Countering Democratic Authoritarianism: A Call
The world today is flirting perilously with democratic authoritarianisms.
Democratic authoritarianism deploys recognizably democratic processes—streamlining the electoral arrangements, massaging the rule of law, remaking key cultural symbols, manipulating make-believe—to ensure and solidify degrees of authoritarian rule.
In the face of expanding demographic, cultural, and political heterogeneities, democratic authoritarianisms seek to narrow access, to restrict economic and political power to the homogeneously select, to curtail justice for the self-proclaimed privileged.
In the process history is rewritten, access is narrowed, power is reserved and preserved for the few, in the name of law and order and nostalgic reach to reinstate a fabricated Eden.
Democratic authoritarianism advances the material interests only of those controlling the levers of power, and the feel-good experiences of their supporters. Together they trade on a politics of enmity, turning everyone not supporting them into “enemies of the people.”
To re-make the world vigorously democratic, in all our openness and variety:
Speak out, as we must.
Stand up, whenever circumstances call for it.
Vote, wherever we can.