s Socialists are falling apart
One notable feature of the race is the crackup of the French Socialist Party (PS). Just like in France’s presidential election, the PS runs a two-stage primary (assuming no candidate wins a majority in the first round) in which the top two candidates go through to the second round.… Seguir leyendo »
Karl Marx wrote that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. He had in mind the Revolution of 1848, when a democratic uprising against the French monarchy collapsed into a Bonapartist dictatorship just as the French Revolution had six decades earlier.
In 1848, workers joined with liberals in a democratic revolt to overthrow the French monarchy. However, almost as soon as the old order collapsed, the opposition fell apart, as liberals grew increasingly alarmed by what they saw as “radical” working class demands. Conservatives were able to co-opt fearful liberals and reinstall new forms of dictatorship.
Those same patterns are playing out in Egypt today — with liberals and authoritarians playing themselves, and Islamists playing the role of socialists.… Seguir leyendo »