Democracy

COVID-19 Made Democracies More Authoritarian and Authoritarian Regimes Even Worse

A new report says many democracies have taken steps that are "disproportionate, unnecessary, or illegal" to curb COVID.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to a significant decline in democratic values across the globe as many countries have taken aggressive and authoritarian steps to attempt to curb the virus.

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past two years, that's probably not much of a surprise. Still, a new report from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a global nonprofit based in Sweden, offers a comprehensive look at the worrying trend of democratic erosion—a trend that has been helped along by the pandemic even though its roots go deeper.

"The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a 'new normal' of Covid-19 restrictions," the IIDEA warns. The number of countries that are becoming "more authoritarian" by the group's calculus is three times the number of countries that are moving toward democracy. This year is the fifth consecutive year in which the trend has been moving in that direction, the longest uninterrupted stretch of pro-authoritarian developments since the IIDEA started tracking these metrics in 1975.

That trend predates the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, but governmental responses to the virus have made things worse.

A number of democratic countries—the report specifically mentions the United States in this section—have implemented COVID measures "that were disproportionate, illegal, indefinite or unconnected to the nature of the emergency," according to the IIDEA report. Those include travel restrictions and the use of "emergency powers that sometimes sidelined parliaments."

The last two years have indeed been littered with examples of previously unheard-of government powers on display in the U.S. That includes everything from statewide lockdowns in which governors decreed which businesses were "essential" to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the backing of both the Trump and Biden administrations, making it nearly impossible for property owners to evict deadbeat tenants. It took until this month for the U.S. to reopen its border with Canada for supposedly "nonessential" travel, even though there was probably no good justification for closing the border in the first place.

Outside the U.S., places like Austria and Australia continue to rachet up authoritarian restrictions on public interactions and economic behavior—even for people who have been vaccinated. According to the report, 69 countries have made violating COVID restrictions an imprisonable offense, with two-thirds of those countries being ones the group considers to be democracies. Albania and Mexico have the most punitive laws on the books, allowing prison sentences of 15 years and 12 years, respectively, for violating pandemic-related protocols.

More than 20 percent of countries have used their militaries to enforce COVID controls, which the report warns could contribute to "the normalization of increasingly militarized civil life after the pandemic." Meanwhile, 42 percent of countries have rolled out voluntary or compulsory apps used for contact tracing, which may be effective in curbing the spread of the virus but create concerning new opportunities for government surveillance in a post-pandemic world. Of particular concern to IIDEA are the eight non-democratic regimes (Azerbaijan, BahrainChinaKazakhstanQatar, SingaporeThailand, and Turkey) where those apps have been made mandatory for all smartphone-using residents.

Meanwhile, some public health officials in America are wishcasting for even more aggressive restrictions. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, recently praised the "really strict lockdowns" deployed by China—a country that no healthy democracy should be using as a model for good policy making.

But while COVID-19 has been the acute cause of much democratic backsliding in the past two years, the IIDEA report indicates a more insidious threat that lurks behind the pandemic: "The rise of illiberal and populist parties in the last decade is a key explanatory factor in democratic backsliding and decline," the report states. Those parties seek to obtain power so they can dismantle checks on government authority, including freedom of expression and policies meant to protect minority rights.

Indeed, as Reason's Stephanie Slade has pointed out, some of the leading advocates of America's turn towards illiberalism are now quite open about their embrace of authoritarianism. This tendency to embrace "will-to-power" politics amounts to declaring that "what matters above all else is ensuring that our tribe is dominant." That's not a good signal for democracy, or for the preservation of human freedom.

The will-to-power also serves to paper over the nonsensical aspects of their ideas. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), for example, wants to give the Commerce Department more power to decide what products can be lawfully bought and sold in the United States—despite the fact that he voted against confirming Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. He literally wants to give more power to someone he believes is not qualified for the job. Similarly, left-wing efforts to abolish the filibuster in the Senate are easily exposed as nothing more than a power grab by asking advocates how a filibuster-less Senate would have worked during Donald Trump's presidency—a tactic that Axios' Jonathan Swan recently used to great effect in an interview with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D–Mich.).

In various forms and despite internal inconsistencies, these illiberal and populist sentiments seem to be growing stronger. Expanded governmental powers during the pandemic offer an even more tantalizing prize to politicians who would use the power of the state to direct society in the future.

"As in many other aspects of life, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified pre-existing political trends while adding a whole new plethora of unprecedented challenges to democracies that were already under pressure," writes Kevin Casas-Zamore, IIDEA's secretary-general, in the preface to the report. "The monumental human victory achieved when democracy became the predominant form of governance now hangs in the balance like never before."

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  1. Nowadays the truly frightening kind of authoritarianism comes exclusively from the right side of the political spectrum. Whether they're supporting "tough on crime" policies that prevent Charles Koch from hiring people with criminal records, or "border enforcement" policies that prevent Charles Koch from hiring cost-effective Mexicans.

    Compared to that, nothing Biden and the Democrats have done even comes close.

    #LibertariansForBiden
    #LibertariansForVaccineMandates
    #LibertariansForMaskMandates
    #LibertariansForLockdowns

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    2. so you don't consider extreme taxation to be authoritarian. so you don't consider a government that chooses winners and losers by their own narrow agenda to be authoritarian. so you somehow believe that protecting america's low skilled workers from the competition of foreign workers is "authoritarian". mask mandates, vaccine mandates and lockdowns are all the violent measures of an authoritarian regime. requests and suggestions are the sort of measures that a freedom loving society can respond to. demands and mandates are how tyrants rule.

      1. M me, Open-borders libertarian (aka OBL) is one of the longest running parody commenters here. You can pretty much ignore or laugh at what he/she says

    3. I guess you are one of those with your head stuck in the sand. You think being tough on crime is authoritarian? How about your government telling you if you can leave your home or not? Democrats are progressives which is a nice way of saying fascist. History is littered with examples of them.

  2. But while COVID-19 has been the acute cause of much democratic backsliding in the past two years, the IIDEA report indicates a more insidious threat that lurks behind the pandemic: "The rise of illiberal and populist parties in the last decade is a key explanatory factor in democratic backsliding and decline," the report states. Those parties seek to obtain power so they can dismantle checks on government authority, including freedom of expression and policies meant to protect minority rights.

    Okay, so the last 2 years it was the Dems stepping on our rights to try to fight COVID-19 (mostly with no success), but the populist parties trying to stop the pandemic overreach are the "more insidious threat", obviously. And the populist parties are just itching to get their fingers on the levers of power, so they can impinge on freedom of expression, by for example, stopping social media companies from deplatforming opposition party candidates. And the Dems in power now pose no such threat to free expression, unless of course it strays into "misinformation" territory, which they will happily define for us.....

    1. Reason columnists actually believe this.

    2. My take as well; but you understand it has to be "both sides" and one "a more insidious threat" than the other. It's as though the writers fear being labeled as sympathizing with "one of those" unsavory sorts.

    3. Question to group any chance that maybe Eric thinks dems are populists too or am I giving too much credit?

      1. The man voted for Biden because mean tweets were a more insidious threat than mean tweets.

        1. God damn it, that should be mean tweets are a more insidious threat than the authoritarian regime the Biden campaign was promising.

        2. I should've went back and looked at the who are you voting for article before asking the question.

          1. MLs helpful summary.

            "I will cast my ballot for Joe Biden in Michigan, a swing state, because there is no bigger libertarian cause right now"

            "Who do you plan to vote for this year? Joe Biden. The nationalists said the libertarian-conservative consensus is dead, and I take them at their word. Also, Stephen Miller is a white nationalist."

            "I will vote strategically... for Biden."

            "I will cast my first ever vote for president for Joe Biden in the battleground state of Pennsylvania."

            "I've been vacillating between sitting out this election, as I did in 2016, or voting for Joe Biden. The strongest argument for the latter choice is that it's an opportunity to support the repudiation of both Trumpism and AOC" (lol)

            "I'll be voting for Joe Biden, primarily for three reasons: (1) A feeble president Biden seems like an opportunity to erode the power and glamour of the dangerous cult of the presidency and also push socialists, nationalists, and identitarians back to the margins, creating space for a more libertarian-friendly coalition to emerge." (Oh wow! lol)

            "If it was going to be close in my state, I might have considered holding my nose and voting for the person most likely to supplant the eminently fireable incumbent."

            https://reason.com/2020/10/12/how-will-reason-staffers-vote-in-2020/

            1. Well, to be fair, Biden is eroding the glamour of the Presidency, for sure.

        3. This. He is not a libritarian, he voted for fascism.
          Real question to bohem: why should any reader conciders you to be a credible source on anything libritarian?

    4. Eric doesn't like the authoritarianism of the Democrats but not enough for him to actually do anything about it.

      Eric is the perfect example of the reason writer.

  3. Actually, not a bad article, with a good headline. Surprised to see it here on Reason. And it wasn't until the 10th paragraph that they hit the obligatory "both sides".

    1. Took Reason 18 months and a report from some big time think tank to notice. But yeah not a bad article.

    2. Bowf Sidez....

      1. "The choice between the NSDAP and the SPD in 1933 was merely giant douche and turd sandwich" - t. sarcasmic

    3. With the usual tribal caveat where "good article" means "spinning my political slant relentlessly and inverting source material".

  4. Many people like being told what to do and therefore want an authoritarian government. They vote for it. They don't understand why others don't want it.

    The demand that everyone listen to government officials and the news media and to what they say, or you are a problem to society.

    1. I think it's not quite that. Instead, governments have taken over so much of our lives that the default position has migrated past Mommy may I? to Mommy what do I do today?
      * Government protects liberties
      * Government bans things
      * Government permits things
      * Government says what to do

    2. Many people like being told what to do and therefore want an authoritarian government. They vote for it. They don't understand why others don't want it.

      I have to agree. There’s always been Americans that like to bend over, pants down, clapping their hands for BigDaddyGov to give it to them run their lives for them. The problem now is that the forming uni-party is drawing lines in the sand, between the those who conform and those who “resist”.

      They’ve done everything they can in the media to demonize anti-vaxers. And I suspect a guilty Rittenhouse verdict was supposed to send the appropriate message to any one else who was planning to stand up against “peaceful protests” in the future. Luckily for Rittenhouse the DA was a soup sandwich. And fortunately for the unvaccinated, people are starting to realize that the gov is full of shit about Covid and the requiring of “vaccines” and “boosters”.

      Hopefully protest will remain patriotic in our country, but I suspect only pre-approved protest will be allowed before long.

    3. "Many people like being told what to do and therefore want an authoritarian government."

      Not so sure about that. I think it is more, "Many people like government telling others to do what they do."

      Masking is a perfect example. It is a tribal signal. It's like wearing a cross around your neck. And nothing is better than forcing all the heathens to wear this cross about their neck.

      1. I get your point and all ... pretty funny.

        Is forcing others to wear headscarfs at gunpoint an example of masking?

  5. I'll bet the statists are kicking themselves: "Fuck, why didn't we think of this before? We could have had complete control by now!"

    Yet another example of Demolition Man as prophecy: "After AIDS, there was NRS, after NRS, there was UBT."

    1. if we didnt own 430 MILLION guns wed be cross that bridge already

  6. More than 20 percent of countries have used their militaries to enforce COVID controls

    A meaningless statistic when 2 countries contain 38% of the world's population and at least 1 of those has used its military to weld people into their homes. It would be much better to state what % of people have had this shit forced down their throats.

  7. Ok then.

    221 homeless people have died in Seattle since last winter, one of the highest numbers on record

    Ten months into the calendar year, the coronavirus pandemic, drug epidemic, record-breaking heat wave, and customary cold and wet snaps had killed at least 159 homeless people, which is higher than normal. The county medical examiner’s office, who investigate violent and sudden deaths, doesn’t expect 2021 homeless deaths to pass the previous high of 194 in 2018, but they’re likely to pass the two years since.

    While the medical examiner’s is the most official count of homeless deaths in the county, Lee Thornhill, a public health data and evaluation manager for the public-private Healthcare for the Homeless Network, cautioned that many homeless people who die in places like hospitals are likely missed by this count, and extrapolating too much from a sample size of less than 200 can lead to faulty conclusions.

    “One death outside is one too many,” Thornhill said, but “it’s hard from an analytical, statistical perspective to look at small numbers and make meaning from them.”

    1. Human caused global temperature increases would make homeless life in winter more bearable. Maybe authorities will warm to this phenomena.

      1. Perhaps they will, in the heat of the moment.

        1. It's Seattle. Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Some have been smoking pot since 9 years-old.

          1. So the pot smokers are just chillin?

            1. Quite the contrary, a kid's first exposure is likely to be a hotbox.

              1. "Ill be stoned by 5" doesnt refer to the clock...

        2. Or maybe just put the idea on ice.

      2. Now you're cooking with gas. But not for long.

    2. We interrupt this thread for a random ... celebration? criticism? Random combination celebration plus 'cities are scary and must be burned down' rant?

      1. That's your takeaway? Perhaps try again, but without your biases.

        1. My biases are... what? Blocking me from seeing the connection between Seattle winter homeless deaths and the role of covid-19 in the health of democracies? Not being sure whether the commenter is celebrating the deaths, criticizing them, making some comment about covid not really being significant or something else?

          1. I report, you decide. Think of me as Don Lemon from CNN. Unadorned news without commentary.

            1. Lofty journalistic company and aspirations.

    3. Covid deaths. If only they could have been vaccinated sooner, stocks would be higher.

  8. "The monumental human victory achieved when democracy became the predominant form of governance now hangs in the balance like never before."

    Like never before? They forgot WW2 and the Cold War already?

    1. How else is Eric going to make himself feel heroic?

    2. Democracy is better than dictatorship, but rule of law is better still, and that is vanishing. I had not realized until a couple of years ago that when WW I started in 1914, there were only two democracies in Europe: Britain and France. Every single other country was a monarchy. Germany, for instance, had the Reichstag, but the Kaiser controlled military spending and foreign affairs entirely by himself.

      As to your comment, in many ways today is worse, because people are voting themselves into dictatorship of the majority, as represented by self-selected bureaucrats. Look at the EU -- the national governments may be democracies of a weak sort, but the EU technocrats tell them what laws they have to pass, and they are not elected in any normal sense of the word.

      Yes, in many ways this is worse than an external military threat, since people are doing it to themselves and don't realize it, and even if they did realize it, there is no practical way of undoing it.

      1. Good point.
        As someone pointed out, in a monarchy the leaders are trained from birth to rule, and some portion of them are good people, and they have to consider the long-term implications of their policies, since their descendants will inherit any mess they create.
        As compared to a democracy, where only people seeking power run for office, and they can promise short term fixes, and ignore any damage more than 8 years out.

        1. Of course, it is much easier to get rid of a bad ruler in a democracy.

          1. Disagree completely. As a single point of failure system, all you have to do to rid yourself of a bad king is to install a different one. The next one is under zero obligation to follow the previous ruler, the same cannot be said of democracy.

            In fact, democracy actively encourages normalizing the bad behavior that previous politicians impose.

    3. Yeah its Gas Lighting.

      They should stop that. Blow Bidens colluding to make gas unaffordable

  9. Rochelle Walensky...recently praised the "really strict lockdowns" deployed by China—a country that no healthy democracy should be using as a model for good policy making.

    I am not understanding why that is a problem. The United States is neither a democracy nor, forgive the anthropomorphization of a fictitious entity, a remotely healthy country.

    1. "...the anthropomorphization of a fictitious entity,"

      Haven't heard the likes since I was an undergrad.

  10. COVID-19 Made Democracies More Authoritarian and Authoritarian Regimes Even Worse

    Was there some wild-eyed libertarian preacher shouting the gospel of freedom outside of Reason's HQ today?

    1. I really really hope they look at comments to get a clue.

  11. In these dark authoritarian times I’m sure we could all use a quote:

    Write in such a way as that you can be readily understood by both the young and the old, by men as well as women, even by children.

    -Donald Trump

    1. “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”

      - Joe Biden

      1. Both prophetic, and textbook Dunning-Kruger and psychological projection. Biden is the classic career politician, a schmoozer, a grifter, a gladhander, none of which require great intelligence.

  12. This article is about two years into "two weeks to stop the spread" too late.

    Like all good (and impotent) libertarians, Reason gets real loud and mouthy once the battle has already been lost.

    1. 100% agreed and unfortunately we still have the likes of Joe Friday trying to pass of this load of bull.

    2. Yep. This is a weak version of what we were saying in April 2020.

    1. Public health officials are starting to contradict themselves on the vaccine.

      Q: Why didn't they make a Delta specific vaccine?
      A: While the original formula doesn't do as great a job at preventing infection, it is great at preventing severe disease.

      Q: Why mask the vaccinated?
      A: The vaccinated can still spread COVID if they get infected.

      Q: Why a booster for 65+ and immunocompromised?
      A: That population is not as perfectly protected from severe disease after vaccination as other populations. We expect that protection from the booster will provide more complete and durable protection from severe disease. And focusing on that group makes sense, as they represent 95+% of all breakthrough hospitalizations.

      Q: Why a booster for everyone else?
      A: We have to stop the spread!!!

      Either the vaccine is supposed to prevent severe cases or it is supposed to grant sterilizing immunity. It bothers me that they are pushing boosters on a population that has nil risk of severe disease, but won't put in the work to create a Delta formula for the vaccine which is really the only possibility of durable sterilizing immunity. They are directly playing into the critics hands who say that we are going to need boosters forever, because, well, yeah, if we keep boosting with the same formula, chances are decent that sterilizing immunity is going to be temporary.

      1. "Why didn't they make a Delta specific vaccine?"

        BC theyd LOSE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS (Or the appropriate currency unit) if they couldnt sell the 2019 vintage.

        1. At least with the mRNA vaccines, they should be able to switch over their manufacturing facilities near instantly, once they have the updated formula. And it isn't like there are massive stockpiles of the vaccine around the world (and not that Pfizer/Moderna care given that they get the money regardless of whether the vaccine is used).

          If public health officials were holding the pharma companies feet to the fire, it would have happened. Both companies had, in fact, created an Alpha formula and were initial stages of testing before being told not to bother. It is clear that IF a new variant comes out, it will pop out of the Delta lineage. So the fact that they aren't even bothering to get started down the Delta formula path is just crazy to me, especially if they are using the increase in cases (not severe cases!) as justification.

          What makes this all so much worse is that there isn't enough COVID vaccine for the world. Public health officials ought to be saying: "let's focus on export, the unvaccinated, and the high risk for now. In 4 months, we will have more data and vaccine."

          1. "So the fact that they aren't even bothering to get started down the Delta formula path is just crazy to me"

            Passing question, is your assumption true that there is no effort at developing mRNA vaccines against variants factually accurate?

            1. Okay...fair enough. I can't prove that there are no efforts. However, Moderna issued a press release when it created the Beta (not Alpha, that was my mistake) variant of its vaccine, but nothing similar for Delta. All of my searches on Pfizer booster and Delta just return articles on the fact that the original formula works against it. Everything just seems strangely quiet when 1) the adaptability of mRNA was supposed to be its strength, 2) we know that the original formula elicits far fewer antibodies against Delta than against OG COVID, 3) the best guess of scientists is that the level of antibodies strongly influences whether you get infected. I am happy to be corrected if there is any news, but I simply can't find it, and it seems like the type of thing that companies would mention to their investors, even if public health officials find it convenient to hide the fact that a better booster will come out in a few months.


                1. It’s in clinical trials, but many experts say you don’t need a tailored vaccine for this variant.

                  Umm...

                  I'm too lazy to look up which shoddy news organization did a "fact check", but when it was pointed out that Walensky claimed, in front of millions of Americans that "with the vaccine you neither get sick nor spread the disease", that this claim about Walensky was "mostly false". Not because she didn't say it, but because she said it before the Delta variant had been spreading, and the delta variant was super awesome at slyly evading the current vaccine formula. So take THAT you anti-scientism GOP conspiracy theorists. (ignore the fact that the non-political wing of the CDC walked her comments back 48 hours after she made them... before the delta variant was even in the news)

                  So uhh, which is it there, young feller(s), do we need a variant vaccine or do we not? And if not, which experts say we don't and which experts say we do?

                  1. "I'm too lazy to look up"

                    Refreshingly credible.

                2. Thank you for that link, Waxliberty. I had tried several variations of search terms, but was unable to find that article or any of the press releases it referenced.

                  It is good to know that efforts are ongoing for a Delta formula.

                  1. n/p an interesting topic so happy to field anything interesting you find. found myself looking up 'polio vaccine variants' to try to understand more about the history of past arms races of vaccine vs. variants...

      2. So unlucky they had the original vaccine ready to go 2 days after the strain was 'published', but they can't manage to come up with anything for Delta.....

      3. The other part I like is where this FDA official admitted dramatic waning of vaccine effectiveness within a few short months.

        1. Against infections. The vaccine appear to be rock solid against severe disease even without a booster. In fact, we still have no idea how well the booster does against hospitalization, because breakthrough hospitalizations are so rare anyway that not a single person, boosted or placebo, ended up in the hospital during the clinical trials.

          The principle seems reasonable enough to let high risk folks have the booster. I think though that it isn't unreasonable to question why we are expanding the boosters to more people when we don't have any trials that shows that it helps keep people out of the hospital and we haven't waited long enough for the population studies to come through to show a benefit in the US.

          I am okay with people who want the booster anyway (and the prior guidelines made it possible for all adults to get the booster). However, this is paving the way for a future booster mandate, and I am absolutely opposed to that.

  13. https://twitter.com/BernieSpofforth/status/1462740215571918849

    AUSTRALIA - The army is now transferring positive Covid cases and contacts in the Northern Territories to ‘Quarantine Camps’ by army truck.

    So it wasn’t a conspiracy theory then.

    1. These days, the difference between reality and Conspiracy Theory is about 6 months.

      1. months????????????

        Shirley you jest...

    2. GOOD. They SHOULD be isolated.

      Only MORONS that want it to spread ( as in morons in the US) put them with other sick people to spread it and kill them off so insurance companies can profit.

      Did I get close?

    3. The Ten Stages of Genocide

      (1) Classification: Governments begin dividing people into "us" versus deplorables "them."
      (2) Symbolization: Governments start forcing "unclean" people to wear symbolic articles of clothing, so they clearly stand out from everyone else.
      (3) Discrimination: Governments use laws and cultural power to deny civil rights to certain people.
      (4) Dehumanization: Governments subtly deny the humanity of discriminated groups by comparing them to animals, vermin, insects, or diseases.
      (5) Organization: The state bureaucracy begins actively designing killing plans for undesirables.
      (6) Polarization: Propaganda is utilized to amplify the differences between "us" versus "them," and interactions between groups are limited.
      (7) Preparation: The victims of future mass killing are identified and separated.
      (8) Persecution: Governments begin forcing members of victim groups into special camps. <------- Australia is here.
      (9) Extermination: The massacre begins, and government actors justify their mass murder as a necessary "extermination" of non-humans who deserve to be killed.
      (10) Denial: The brainwashed perpetrators of genocide deny having committed any crimes — blaming their victims for their own murders.

        1. "Really, we need to wait until Australia is exterminating people to determine if what they're doing really is evil." - waxliberty

          JFC, you're just as dumb as Tony

          1. No point in first determining if viral claims about Australian concentration camps for the unvaccinated are true or not, then. That would be dumb.

            1. "As long as they aren't systematically killing everyone, no reason to question anything." - waxliberty

              You don't have to convince us your standards for immorality and mismanagement are incredibly low.

              1. That's some serious ninja skills with quotation marks. How did you learn to do that?

                "I acquired many such arcane skills through drinking the blood of children" – mad.casual

  14. https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/australian-army-begins-transferring-covid-positive-cases-contacts-quarantine-camps

    The Australian army has begun forcibly removing residents in the Northern Territories to the Howard Springs quarantine camp located in Darwin, after nine new Covid-19 cases were identified in the community of Binjari. The move comes after hard lockdowns were instituted in the communities of both Binjari and nearby Rockhole on Saturday night.

    "Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes," said Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, referring to the country's five allowable reasons to avoid lockdown (buying food and supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work or education if it can't be done from home, and to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location).

    1. The Northern Territories are basically reservations for the Aboriginals. Like all leftists, they turn on minorities first. Remember, it is everyone but leftists who are racists. Leftists just lock minorities in camps for their own good.

    2. cases or false positives?

      1. Keep in mind this is after Morrison "one-upped" Cruz by saying "We've had way fewer deaths than Texas has, which is why we're mandating everyone get vaccinated." It's also after reasearchers "discovered" that if your populations average life expectancy is 60 yrs. old, your population tends not to suffer as much from a disease that predominantly kills people 65 and older (and, again, we're going to vaccinate the fuck out of everyone anyway).

        They don't give a fuck about actual cases or false positives. They care that people bend the knee, so that they can be perceived as doing something, so have the power to make people bend the knee...

    3. When Tyler Durden says the word, I listen.

  15. You will get chipped — eventually
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/08/09/you-get-chipped-eventually/547336001/

    LOS ANGELES — You will get chipped. It’s just a matter of time.

    In the aftermath of a Wisconsin firm embedding microchips in employees last week to ditch company badges and corporate logons, the Internet has entered into full-throated debate.

    Religious activists are so appalled, they’ve been penning nasty 1-star reviews of the company, Three Square Market, on Google, Glassdoor and social media.

    On the flip side, seemingly everyone else wants to know: Is this what real life is going to be like soon at work? Will I be chipped?

    “It will happen to everybody,” says Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.”

    1. And the dumb fuck thinks that is good news. And the answer is, you just say no. If no one else does, say no anyway and die a noble death. You have to die someone and dying for your freedom and dignity beats dying for nothing.

      1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ that

        x 1000000

      2. You have to die someone and dying for your freedom and dignity beats dying for nothing.

        Of course, as usual, the options are not living in bondage or dying free. There are plenty who would see "They're easily removable and can't be hacked" as a(n oxymoronic) challenge and take the bet. I commend them in their efforts to accept the risk to save the lives and freedoms of those who would otherwise choose to die.

      3. There are also things you can implant in those who would “chip” you,
        They call them bullets.

  16. You picked a bad example to link to in support of the claim that "some of the leading advocates of America's turn towards illiberalism are now quite open about their embrace of authoritarianism." One of the two people embracing authoritarianism in that link, Ian Miles Cheong, is Malaysian. The other, Aboe Zots, is a nobody who can scarcely be found on the Internet outside of Twitter and appears to be Dutch.

    1. It should be obvious that, "some of the leading advocates" is a fallacious appeal to authority. Why should we be surprised to find that those 'leading advocates' are not actual authorities?

  17. Quite the spin cycle, uncritically received.

    If you read the link, the IIDEA listed the United States as a "backsliding" country relative to democracy for the first time not because of pandemic restrictions but due to "the violently contested elections":

    "A historic turning point came in 2020–2021 when former President Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States. Baseless allegations of electoral fraud and related disinformation undermined fundamental trust in the electoral process, which culminated in the storming of the US Capitol building in January 2021."

    There isn't criticism of undemocratic pandemic measures in the U.S. outside of the mention of "the Trump Administration’s early ban on travel from China to the United States even while travel from Europe to the USA continued to be allowed", i.e. criticism of the only kind of restriction rightists endorsed.

    The report also highlights the continuing conflicts over voting access: "In the United States, for example, research indicates that some states’ voter registration and voting laws, either recently approved or currently under discussion, end up disproportionately affecting minorities in a negative way".

    It also talks about the threat coming from the rise of "the spread of disinformation", which gets a bit circular in context here.

    1. "States, for example, research indicates that some states’ voter registration and voting laws, either recently approved or currently under discussion, end up disproportionately affecting minorities in a negative way".

      Seems as if their Party wins a disproportional amount of the time for their REFUSAL to register to vote like everyone else *

      * Except illegal alien and dead voters

  18. False.

    Dont blame the virus.

    Blame people that lied about it for control.

    And if youve not seen it...about ruling the people...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t2c-X8HiBng

    1. How are we supposed to distinguish

      (1) "People lied about it"

      from

      (2) "Scientists and health officials reported truth as they understand it but I prefer viral misinformation and conspiracy theories instead that enable political grievance signaling"

      ...if not by assessing the independent testability of factual claims? (Given doing that of course unfortunately resolves things consistently in favor of (2) instead of (1)?)

      1. Because #2 is a null set. Hones scientists have been calling them out since day 1 only to be threatened and censored

        1. The reason the conspiracy theory is true is that the people who could have provided evidence for it have been censored?

  19. Filibuster -Not in the Constitution AND Not in the House - its nothing more than a FIAT.

    Best way to ERODE and JETTISON democracy in the USA is to deny laws desired from the voting majority!

    1. The entire point of the constitution is to deny the majority and give minorities a say. That is why it is a Republic and not a Democracy.

      1. Again FILIBUSTER NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION.

        1. Congress has rules of order.

          U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 5 - "...Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."

          The filibuster is most definitely 'in the Constitution'. They can also abolish it.

        2. Are you a new sarc sock?

    2. Having 46 out of 48 Senators in your party agreeing with you in a 100-member Senate is not a "majority".

      And with no filibuster, it would be easy for 51-49 votes in one Congress to flip to 49-51 two years later, and the laws to ping-pong like crazy. Requiring a super-majority is a conservative measure to be sure, but it increases stability and helps ensure that changes to established law are clearly in the best interests of the nation as a whole, and not an activist arm of a party temporarily in the majority due to an unpopular leader on the other side.

      1. Having a FIAT determination of what is a majority is just that.

        Sorry, denying laws a majority wants - no matter how slim - is not stabilizing but eroding democracy. Continued blocking of laws majority wants is doing REAL DAMAGE to democracy. Whats the point in voting if majority rarely makes laws it wants? Autocrats delight!

        1. "...Sorry, denying laws a majority wants - no matter how slim - is not stabilizing but eroding democracy..."

          Exactly as intended and properly so.

  20. "...despite the fact that he voted against confirming Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. He literally wants to give more power to someone he believes is not qualified for the job."

    Person holding the top position is not the agency itself, is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow and can likely be fiscally persuaded as with any other pol. But keep stretching for that bowf sidez thing. Totally makes you look sophisticated.

  21. No one is thrilled about authoritarianism in the face of exogenous threats. By this measure we could say the US was extremely authoritarian during World War II, you know, during the "greatest generation". Or the Cold War for that matter. 7 Billion people + intensive, interconnected society + exogenous threats like pandemics and climate change will inevitably yield state control measures. We can cry about it or figure out a way to handle pandemics and natural disasters through other means. But free-market, libertarian policies don't always rise to the occasion. They often leave power vaccums where oligarchs move in.

  22. Guess it's a good thing we're a Constitutional Union of Republican States --- oh wait; Democrats took-over the USA for their Democratic National Socialism...... Treasonous bastards aren't they?

  23. WEEZEN WOTED FO WIDEN! WOO WANDED DIS!

  24. WEEZEN SAYS BOFF SIDES! THAT MEENS WEEZEN IS DEMOCRAT PROGRESSIVE LEFTIST WAHHH!

  25. There. Think I covered all the normal commentary. Any intelligent comments?

    1. Somebody got your number upthread, TDS-addled steaming pile of lefty shit:
      "The choice between the NSDAP and the SPD in 1933 was merely giant douche and turd sandwich"
      Fuck off and die, asshole.

  26. And covid proved once again how incompetent and dishonest the Repugs are.

    1. Sarc or stupidity? I'm going with stupidity.

  27. COVID didn't do anything. COVID was used by already authoritarian politicians to advance their agendas, just like economic inequality, racial disparities, religion, and terrorism before.

    In another time, COVID would simply have been ignored. And if it hadn't been COVID in 2020, they would have found something else.

    1. Always interested in learning about other cultures and worlds – in yours, is there a sars-cov-2 virus? Is there a germ theory of disease?

  28. Governments will do anything to grab more power. Thats why people have to react immediately when they give even a hint of doing so. No matter the reasons.

    1. We should have been rioting in the streets March of 2000.

  29. Thank God. Maybe now Koch's own whore will put 2+2 together and discover that democracy and freedom have no real relationship.

  30. First of all, democracies only work in very small groups of people living and working in the same community. There may actually be one or two democracies left in the world today. The reference should actually be about democratic republics. Republics are the governance where people elect personal representatives to governance. Now days, those representatives run with their own agenda and pay little attention to that portion of the electorate that who voted for them.
    Now, as to the tyranny of our governors, they are leftists who know very little about our Constitution and the severe limits that Constitution put upon governance, thus they freely, willingly and intentionally ignore those Constitutional Limitations of governance, to overstep the Constitutional boundaries and into tyranny because in their minds they ate leftists. There are citizens, liberals, and leftists. The line between liberals and leftist is very much a blur. But the pandemic did turn loose the leftists to go into tyranny, and the leftists definitely do not like that they tyrannies are now being challenged in the public square. Tyrants are easy to find for they are the ones who degree mandates without authority or due process. The tyrants are our president, many of our state governors, and far too many city mayors. Each and every one of those people has demonstrated their leftism and tyrannies by declaring mandates restricting our personal freedoms both natural and Constitutional,

  31. The real issue here: the populist parties are challenging the globalist power structure. So the globalist lackeys are now smearing so-called "illiberal and populist parties." Actually, these parties are far more democratic than the Regime's oligarchic financed mainstream parties because their power arises from the people.

    Those parties seek to obtain power so they can dismantle checks on government authority,

    How? By calling for the breakup of government financed IT monopolies which engage in mass de-platformings? By parents home schooling their children? By demanding accountability from out of control bureaucracies?

    ... including freedom of expression and policies meant to protect minority rights.

    A joke when you consider how the current Regime routinely silences critics via cancel culture. As for "minority rights," this is a code phrase for more government programs like affirmative action and wealth redistribution.

  32. The odd thing is the Democracies led the repression, not the repressive governments. Seems our elected leaders all want to be dictators too!

  33. A Chinese mogul reportedly gave Hunter Biden an expensive gem and offered $30 million in a bid to seal a deal with a Chinese-government-linked energy consortium to expand its business around the world, according to a new book.

    New York Post columnist Miranda Devine’s book, “Laptop from Hell,” highlights emails that reportedly document the deal found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, left in a Delaware repair shop in April 2019.

    Reason totally ignores the corrupt Biden crime family.

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