Democracy besieged

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Outwardly, anti-populists pose as a bulwark against the supposed threat of fascism, xenophobia and the politics of hate. Unsurprisingly, then, the anti-populist script frequently draws facile comparisons between Nazi Germany and 21st-century populism. But, in pursuing such a wilfully misguided comparison with the politics of 1930s Europe, anti-populists often indict democracy itself, by claiming that it was democracy that facilitated Hitler's rise. Yet anyone with a knowledge of history knows that the Nazis had to destroy democracy physically - killing and arresting thousands of their opponents - before they staged the coup that actually brought Hitler to power. It was not through democracy that the Nazis came to rule Germany; it was through the violent destruction of democratic practices such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, not to mention the removal of the vote from those they detained and arrested. [...]

Attacks on democracy are now coming from all sides, be they environmentalists, anti-populists or public-health zealots. Democracy really is under siege. This is why it is so important to stand up for democracy. Not as a means, or a procedure, but as a good in and of itself, an expression of the potential creative powers of people harnessed to the full. It is essential to regard democracy as a way of life – indeed, as the only way of life that allows people to exercise their freedom and to find their voice. This demands courage, trust in one another and, above all, a willingness to take responsibility for our future.

source: Article 'Democracy besieged' by Frank Furedi;; spiked; 30 October 2020