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Thread: Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists

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    Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists

    Not surprised. The political center consists largely of the politically disinterested and people without convictions who can't be bothered with any issue beyond those which may serve their own personal interests direcly or to virtue signal. A great many of them just hate having to devote 15-30 minutes of their own time to elections every four years too and when they vote they vote for the establishment's own radical agendas. I can imagine the average liberal/social/christian democrat being just fine with there being "centrist" dictator for life.

    The warning signs are flashing red: Democracy is under threat. Across Europe and North America, candidates are more authoritarian, party systems are more volatile, and citizens are more hostile to the norms and institutions of liberal democracy.

    These trends have prompted a major debate between those who view political discontent as economic, cultural or generational in origin. But all of these explanations share one basic assumption: The threat is coming from the political extremes.

    On the right, ethno-nationalists and libertarians are accused of supporting fascist politics; on the left, campus radicals and the so-called antifa movement are accused of betraying liberal principles. Across the board, the assumption is that radical views go hand in hand with support for authoritarianism, while moderation suggests a more committed approach to the democratic process.

    Is it true?

    Maybe not. My research suggests that across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.

    I examined the data from the most recent World Values Survey (2010 to 2014) and European Values Survey (2008), two of the most comprehensive studies of public opinion carried out in over 100 countries. The survey asks respondents to place themselves on a spectrum from far left to center to far right. I then plotted the proportion of each group’s support for key democratic institutions.

    Respondents who put themselves at the center of the political spectrum are the least supportive of democracy, according to several survey measures. These include views of democracy as the “best political system,” and a more general rating of democratic politics. In both, those in the center have the most critical views of democracy.

    Some of the most striking data reflect respondents’ views of elections. Support for “free and fair” elections drops at the center for every single country in the sample. The size of the centrist gap is striking. In the case of the United States, fewer than half of people in the political center view elections as essential.

    Of course, the concept of “support for democracy” is somewhat abstract, and respondents may interpret the question in different ways. What about support for civil rights, so central to the maintenance of the liberal democratic order? In almost every case, support for civil rights wanes in the center. In the United States, only 25 percent of centrists agree that civil rights are an essential feature of democracy.

    One of the strongest warning signs for democracy has been the rise of populist leaders with authoritarian tendencies. But while these leaders have become more popular, it is unclear whether citizens explicitly support more authoritarian styles of government. I find, however, evidence of substantial support for a “strong leader” who ignores his country’s legislature, particularly among centrists. In the United States, centrists’ support for a strongman-type leader far surpasses that of the right and the left.

    What Does It Mean?

    Across Europe and North America, support for democracy is in decline. To explain this trend, conventional wisdom points to the political extremes. Both the far left and the far right are, according to this view, willing to ride roughshod over democratic institutions to achieve radical change. Moderates, by contrast, are assumed to defend liberal democracy, its principles and institutions.

    The numbers indicate that this isn’t the case. As Western democracies descend into dysfunction, no group is immune to the allure of authoritarianism — least of all centrists, who seem to prefer strong and efficient government over messy democratic politics.

    Strongmen in the developing world have historically found support in the center: From Brazil and Argentina to Singapore and Indonesia, middle-class moderates have encouraged authoritarian transitions to bring stability and deliver growth. Could the same thing happen in mature democracies like Britain, France and the United States?
    Source: NYT
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    I've never been that involved with politics, but I consider myself to be a Centrist with increasingly right-wing views on social issues in particular.

    I would much prefer living under the strict law and order policies enforced by far-right authoritarianism than with left-wing anarchy any day.

    Did a bit of research on this subject. And I think this Wiki article best describes my political views at this point in time.

    "Journalist and political commentator E. J. Dionne wrote in his book Why Americans Hate Politics, published on the eve of the 1992 presidential election, that he believes American voters are looking for a "New Political Center" that intermixes "liberal instincts" and "conservative values". He labelled people in this centre position as "tolerant traditionalists". He described them as believers in conventional social morals that ensure family stability, as tolerant within reason to those who challenge those morals and as pragmatically supportive of government intervention in spheres such as education, child care and health care, as long as budgets are balanced.[47]"
    Not all in life is at it appears to be.

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    I was under the impression that the Centrists, having been dominated by Catholicism for centuries, were the most inclined towards preserving the status quo.

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