Will we lead the charge for freedom, or join the crowd lurching towards tyranny?

Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond says democracy around the world is in recession. In in an essay titled “Facing Up to the Democratic Recession,” he argues that democracy plateaued in 2006 and has been eroding ever since.

He uses Turkey as an example. The situation sounds eerily like what we’re starting to see in our country:

…the A.K.P. [the Turkish Justice and Development Party] has steadily extended “partisan control over the judiciary and the bureaucracy, arresting journalists and intimidating dissenters in the press and academia, threatening businesses with retaliation if they fund opposition parties, and using arrests and prosecutions in cases connected to alleged coup plots to jail and remove from public life an implausibly large number of accused plotters. This has coincided with a stunning and increasingly audacious concentration of personal power by [the President].”

A watchdog group called Freedom House found that many more countries declined in freedom than improved in the same years. Why is this happening?

Diamond says today’s autocrats are very adept at using technology to squelch freedom – and are coming up with new strategies faster than lovers of freedom. They’re not feeling as much pressure to keep up democratic appearances anymore.

The U.S. has been setting a horrible example lately, plagued by political gridlock and apparently lacking in confidence in its own values. When our leaders are apologetic for who we are as a nation, who will want to follow? “Authoritarian state media gleefully publicize these travails of American democracy in order to discredit democracy in general and immunize authoritarian rule against U.S. pressure,” Diamond warns.

The article concludes with a challenge:

Democracy, as Churchill noted, is still the worst form of government — except for all the others. And it still fires the imagination of people like no other system. But that will only stay true if the big democracies maintain a model worth following.

Will we let this trend continue in our country? Or can we turn back the tide – not only for us, but for many countries throughout the world that once looked to us as an example? We cannot allow the beacon of freedom to go out on our watch.

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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