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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Democracy: a micro vs macro perspective

There are many Western complaints about attacks on democracy in Hungary and Poland (eg, courts, elections). Yet, there are hardly complaints about Southern European countries attacking their citizens’ democratic rights, following their military type of lockdowns. Apparently, the micro perspective on democracy is (very) different from its macro perspective. Why?

In the 19th and 20th century, Eastern and Southern European countries used to be socialist or communist. As of the 21st century, we are viewing The end of Left and Right and the surge of Nationalism (my 2016 blog). Russia was one of the early adopters. Northern European countries were quick to mirror these Russian developments to counter Russia sowing its seeds of division.

So far, Italy tried and failed in adopting nationalism (eg, Five Star MovementForza ItaliaLega Nord). In 2017, the French political parties at the left and right were decimated by the new party La République En Marche! It's probably safe to say that the French president believes in (a French version of) pan-European nationalism.

I think, feel and believe that the criticism towards Hungarian and Polish democracy is in fact criticism towards its early adoption of nationalism. How else can you blame democracy when a democratic majority changes its trias politica or separation of powers?

It's much easier blaming Southern European countries for their military type of lockdown and ruining their economies without the democratic consent of their citizens. Yet, it does not happen. French people get high fines for buying few groceries (eg, CNBCTrouw). Is this less or more democracy than in Hungary or Poland? Why is it so hard seeing this macro perspective?

Southern European countries complain a lot about the "intelligent lockdown" of Western European countries. They tried enforcing their military type of lockdown onto their northern neighbours but failed - fortunately. Sweden kept its cool and escaped without any lockdown (my recent blog).

The inherent communist bureaucratic approach of Southern European countries towards (i) this coronavirus crisis, and (ii) their failing democracies, may result in a decimating political aftermath, unless voters would forget. The Swedish approach to this coronavirus pandemic should define the role model for future pandemics - or not, in case of unhoped-for failure.

"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin." A quote by Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States.

Democracy (1992) by Leonard Cohen


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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