The Twilight of Democracy

By Alex Yeo

"Things need to change, not go back to the nostalgia-filled dreamland of the recent past."

Earlier this month I, like many people, breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear that Donald Trump would not be serving a second term as President of the United States. I did not, however, celebrate Joe Biden’s victory. While I am very happy that Trump has lost, I am extremely concerned that he managed to get this far in the first place - and returning to the kind of politics that allowed him to do so? That is not the solution.

Those of us who live in liberal democracies, whether they be in the monolithic bloc of “the West,” or anywhere else in the world, should not be celebrating. Things need to change, not go back to the nostalgia-filled dreamland of the recent past. If the only solution we can think of to defeat Authoritarianism is Neoliberalism, then we truly are living in the last days of Democracy.

The Death of “the Dictator”

It may sound somewhat contradictory at first, but if we want to diagnose what exactly is wrong with Democracy, we need to look at the world’s authoritarian regimes.

I want you to think of a dictator - not a specific dictator, but the concept of a dictator. The chances are the person in your head came to power violently, rapidly did away with any pretensions of democracy, governed every aspect of political life personally, wore a military uniform, very visibly and violently repressed his people and so on and so forth. This concept of the dictator may very well have been real during the Cold War and the period immediately afterwards - but it is not relevant anymore.