MindBullets 20 Years

Democracy heads for the door

More elections but less democratic freedom

Never before in recent human history have so many votes been cast by so many citizens, with so few admirable outcomes. Everywhere, people are participating in democratic elections. Some countries even have the words ‘Democratic Republic’ enshrined in their official names. And yet, true liberal democratic governance is waning.

These days, in most democracies it’s the norm for elections to be hotly contested – and so are the results, no matter who wins, the incumbent or opposition party. Cries of foul play, vote rigging, and election stealing are often heard even before the ‘official’ results are announced. Losers head for the courts and the streets, to challenge the legitimacy of almost every ballot. Even in the United States.

In other countries it’s much more restrained, usually because the opposition has been crushed or co-opted before elections take place. Critics call those elections a sham, as there’s often only one party to vote for, and dissent is disallowed. Did someone say China? There are numerous examples of so-called democracies where political power is backed by the army or security agencies, and true opposition is only voiced on social media, if at all.

And then there are the semi-failed states, with hundreds of minor parties competing for the political (and financial) windfall of getting a few seats, or swinging the majority to the most attractive suitor. And even major European states can be held to ransom by fringe parties with radical agendas, when there’s no clear majority to form a government. Horse trading and collapsing coalitions are the order of the day.

And finally, the tyranny of the crowd, where conformity to the collectivist narrative – left or right – is expected and embedded in the national psyche by civil society, and non-followers are othered and smothered, not by the state, but by their fellow citizens, enthralled as they are by populist demagogues or liberal elites who ‘know what’s best for the country’.

“It’s not surprising,” says Bernd Fingus of the Freedom Institute, “that globally, democratic freedoms are decreasing in the 2020s. When everyone has the tools to influence and manipulate public opinion, and agendas are so opposed, winners will try every trick in the book to hold on!”

As democracy heads for the door, there’s hope for the future; Young Turks of the next generation are going to change everything, again!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.