More than simply those on the Left, the people who have an interest in our society continuing as it is are warning of a threat to democracy via gradual dismantling:
Postâ€“Cold War populists such as ChÃ¡vez, Putin, and Erdogan took a slow and steady approach to dismantling democracy. These leaders first come to power through democratic elections and subsequently harness widespread discontent to gradually undermine institutional constraints on their rule, marginalize the opposition, and erode civil society. The playbook is consistent and straightforward: deliberately install loyalists in key positions of power (particularly in the judiciary and security services) and neutralize the media by buying it, legislating against it, and enforcing censorship. This strategy makes it hard to discern when the break with democracy actually occurs, and its insidiousness poses one of the most significant threats to democracy in the twenty-first century.
While it is dubious to link socialists like Chavez with anti-Leftists like Putin and possibly Erdogan, the methods used in the twenty-first century respond to the new reality of democracy: it is enforced by a herd of people who are orchestrated by media and well-funded NGOs, so the only way to avoid being taken over by those groups is to dismantle democracy from the ground up.
A top-down approach would be to seize power, replace democratic decision-making, and then sort out the little details. The new method involves attacking the details first, removing the infrastructure that democracy uses to keep a mental stranglehold on the population and constantly push them Leftward. Without that structure, democracy does not so much fall as stand revealed as already fallen.
One thing we should keep in mind is that democracy was always an illusion. It was kept afloat by the wealth, power and inventions of the past, plus a rising tide of industrialization. As our technology seems to have mostly peaked, and government has expanded to absorb the extra income from industry, our societies are mostly paralyzed, and the bad decisions made by democracy can finally really hurt us.
Any political system takes years to manifest its disadvantages, and rises on what was before it, so it is a gradual process of its adoption followed by an even slower process as consequences distinguish themselves from longstanding problems. With democracy, it has become clear that the herd is not to be trusted, and has made an utter mess of things.
You will find that all the “good thinker” citizens are in total denial of this. For them, things have never been better, or at least this is what they insist, because the psychological alternative is to accept that their lives are being wasted on a dead-end system. They are financially, socially and most importantly psychologically vested in the system.
At the same time, rising generations and drop-outs from older generations like Generation X — most of whom seem to be languishing in slacker jobs in smaller cities — are not vested in the system and see their only chance of future happiness in its replacement. Since they realize that most people, when given the vote, will vote for something like this system, they are turning on democracy.
Perhaps this is why more than populist leaders, it is this cutting edge of popular cultural revolt that is turning against democracy and toward a “fash wave” of pre-modern thought and ideals:
People everywhere are down on democracy. Especially young people. In fact, so rampant is democratic indifference and disengagement among millennials that a shocking share of them are open to trying something newâ€”like, say, government by military coup.
Thatâ€™s according to research by Yascha Mounk, a Harvard University researcher, and Roberto Stefan Foa, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne. The remit of their study, which the Journal of Democracy will publish in January, analyzes historical data on attitudes toward government that spans various generations in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They find that, across the board, citizens of stable liberal democracies have grown jaded about their government, say Mounk and Foaâ€”and worse.
â€œ[T]hey have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy,â€ they write in a previous article on their research (pdf) published in Jul. 2016, â€œand more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives.
People recognize that systems do not work because systems are self-serving.
All creatures, genes, ideas and groups act in self-interest. This varies with their degree of awareness, which since we are no longer under the thrall of egalitarianism we can admit varies widely between individuals and groups. In most cases, their awareness is short term, which means they act for themselves at the expense of civilization, principles and the future.
This is what a prole revolt does: it equalizes short-term thinking with long-term thinking, and so short-term thinking wins out every time. This is why democracy drifts leftward and self-destructs after a handful of centuries. Much as Athens and Rome self-destructed through democracy, the postwar West — the ruins of the Old West — is currently self-destructing, and people want off that path.
As the saying goes, “The West is dead; long live the West!” We are remnants of a once-great people scattered among the detritus of its fall, and we wish to rise to power, throw out the walking dead and restore what once made us great, which is our genetic stock and our principle of social order and future orientation.
Part of the cultural wave that includes the Alt Right, the anti-democratic sentiment sweeping the West consists of a single revelation: we cannot fix ourselves so long as we rely on mass opinion systems like democracy and consumerism. A few do know better than the rest, and if left up to their own devices, people will act in self-interest at the expense of our future.
Even more, people are seeing that democracy has brought misery. It shapes people into wimpy nebbishes and inculcates us in learned helplessness. It spreads existential despair as it becomes obvious that nothing will change if left up to the herd. It distills everything — art, architecture, culture — down to a lowest common denominator, which like all things herd-chosen is ugly.
The solution is not to swing toward dictatorship and purge the weak. It is to restore the order that has always produced golden ages, which is a society based on doing what the best see as right, instead of what is already popular or profitable. When we orient ourselves toward the future, we see the value of the inconvenient, and sidestep decay by aspiring to greatness.