Liberal democracy is dying as the world converges on authoritarian beigeness

Liberal democracy is dying as the world converges on authoritarian beigeness, by Alistair Heath.

It is possible, we have discovered, to adopt a version of capitalism, as China and Russia did, without embracing free speech and free elections. …

The shocking reality is that the great democracies, including, tragically, Britain, are becoming steadily less libertarian and less democratic; at the same time, the rising Asian powers are becoming less oppressive overall, primarily thanks to their partial embrace of economic freedoms. …

The two models are meeting in the middle, and the result is terrifying. Political systems are becoming less distinct and the old ideological power blocs (such as “the West”) are blurring or even gradually merging into one uniform mush (Bruno Maçães, a former Portuguese minister, talks of the rise of a “Eurasia” dominated by the EU, China and Russia, three entities that share a distrust of liberal democracy).

In a brilliant article for Quillette, the political scientist Clay Fuller calls this new consensus “authoritarian liberalism”. He predicts that, if it continues, it will encourage some to push for a nightmarish world superstate on the basis that “effective global governance would be possible for the first time in world history”.

I prefer to call this emergent global political model “managerialism”. If you want to find some of its more vocal proponents, look no further than the pro-EU “rebel” MPs slowly but surely killing off Brexit: their contempt for real democracy is matched only by their preposterous self-regard. They are typical card-carrying authoritarian liberals, convinced that they know better than we do what is good for us.

Managerialism is now the dominant ideology among the educated classes around the world. It is based on the idea that popular voting is fine as long as it doesn’t change anything, of heavy government intervention in a nominally private economy, extensive social control and a move away from traditional, liberal individualism to an obsession with groups. …

It will take time, but countries that refuse to succumb to authoritarian liberalism will be proved right. They will emerge as havens of free-thinking, innovation and stability, and attract capital and talent. I suspect that those that choose to resist the managerialist onslaught will include Switzerland, Australia, Israel and some Scandinavian countries. It is unclear which way America will go.