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Democratic Freedoms Under Siege WSJ 1/23 This is Eerie!

Author, David Kramer, talking about the loss of freedom in repressive States - does this sound like Obama, here: "The third driver of freedom's slide is the growing strength of what might be called the modern authoritarian state. While democracy suffered 

from coups and civil wars, an equally significant phenomenon was the reliance on subtle but more effective antidemocratic techniques by regimes that have demonstrated impressive staying power. Such leaders devote full-time attention to crippling the opposition without annihilating it, and flouting the rule of law while maintaining a veneer of order and prosperity.

Russia and China set the standard for this kind of authoritarian regime. Venezuela came to embrace their methods, and more recently Ecuador, Turkey and Ukraine have taken steps toward the modern authoritarian model.

Central to this authoritarian strategy is the capture of institutions that undergird political pluralism. The goal is to dominate the media, judiciary, civil society and security forces as well as the executive and legislature. To create the aura of representing "the will of the people," authoritarians ensure favorable electoral outcomes through fraud and vote rigging.

But these rulers give even more importance to controlling the information landscape, marginalizing critics and commanding the courts. Hence the seemingly contradictory trends in "Freedom in the World" scores over the past five years: Globally, scores for competitive elections have improved slightly, while civil-liberties scores have notably declined, with the most serious regression in press freedom, civil society and rule of law.

No less worrisome than these trends is the democratic world's passivity in response."    Or the passivity of the American voter.....

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published this page in The Lighter Side 2014-01-24 18:41:37 -0700