Building the institutions needed
to sustain democracy is very slow work indeed
The once-popular notion that
democracy will blossom rapidly and spontaneously once the seed is planted does
not stand anymore.
Although democracy may be a
“universal aspiration”, as Mr Bush and Tony Blair insisted, it is a culturally
rooted practice. Western countries extended the right to vote long after the
establishment of sophisticated
political systems, with powerful civil services and entrenched
constitutional rights, in societies that cherished the notions of individual
rights and independent judiciaries.
Democracy is not one-size fits
The biggest challenge to
democracy, however, comes neither from above nor below but from within—from the
Plato’s great worry about
democracy, that citizens would “live from day to day, indulging the pleasure of
the moment”, has proved prescient (prophetic).
Populism at the sake of the
governments got into the habit of running big structural deficits, borrowing to
give voters what they wanted in the short term, while neglecting long-term
investment. The financial crisis starkly exposed the unsustainability of such
France and Italy have not balanced their budgets for more than 30 years.
Growing cynicism towards politics:
turnout is falling: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10
percentage points between 1980-84 and 2007-13.
survey of seven European countries in 2012 found that more than half of voters
“had no trust in government” whatsoever. A YouGov opinion poll of British
voters in the same year found that 62% of those polled agreed that “politicians
tell lies all the time”.
Hook, lmao af In 2010 Iceland’s
Best Party, promising to be
openly corrupt, won enough votes to co-run Reykjavik’s city council
claimed all other parties are secretly corrupt, and promised to be openly
corrupt. Among its original goals was to satirize common themes in Icelandic
politics, riding on backlash against establishment parties in wake of financial
Toxic Mix: Dependency
on government on the one hand, and disdain for it on the other. The dependency
forces government to overexpand and overburden itself, while the disdain robs
it of its legitimacy. Democratic
dysfunction goes hand in hand with democratic distemper.