Global Freedom Has Declined for 15 Straight Years

(p. A4) Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting freedom and democracy, reports that freedom across the globe has declined for 15 straight years, a trend that accelerated last year. “The long democratic recession is deepening,” Freedom House says.

. . .

Democracy is messy, but in an authoritarian system the problem is the lack of messiness. Cults of personality develop, opposing voices with potentially good ideas are squelched, healthy debates and innovative thoughts are blocked. In a new piece in Foreign Affairs magazine, China expert Jude Blanchette notes this risk for Mr. Xi in China: “Paeans to the greatness of ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ may strike outsiders as merely curious or even comical, but they have a genuinely deleterious effect on the quality of decision-making and information flows within the (Communist) party.”

At least China has done a good job of managing its economy. Elsewhere, authoritarian systems have produced a plundering of national resources, corruption and a general mismanagement of the economy.

For the full commentary, see:

Gerald F. Seib. “Autocrats Show Staying Power, for Now.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, July 13, 2021): A4.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 12, 2021, and has the title “Cuba’s Unrest Frames World’s Big Struggle: Dictators vs. Democracies.”)

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