The Return of Tyranny
On July 4th of 1776 a new republic was founded, at the time it was the sole nation in which democracy, a political model that has become near ubiquitous of late, was the ruling ideology. The new republic marked the onset of a new age in which all could be equal, and in which the rule of tyrants would be prevented. In what Francis Fukuyama termed the end of history, It was to be an age of liberty and with the widespread adoption of democracy across the world in the near 250 years following the establishment of the United States it appeared, that this ideal could be at last realized. But in recent years it has seemed that the world is no longer moving towards the “End of History” as regimes around the world seem to slide ever further back towards authoritarianism. The new tyranny however is not one of monarchs and dictators decrying democracy and taking control as the founding fathers might have envisioned. Rather the new tyranny is one in which the citizenry willingly give up their own liberty and gives way to tyranny. In our current reality the people of the world democracies are not resisting tyranny, but joyfully paving its way to power.
The return of tyranny can be seen in the fear based populist movements that seem to hold sway across the world. From the politically motivated purges of Erdogan, to the the hunting of journalists by Putin this movement away from democracy can be seen. Even in the United States, which is in many ways the birthplace of modern democracy, a slide towards tyranny can be seen with the politics of fear that president Trump has co opted in order to burn the institutions which defend democracy and institute in its place an elected dictatorship ruled through a combination of patronage and nepotism.
This was seen recently during his meeting with the G20 powers, where his daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly sat in the place of the president and sat with world leaders. This is by definition nepotism, Ivanka lacks the qualifications, elected position and experience to engage with leaders at such an event as the G20 summit. Unless the leaders were discussing trends in fashion or the art of giving vague answers to questions it is unreasonable to believe that she is an ideal candidate to represent the United States in the way that she did at the G20 summit. So what reason did Ivanka posses which would justify her presence at the summit. She had one key qualification, the fact that she was the daughter of the president, this fact was apparently enough to justify the attendance of a completely unqualified individual at the G20 summit. What’s more the Trump administration did not even see reason to deny this happening or hide it anyway because they knew that the reaction of the American public to this clear display of nepotism would fail to evoke much controversy.
It is this failure that is most astounding. I can not pretend to be surprised at this point with the antics of Mr.Trump. His failures to comply with the ideals which America was founded on is no longer a surprise. The betrayal of American values that is represented by the silence of the public in response to these incidences of nepotism however is stunning. This is because one of the pillars of democracy is the understanding that even if it’s leaders fail to uphold democratic values that the democracies citizens would stand up in resistance to tyranny. When this will is not present the apathy of the public will almost certainly allow for a resurgence of tyranny.