Business as usual in politics is to listen to the voters on the campaign trail, then listen to the experts in office. Everyone knows that, and (nearly) everyone plays the game. … No one serious took Biden’s campaign pledges seriously, not even his supporters.
In the minds of the liberal establishment, elections are not appropriate venues for serious policy discussion. The establishment consensus is exactly the opposite: the “politicisation” of policy issues is something to be condemned, and the keeping of election promises constitutes “pandering” to voters. Responsive politicians are no better than political pimps, finding out what the voters want and giving it to them in exchange for their votes. As mainstream political scientists ceaselessly assert, giving the voters what they want on the basis of majority rule is not “real” democracy but “demagoguery”. In the liberal establishment view, promising policies to voters and then carrying them out once elected is actually a form of democratic breakdown. Such “majoritarian” democracy is no democracy at all.
Our democracy is dying:
Elite disdain for majority rule is a serious problem in the United States, but it has much deeper roots in Europe. Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no consensus among European intellectuals that democracy was actually a good thing. Even after the Second World War, Western European politicians on both the Left and the Right arguably accepted democracy only as an inevitable consequence of Anglo-American occupation. They quickly sought to shift power to the supernational level as a way to mitigate the demands of electoral politics. …
Today, European liberalism is strongest precisely where democracy is weakest: in the administrative bureaucracy of the European Union.
If the Anglo-American world was the birthplace of liberalism, continental Europe was the birthplace of authoritarianism. …
Their democracy is spreading:
This new, liberal authoritarianism is closely associated with globalism, technocracy and rule by experts. It is an attractive-sounding but ultimately anti-democratic approach to governance and reform.
Whenever leading establishment figures insist that a particular policy realm is “too important” to be subjected to democratic decision-making, liberal authoritarianism is clearly in evidence. Whenever entire areas of policy-making are insulated from democratic processes by referring them to unelected technocrats, liberal authoritarianism is nakedly exposed.
The coronavirus pandemic made the arrival of liberal authoritarianism obvious to everyone. Establishment liberals throughout the Western world enthusiastically (some might say: sadistically) embraced public health strategies that compromised civil liberties in ways never before experienced in liberal democratic countries. They did this despite the fact that the global consensus on pandemic responses as late as September 2019 was that contact tracing and quarantines of non-infected individuals were “not recommended in any circumstances”. This, according to the World Health Organisation’s expert panel.
There is perhaps no better illustration of Lord Acton’s maxim that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Public health bureaucrats are not bad people, and there is no reason to believe they are inherently authoritarian. But given the opportunity to govern on their own authority instead of having to submit their recommendations for democratic scrutiny, they quickly conspired to accumulate power, suppress dissent and subvert democracy.
Since the passing of the pandemic, the authoritarian legitimation of power under the Biden administration has been extraordinary. It can be seen most clearly in the application of the law. A simple comparison of the aggressive prosecution of the January 6 Capitol occupiers with the relatively lax approach to Black Lives Matter protesters one year earlier makes that abundantly clear. The self-proclaimed anti-fascists who literally seized control of city centres while openly brandishing firearms, who burned down federal courthouses and local police stations, and who volubly called for the overthrow of the duly elected president of the United States, largely escaped prosecution or were let off with light sentences. Meanwhile the self-proclaimed patriots who streamed into the Capitol building “armed” with flagpoles and pepper spray have been branded “insurrectionists” for chanting anti-government slogans and propping their feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
The point of the comparison is not to exonerate the Capitol occupiers. It’s to contrast the disproportionate government responses to these strikingly disproportionate criminal activities.
And it’s not only the United States that has become markedly more authoritarian in the wake of the coronavirus. Canada’s Justin Trudeau actually invoked his country’s Emergencies Act — intended for use in “an emergency that arises from threats to the security of Canada and that is so serious as to be a national emergency” — to aid his repression of trucker protests against vaccine mandates.
New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern frankly asserted that her administration would be her country’s “single source of truth” on health issues, and presumably on everything else. Victorian police actually arrested a pregnant woman for posting information about an anti-government coronavirus protest to social media. Anglo-American liberals were once queasy about appearing too authoritarian in their smug dismissals of dissenting opinion. Not anymore.
The Voice is the Trojan Horse in Australia:
Now Australia is about to get its first serious bout of national-level liberal authoritarianism. …
The absolute consensus of Australia’s liberal political class is that there should be some form of organised indigenous Voice, and that it should be organised now. Peter Dutton may argue that the Voice should not be enshrined in the Constitution, and the Samuel Griffith Society may quibble over the two words “executive government”, but everyone in a position to have a voice on the Voice — from the frontbenchers to Facebook — supports it.
Call it courtesy, or call it cringe: only retired politicians have proved ready to openly oppose the idea of an organised indigenous voice. …
It is an absolute misnomer acceptable for use only by activists, politicians and lawyers to call the proposed consultation mechanism for indigenous consultation an “Indigenous Voice”, since it will not, in fact, give indigenous Australians a voice. In the spirit of present-day liberal double-speak, it will actually suppress the voices of the vast majority of indigenous Australians. Instead of holding an equal Jack’s-as-good-as-his-master share in advising on policies for indigenous Australia, ordinary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be locked out of these debates.
Instead of embracing democracy, the indigenous Voice proposed by the National Co-Design Group and endorsed by Prime Minister Albanese and the “Yes” campaign is designed to be nakedly authoritarian. It would draw its legitimacy from the consensus of establishment institutions, not the consent of the governed. It would have indigenous Australians be spoken for and spoken to, but it would not allow them to speak. Individual indigenous Australians would not have the ability to object to positions taken by the Voice within the Voice system; they would not have access to mechanisms for dissent; none would, to use the language of the law, have “standing” to challenge the Voice. …
Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you the truth you already know about yourself, but just can’t admit. As a foreigner, a friend, and a Philistine, I’m here to tell Australians that the indigenous Voice on which you will soon vote is a dud. It is an anti-democratic mechanism for authoritarian governance that will set a precedent for other forms of liberal authoritarianism to follow.
Today, the Voice. Tomorrow, the Carbon Commission. And soon enough, the return of the National Cabinet. All well-meaning, all thoroughly liberal, and all authoritarian.
The Voice (which I suspect is designed to fail) will racialize Australia, and in the process deliver the power and excuse for the globalist class to govern and exclude their opponents from the public square — much like Obama did in the US.