A difficult truth to accept: Liberal democracy is not favored around the world

Anonymous
Apologies for the long musings here but it's something I've been thinking about.

I traveled a lot throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia in my early 20s and in my naive open mind I accepted that Western-style liberal democracy simply wasn't the be-all end-all, I was such a cultural relativist that one could even call me a dictator-apologist, "tankie", or conspiracy theorist a la The Grayzone if anyone is familiar with that podcast.

Then upon becoming a more educated, professional adult, I appreciated the freedom and opportunities that came with the US and the West. I definitely consider myself a political liberal and an economic social-democrat. I despise Trump and his authoritarian tendencies and Putin, Orban, Edrogan, and the like.

Here's the thing, though. Revisiting in my mind the places that I've visited and the people I've known that coastal urban liberals of the US take so much for granted that the rest of the world agrees with us. It's not just conservatives, right wingers, and Trump supporters in the US. It's everywhere else. We assume that everyone should agree that Ukraine are the good guys and Russia are the bad guys, that Israel are the good guys and Palestine are the bad guys, that everyone favors capitalism (whether American-style with less regulations or Northern European-style with more regulations), social welfare, social freedoms and gender equality and LGBTQ rights and separation of church and state. The fact is that day to day, people are looking out for themselves and their families and this is human nature, and that many populations around the world believe that regimes that we consider authoritarian deliver better on bread-and-butter issues. And that the church/mosque/whatever is essential to maintain a moral fabric of society. There are certain ways in which the rural conservatives in Alabama and West Virginia have more in common with many other parts in the world than people in Bethesda, Maryland.

If you look at Alexander Dugin and Eurasianism, I have read his texts many times, and have often thought it is the most abhorrent philosophy in the world, akin to Nazism. I still abhor Duginism, but I realize how it makes sense from a non-Western, socially conservative perspective.
There's a reason why BRICS exist. There's a reason why China is ascendant and the Belt and Road Initiative is working in other parts of Asia - they don't care about China's authoriarian policies or lack of freedom of speech or human rights violations reported... China is building things, America is bombing things - that's what they see. Likewise, Russia has done outreach in Africa and Latin America over thigns like cybersecurity and infrastructure policy. Even countries in Europe, many people are burned out over supporting Ukraine and feel that the EU hasn't done much of them, and don't feel like continuing to feel the pain over oil and gas sanctions against Russia.

You look at other cosmopolitan places in the world and assume that the US is so much better because of our freedoms, but places like Dubai (terribly misogynist!) and Singapore (they execute people who do drugs!) still attract people. Russia and China are not universal villains. The Arab world's wealth and energy sector trump their policies on women and LGBTQ rights. The world is just not woke. The world is multipolar, and we don't have to like it. The more the US fights against multipolarity, the more people will hate us.

Americans assume that the arc of history always bends towards justice, and more social freedoms, but this is simply not true. Culture needs to be left alone to evolve, not imposed by war or corporations.
Anonymous
I think liberal democracies are favored around the world but malevolent people with enough money and power have pushed false or misleading narratives in a way that support the rest of your narrative.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:I think liberal democracies are favored around the world but malevolent people with enough money and power have pushed false or misleading narratives in a way that support the rest of your narrative.



This! And the Israeli-Palestine conflict is complex and nuanced. Palestinians are not bad, Hamas is. Israel is not bad; it’s trying to survive in a region that wants it destroyed. There are numerous groups that hate each other and call that land home based on a long history of conflict/power changes.

Russia is bad however that is true. But they demographics don’t support being anything but a regional player in the coming future. Invading Ukraine is their last gasp.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:
Anonymous wrote:I think liberal democracies are favored around the world but malevolent people with enough money and power have pushed false or misleading narratives in a way that support the rest of your narrative.



This! And the Israeli-Palestine conflict is complex and nuanced. Palestinians are not bad, Hamas is. Israel is not bad; it’s trying to survive in a region that wants it destroyed. There are numerous groups that hate each other and call that land home based on a long history of conflict/power changes.

Russia is bad however that is true. But they demographics don’t support being anything but a regional player in the coming future. Invading Ukraine is their last gasp.

Every conflict is complex and nuanced. Unless America or one of its treaty allies is directly attacked I really don’t think Americans have the right of declaring sides in someone else’s war. The American people’s thinking is very black and white and simplistic and Americans think they need to have an opinion on everything; every crisis anywhere is some existential threat to democracy. American foreign policy is rife with hypocrisy and contradiction. Around the world people see this and respond accordingly.
Anonymous
There is a reason why people from the around the globe are desperate to immigrate to western liberal democracies. Of course Dubai and Singapore attract immigrants as well but to a different extent.

I’m also not sure I buy your claim that most people in the US think that people around the globe in places like China and the Middle East think liberal democracy is the way to go. It sounds like you are universalizing your own erroneous assumptions.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:Apologies for the long musings here but it's something I've been thinking about.

I traveled a lot throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia in my early 20s and in my naive open mind I accepted that Western-style liberal democracy simply wasn't the be-all end-all, I was such a cultural relativist that one could even call me a dictator-apologist, "tankie", or conspiracy theorist a la The Grayzone if anyone is familiar with that podcast.

Then upon becoming a more educated, professional adult, I appreciated the freedom and opportunities that came with the US and the West. I definitely consider myself a political liberal and an economic social-democrat. I despise Trump and his authoritarian tendencies and Putin, Orban, Edrogan, and the like.

Here's the thing, though. Revisiting in my mind the places that I've visited and the people I've known that coastal urban liberals of the US take so much for granted that the rest of the world agrees with us. It's not just conservatives, right wingers, and Trump supporters in the US. It's everywhere else. We assume that everyone should agree that Ukraine are the good guys and Russia are the bad guys, that Israel are the good guys and Palestine are the bad guys, that everyone favors capitalism (whether American-style with less regulations or Northern European-style with more regulations), social welfare, social freedoms and gender equality and LGBTQ rights and separation of church and state. The fact is that day to day, people are looking out for themselves and their families and this is human nature, and that many populations around the world believe that regimes that we consider authoritarian deliver better on bread-and-butter issues. And that the church/mosque/whatever is essential to maintain a moral fabric of society. There are certain ways in which the rural conservatives in Alabama and West Virginia have more in common with many other parts in the world than people in Bethesda, Maryland.

If you look at Alexander Dugin and Eurasianism, I have read his texts many times, and have often thought it is the most abhorrent philosophy in the world, akin to Nazism. I still abhor Duginism, but I realize how it makes sense from a non-Western, socially conservative perspective.
There's a reason why BRICS exist. There's a reason why China is ascendant and the Belt and Road Initiative is working in other parts of Asia - they don't care about China's authoriarian policies or lack of freedom of speech or human rights violations reported... China is building things, America is bombing things - that's what they see. Likewise, Russia has done outreach in Africa and Latin America over thigns like cybersecurity and infrastructure policy. Even countries in Europe, many people are burned out over supporting Ukraine and feel that the EU hasn't done much of them, and don't feel like continuing to feel the pain over oil and gas sanctions against Russia.

You look at other cosmopolitan places in the world and assume that the US is so much better because of our freedoms, but places like Dubai (terribly misogynist!) and Singapore (they execute people who do drugs!) still attract people. Russia and China are not universal villains. The Arab world's wealth and energy sector trump their policies on women and LGBTQ rights. The world is just not woke. The world is multipolar, and we don't have to like it. The more the US fights against multipolarity, the more people will hate us.

Americans assume that the arc of history always bends towards justice, and more social freedoms, but this is simply not true. Culture needs to be left alone to evolve, not imposed by war or corporations.


People are fundamentally practical all over the world, and if liberal democracy was delivering the goods it wouldn't really matter. However its become quite apparent that liberal democracy does not deliver the goods anymore, or at best is only delivering it to a small portion of the population. This is happening all over the world from city councils to multi-national organizations.

Add to the fact that everyone has a camera and the ability to spread information these days, and the media's ability to lockdown information becomes untenable. That lockdown was necessary to prop up the illusions of liberal democracy, and paper over the hypocrisies.

The most jarring part is that people in liberal democracies are realizing just how not free they are. The things you used to be able to say/do which now will lead to you being fired, de-banked, subject to lawfare, and other forms of harassment grows daily. The fact that the government isn't actively participating in this suppression, merely funding and encouraging it, is becoming a thinner and thinner gruel. People expect their government, and police, to actively protect them from hostile third parties.

Compared to this, a "man on a horse, who is not afraid" suddenly looks pretty darn appealing.
Anonymous

The world hates freedom because when it’s not diluted by collectivist progressives it embarrasses the world with its wealth, power and happiness. The world especially hates gun rights because people are bad..leaders are people and they want to kill/destroy those that oppose them but they don’t want to get shot.
Anonymous
Of course liberal democracies don't work. There isn't enough money in the world for them. They want everything for free, an insist on others paying for it. When that doesn't work, they turn to slavery and coercion to get it.

Look at us. Electric Vehicles need minerals to be menufactured so we coerce the Congo for them and have China do the dirty work for us. Same with Nike, solar panels, Apple products, etc.

They're super progressive and super evil.
Anonymous
I think the Chinese are genuinely happy with their system. But the women in the large number of truly patriarchiacal systems like Russia and most of the middle east? if you think those peoples are happy, it is because you are only talking to men, or to women when men are present. And even the Chinese I think like the system imagined by Deng through Hu, and will not like the one imagined by Xi at all if Xi managed to completely bring it about)
Anonymous
Correct because people want economic stability, law and order, and immigration policies that are not based on open borders.

At present the world’s liberal democracies offer non of the things.

That is why you are seeing what the left view as autocratic candidates. But those being elected in Argentina, the Netherlands and elsewhere are being elected to restore a sense of normalcy, or a swinging back of the pendulum away from failed liberal policies.
Anonymous
Op is spot on

Anonymous
These are good observations and you may be right that people would rather have a government that delivers stability, even at the cost of lost freedoms. Other PPs have brought up good points also, especially the one that maybe liberal democracies require broad prosperity to function, which can only be attained by exploiting less prosperous nations.

However, you're mixing up cultural relativism with form of government. We should never accept misogyny to the level that rape victims are forced to marry their rapists, no matter the form of government they live under
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:I think liberal democracies are favored around the world but malevolent people with enough money and power have pushed false or misleading narratives in a way that support the rest of your narrative.

This is the truth. People generally want rights. Some people with a lot of power and money really don’t want people to have rights.

I think most people, about 80% of people, would prefer to live in a liberal democracy. After watching the GOP go full Nazi, we now know that a small but deranged and very stubborn minority want authoritarianism.
Anonymous
People are bad. Strict US constitutional government is the most moral. Individual and property rights charge.. government subservient… all rights backed up by individual firepower. Competing interests cancelling each other out but frustration vented with unbridled free speech.

All other governments are primitive and inferior.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:These are good observations and you may be right that people would rather have a government that delivers stability, even at the cost of lost freedoms. Other PPs have brought up good points also, especially the one that maybe liberal democracies require broad prosperity to function, which can only be attained by exploiting less prosperous nations.

However, you're mixing up cultural relativism with form of government. We should never accept misogyny to the level that rape victims are forced to marry their rapists, no matter the form of government they live under


We don't live under such a system, so we don't have to "accept" it. But we also aren't morally required to spend our treasure and blood to get rid of it.
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