Friday, January 28, 2022

What is an "Illiberal" Democracy? UPDATE

Lynn added a great point, so I will ad it here, not just in the comments. It is below in red.

One things that worries worry-warts like me is less a fascist takeover, than a slow slide to an Illiberal democracy. So what is an illiberal democracy. First and foremost, it is a term that was defined by the Hungarian President to describe his own version of democracy. Fox News' personalities, particularly Tucker Carlson, have praised this government along with ex-President Donald Trump.

Viktor Orbán giving Trump some tips

The term correctly covers 3 of our allies in NATO now and two are members of the European Union, which is having serious trouble dealing with them: Hungary, Poland, and Turkey.
Hungary was the first of these. Viktor Orbán even coined the term to describe his version of democracy versus the "west".

It involves a few aspects - and I will point out where America is on this scale, and why it freaks me out.

  1. In all 3 countries, the new ruling party and Leader was elected at first - usually with a plurality of voters not a majority. That is for these leaders they did not get a majority, but more than anyone else. So there was a validity to their original election as leaders.
    In the United States we have a system that, in 2016, installed Trump with fewer votes than his opponent. This is not the first time America has done this, but it is the first the loser acted as if he had a mandate.
  2. In all 3 countries a minority government was able to strong arm the legislators to fulfill their goals.
    Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Tax on blue states via limiting tax reductions for state and local taxes. 
  3. In all 3 nations, the rulers have ousted most or all Court Judges to install their own loyal judges.
    This has NOT occured in the United States. We did get a lot of conservative justices under Trump, but there was no serious movement to remove current judges at the Federal Level.
    On #3, although no judges were removed, McConnell refused to hold senate hearings on Obama Supreme Court nominees 9 months before the next presidential election but allowed a hearing and confirmation on Trump's nominee Amy Barrett less than 2 months before the election. Not strictly but sort of illiberal.
  4. Taking over the Press. Theses 3 countries have accomplished this in two ways. Some opposition television and newspapers were shut. Others were nationalized and now only show information that supports the regime. Turkey has also completely limited internet access.
    Trump did not attempt to seriously close press access.
    He DID screw Amazon because he didn't like the Washington Post (Amazon founder owns the WaPo). He DID call anything he didn't like "Fake News" and discredited liberal and independent news outlets.
    He and Republicans did try to muzzle Twitter, Facebook and YouTube even before two of them kicked Trump off the platforms.
    Trump also supported two new news organizations he could successfully manipulate, OWN and NewsMax. He also found a echo chamber in Fox News, but that is true of any Republican talking point.
  5. To maintain support, all have identified and vilified some group to be the "others". In Hungary , this is migrants and gays. In Poland, migrants and gays. In Turkey, Kurds and secularists. The thrust is that it easier to manage a population that believes it is being "attacked" by others.
    Yes, this is super-Trump. He vilified Mexicans and Muslims before being elected. After election, any refugee, any gay person, people granted asylum before he was elected and blacks, among many others.
  6. Use of defiance to international norms as a source of pride and "not backing down".
    Yep. America leaving the Paris Accords. Proposing to leave NATO, and not committing to its principals. Support of Putin, Xi and the illiberal  leaders.
  7. Finally. purging and then taking over the military.
    In America the military is already divided, but there was no takeover. In fact, that probably saved us on Jan 6th. Moral military leaders. Most military officers try to stay out of politics.
Unlike historical illiberal leaders though, none of these countries has pulled out of our military alliances, nor did they ally with our enemies. This is the primary difference between these leaders and Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin (until 1948).

1 comment:

  1. On #3, although no judges were removed, McConnell refused to hold senate hearings on Obama Supreme Court nominees 9 months before the next presidential election but allowed a hearing and confirmation on Trump's nominee Amy Barrett less than 2 months before the election. Not strictly but sort of illiberal.

    ReplyDelete

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