Democracy retreating worldwide

Democracy retreating worldwide. By Aris Roussinos.

The past two years haven’t been productive for most people, with one notable exception: African coup plotters. The successful coup in Burkina Faso last week, like the unsuccessful putsch attempt in Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday, are further evidence of what UN Chief Antonio Guterres has called an “epidemic of coups d’etat,” spreading across the continent, often to popular acclaim, a wave of de-democratisation comparable to an Arab Spring in reverse. …

Whatever its attraction in theory, in practice democracy has failed across much of Africa. As the Burkinabe civil society activist Marcel Tankanao told Reuters this week, “Since the 1990s there has been a wave of democracy across West Africa. But that democracy has failed the people…We must be clear, we need a military regime.”

As Rwanda’s relatively benign (or at least, competent) dictator Paul Kagame remarks, military coups are simply the “result of a failure in governance,” asserting that “if, under a civilian government, the situation deteriorates and people die, the problems accumulate and the authorities use the military to rig the elections, who is to blame when the army overthrows these governments?”

Of course, dissatisfaction with the democratic system is not unique to Africa. What has changed is the international context: the wave of democracy promotion that followed the Cold War is receding, and more and more countries are either reverting to or experimenting with non-democratic forms of governance. As in the Cold War, when the continent served as a proxy battleground between communism and capitalism, Africa can be seen as a barometer of wider global trends.

Democracy requires sufficient enlightened, engaged citizens. As average IQs drop around the world, democracy will become rarer. Africa, with the lowest national average IQs of around 85 or lower, was always going to be the continent least likely to adopt democracy.

In the west, average IQs peaked around 1850, and are currently around 100. According to IQ researchers (the entire discipline of psychometric banned, for undermining wokedom), the West is on target to drop to around 85 by 2100. With African levels of average IQ, the West will have given up on democracy — or at least heavily modified it — by then.