Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Is The Internet Killing Democracy?

by Arthur Foxake, 10 April 2024

 What is happening to democracy in Europe? While we in England laugh at the contortions of the Scottish and Irish governments as they attempt to justify to an already alienated voter base their authoritarian policies, notably the 'hate speech' laws that are so loosely drafted anyone in either of those countries could fing him or herself in prison for saying anything about anything, we ourselves are watching a long established political party tear itself apart as it tries to appease noisy but numerically insignificant minorities by yielding to their 'woke demands while simultaneously attempting to convince ordinary voters that accepting unlimited numbers of unskilled, uneducated, unemployable illegal immigrants, tailoring economic and energy policies to the loonytoons ambitions of far - left ideologues and a person can change sex if they click their heels three times and wish.

Germany, until recently the economic powerhouse of the European Union is now 'The Sick Man Of Europe', overwhelmed with unskilled, uneducated, unemployable illegal immigrants, its manufacturing industry in a state of collapse and its political establishment in disarray to the extent that the ruling coalition of the left, loony left and centre right paries is seriously considering banning the most popular opposition party. Spain has a far left government led by the socialist party, which even in coalition with other left wing parties cannot command a majority in the national assembly and therefore cannot govern effectively.

Having held a general election last November in which Geert Wilders' Freedom Party became the largest bloc in the assembly and parties of the right gained a comfortable majority, the country still does not have a government as EU officials and members of the outgoing government do all they can to prevent a right of centre coalition forming.

In the political Grand Guignol of French politics and the Commedia del Arte of the Italian version chaos rules, in other words business as usual while in Poland, last of the large population European Union member states Europhile leader Donald Tusk is busy having political opponents arrested and jailed and criminalising criticism of himself and his government.

In Sweden a ruling coalition, led by the Moderates party is trying to push through a Left-leaning reform that some significant parts of the Left do not want, and over the stringent objections of many politicians in parties that are part of the government coalition, and also in blatant contempt of the majority opinion of Swedish voters. Confusion thus abounds: why would the Moderates spend all this energy on an issue that only promises to make their own voters feel dismayed?

Sweden today is governed by the Right, not the Left, and it is the centre - right Moderate party that is implicated in pushing this law through. The prime minister of Sweden — Ulf Kristersson — is thus leading the effort to lower the age at which one can change one’s legal gender from 18 to 16, even as a massive majority of his own voting base are against this change. To further inflame things, his parliamentary group is also opposed to it, although it is being whipped to vote in favour. And to top it all off, some of the strongest objections to the law are coming from the Left, where there are deep concerns about its promises to make it easier to access irreversible surgery.

Viewed in perspective it becomes obvious that this sort of political clown show fits into a wider, pan-European pattern. The ruling elites are totally out of touch, not just with the voters, but out of touch with reality, they are living in a different dimension. As a politician, it’s easy to think that your job is first and foremost to be seen doing something, almost regardless of whatever that “something” ends up being, but the general public are no so easily fooled.

 It really feels like the whole show is now grinding to a halt or is just about to collapse in a mess of its own contradictions.

I’m sure the politicians feel just as moribund as we do and can barely muster enough energy to lie to us all again.

Meanwhile a bunch of unelected old farts known as the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights,) who have form for judicial meddling in political matters, has told some old biddies in Switzerland that they can hold their government responsible for ‘not doing enough to combat climate change’ and sue for compensation (‘enough’ being just how much exactly?).

And if you think things are bad in Europe, take a good long look at America.

But what has got us into this mess? What is killing democracy in so many ways throughout the developed world? The Elephant in the room is The Internet and more specifically Social Media, along with the ability to surveil and censor us that these technologies give officials who have control freak tendencies.

It was commonly believed in the early days, when the cult of the amateur ruled in cyberspace, that universal access to the net might enhance democracy by giving ordinary punters access to information they would not normally see, but instead it appears to have become a source of contagion; with political ideas framed to support certain agendas being spread as if factual information (misinformation) that have weakened our defences to fake news and manipulation of the truth, with the consequences now becoming more clear.

However were we to focus on one cause it would be the growth of the regulatory / legal complex: the endless increase in the number of rules, regulators, lawyers and compliance officers supported by the entrenchment of ever more rights and ever more intrusive courts that the new media with its promise of free access to information and the freedom to publish our own thoughts, opinions and ideas has spawned. 

All this has raised process above substance and increased the number of people who can prevent or slow any action. Not only politicians have been disempowered and encouraged to focus instead on purely symbolic or identity politics. The paralysis is creeping into many organisations. During the early days of the Covid crisis, hospitals were amazed by how much they could achieve in days once they had suspended the usual rules and started to operate on common sense.

It has been argued that the great achievement of the French Revolution was that it enabled the destruction of the paralysing mishmash of privileges and laws that made France ungovernable and decisive reform impossible. It was replaced by the simplicity of the Code Napoleon and the decisiveness of his government.

So it is possible. Let us hope we can work out how to dismantle the administrative state without needing the accompaniment of such liberal use of the guillotine


[ Death of Democracy ] .. [ Europe unglues ] ... [ Europe immigration crisis ] ... [ farmers rebellion ] ... [ Internet dystopia ] ... [ free speech censored ]

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