How liberal democracy can die, in our lifetimes: a summary in 30 pictures and charts

The Trump Putin meeting would seem to be a good occasion to review the existential threat liberal democracy finds itself under in multiple countries today. I have the impression that the way this narrative has taken shape since 2016 has taken most of us by surprise. Certainly it has in my own case, and all in my immediate circle of peers. Much of our mainstream media does a terrible job of warning about the threat. It is only when one collates developments from a wide range of sources that the full extent of the multi-faceted threat, and the way the component parts amplllfy each other, become clear.

This slideshow is my best effort at a concise summary of relevant extracts from the Future Today chronology.

Image: BBC


  1. The possibility that liberal democracy is an exception in the history of world governments
    rather than the end of history or the point towards which governments tend, has been pointed out by John Gray…not that this is much compensation, but we certainly need to see democracy as a tender plant needing attention and vigilance.

  2. ‘the existential threat liberal democracy finds itself under in multiple countries today’?

    The threat is self-created. It is failing because it is corrupt and unresponsive to most people’s desires and needs.

    1. I think you are quite right Godfree?.
      However, the next question is, it seems to me, do we want to swap a broken democracy for a broken dictatorship, or do we want to do the more difficult – repair the broken democracy?
      I have been thinking about this & have come to the conclusion that what has happened, is that the process is broken, not the intention of the process.
      The intention of democracy is basically equity & equality. So that’s where we need to start.
      What say you?

  3. Excellent work Jeremy – I wish campaigning NGOs would start making these sorts of connections – this is the second of the shows I ve seen and I find them very helpful in my work, and confirming critical synergies

  4. Hi Jeremy

    This is a really interesting yet worrying set of slides. Given the number and breadth of communications you must make make, suggesting this is perhaps the most important really did stop me in my tracks and make me ponder and will encourage me to ponder significantly more. Have already shared the content.
    As of the comment above, have just finished the Hariri book and see the dots.

  5. Way too sensationalised from the western perspective, I think you need to be more open-minded when analysing issues such as Civil War and refugee crisis in Syria. If you cannot see the signs how the US promotes its policy of imperialism and so-called “democracy”, please read the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” written by John Perkins.

    As for the western financial institutions bankrolling their interests, I can argue that we currently live in the age of corporatocracy, where those who are pulling the strings use methods of higher “conceptual power” on top of state power and serve an infinite term.

    Those methods are:
    – History (written by the victors)
    – Ideology (to create a necessary evil)
    – Money (to keep nation in debt)
    – Genetical weapon (no nukes are needed, once the alcohol and other drugs are released into society)
    – Militia (the tool of the last resort, once all of the 4 above fail)

    Please feel free to challenge

  6. Plato thought democracy was one step away from tyranny, because in a democracy a tyrant can manipulate the people away from reason, so that they think they are voting for their interests, whereas they’re actually just allowing the tyrant to take control. Which is exactly what happened with Trump and to an extent with Brexit. Democracy can only work when the people are informed and engaged, and vigilant against the lies used to manipulate them. But for most people that’s just too much effort. They prefer the easy answers and the punchy soundbites to reasoned, informed, respectful debate.
    Plato’s solution was a class of specially trained “Philosopher Kings” who could not marry or own property, and who spent their whole lives in philosophical training and contemplation, thereby able to rule dispassionately and fairly without bias or favour. An unlikely scenario, but perhaps AI could one day perform this function?

  7. Some time ago I had a visit to a so called “Operations Centre” in a major UK city. The staff proudly presented how this public-private partnership supervises the city with sensors and cameras. This was an international group with participiants (scientist, business, administration) from all over the world, mostly from countries with a high democratic rating in your list.

    Most of the group had been impressed by the Star-Trek-Like controll room. Nearly no one questioned the presented statistical “evidences” for sucess. Nearly no one saw a danger in rolling out such systems and how they might further advance in the future.

    I must say, I have a Background from Germany, with strong memories and family stories about surveilance systems in the past. But at that moment I realised that not everone has this kind off sensitivy for possible dangers on a democratic system.

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