Whether from the left or from the right, populism is corrosive to the democratic institutionality essential to live and progress in peace and freedom. Worse if it is the vehicle to impose disguised, failed models that for hegemonic, power concentrators, allergic to pluralism, are undemocratic even if they simulate the opposite.
Since the end of the nineties, the weed has assembled the Latin American democratic garden that has cost us so much to sow and cultivate. But the phenomenon is not exclusive to us.
"Evil of many, consolation of fools", goes the old saying, so I do not seek to console us. Rather, I look to a very threatening trend spreading. Anne Applebaum has just summarized the issue for The Atlantic. The XNUMXth century was "the history of slow, uneven progress towards the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies: communism, fascism, virulent nationalism", while the XNUMXst is, "until now, the reverse history." Samples? Venezuela, Belarus, Russia, China and Turkey.
His is also a suggestive book about the "seductive lure of authoritarianism", contraband that accelerates "the twilight of democracy." For her “unlike Marxism, the illiberal one-party state is not a philosophy. It is a mechanism to maintain power and it works happily alongside many ideologies ”.
In many advanced democracies there is no longer a common debate, much less a common narrative. People, says the American scholar of societies under communism, "have always had different opinions, now they have different facts."
Distrust of institutions, leaders, experts or "normal" politics. Neutrality is not credible in that climate where anger is habit and divisive, normal. In its diversity, the democratic debate can be noisy and yet, following its rules, produce consensus. The tense controversy in our time. "Instead, it inspires in some people a desire to forcibly silence others." Thus, a nihilism is legitimized, even in industrial and post-industrial societies, with an entrenched civil culture and sophistication in broad sectors.
Democracy is not a mere mechanism to choose leaders, it is a free way of life with distributed power that points towards a purpose, the common good and as such, requires institutions that organize it and, in addition to making it possible, promote it. And before, ahead, of values that guide it.