If I have to read one more article on the “American Democracy Crisis” and its implications for the world I’ll be choking

The final straw was an article in this week’s New Yorker by Adam Gopnik, an accomplished journalist I usually admire. It was called “What We’re Going Wrong About America’s Democratic Crisis,” and the slogan was, “The interesting question is not what Causes authoritarianism but what has ever exposed it”’

No, that’s the wrong question. It assumes, as Gopnik argues, that “the standard condition of humanity is not to thrive in largely egalitarian and stable democratic agreements that are only unsettled when something happens that does it is unsettling The standard condition of mankind, which spans thousands of years of history, is a kind of autocracy ”

The obvious way to continue this column would be to point out that Joe Biden won the election, that the Democrats will control both Houses of Congress thanks to the runoff elections in Georgia, and that the joint session of Congress withstood the attack by Trump’s stormtroopers on Jan 6

All of this is true, but Gopnik rightly says that American democracy is still in serious trouble and that the populist tide in the world is strong. The problem is his view of the rest of the world and America’s place in it / p>

Gopnik grew up in Canada, but he seems to have consumed the American Kool-Aid that is the well-known mythology in which the United States is not only the first mass democracy, but the indispensable, the shining example without which the others would wander hopelessly in the dark

Democracy, not autocracy, is the standard mode political system, although it is “the worst form of government apart from all the other forms that have been tried from time to time,” as Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons in 1947 (under Specification of an unknown predecessor)

Almost every dictator in the world holds fake elections so that they can claim legitimacy even if it is fraudulent.No democratic leaders falsely claim to be dictators or tyrants (although some, like Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, secretly striving) Democracy in standard mode wins in one fell swoop

This was before Jan. Century not the case. There is, in fact, “all these thousand years of history” when the norm was “some form of autocracy” But before that there was all these hundreds of thousands of years of prehistory, in which all people lived on an equal footing and made their decisions through discussion and consensus in small hunter-gatherer bands

We know this because some of these bands that lived in remote locations survived long enough for anthropologists to study – and they were all egalitarian in fact, they had no formal leaders and the worst social crime was being an adult Man gave an order to another

They didn’t hold elections because the bands were barely over a hundred strong and they could just talk about it. The basic belief of democracy, however, is that everyone has equal rights, including a stake in the decision-making process, and has our distant ancestors All believed this They believed it for so long that it became a fundamental human value

This basic human belief went underground when it was about 6The first mass societies emerged 000 years ago.The only way to govern them was by force, top-down, because without mass communication (and they hadn’t even invented writing) there was no way for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people to jointly make decisions on an equal footing meet

So the tyrants took over and ran for a very long time, but the belief in equality never died, as all slave and peasant revolts attest In the 19th century a kind of mass communication had finally emerged. Only the printing press plus mass competence, but that meant that everyone could make equal decisions again, and so the democratic revolutions


The United States was the first, perhaps because it had the highest literacy rate in the world at the time. The far more radical French Revolution came just 13 years later (it even ended slavery) and democracy just kept spreading by now of the governments on the planet really elected and the other half pretending to be

Democracy has nothing to do with being American or Westerner China was the first country under pressure and if it had had mass literacy it could very well have been the first country to have a democratic revolution. American democracy will likely be theirs Surviving current difficulties Democracy as the default mode in the world will surely do it

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Democracy, News Us

World News – CA – Dyer: On this “crisis” of American democracy

Source: https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/opinion/dyer-about-that-american-democracy-crisis-1.24264001