icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Alarmist report warns of world sliding from shining liberalism into increasing autocracy (and not just because of Putin!)

Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

Alarmist report warns of world sliding from shining liberalism into increasing autocracy (and not just because of Putin!)
More than half the world is autocratic now, claims an alarming new report about the state of liberal democracy, touting a ‘state of the art’ methodology. A closer look suggests it’s pushing a political narrative instead.

Announced Friday afternoon, and nearly lost in the deluge of news about the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the report by the V-Dem institute claims that 92 countries – accounting for 54 percent of the world’s population – now qualify as “autocracies.”

How did the Gothenburg, Sweden-based institute come to this shocking conclusion? They say it’s by using data to calculate the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI), which “combines measures of the quality of elections, suffrage, freedom of expression and the media, freedom of association and civil society, checks on the executive, and the rule of law.”

Based on these standards, the US – “former vanguard of liberal democracy – has lost its way,” while Hungary has become the “EU’s first ever authoritarian regime member state.” Meanwhile, Libya has “substantially advanced” on the LDI since 2009. That’s according to the map on page 10 of the 40-page media file released Friday.

Except Libya was plunged into chaos by NATO’s 2011 regime-change intervention that brought about chaos, civil war, warlords and open-air slave markets. Technically it’s no longer ruled by an autocrat, but how is that democracy, for Heaven’s sake?

Also on rt.com With their statehood destroyed by NATO, Libya’s warring sides should come to terms, not fight each other – Lavrov

That’s not the first questionable assessment by the Swedish institute. One might quibble with its characterization of last year’s mass protests in Hong Kong as “pro-democracy,” but applying the same label to Bolivia?

As a reminder, the riots that broke out in La Paz last November were based on opposition claims of electoral fraud by the Organization of American States (OAS) – which were later shown to be entirely false. By that point, however, it was too late: the government had been overthrown and the elected president exiled, replaced by unelected US-backed opposition, color-revolution style.

Also on rt.com Events in Bolivia follow script of ‘color revolution’ – the antithesis of democracy

All of this confirms the impression one might get from the very first line of the report, which (mis)quotes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s famous line about liberalism becoming “obsolete.” Putin was speaking about liberal dogma in the West that was out of touch with the needs of the people – and therefore un-democratic. To the V-Dem institute, apparently, that dogma is what democracy is all about.

According to them, political liberalism is “founded upon Enlightenment principles of rights, reason and tolerance” which have led the world to “open societies based on merit and freedom.”

It must be a complete coincidence that one of their funders is George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. V-Dem claims their donations amount to one percent of their total, but would Soros ever give one red cent to anyone who disagrees with his agenda?

Also on rt.com George Soros’ $1 billion pledge to fight ‘nationalism’ proves he will continue his political battles from beyond the grave

The political and financial allegiance to Soros also explains the obsession with Hungary, where PM VIktor Orban cracked down on the famous Hungarian-born globalist’s network of NGOs, including the Central European University – whose relocation to Austria is cited by V-Dem as an appalling crackdown on academic freedom (p.20), along with “state controlled media” not even being allowed to report on Swedish climate alarmist activist Greta Thunberg (p.16).

When it comes to the US, V-Dem claims that the country slid towards autocracy by 15 percentage points on the LDI, between Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and 2019, three years into President Donald Trump’s first term (p.15). The report never really says why, though it makes noises about attacks on the press – long a complaint of the US mainstream media, who stand almost monolithic against Trump.

Yet the Swedish scientists do bring up “toxic polarization” as a phenomenon to watch, right on page 21:

Once political elites and their followers no longer believe that political opponents are legitimate and deserve equal respect, or are even acceptable as family and friends, they become less likely to adhere to democratic rules in the struggle for power.

Does this describe Trump and his supporters, or does it fit more his opponents among the political establishment, the mainstream media, the “deep state” and their “Resistance” footsoldiers? The US is indeed displaying these “authoritarian” tendencies, but they are not driven by the government – but by its critics, who justify their every move as defending “our democracy.”

Therein lies the absurdity of the V-Dem report, which takes a decision-making method and elevates it into a religion, then calls out “heretics” and unbelievers – proving Putin’s point.

Also on rt.com Liberalism is multifaceted & attractive, but ‘it’s eating itself,’ says Russian president

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts