Friday, June 08, 2018

How democracies die

Waiting an hour at the bank today, it was interesting to see that they now provide complete working spaces with power ports and highly visible directions to the closest defibrillator (sic!) in silent recognition of what late-capitalist management culture has done to their waiting times.

Back home, I pour up a glass of Pinot Grigio from the village Valgatara di Marano as I dig into Steven Levitsky's and Daniel Ziblatt's How Democracies Die which could hardly be more timely. Earlier today, the newspaper headlines announced that Jimmie Åkesson (the leader of the xenophobic Sverigedemokraterna) may become Sweden’s next prime minister. While that remains an unlikely outcome of the autumn election, the very thought should send shivers down the spine of anyone who still believes in the open society.

In Italy, the Five Star Movement combines degrowth thinking with ethno-nationalism in what may become a winning formula for a continent that has turned inwards and afraid. Once in power, these forces will further erode our democratic norms and amplify the very insecurities on which their worldview is built. If only there was a Michael Burnham or even a John McCain who would stand up and say no to fear...

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