World

Global Freedom Is Losing Ground

Democracies are going to have to do better at exercising their core liberal values to prove their worth and win back support.

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Not that it's surprising after a year of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and emergency powers, but the world is becoming less free. A new report says that pandemic-era authoritarianism is an acceleration of a pre-existing trend rather than a new phenomenon. For years, liberal democracy has been losing ground, not just in the way governments treat their subjects, but also in the favor of the public at large. 

"As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world in 2020, democracy's defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny," Freedom House, an 80-year old watchdog group, announced in a report published this week. "These withering blows marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006."

Based on an assessment of 25 political rights and civil liberties including political pluralism, freedom of expression, and personal autonomy, Freedom House's report finds dwindling numbers of countries qualifying as "Free," stagnation in the numbers of those rated "Partly Free," and an increase in those assessed as "Not Free."

While struggling democracies and overtly authoritarian states take the worst hits in the rankings, established democracies do poorly, too. "Over the past 10 years, the United States' aggregate Freedom in the World score has declined by 11 points, placing it among the 25 countries that have suffered the largest declines in this period." The chaos of the Trump years plays a big role and is emphasized in the report, but America's shift toward authoritarianism began before the last president took office. 

Freedom House isn't the only organization to see freedom eroding internationally. While less dramatic, the Human Freedom Index 2020, co-published in December by the Cato Institute and Canada's Fraser Institute, also reports that "the level of global freedom has decreased slightly" since 2008 based on data through 2018. We'll have to wait to see how pandemic-era actions affect the findings.

Even more troubling is that governments aren't necessarily swimming against public opinion when they become authoritarian—they're doing so as their populations lose faith in democratic government.

In the United States, only 16 percent of Americans say democracy is working "extremely/very well" according to a February AP/NORC poll. About 45 percent say it's working "not too/not well at all."

The United States isn't alone in the erosion of faith in liberal democratic systems.

"Dissatisfaction with democratic politics among citizens of developed countries has increased from a third to half of all individuals over the last quarter of a century, according to the largest dataset ever created on global attitudes to democracy," Cambridge University researchers reported last year. "In fact, researchers found that across the planet – from Europe to Africa, as well as Asia, Australasia, both Americas and the Middle East – the share of individuals who say they are 'dissatisfied' with democracy has jumped significantly since the mid-1990s: from 47.9% to 57.5%."

Since then, panic fueled by COVID-19 has handed both nominally liberal and overtly authoritarian governments an excuse to tighten the screws on the people under their power.

"Freedom of personal expression, which has experienced the largest declines of any democracy indicator since 2012, was further restrained during the health crisis," observes Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021. "Governments around the world also deployed intrusive surveillance tools that were often of dubious value to public health and featured few safeguards against abuse." 

Freedom House expects that "official responses to COVID-19 have laid the groundwork for government excesses that could affect democracy for years to come." The report likens the likely legacy of the pandemic to the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the resulting erosion of due process and rise of the surveillance state around the world.

That can only inspire further dissatisfaction with democracy even where it's long-established. If you're already disillusioned with your political system and it's delivering oppressive results anyway, why not look for something different? Authoritarian regimes are certainly eager to exploit the opportunity.

"The enemies of freedom have pushed the false narrative that democracy is in decline because it is incapable of addressing people's needs," warns Freedom House. "Those claiming the inferiority of democracy now go beyond countries such as China and Russia to include 'antidemocratic actors within democratic states who see an opportunity to consolidate power,' such as in Poland, Hungary and Turkey."

Recent events have only expanded the opening for authoritarians. After the January 6 Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, sniffed that "the electoral system in the United States is archaic."

"What we saw in the United States last night showed annihilation of Western democracy in the world," gloated Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

"Annihilation" is a wild exaggeration, but confidence in liberal democratic institutions is certainly shaky.

"[I]s democracy itself as vulnerable as the buildings that were breached in Budapest, Berlin and now, Washington DC?" Germany's state-owned Deutsche Welle asked experts in January. They answered with a broad "yes." As an indication that they might be overlooking what makes liberal democracy valuable, one of them recommended enhanced Internet surveillance as a countermeasure.

"Authoritarianism and nationalism are on the rise around the world," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged this week in comments that cited Freedom House. "Governments are becoming less transparent and have lost the trust of the people. Elections are increasingly flashpoints for violence.  Corruption is growing.  And the pandemic has accelerated many of these trends." 

But Blinken spoke as an official in the cabinet of President Joe Biden, who started out with a record flurry of executive actions bypassing Congress. And Biden just accused states lifting pandemic restrictions of engaging in "neanderthal thinking."

We can't battle authoritarian systems by emulating their autocracy and their disrespect for personal freedom. Democracies are going to have to do better at exercising their core liberal values to prove their worth and win back support.

NEXT: Current Cassis

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  1. “Global Freedom Is Losing Ground”

    I disagree.

    From a Koch / Reason libertarian perspective, there is one global freedom whose importance supersedes all others: the right of anyone (regardless of age or coronavirus infection status) on the planet to immigrate to the US at any time and for any reason. Freedom therefore got a massive boost when President Biden — the overwhelming choice of Reason.com staff — immediately dismantled Drumpf’s concentration camps and began implementing open borders.

    #ImmigrationAboveAll

    1. ….immediately dismantled Drumpf’s concentration camps and built new ones.

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      2. Which is a good thing I guess?

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    3. Yeah, concentration camps keep people out. LOL

  2. “”Over the past 10 years, the United States’ aggregate Freedom in the World score has declined by 11 points, placing it among the 25 countries that have suffered the largest declines in this period.” The chaos of the Trump years plays a big role and is emphasized in the report,…”

    That requires a bit of explanation.

    1. Trump writes mean tweets. Nothing more needs to be said.

      1. Need said reporters were bad!!! Sure he didnt have the CIA spy on them or put warrants out for them… but man words hurt.

        1. Obama tapped 20 Associated Press office phone lines and the homes and phones of reporters, but saying rude shit about Don Lemon means Democracy Dies in Darkness.

    2. I think much of this is obvious to the anyone reading a news paper. Trump was very differential to authoritarian leaders and criticized democratic leaders. He promoted division, a technique used by authoritarians. In the end, he tried to subvert the democratic election. Authoritarians across the world had free reign for four years and they made the most of that time.

      1. Nothing screams freedom like the notion that criticizing “democratic” leaders is categorically forbidden.

        TDS riddled retard.

      2. Like say saying tbe leaser of China understands he can have a concentration of a certain people because of different cultural norms?

      3. By the way.what do you even mean by differential? Not saying their mean while giving them billions of dollars? Trump was tougher on russia, China, Venezuela, Iran, etc. Meanwhile democrats have championed 3 of those while giving Russia many concessions under Obama.

        Youre an idiot.

        1. The moron meant to say “deferential.”

          1. I think he meant something about rear axles.

      4. Weird because the “divisive” group was the Democrats stomping their feet and screaming “NOT MY PRESIDENT” for the last four years.

        Now they are in charge and are still being divisive. Weird.

      5. But how does any of that affect freedom of Americans?

      6. “In the end, he tried to subvert the democratic election”
        As opposed to the criminals hiding behind barbed wire fences who actually stole it?

      7. He promoted division, a technique used by authoritarians.

        Right. Nothing says “authoritarian” like encouraging separate cultures to enjoy, take pride in, and even defend their uniqueness and nothing says “libertarian” like trying to unite all the kingdoms under one rule.

        JFC are you people stupid.

      8. Trump said nice things about authoritarian leaders when he was trying to negotiate with them, but he said nasty things when confronting them. Take North Korea, in Spring 2017 the hand wringing was Trump was going to start WWIII with North Korea because he was being o confrontational with the Kim regime. As soon as the confrontation went to negotiating, Trump was accused to sucking up to a dictator. What that told me, was what ever Trump’s policy was, it would be described as wrong headed in the most hysterically overblown terms.

      9. The assertion was that freedom in the US was diminished as a result of Trump.
        Cuddling up to foreign leaders hasn’t been shown to do that. Not in the US.
        “Fostering division” as some vague association to a thing that some other authoritarians do is not shown to curtail liberty in the US in your argument.

        You may think your post helps convince people that your argument has merit, but it in fact, has the opposite effect.

        Trump is a douchebag, but so what? How specifically did he curb freedom in the US is the question.

    3. “The chaos of the Trump years” – Trump trying to be President and the Democrats and the Deep State fighting him every step of the way. All this chaos could have been avoided if Trump had just ceded the election to Hillary Clinton like they wanted so it’s obviously all Trump’s fault.

      1. IT WAS HER TURN!

      2. IT’S YOUR FAULT FOR MAKING US HIT YOU!

    4. Not so much explanation. Just substitute “open borders” wherever they write “freedom”, and suddenly the article makes more sense. As do most articles at Reason these days.

      1. Add, “zero tariffs on imports,” and I think you’ve cracked the code.

        1. And a deep abiding love for the oligarchic tech lords who pay their wages.

  3. “Democracies are going to have to do better at exercising their core liberal values…”

    Trumpanzees going apeshit and lusting after a 1-party “R” state will show us the way! All votes other than “R” votes are fraudulent, comrades! March onward, comrades!

    1. Fuck off sarc.

    2. Yes sarcasmic, it is the Republicans looking for re-education camps, changing all state voting laws, looking to criminalize political speech…

      1. Actual FACTS are TOTALLY optional, to right-wing nut-jobs, in right-wing echo chambers, aren’t they, dictatorshit-luster? Whatever the collective hive-herd of fascist sheeple says it true, automatically becomes true? If the BIG LIES are told often enough, they become true, right?
        Has this idea ever been tried before? What were the results? Can you make up some “historical facts” for us now, to make YOU look good?

        1. Fuck off, sarc.

    3. Flag. Refresh.

      1. When the still, small voice of Conscience comes to you, in the middle of the night, and quietly nags you about your arrogance, condescension, and self-righteousness, you “flag and refresh” it, don’t you, self-satisfied smug Wonder Child? Ye who have silenced the Voice of your Conscience already, to the point that it might as well scream to you as loudly as an amoeba can?

        1. You respond, like the crazy shitposter you obviously are.

          Flagged and refreshed means I didn’t bother to read what you are shitting your pants about and don’t want to smell it again if I come back to the thread. When you respond, I flag and refresh that too.

          Just like I flagged this one so that when I finished posting… poof! Gee, it smells better in here.

          1. So you not only “flag and refresh” on the still, small voice of Conscience that comes to you, you also “flag and refresh” on the folks who try to wake you up about it! Gotcha! Does the Church of Morons NOT teach you ANYTHING about what happens to folks like you? What comes around, goes around! Beware!

            1. Crazy people get flagged and refreshed.

              1. That’s not what I’m nagging you about, arrogant asshole! It is your cluttering and trolling about your oh-so-superior computer skills! Flag away all day, asshole, but don’t clutter the board with your arrogant, stupid bragging! Are you gonna brag about your turd-pooping skills next, or what?

                1. Fuck off, sarc.

                2. SQLFCKR is the modern equivalent of the drunk yelling on the street corner. You rue the day you make eye contact.

                  1. If you “rue the day” you make contact with the likes of me (who DARES to CRITICIZE the PERFECT ONE, the Smugly-Superior Pig), then WHY do you keep on cluttering the threads with comments about how superior you are to me? Hypocrite! Try first taking the log out of your eye!

            2. You’re just mad that you outed your SQRSLY sock …. again.

              The problem with having multiple sock accounts and drinking all the time is that you tend to slip up, you worthless cuck.

              https://reason.com/2021/03/05/did-anti-price-gouging-laws-lead-to-more-covid-19-deaths/#comment-8793242

    4. Those “core liberal values” have been disappearing, even faster on the left than on the right, when the left used to champion them (decades ago). There’s not much left to exercise.

  4. A man is being prosecuted by the DOJ and is facing the prospect of serving a ten year prison sentence for the great crime of posting memes.

    Reason continues to evade the issue. If libertarians cannot be bothered to object to such blatant suppression of political speech, they need only to look at themselves to understand why liberty is being snuffed out like a match in a hurricane.

    1. “A man is being prosecuted by the DOJ and is facing the prospect of serving a ten year prison sentence for the great crime of posting memes.”

      Where is YOUR link? You’re not reporting this to us worth a DAMN! If you are going to criticize Reason, don’t you think that maybe you could do a WEE tad better than Reason does? Do you know HOW to post links?

      1. Fuck off, sarc.

        1. Lazy asshole Goldilicks Girlshit is A) lying to us, or B) too stupid and-or ignorant to know how to post links, or C) just plain too lazy to bother! And won’t even tell us which of the above cases is most accurate! All that Goldilicks Girlshit can do, is call people names!

          Evil, self-absorbed asshole Goldilicks Girlshit is just wanting to troll and stir up anger here, and does not give ONE tiny shit about actually informing anyone honestly about anything!

          1. Fuck off, sarc.

          2. Are all liberals fucking retarded?

            https://www.dailywire.com/news/trump-supporter-faces-ten-years-in-prison-for-posting-memes

            No wonder you support Biden sarcasmic.

            1. Wait, is this link notarized?

              1. Papieren bitte! Er… I mean, I’m going to need to see the author’s press card before I’ll believe that he’s the bona fide member of the free press that you assert him to be.

            2. Sarc, chemchef, Molly, WK, M4E, etc., the usual gaggle of progressive retards, are all convinced this prosection isn’t happening …. no matter how many times we link to it.

              It’s like a blank slate every time. Memory wiped completely from the last time they got their asses handed to them. And, if they do for a moment acknowledge that it is happening, it is only to state that they support it before promptly reverting back to pretending it isn’t happening.

              1. They’re paid to ignore.

            3. Der JesseBahnFuhrer believes EVERYTHING that the lizard people tell it!

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Wire
              From the above:

              According to Snopes, “DailyWire.com has a tendency to share stories that are taken out of context or not verified”, including reports on protesters digging up Confederate graves, Democratic congresspeople refusing to stand for a fallen Navy SEAL’s widow, and Harvard University holding segregated commencement ceremonies.[20] The credibility checker NewsGuard assessed that The Daily Wire “severely violates basic standards of credibility and transparency”, “often misstates facts to advance partisan opinion” and “frequently publishes false and misleading information, particularly in stories about abortion”.[5]

              1. Fuck off, sarc.

              2. Flag. Flag. Flag. Refresh.

                1. Whoa! PhD Computer Scientist here has figured out how to move the mouse-cursor, and click on the flag icon! Congratulations, Stable Genius Junior! Maybe You could write Your NEXT Computer Science PhD thesis on HOW You do that? And thread-clutter-post it EVERY FUCKIN’ TIME that you see a post that you disagree with? And expect all the OTHER marching morons to THANK you profusely?

                  Well now… Have You and any of the other marching morons ever heard of “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf’?” Has it ever occurred to You, that the moderators will immediately ignore You and Yours? Now, when the time comes that Reason.com gets hacked, and some hacker posts a child-porn link to video of YOUR kid or relative’s kids… Or YOU abusing YOUR kid, or “doxes” You and Your SSN, real name, home address, and photo… OR, they post the IP address and WIP security key, access codes, etc., to the self-destruct mechanism in your battery-driven “IP of All Things” MAGA-magic underwear… And You (“The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf’”) will FLAG the post that unveils all such things… You will be IGNORED, asshole!

                  You ever think of THAT, asshole who cried wolf? I, for one, will NOT flag it when they “dox” you!!! Learn your lessons by SUFFERING, ye who will NOT learn otherwise!

                  1. Poof!

                  2. You’re just mad that you outed your SQRSLY sock …. again.

                    Fuck off, sarc.

                    https://reason.com/2021/03/05/did-anti-price-gouging-laws-lead-to-more-covid-19-deaths/#comment-8793242

              3. Some KosKid writes a hit piece on Wikipedia and sarcasmic’s suddenly got proof.

      2. This has been linked a dozen times here fucking retard. You can post his comment in duckduckgo and first link will show you who. Fucking ignorant pieces of lefty shit.

    2. They are also dropping felony charges against Portland ‘protesters.’ While going balls to the wall with misdemeanors against the January 6th ‘insurrectionists.’

      1. Rittenhouse, who is in a safehouse on bail while his trial is being conducted because he received death threats, had a second arrest warrant issued by the AG in order to disclose Kyle’s location (which the circuit judge struck down).

        Meanwhile Grosskreutz, who was carrying a concealed weapon despite a court order forbidding him to possess a firearm (in response to a guilty plea of guilty for misdemeanor carrying a weapon while intoxicated), was previously arrested for a probation violation, was arrested and released prior to the unrest for “lurking” at a police station, clearly tried to shoot Kyle, and has since openly wished that he’d killed Kyle, has yet to face charges and continues to appear openly in public protests.

        The AG’s selective prosecution of this case is overtly criminal.

        1. Only one solution for tyrants

  5. China has shown us the glorious future of unfree minds and unfree markets. We should all emulate China if we want that glorious future for ourselves.

    1. Der TrumpfenFuhrer agreed with your stance! China loves trade wars, and Der TrumpfenFuhrer loves trade wars! China loves suppressing dissent, and Der TrumpfenFuhrer loves suppressing dissent (witness numerous occasions of him encouraging political violence for HIS cause). China loves controlling your internet access, and so does Trump (witness him trying to take away our Tik-Tok).

      1. Fuck off, sarc.

      2. Wow. Full retard. Trump was tougher on China than any previous president. He wasn’t banging or employing their spies like democeats do.

        1. China is a 1-party state. Der TrumpfenFuhrer lusted after a 1-party “R” state, absolutely clearly to ANYONE who has been paying attention! All votes NOT for Trump, are fraudulent!

          Der JesseBahnFuhrer lusts after a 1-party state also…

          See https://reason.com/2020/01/01/trumps-inartful-dodges/#comment-8068520 , where
          Der JesseBahnFuhrer says, of Trump, “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”
          Hey JesseBahnFuhrer! Is this statement of yours, above, now applicable to Biden? Or is only Dear Leader Der TrumpfenFuhrer qualified to be our dictator? If so, why?

          1. Fuck off, sarc.

          2. Flag. Flag. Refresh.

            1. Remember, all ye persons who might like to be or become benevolent, decent, ethical persons… Do NOT become a follower of the Church of Morons! MANY of them apparently act like up-Chuck here! You do NOT want to become a Moron! Remember, kids, what comes around, goes around! Act like a Moron, and you will be treated like a Moron! As if you were a Moron! Which you ARE, if you act like a Moron!

              1. TL;FR

                total lunatic; flagged, refreshed

        2. I dunno Eisenhower threatened to nuke them over Taiwan. We fought them over Korea. We didn’t even have formal diplomatic relations until Carter. Bush froze those In 1989 for a while. We didn’t even have normal trade relations until Clinton.

          So Trump started a tariff war which hasn’t accomplished anything. He was only concerned with trade and never pressured them on anything else. I wouldn’t call that tougher than any other president.

          1. But no other President ever ghost-wrote a book proving how tough they are negotiating greeeeaaaaat deals. Or had a TV show proving how yuuuuuuggge their management style is in firing the incompetent and hiring the competent.

            I rest my case.

            1. Dreams from My Father.

  6. The world around us is changing at a very rapid rate and with that change comes anxiety. Authoritarians exploit this anxiety and often offer comfort in the ideas they can keep things the same. Other seek to erase the past to hide the change. The author is correct that we need to maintain ideas of liberty, part of this is accepting change.

    The fact is you have not lost any freedom if your neighbor wants to raise their children gender neutral or your new boss is a minority women and gay. It also important to accept that the books you read as a child and young person may present out of date stereotypes. Accept the changes and get on with the important things in life.

    1. Accept the changes Do what your overlords tell you to do and get on with the important things in life, like continuing to do what your overlords tell you to do in any future situation.”

      Fuck off and die.

      1. No problem, overlord Trump lost the election.

        1. “Fuck off and die.”

          “No problem …..”

          That’s the spirit.

    2. It also important to accept that the books you read as a child and young person may present out of date stereotypes.

      And to accept that these books must never again taint the minds of young readers.

    3. getting deplatformed is for the common good, eh?

  7. as their populations lose faith in democratic government.

    Something, “of the people”, something.

    1. Yeah.

      For years, liberal democracy has been losing ground, not just in the way governments treat their subjects, but also in the favor of the public at large.

      Exactly how unpopular does a liberal democracy have to become before it’s no longer a liberal democracy. The idea that we continue to call unpopular authoritarian governments ‘liberal democracies’ because of traditions or nameplates is complicit in their authoritarianism. Is public popularity the only metric? It’s not like slaves were a majority population of the pre-war South.

  8. What a game you’re playing here JD. It’s your conservative right wing friends who have turned antidemocratic. If the other Americans are nervous about the health of democracy it’s because the Republicans look more and more like fascists every day.

    1. Turning DC into an Iraq style green zone falls squarely on the Democrats.

      1. No, the national guard went in and the fences went up during the last administration. Democrats are slow to take them down. It would help if Republicans would tell their supporters that the election was secure and fair and that they need to accept this fact.

        1. “Democrats are slow to take them down.”

          Democrats are not going to take down the fortifications or dismiss the troops. Ever.

          “It would help if Republicans would tell their supporters that the election was secure and fair and that they need to accept this fact.”

          So, you want them to lie?

        2. Bow down to the state and democrats will stop playing toy soldier against citizens. Lol.

      2. and trying to criminalize speech.
        and trying to ban arms for self-defense.
        and trying to pack the courts.
        and trying to seize the wealth of the successful.

    2. Yes it’s the Republicans who are colluding with big biz to stifle the freedoms of Americans.

      I don’t even know how you can type your post with a straight face. Maybe you didn’t.

  9. Read a few years ago a similar assessment that – then – was a projection for the future. Attributed it to a combination of winning the Cold War and the corruption of ‘neoliberal’.

    As long as the ‘Western world’ (meaning roughly the liberal democracy tradition) faced a true enemy of that tradition, then we would support it as something under threat. Once we ‘won’, we don’t really need to support it – so we don’t.

    And neoliberal – the practical successor/claimant to the liberal democracy tradition – turned into a bunch of corrupt plutocrats and technocrats running the world from Davos – undermining both self-governance and free markets. So rather than seeing a reformist impulse attempting to improve the status quo, the only road to reform lay in eliminating it – and many extremist ideas (from religious fundamentalism to the growing love of ethnofascism) can now claim they are the correct road to reform.

    1. I just leave this here for those who wonder what the fuck Jeffy is on about.

      https://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

      Hint: he said nothing.

      1. Chuckle

  10. Maybe it’s time to re-visit Fukuyama’s The End Of History.

    1. You can find that one propping up the rickety table leg holding all the cut-out books at the Dollar store.

    2. I wonder whether Fukuyama will eventually be right, except for being a bit early, and getting the eventual lingua franca wrong?

      1. Like Toffler, their predictions are always lingering just over the horizon.

      2. A neocon Bible.

        From a recent interview:

        “Francis Fukuyama: Well, I think one of the things that’s happened much more on the right than on the left is the transition from polarization and political divisions based on policy issues to those based on identity. Meaning that the fundamental issue is loyalty to a certain vision of what the nation should look like: what the values of people running it should be, rather than abortion or guns or tax rates or any of the things that used to divide Republicans and Democrats. And because of Trump’s craziness, it’s become highly personalistic. “

  11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. America is the most authoritarian, backwards, socialist, oppressive police state in the world… except for all the other countries. It’s sad to see America backsliding into dictatorship, but where are you gonna go?

    1. Iceland?

    2. “…where are you gonna go?”

      With the aid of a time-travel machine, to the USA Capitol on 4 January 2021… In the midst of all of the Trumpanzees gone apeshit! Now THERE is an individual-freedom paradise, that we should ALL aspire to live under!

      1. Fuck off, sarc.

    3. It’s sad to see America backsliding into dictatorship, but where are you gonna go?

      Was a time when America was the world’s symbol of how one could change their life for the better HERE. Which is why people moved HERE.

      Now – we have an entire political party structured around demonizing people who want to leave a shithole because they – want to leave a shithole. And apparently what the US now stands for – for Americans – is – some fatalistic BS that nothing can be done and nowhere to go – so what – overdose?

      Yeah – that’s depressing. Maybe the US is thinking like a bunch of old farts with no future because it is run by a bunch of old farts with no future.

      1. we have an entire political party structured around demonizing people who want to leave a shithole

        Which was perfected and capitalized on by Democrats as far back Andrew Jackson. The demonizers didn’t jump parties, they just realized the newcomers are even more gullible than the natives and switched to demonizing the the flyover folks.

        If you can’t see it, it’s only because you refuse to.

        1. Which was perfected and capitalized on by Democrats as far back Andrew Jackson.

          Southern Dems maybe. Always been a strong streak of xenophobia with the racism. Existed among Southern Whigs too.

          Northern Dems were in fact totally obsessed with getting immigrants to vote for them. It was the origin of American identity politics – based on the hyphen. Dating back to Tammany Hall and the bog Irish. Where the reaction was the Know-Nothings.

          All of which is irrelevant to either TODAY politics OR the issue at hand which is supposedly immigration. Everyone on the planet understands that if you have an issue with the way immigration is being handled, that the blame rests squarely on the very white very American very well-connected elites here who create the entirety of immigration policy for their personal benefit.

          The nanosecond attention is instead diverted into demonizing the immigrant, then this is no longer about immigration but about divide et impera and you are nothing but the useful idiot motivated by racism and hatred.

          1. Tammany Hall figured out the importance of vote farming illegals 150 years ago. The DNC’s northern strategies were divergent from its Southern one.

            1. All of which is irrelevant to either TODAY politics OR the issue at hand

              Why do I bother? Just like the fifty centers, Jeffy never responds to what you actually say. That Democrats just changed who they demonize was a direct response to his comment and is completely relevant to what they are doing today. ‘Domestic terrorism’ is the new ‘Irish hordes’ which was the new ‘Indian menace’. Democrats have always sucked ass.

              Those goalposts must be super-lightweight for him to drag them around so much.

      2. Was a time when America was the world’s symbol of how one could change their life for the better HERE. Which is why people moved HERE.

        Nothing says libertarianism like encouraging people to seek freedom within your borders and only within your borders.

        It’s fascinating that you conceive of the US as a beacon that, rather than warning of rocky shores or illuminating a wiser and safer path over the horizon is, instead a sort of dimming lure or streetlamp to help drunks find the freedom they lost in the dark gutter down the block.

        1. I’m sure the Libertarians for a Big Wall to Prohibit Movement agree with you. Do you prefer alligators in a moat or machine guns on the parapet?

          1. Did you find the keys you lost down the block by searching under the street lamp up the block yet or are you hoping that if enough drowning rats from derelict ships make their way to the beacon, it will somehow get brighter?

    4. Cato ranks the US at 17th for freedom.

      The jurisdictions that took the top 10 places, in order, were New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Estonia, and Germany and Sweden (tied in 9th place). Selected countries rank as follows: Japan (11), the United Kingdom and the United States (tied in 17th place),

      1. Estonia is the country that has proven that it is doing something right NOW. Most of the other free countries may also be just coasting on coattails from the past. But Estonia was clearly unfree up to the 1990’s.

      2. New Zealand was number one in freedom…..

        Interesting criteria CATO used, considering Jacinda’s actions over the last 12 months.

        1. Repeating my point below:

          Hong Kong’s freedom rank in 2019: 3
          Hong Kong’s freedom rank in 2020: 3

          ’nuff said.

      3. I know it’s almost impossible to believe because Trudeau, but the US has become far less functionally free than Canada over the last three years.
        You can all thank rampant corporatism for much of that.

      4. Australia? That’s a joke then.

      5. How, uh, totally credibly interesting that Hong Kong, despite an overt communist takeover, civil unrest, and widespread emigration fell from the No. 3 ranking in 2019 all the way down to the No. 3 ranking in 2020.

  12. Yes that should be done and they have to revisit the previous policies otherwise like YouTube to boost Trump ban if violence risk falls, says CEO, read more here.

  13. “Democracies are going to have to do better at exercising their core liberal values to prove their worth and win back support.”

    Populism, in all its forms, from left to right, is a reaction to elitism, which is another way of saying that populism is the alternative to democracies reflecting the will of the people–within democracy’s proper purview.

    A society cannot be free if the government can inflict wars, taxes, treaties, and naturalization policies, etc. on its people–over their objections and against their will. That is why the Constitution gives Congress the power to do those things, specifically, but prohibits Congress from making laws that, for instance, abridge our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

    The left used to mostly be about dominating industry, setting price controls in place, and redistributing wealth. Now they’ve taken to doing things like violating our rights to freedom of speech and religion, as well as inflicting treaties, wars, and naturalization policies on us, without the consent of Congress–often at the behest of Democrats in Congress. Where are the Democrats who oppose the Paris Climate agreement, the Iran Nuclear Treaty, or DACA on the basis that it not only violates the separation of powers but also the basic principles of democracy?

    When people become convinced that democratic institutions are no longer capable of representing their views–within the proper purview of democracy–they don’t lose their faith in their views or the idea that they should be represented in policy. Rather, they lose their faith in democratic institutions and turn to populism. From Brexit to France and from Germany to the United States, we saw this happen circa 2016 throughout the developed world. The shift towards populism may have been interrupted by pandemic driven concerns, but the general about populism being the alternative to democracy won’t go away with the pandemic.

    To the extent that Democrats continue to infringe on our rights, despite being prohibited from doing so, and to the extent that they continue to ignore the proper purview of democracy on issues like wars, treaties, and naturalization policies, we can be sure that western style democracies will continue on their trajectory to populism.

    1. Well said.

    2. When people become convinced that democratic institutions are no longer capable of representing their views–within the proper purview of democracy–they don’t lose their faith in their views or the idea that they should be represented in policy. Rather, they lose their faith in democratic institutions and turn to populism.

      Even more narrowly/aptly per Reason’s piece about ‘independents’ and in regard to movements like ‘defund the police’, they lose faith in the specific leadership and personnel policies of those institutions. Those that don’t have ulterior or
      fanatic motivations don’t give up ideas that (e.g.) police should be preventing crime, republicanism/representative democracy, or free speech exactly, they give up on the idea that the elites deciding how to fight crime have any knowledge or ability to do so, that the people representing their ideas do so in name only, or that a free press is misinforming them.

      On top of that, with such meaningless definitions and vague principles, any/every ideology that isn’t specifically elitism is effectively populism.

  14. Global Freedom Is Losing Ground thanks in large part to MEDIA including you Reason.

  15. the hysteria over the Reichstag Riot, in which only unarmed Trump supporters were killed, is the most dangerous moral panic imaginable

    less than a year ago two Supreme Court justices were assaulted

    no one cared

    Rand Paul was accosted by a mob

    no one cared

    the softball shooting was in the news cycle for a week or two

    BLM burned down cities, we were told it was “mostly peaceful”

    CNN refused to mention Reinoehl for days

    all left-wing violence is excused and hidden

    imaginary right-wing violence is presented as an existential threat

    now the Capitol is occupied and we’re fed vague excuses about “QAnon chatter”

    even as the BLM/antifa rioters are having their federal charges dropped with prejudice

    people don’t realize this is already a shooting civil war

    but only one side is shooting

    left is justifiably paranoid b/c the food, the fuel, the ammo, and the soldiers all come from red House districts

    which also compose around 90% of US territory

    large cities are just stacked vulnerabilities full of hostages, militarily untenable

    left cannot survive a true civil war for even a week

    and they know it

    we can hope it won’t come to this, but Venezuela’s long fall from the richest country to the poorest started with vote security and court-packing

    1. Well said

    2. I like the fantasy apocalypse genre too. There is a series of books by the author Joe Nobody which is very entertaining. Also the Zombie Survival Handbook by Max Brooks is fun.

      1. CNN/NYT/WaPo already took over the fantasy apocalypse genre

  16. And Reason cheered nearly all of it.

    Worthless rag.

    1. Bruno Cua, a teenage Trump protester not accused of anything more serious than shoving a security guard, has been jailed indefinitely, without bail

      federal prosecutors are demanding his family disavow any claims of vote fraud

      said his home schooling is justification to imprison him

      not a peep from Reason as we descend in scenes from East Germany

      1. You didn’t post a link. Links are helpful for people who want to know if you’re making crap up, or if it is real.

        https://www.ajc.com/news/bond-denied-for-milton-man-accused-in-capitol-insurrection/OPKUAWAO7NCRHKUONPTLJUB75Q/

        Now if this had been a black BLM protester who assaulted a cop, what would you be saying right now? I don’t know specifically about you. But in general, it seems to me, there are WAAAAY too many double standards running loose! My violence GOOD! Your violence BAD!

        1. Out-take from the above link. Bruno Cua sounds like an arrogant trouble-making young punk! What comes around, goes around! HOW else will young punk LEARN, other than to SUFFER for his young-punk ways?

          Buchanan, however, told the court that Cua had a history of belligerent behavior. He said the government has letters from people who allege Cua terrorized and harassed people in his neighborhood going back years.

          In one incident, according to Buchanan, Cua allegedly tailgated a person with political stickers supporting Democrats while blaring his air horn and flashing his lights. Then he cut the other driver off. On the stand, Joseph Cua dismissed the neighbors as “a bit spiteful.”

          The Atlanta Journal-Constitution learned of another incident Dec. 8 when Cua sped around the parking lot of Birmingham Falls Elementary School in a pickup flying a large Trump flag. His father filmed him, as Cua’s younger brother and friends watched. According to the police, the air horn violated the city’s ordinance against public disturbances, and he was issued a citation.

          On Jan. 3, two days before Cua and his parents drove to Washington, Cua was cited with a warning for trespassing in Milton’s White Columns subdivision. The subdivision’s security guard said Cua jumped the gate and was “disrespectful and using profanity” when confronted by the homeowners association president.

          1. I like this post. It reads like SQLYSR’s application to be the new Hihn.

            Now tell us how Cua’s free speech is in conflict with your right to not have troops quartered in your home.

            1. Bruno Cua is learning that “what comes around, goes around”, and he’s learning it the hard way! If you don’t want cops and the laws to assault you (put you in handcuffs and jails), then don’t assault cops! Duh! Does it take a PhD, or magic underwear, to understand that?

              I hope you realize that your magic underwear won’t protect you from “what comes around, goes around”? Are you gonna insist on learning this the hard way?

              1. “you realize that your magic underwear won’t protect you”

                Oops, it looks like sarcasmic forgot that he was socking as Sqrlsy, not KillAllRednecks at the moment.

                1. The lefties can’t grasp that the reason they get accused of being socks has to do with their lack of a unique voice. Ever notice that nobody mistakes Mother’s Lament for others that share the same opinions? They might lump us together, but they can’t convince anyone we are not separate individuals.

                  1. We’re not stupid and un-original enough to even bother to lump all conservaturds together. They are all stupid and arrogant, in their own special ways.

                    Some REAL conservatives know that democracy and small government are both things that are worth conserving! SOME conservatives are even smart enough to know that INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM is worth preserving! You wouldn’t scarcely be aware of these things by reading the absolute CRAP that you conservaturds shit out!

              2. Fail. Hihn made it all about him. You are deflecting.

        2. lol “making stuff up” seems to be the main purpose of media these days

          “a black BLM protester who assaulted a cop,”

          lol indeed, please name a single BLM/antifa protester (not even accused of any serious crime!) who spent months in jail being denied bail while their family was forced to give loyalty oaths to Trump

          even cases with serious felony charges are being dropped by the Biden junta
          ——
          Now, Bruno Cua sits in jail in Washington, D.C. awaiting trial for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol breach, the youngest of the nearly 300 people so far arrested under the U.S. Justice Department’s “unprecedented” investigation into the events of that day. Unlike tens of thousands of protestors who occupied the nation’s capital for months—including young people who bragged about it in a Washington Post magazine—Cua will be given no mercy.
          ——-
          Federal prosecutors have dismissed more than one-third of cases stemming from last summer’s violent protests in downtown Portland, when protesters clashed with federal agents. KGW reviewed federal court records and found 31 of the 90 protest cases have been dismissed by the U.S. Department of Justice, including a mix of misdemeanor and felony charges.
          Some of the most serious charges dropped include four defendants charged with assaulting a federal officer, which is a felony. More than half of the dropped charges were “dismissed with prejudice,” which several former federal prosecutors described as extremely rare. “Dismissed with prejudice” means the case can’t be brought back to court…

          “Several people closely involved with the protest cases, who asked not to be identified, said they expect many more federal charges to be dismissed soon,” KGW adds.

          1. Name me a white guy strangled to death on suspicion of MAYBE wanting to sell “loosies”, like Eric Garner was? But ALL BLM folks are “Marxists”, right? So we should NOT listen to their complaints, because they’re all whining liars, right?

            “My violence good, your violence bad”!

            1. Eric Garner died long before BLM mattered.

              1. Jesus Christ died long before Christianity mattered! Therefor, Mamma says we MUST ignore EVERYTHING that Jesus had to say!

                WTF, Mamma, what are you trying to say? No BLM protester, ever, was thinking about Eric Garner when they protested? Can you THINK? Can you REASON with validity, instead of raw, uninformed, unthinking, completely partisan political emotion?

              2. Eric Garner died? I loved the Rockford Files.

                Oh wait. Nevermind

              3. More cogently, Garner died while Joe Biden was VP.

  17. You literally pimped Biden and his cronies thinking that would go well. And now we have an even worse situation.

  18. Ever since Trump (the most libertarian president since Coolidge) was elected, Reason has been campaigning against Trump and the GOP, and campaigning for Biden and other freedom hating Democrats.

    Still no Reason articles criticizing the 2 month long martial law imposed by Pelosi/Schumer/Biden/Harris around the US Capitol.

    And what about all the fake news stories claiming right wing militias were going to take over the US Capitol yesterday?

    Reason used to advocate for freedom, but now it opposes freedom.

    1. Reason has become a procession of whinging articles about getting exactly what they objectively sought to make happen.

      They pretend that nobody notices .

    2. Congress just passed a bill paying people to donate money to them and having the government pay their campaign expenses. I wonder if Sullum will write 64 articles on that?

      1. In 1971, within 24 hours of the LP forming, Quaker Republican Tricky Dick Nixon amended the IRS code to rob producers to subsidize looter Kleptocracy party politicians airtime. Search “Nixon’s Anti-Libertarian Law” for details. I’m hoping Sullum will write something about that–and how the thing has since become a global pandemic of totalitarian election-tampering.

    3. I don’t know about that but the asteroid is going to hit any day now and bring about the second coming.

      Then peace will guide the planets and love will fill the stars.

      Wouldn’t it be groovy if the Trumpie types just walked up to the police and soldiers and handed out sandwiches and soft drinks? They could give them McDonalds and Diet Coke since that is his favorite thing.

      1. Nice dodge, but the problem is, if I make the sandwich and hand it to them and one of them dies of a stroke the next day, there’s evidence to suggest that I could be facing murder charges or at leasat become the victim of a witch hunt.

        To avoid liability in such a situation, I’d be okay to hand out pre-wrapped sandwiches by someone sympathetic to their cause.

        You get ENB to make the sandwiches and I’ll hand them out.

  19. “Democracy is war by other means. Superficially, it is waged with ballots instead of bullets. At the end of the day, those ballots become bullets.”

    https://medium.com/dan-sanchez/democracy-is-war-by-other-means-18f4744796b0

    Until we understand that democracy is just the means to legalize plunder, our liberties will continue to be eroded.

    1. Which is true of all government. Libertarians know this so we advocate for as little of it as possible.

      1. Quite right, indeed.

  20. Congratulations, Reason. You got exactly what you wanted.

    1. A pony?

      1. An ass that identifies as a pony, yes.

  21. Democracy is so threatened by calling for an election to be audited that we should protect it by trying to ban the most popular opposition candidate from running next time.

    1. That’s little league Fortification. Look at China. Their Democracy is so Fortified that they don’t even have elections!

  22. Old news.
    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.” ~ Alexander Fraser Tytler

    1. As I continue to say, democracy is just the means of legalizing plunder.

  23. Sorry, Jerry Tuccille, but democracy is a recipe for tyranny. The Founders knew that, and sought to avoid that calamity by crafting checks and balances in their design of the federal government. Their hopeful experiment has largely failed. What matters to the cause of liberty is not whether the public votes for a government, but whether the government is truly limited. Unfortunately, all governments eventually escape their limitations. To regain freedom, governments must be dismantled or abandoned.

  24. Again Tuccille reports objectively on a libertarian topic, the replacement of freedom with coercion. The Ladies Home Journal’s 1933 “Homemaking under Hitler” article commented approvingly on the same thing–after Quaker Republican prohibitionism had crippled all economies everywhere. The remake of Herbert Hooverism was Quaker Richard Nixon’s “Anti-Libertarian Law” added to the IRS code within 24 hours of the LP forming. Such bald-faced robbing of elections for kleptocracy parties is copied elsewhere. Economies therefore crash, and demands for additional coercion hit the stands in the form of republican bleating for laws hiking spending, bullying women and shooting pagans.

  25. Whatever happened to our Constitutional Union of Republican States? A Democratic Nazi (def; National Socialism) Regime invasion of the USA government. Either the USA will carry-on down this path of destruction until total collapse or State’s of the Union will have to insist the USA prevails.

    State Nullification of UN-Constitutional Federal Tyranny!

  26. Tuccille surprisingly confuses democracy with individual liberty, an odd mistake for a libertarian. Democracy, a nicer word for collectivism, is often at odds with freedom. It’s the major reason our society is so polarized today, as factions try to develop majorities in order to ram their vision of how society should work down the throats of everyone else. In fact, democracy coupled with the loss of the limits on government that were designed into our constitution, is probably the main reason that freedom is regressing. I’m surprised Tuccille doesn’t realize this.

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