By: Philosophy 24/7
Some countries like Hungary, Turkey, and Poland have greatly eroded their democratic institutions in recent years.
Others like the US, India, Israel, and South Africa, are following similar strategies.
Democracy’s success in the late 20th century set the stage for some of the problems it’s now facing. As the only game in town, those who are interested in eroding it have to come from within, often pitching themselves as the only ones who can save it. They’re attacking some of the institutions that keep democracy in check, such as the courts, the opposition party, and the free media.
A lot of the limitations on autocratic takeover are unwritten rules that can be taken advantage of to seize authority without actually breaking any laws. It’s very difficult to write laws for everything into a constitutional document, but the more a government relies on these unwritten rules to keep power in check, the more vulnerable they are.
Some things liberal democracies can do to weaken the risk of autocratic takeover:
- Preferential Voting (Ranked Voting) to empower the centrists and weaken the radicals of each party
- Revive the discourse on opposition rights and reduce any winner take all situations.
- Campaign finance reform.
- Empowering and entrenching the fourth branch institutions, things like anti corruption bodies, electoral commissions. Non partisan offices that seek to protect democracy.