Given the 25jun15 SCOTUS ruling on ACA, I had to rush off a post on it since RR's readership will not sit idly by and let an occasion like this pass without extensive discussion and debate. And this happening may even fit into these thoughts that I’ll try to weave together on equally impactive geo-political goings on.
William Galston, left-leaning observer and columnist picks up on RR’s ‘beyond the tipping point’ assertion in his ‘Modern Autocrats Are on the March’. Therein he cites David Clark of UK’s Henry Jackson Society who argues that “the great wave of global democratic change that began in the mid-1970s—doubling the number of electoral democracies in the space of three decades—has come to an end. Instead, we are now confronted with a powerful authoritarian backlash that is reversing some of these gains and encouraging a resurgence of anti-democratic ideas.”
This according to many of us, including Galston, who have observed geo-political maneuverings over the last decade or so makes clear that while “the rise of violent Islamism has transfixed the world, another, graver threat—21st-century autocracy—is gathering strength. In the long run, it is sophisticated autocrats, not bearded zealots, who pose the greater menace to democracy.” By this is meant that these sophisticated autocrats are not some conservative or progressive knuckle-draggers wanting to return to yesteryear, but instead are elites who take into account globalization, rising prosperity and digital communications, and, according to Clark, they have developed “new techniques of control and new justifications for monopolizing power that enable autocratic leaders to resist pressure for democratic change.”
As we know, democracy is not a naturally occurring form of governance, and pure democracy is now the established tool of would be tyrants as the enthusiastically swallowed preamble to tyranny. Today these elites “adeptly manipulate the façade of democratic procedures” to “co-opt their countries’ rising middle-classes.” This is most evident in the Asian autocracies that preach to their citizens their cultural exceptionalism in the expression and practice of their ‘Asian values’. And I agree with Clark that “the rise of the new authoritarianism shows that democracy is not the inevitable outgrowth of modernization and economic development.” To confirm this we need look no further than our own shores.