Recent studies have shown that there is a “democratic recession,” as one paper called it. Another study moaned, “To the surprise of many in the West, the fall of the USSR in 1991 did not lead to the adoption of liberal democratic government around the world … In fact, authoritarianism has made a comeback, and liberal democracy has been on the retreat for at least the last 15 years.” Speaking of 15 years, Chinese president Xi Jinping has secured a third five-year term, shunning his party’s tradition to step down after two terms. Additionally, President Jinping has “promoted allies who support his vision of tighter control over society.” Since we did not learn how to use freedom, we will have to retake the class, and perhaps the entire school year.
Every nation has its own character, and not all nations can handle liberal democracy. If you take China, for example, I do not believe that democracy is the right regime for it. With over 1.4 billion people, liberal democracy does not seem like a working arrangement for China.
Also, the mentality of the people leans toward being rank-and-file workers. This by no means implies that Chinese should be mistreated or exploited in any way, absolutely not, but only that they feel more comfortable than others under restrictive conditions. This is why the Chinese government has succeeded in imposing longer and tighter Covid lockdowns when others did not.
The problem, therefore, is not the retreat of democracy, but the resurgence of despotism. Several major powers are currently run by tyrants, and those that are considered democratic are less so today than they were a decade or two ago. It appears that humanity has become disillusioned with democracy, or that humanity is failing to hang on to it.
A nation whose regime allows freedom should use it for one and only purpose. When it fails to do so, freedom is taken away and pressure increases in order to impose that same purpose. The purpose of human society is not for every person to do whatever he or she wants. That would not be a society but anarchy. The purpose of humanity is to unite until we all care for one another more than we care for ourselves, until we are all “as one man with one heart.”
Sadly, nothing seems more repulsive to the ego than to care for strangers more than for myself. Nevertheless, the world is doggedly moving toward more connection and more mutual dependence. Because we resent connecting with others, the increasing, yet undesirable connectedness feels like a punishment, and subsequently, conflicts ensue.
The trend of shattering relations because closeness feels claustrophobic affects every aspect of our lives. It is dissolving the family unit, the resilience of our communities, the tolerance of our leaders, and the relationships among countries.
Where will this end? This depends on our decision. Not on the decision of this or that person, but on the will of humanity. We can choose to embrace connectedness and enjoy its benefits, or try to reject it, fail, and find ourselves embroiled in World War III. There is no third way.
By learning that we are headed toward increased connectedness and mutual dependence because this is the unalterable direction of evolution, we will start looking for the benefits in this compulsory situation. When we do so, we will find that there are countless pros to it, and literally no cons. We will find that our livelihood is secured, and our personal expression encouraged when it contributes to the common good. We will not need policing or the military, and there will be no depression because people will care for one another. As a result, people’s health and longevity will increase, and they will feel happy and content.
This description may seem utopic, but every journey begins with the first step, and we have yet to take it. When we begin, we will discover that the road to our new state of being is much more pleasant than the road we are on today, which leads to guaranteed dystopia.