‘Freedom’, Right-Wing Extremism, and the Rising Tide of Authoritarianism: The battle for Democracy’s most important Ideal

Buy Diazepam 10Mg Divisiveness, polarization and political extremism poses a threat to democratic society, tearing at the social fabric of peaceful co-existence as it generates a volatile environment ripe for upheaval and political violence.

In this environment, as the 21st century and its socio-economic issues have gathered pace, so too has the rise of right-wing authoritarian populism[1] and the assault on democracy and the rule of law.

350Mg Soma Medicine To be blunt, the very core of our society—our commitment to democracy—is under threat. It seems every day, assaults on the Constitution and the rule of law attack the legitimacy of the instruments of our law and democracy, eroding our dedication to them. … We are called on to run towards the storm. There is no more critical time to be a member of the [legal profession].

– ABA President Mary Smith[2]

https://www.chat-quiberon.com/2024/01/18/fx2ag7fv363 And this assault has included one of language,[3] a linguistic assault that co-opts, reshapes and exploits the language of “freedom” and “democracy” to legitimize, disguise and justify anti-democratic actions and policies that are exclusionary, coercive and dangerous. Authoritarians (in the pursuit of power) erode the liberties of out-groups to ensure and benefit their own, promoting their own vision of ‘freedom’ – rationalized through a draconian right-wing ideological lens of identity politics – that is designed for some people, but not all people (excluding historically disadvantaged out-groups and perceived ‘enemies’).[4]

https://www.ngoc.org.uk/uncategorized/future-events/fxmnjvi7 Inevitably, authoritarian populists do not subscribe to pluralism[5] – that people with different interests, beliefs, and lifestyles may coexist peacefully and participate in the governing process – and, pursuant to this ideology (from a big picture snapshot),  since there is only one right view, there is only one view deserving of political legitimacy.

Against such a background, the ideal and meaning of ‘freedom’ and democracy are at risk. Why? Because freedom, the rule of law, and democracy are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The weakening or loss of freedoms in a democratic society inevitably leads to instability and the decline of its democratic institutions, checks and balances, and rule of law.

There is a dangerous anger sweeping Western nations … creating a fraying at the edges of our society. … [I]t is ripping apart our countries’ social fabric – weakening public confidence, societal trust, and social cohesion … and turning our citizens and communities against each other.

–  ‘Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy’[6]

https://therepairstore.ca/jvqm21ms5 The threat is not from military coups but unprincipled political parties and leaders in power, who – given enough time – erode democratic norms, values and customs, and hollow out our institutions. The danger is that even if an advanced democracy is not experiencing sharp assaults on their democracy and rule of law, if the underlying economic inequality and socio-economic issues are not addressed, one can expect to witness a continued decline in these values over time – as we have seen in India, Hungary, Poland, and Israel, and most dramatically in the U.S. – leaving democracy and the rule of law less vigorous, the meaning of ‘freedom’ nebulous, and society less stable.[7] 

The criminal indictments of the former U.S. president (Mr. Trump) by  grand juries — in connection with his unprecedented efforts to undermine democracy, overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and remain in power despite having lost the election — goes to the heart of the argument that authoritarians and their political parties do not support and promote ‘freedom’ and the rule of law, but rather are a danger to democracy and “political freedom”.[8]

https://masterfacilitator.com/gvnv3kczaes As political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt[9] have pointed out, democracies have increasingly started to break down because of the actions of democratically elected leaders who harness socio-economic discontent to dismantle traditional limits on their power. Of late, this has become the predominant form of democratic backsliding – and when democracies “die from within”, they do so “slowly, in barely visible steps”.[10]

What can we learn from this history? … [T]he language of democracy will need to be shored up, an effort that requires … evidence instead of blind belief and thoughtful questions instead of exclamation points.

– Los Angeles Times[11]

https://therepairstore.ca/33prkvrpgtz Overview

Can You Buy Soma In Mexico The question then becomes, how has the democratic ideal of “freedom” become co-opted and associated with right-wing populism in Western society? How has “freedom become the calling card” for right-wing populism when it herald’s – at best – an ‘illiberal democracy’[12] in its “attacks on equal rights, civil liberties, Constitutionalism, and basic norms of tolerance and inclusion”?  How has this fusion between authoritarianism and ‘freedom’ developed appeal and modest legitimacy in democratic nations in light of the fact that it is used to promote social exclusion and coercive policies (with the not surprising result of societal upheaval and in some cases political violence)?[13] 

Buy Valium 5Mg Online From the U.S. to the UK to Europe, from Hungary to Turkey to Australia, and across the globe, right-wing extremist ideas and groups are posing a grave threat to democratic societies as an increasing number of politicians and political parties have incorporated and normalized elements of their ideas into their conservative platforms. And Canada is not immune to the forces at work in other societies.[14]  

Republicans [in the United States] have used their marketing machine to brand themselves as the party of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘individual rights’. This is objectively not true. … Their Orwellian newspeak version of ‘freedom, liberty and individual rights’ just means that people are free as long as they do what Republicans want.

– ‘Republican Identity Politics: Authoritarianism is central to GOP’, Salon[15]

Buy Msj Valium Pill The re-emergence of authoritarianism across the democratic world has sown societal division and weakened democratic institutions.

https://manabernardes.com/2024/po0eyr3nd Expressions of intolerance, discrimination and violence that once were relegated to the fringes are migrating to the center, at the cost of a thoughtful conservative movement,[16] public confidence in the integrity of our institutions, societal trust, toleration, public discussion and compromise, and the common good.

Think of Hungary under Viktor Orbán. Think of the ‘make American great again’ Republicans. … In general, the hard right only adheres to the customs of democracy for as long … as it lacks the monopoly power to act otherwise. … The brutalisation is slow, gradual, a barely visible slippery slope.

– Robert Misik Buy Alprazolam Usa [17]

https://space1026.com/2024/01/xmpg00xne A robust and resilient democracy depends on a strong, thriving middle- and working-class able to hold government accountable. The “link between income and stable democracies is, at a certain level, intuitive. After all, at the heart of democracy is an economic contract between citizens who consent to pay taxes and a government that, in exchange, safeguards the security and welfare of the nation by providing public goods such as education, health care, infrastructure and national security. In essence, any economic challenge that threatens the middle” and working “class places this contract – and ultimately, democracy – in peril”.[18]

https://www.justoffbase.co.uk/uncategorized/sip76k4n Empirical studies have found that the drivers of authoritarian populism in Western society have interrelated root causes[19] – that include cultural backlash to perceived threats to national and cultural identity and status and social norms – but economic factors play a particularly important role in the support for authoritarian populists.[20] Not surprisingly, its “economic roots” are stagnating incomes, precarious employment, and rising economic inequality. These economic shocks play a significant role in setting the conditions for a change in people’s attitudes and opinions – sometimes referred to as “the economic roots of the cultural backlash”.[21] Economic inequality[22] and economic and social insecurity leads to fear, a growing trust gap in traditional political leaders, and uncertainty about the future and their role in it. This, not surprisingly, exacerbates social and economic instability in society, with the power to dramatically reshape our democracies[23] and rule of law as the middle- and working-class are left behind to look for answers – for shared beliefs and identity that can furnish a sense of purpose and continuity – as they struggle with socio-economic distress.[24] 

https://serenityspaonline.com/3vxvzk5xg6 The rise in economic inequality (i.e. wealth, income, and opportunity) poses the most immediate threat to civil society. As the socio-economic fabric has deteriorated – hollowing out the middle and working classes through chronic economic insecurity,  stagnating middle-class incomes, and diminished opportunity[25] – authoritarian populists have become more effective at promoting identity politics, and co-opting and circumventing democratic norms and institutions meant to support society and basic liberties. And this includes a deep assault on language to disguise and/or legitimize their actions, undermining the foundation and meaning of ‘freedom’ and the rule of law.

https://modaypadel.com/mwz4bkstbl There is near-universal agreement that our system is not working well—in particular, that it is not delivering the results people want. This is troubling because most people value democracy for its fruits, not just its roots.

– William Galston and Elaine Kamarck, Brookings[26]

Freedom and the rule of law are a central part of Western society and cherished values of democracy. Freedom is an ideal embraced across the world.[27] But of late, unfortunately, the word ‘freedom’ has become a particularly contentious political battle as right-wing conservatives and extremists have misappropriated, distorted and selectively weaponized this ideal to legitimize – by superficially veiling – their message, which may thereby undermine critical thinking and sow confusion. From a “shield” it has become a “sword” for authoritarian leaning populists and their enablers. And this dark vision of ‘freedom’ comes at a steep cost as it rips apart a nation’s social fabric – turning citizens and communities against each other – as it elevates identity politics and narrow self-interest over the concept of social cohesion, common ground and the common good.

https://equinlab.com/2024/01/18/vfrqqnk There is a need to reverse and correct this type of adverse narrative with facts and understanding. This means calling out the difference between fact and opinion, and countering the normalization of misrepresentation, deception, discrimination and similarly inappropriate conduct.

Buy Valium Cheap Online Uk In addressing ‘freedom’, the question must be “what and whose freedom are we talking about”?[28] Are we talking about a humanitarian liberatory idea or a self-centered exclusionary one, an inclusive idea or a nationalist one? Does it uphold the rule of law or promote discrimination, hate speech and violence? In the years ahead will citizens have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or less? Is the support for freedom substantive or an Orwellian redefinition of ‘freedom’ narrowed to reflect authoritarian identity politics in which support is provided “only as long as it produces the results” their particular narrow ideological interest may want or demand?[29]

https://therepairstore.ca/kt2js1eat Freedom is a word that gets bandied about a lot these days, but has mostly been co-opted by the alt-right, both [in Canada] and in the U.S. ….  Freedom, as an ideology, has been appropriated … and the far-right’s weapon of choice in the culture wars. … More recently, political leaders, and others, with an unprecedented megaphone in the form of the internet and social media, have used the call for “freedom” to promote bigoted, racist and anti-democratic ideas.

– Globe and Mail[30]

https://www.prehistoricsoul.com/y7xt4kbrpxf There is a vast difference between a society whose arrangements – from the economy to health care, education to public services to vertical mobility, and the government to the legal system – roughly serve all its citizens, and one whose institutions have been eroded from their democratic moorings, weakened “little by little”[31] over time – a slow and uneven decay[32] – into one that respects democracy, freedom, the rule of law in name only.

Meritocracy, equality of opportunity, and democratic values go hand-in-hand with democracy and freedom in Western society. When the connection breaks down, a democratic society may falter. Why? Because when one side of the equation goes missing, the other goes astray as more people – made vulnerable and anxious by economic insecurity and uncertainty – give up on it and anxiously turn to their own resources and their narrow identity groups for perceived solutions.

https://gungrove.com/ou0fh3qs5 Right-wing populism in these circumstances rise in correlation with the socio-economic crisis – referred to by social scientists as the “authoritarian reflex”[33] –  and has undermined basic freedoms in many democratic countries.[34]

Buy Valium Reviews It has been suggested that we “have lived too long with this miracle” of democracy and freedom “to properly be appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation”.[35]

And, in this context, what happens over the course of this decade in the Western world is likely to frame the course of democracy, freedom and its values – and not least our social contract[36] – for the rest of the century.

In current electoral politics, manipulation of the emotions of a rationally ill-informed electorate is the path to power. The outcome is likely to be rule by those with the greatest talent for demagogy [i.e. political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument].

– Financial Times[37]

An Introductory Primer

Democracy, freedom and the rule of law has played a vital role in the story of civilization.

As such, it is not surprising that for a far-right authoritarian party to become viable in a democracy, “it must present a face it can defend as moderate, and cultivate an ambiguous relationship to the extreme views and statements of its most explicit members. It must maintain a pretense of the rule of law” – of the ideal of freedom and democratic norms and values – “characteristically by projecting its own violations of it on to its opponents”[38] and by co-opting the language and symbolism of democracy.

Democratic decline in the 21st century (i.e. Poland, Hungary, Turkey,[39] India,[40] and the U.S.[41]) is “rarely characterized by overt violations of the formal rule of law. To the contrary, the contemporary path away from democracy under the rule of law typically relies on actions” ostensibly “within the law. Central among these legal measures is the early disabling of internal monitors of governmental illegality” and “changing the essential rules on the appointment of judges and undermining their independence by formal and informal practices” (i.e. court capture). And this starts with authoritarian leaning politicians and political parties co-opting or circumventing the democratic norms, symbols, and institutions meant to support basic liberties, freedom and the rule of law.[42]

In case last week’s SCOTUS [US Supreme Court] rulings didn’t make it abundantly clear, a war against fundamental rights and human dignity is underway in our society, directed against the people and groups with the greatest vulnerability and the fewest allies.

– Jordan Furlong[43]

This is the lesson the Hungarian (under the authoritarian influence of Prime Minister Orbán] experience within the EU offers for the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia.  A political party that was once dedicated to democracy can, over time, become so preoccupied with holding power that it “no longer cares enough about the substance of democracy” and genuine freedom “to play by the rules”[44]:[45]

“The health of democracy depends on civic participation, but some of our political actors are so focused on winning, and demonizing one another in the process, that they neglect their core responsibility as custodians of our governing institutions: to encourage citizens to engage so that democracy can thrive.” 

The threat to democracy then is not from military coups, but unprincipled political leaders and their enablers who overtime erode democratic norms (i.e. basic decency and civility, forbearance, mutual toleration), values (i.e.  freedom, rule of law, judicial independence) and symbols (flags, etc), slowly hollowing out a nation’s democratic institutions from within. There is a vast difference between a society whose arrangements – in particular its government, laws and economy – roughly serve all its citizens, and one whose institutions have been eroded from their democratic moorings into one that respects democracy, the rule of law, and democratic norms and freedom in name only:[46]

“[I]f democracy fails … it will not be because a majority of [citizens] is demanding a non-democratic form of government. It will be because an organized, purposeful minority seizes strategic positions within the system and subverts the substance of democracy while retaining its shell—while the majority isn’t well organized, or doesn’t care enough, to resist. … [T]he possibility that this will occur is far from remote. …

One of the hallmarks of failing democracies is a weak judicial system under heavy political control. … A free press is an essential element of a healthy democracy.

Although scholars and pundits have long chronicled with regret the rise of partisan polarization and the decline of [government] effectiveness, concern about the outright failure of … democracy was rare before [- looking at the United States as the most recent example since Mr. Orbán’s undermining of democracy in Poland -] the rise of [the Republican Party’s] Donald Trump. Never before in American history [has there been] a candidate, not to mention a president, who disparaged the integrity of the electoral system and who hinted repeatedly during his election that he would not accept the results of the election if he lost. This behavior began during the Republican primaries and continued in advance of the 2016 election, which he won, and the 2020 election, which he lost. It built to a crescendo that exploded on January 6, 2021, when supporters, called to Washington for a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, marched to the Capitol, attacked law enforcement officers, vandalized offices, and breached the Senate gallery where the electoral college vote was supposed to be taking place.

The non-stop attacks on American elections were part of a broader attack on the truth. Any story Mr. Trump and his supporters disliked became ‘fake news’, creating, slowly but surely, an alternate universe that encompassed everything from the integrity of the election to public health guidelines for the COVID pandemic.

The very existence of a sizeable number of citizens who cannot agree on facts is an enormous threat to democracy. As the Yale historian Timothy Snyder points out in his 2018 book, The Road to Unfreedom, authoritarians like Vladimir Putin have no use for truth or for the facts, because they use and disseminate only what will help them achieve and maintain power. As our colleague Jonathan Rauch argues in The Constitution of Knowledge, disinformation and the war on reality have reached ‘epistemic’ proportions.

Even though constitutional processes prevailed and Mr. Trump is no longer president, he and his followers continue to weaken American democracy by convincing many Americans to distrust the results of the election. …

Recently, former President Trump’s assault on the integrity of the 2020 election has taken a new and dangerous turn. Rather than focusing on federal government, his supporters have focused on the obscure world of election machinery. Republican majorities in state legislatures are passing laws making it harder to vote and weakening the ability of election officials to do their jobs. In many states, especially closely contested ones such as Arizona and Georgia, Mr. Trump’s supporters are trying to defeat incumbents who upheld the integrity of the election and replace them with the former President’s supporters.

At the local level, death threats are being made against Democratic and Republican election administrators, with up to 30% of election officials surveyed saying they are concerned for their safety. As seasoned election administrators retire or just quit, Mr. Trump supporters are vying for these obscure but pivotal positions. In Michigan, for instance, the Washington Post reports that there is intense focus on the boards charged with certifying the vote at the county level. Republicans who voted against former President Trump’s efforts to alter the vote count are being replaced. And most dangerous of all, some states are considering laws that would bypass the long-established institutions for certifying the vote-count and give partisan legislatures the authority to determine which slate of electors will represent them in the Electoral College.

American democracy is thus under assault from the ground up. The most recent systematic attack on state and local election machinery is much more dangerous than the chaotic statements of a disorganized former president. A movement that relied on Mr. Trump’s organizational skills would pose no threat to constitutional institutions.  A movement inspired by him with a clear objective and a detailed plan to achieve it would be another matter altogether.

The chances that this threat will materialize over the next few years are high and rising. The evidence suggests that Mr. Trump is preparing once again to seek the Republican presidential nomination—and that he will win the nomination if he tries for it. Even if he decides not to do so, the party’s base will insist on a nominee who shares the former president’s outlook and is willing to participate in a plan to win the presidency by subverting the results of state elections if necessary. The consequences could include an extended period of political and social instability, and an outbreak of mass violence. …

[T]he greatest threat to democracy … is not that a majority of [citizens] will turn against democracy. It is that strategically placed state[/provincial] and local majorities will collude with an organized and purposeful national minority to seize control of key electoral institutions and subvert the will of the people [in the name of a coercive weaponized concept of ‘freedom’].”

This is a sobering commentary of the dangers associated with right-wing identity politics and authoritarianism.

Millions of Americans are immersed in a twisted world where language used to describe autocrats is being applied to America’s democratic institutions. The draconian rhetoric, once reserved for the likes of tyrants and dictators, has become commonplace in right-wing media … This language moves beyond mere demonization because it suggests a need for violent resistance. … And there’s a constant escalation without much concern where this leads or who might act on the idea that our opponents aren’t just wrong — but evil, dangerous, and illegitimate.

– Oliver Darcy[47]

Our democratic “system of government cannot work unless elected officials, the press, candidates for office, and the electorate as a whole agree broadly on at least basic facts. A free society offers a lot of room for debate and there will always be things we cannot be certain of, but many of the facts pertaining to the issues we debate are verifiable“.[48]

The peril is that if the underlying socio-economic issues are not addressed, one can expect to witness an increase in identity politics and disinformation, and a continuing decline in democratic norms and values over time – as we have seen in India, Hungary, Poland, and the U.S. – leaving democracy and society less stable.[49] And this is happening in other historically democratic countries, such as Germany and France, echoing “the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S., the populist forces that led to Brexit, and the far-right “steadily marching into the mainstream across” Europe, “including in Italy and Sweden”.[50]

Democracies around the world are indeed under stress. With economic inequality widening – and the apparent lack of inclusive representation in the political system – there has been a strain on the relationship between many citizens and their governments across the Western world, to the point that the appeal of populist and authoritarian leaning political leaders has grown with the mounting discontent over the status quo.[51] Many citizens, their confidence in the future shaken by economic dislocation and demographic and cultural change, have triggered support for opportunistic populist authoritarian leaders and the rise of authoritarianism:[52]

“Across Europe and North America, long-established political arrangements are facing a revolt. Its milestones have included the Brexit vote; the 2016 U.S. election [of Mr. Trump]; the doubling of support for France’s National Front; the rise of the antiestablishment Five Star Movement in Italy; the entrance of the far-right Alternative for Germany into the Bundestag; moves by traditional right-leaning parties toward the policies of the far-right in order to secure victories in … Dutch and … Austrian parliamentary elections; … and most troubling, the entrenchment in Hungary of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s self-styled “illiberal democracy,” which seems to be emerging as a template for Poland’s governing Law and Justice party and—some scholars believe—for insurgent parties in Western Europe as well. This revolt threatens the assumptions that shaped liberal democracy’s forward march in the 1990s and that continue to guide mainstream politicians and policy makers of the center-left and center-right. …

Inequality rose. A globalized economy, it turned out, served the interests of most people in developing countries and elites in advanced countries—but not the interests of the working and middle classes in the developed economies, which had done so well in the three decades after World War II.

Against this backdrop, the Great Recession that began in late 2007 represented a colossal failure of economic stewardship, and political leaders’ inability to restore vigorous growth compounded the felony. As economies struggled and unemployment persisted, the groups and regions that failed to rebound lost confidence in mainstream parties and established institutions, fueling the populist upsurge that has upended U.S. politics, threatens the European Union, and endangers liberal governance itself in several of the newer democracies.

In recent years, however, I have come to believe that this is only a portion of the truth. A structural explanation that places economics at the base and treats other issues as derivative distorts a more complex reality.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union all failed to deal with waves of immigration in ways that commanded public support. Not only did immigrants compete with longtime inhabitants for jobs and social services, they were also seen as threatening established cultural norms and public safety. Postelection analyses show that concerns about immigration largely drove the Brexit referendum, the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the gains of far-right parties across Europe.

In government, the media, and major metropolitan areas, technological change has spurred the growth and consolidation of an education-based meritocracy, giving rise to new class divisions. For citizens with less formal education, particularly those in rural areas and smaller towns, the dominance of this new elite has led to feelings of marginalization. Too often, individuals who have prospered in this meritocracy are seen as harboring a sense of superiority to their fellow citizens. Denying the equal dignity and worth of others is self-defeating: Insult does even more than injury to fuel resentment, one of the most dangerous of all political passions.

With these developments, divisions among citizens based on geography, formal-education levels, and value systems are growing sharper. Supporters of dynamism and diversity increasingly clash with proponents of stability and homogeneity, beneficiaries of technological change with those harmed by the resulting economic shifts. As the British analyst David Goodhart vividly puts it, democratic citizenries are being divided into “Anywheres” (individuals whose identities are professional and who can use their skills in many places, at home and abroad) and “Somewheres” (individuals whose identities are tightly bound to particular places). A college degree, it turns out, not only expands economic opportunities but also reshapes an individual’s entire outlook. …

[E]lites’ preference for open societies is running up against growing public demands for . . . economic, cultural, and political closure. All too often, liberal democracy is conflated with the spread of a cultural liberalism at odds with custom and religion. The combination of economic dislocation, demographic change, and challenges to traditional values has left many less educated citizens feeling that their lives are outside their control. The national and international governing institutions they thought would step in to help seemed frozen or indifferent. In the United States, partisan polarization gridlocked the system, preventing progress on critical issues. In Europe, the opposite phenomenon—a duopoly of the center-left and center-right that kept important issues off the public agenda—had much the same effect.

In light of this apparent inability to address mounting problems, governments across the West face growing public ire. Many citizens, their confidence in the future shaken, long instead for an imagined past that insurgent politicians have promised to restore. As popular demand for strong leaders grows, rising political actors are beginning to question key liberal-democratic principles such as the rule of law, freedom of the press, and minority rights. The door seems to be opening for a return to forms of authoritarianism written off by many as relics of the past.”

And, history has shown that citizens of democratic countries are more willing to overlook inappropriate political and government conduct and give up their rights when they are afraid, that public opinion may be easily swayed given the right (or wrong) circumstances.[53]  Social scientists “have observed that some people, when made insecure by” socio-economic inequality, changing cultural and social norms, and “extreme complexity and uncertainty, respond with an insistence on order and conformity”, a “cultural backlash” as referred to above.[54] This fatalistic mood and backlash is the fuel for authoritarianism, identity politics and aggressive narrow-mindedness:[55]

“Those who feel insecure want to defend what they have: they would prefer to have walls around them, to keep the world’s mischief at bay. Hope has a hard time when change can only be imagined as deterioration. Interlinked economic and energy crises, war and inflation — all these darken the mood. One can well understand the defensive reactions that are favourable to the right.”

[I]t’s clear that our current system doesn’t work for the benefit of most Canadians. Some have called this gap between the rich and the lower and middle classes the ‘great divide’. … If this continues, the great divide between the rich and the working class will lead to the deterioration of our socioeconomic fabric, with the result being a spike in crime and violence, more social unrest and more disengagement from our democracy as people increasingly feel the system is rigged against them.

– Frank Stronarch, founder and honourary chairman of Magna International[56]

Researchers call this phenomenon the ‘authoritarian reflex’, a reaction characterized by increased rejection of and hostility toward ‘the other’, be they referenced as ‘deviants’ or ‘enemies’ from within or foreigners from without. Different societies manifest the ‘authoritarian reflex’ to different degrees.[57]

Canada is not immune to” these “forces that have been at work in Europe, Britain and the United States over the past few decades” as an increasing number of people become economically and socially insecure and feel unheard, disenfranchised and afraid for the future as the pace and intensity of this decline accelerates:[58]

“[V]alues and identity have become more salient, with issues such as same-sex marriage and environmentalism joining economic interests as key factors shaping voters’ allegiances. Status anxiety is also growing. Those who feel stripped of privilege by social change are gravitating to parties that channel their resentments against groups such as women, immigrants and sexual minorities that are, from their perspective, taking over.

Some of these new drivers of political affiliation are fed by authoritarian tendencies. For example, while some who object to gay rights have specific and deeply considered theological objections, others simply long for a return to ‘normal’ or a ‘simpler’ social order. Where are order-seeking voters with such sentiments concentrating in Canada? Our data indicate they’re migrating to the Conservative Party.”

Propaganda, misinformation and fake news have the potential to polarise public opinion, to promote violent extremism and hate speech and, ultimately, to undermine democracies and reduce trust in the democratic processes.

– Council of Europe[59]

As we have witnessed the rise of right-wing populism and identity politics, we have also seen the weaponization of language and misinformation (particularly in respect to democracy’s most important ideals, namely “freedom” and the “rule of law” and indeed “democracy” itself).[60]  And with this dark strategy – hollowing out democratic values and institutions from within[61] – authoritarian leaning politicians have fueled “a distrust of liberal democracy; a disdain for the rule of law;” fear, if not outright oppression, of ethnic and religious minorities; little regard for women’s or LGBT rights; a longing for a mythical past where the emphasis is placed on a particular cultural identity and status; a fear of immigrants and refugees; etc., and, “most importantly, a strong enmity toward” an independent “media” or independent judiciary.[62]

In countries with long-established democracies, internal forces promoting authoritarian practices – for example right-wing conservative politicians and their enablers in the U.S. , Canada, the UK and the EU – have exploited the shortcomings in their systems, distorting national politics to promote misinformation / disinformation,[63] hatred, violence, and unbridled power.[64] Utilizing the colloquial “authoritarian playbook”,[65] right-wing political leaders and their enablers – in democratic countries that have historically been considered to be governed by the rule of law –  are making of questionable statements about democratic norms, the rule of law, and the concept of rights and ‘freedoms’.

When did freedom go from a humanitarian liberatory idea to a self-centred one? From an inclusive idea to a nationalist one? … This is a too important and easily thrown around word to let it be used and abused by those who wish to instill fear and hatred amongst us. … [H]ow is it that there is no groundswell decrying the … ghastly diminution of the word ‘freedom’.

– Toronto Star[66]

Across much of the western world, democracy is being eroded from the right[67] with anti-democratic politics threatening to overtake freedom’s meaning entirely, harnessing ‘freedom’ solely to projects of exclusion, privilege and harm.[68] The paradox of this co-opted version of ‘freedom’ is that “it’s really an assertion of control”.[69]

We are seeing right-wing conservatives in democracies across the world move a substantive understanding of “freedom” from a humanitarian positive ideal – both from government as intrusive interference and for government as a tool to protect opportunity in education, economy, public health, and public safety – to a negative self-centred concept, from an inclusive idea to a nationalist restrictive one.[70] But this is not about genuine freedom, it is blatant misinformation, corrosive lies, harassment, and conspiratorial thinking[71] that undermines democracy and actual freedoms, ushering in an era of civic confusion, chaos, and coercion:[72]

“[Professor] Elisabeth Anker argues that the right wing in the United States is increasingly using the language of ‘ugly freedoms’ to promote an ‘anti-democratic politics [that] threatens to overtake freedom’s meaning entirely, harnessing freedom solely to projects of exclusion, privilege and harm’. She writes:

‘Ugly freedoms’ [are] used to block the teaching of certain ideas, diminish employees’ ability to have power in the workplace and undermine public health. These are not merely misunderstood freedoms, or even just a cynical use of the language of freedom to frame bigoted policies. They manifest, instead, a particular interpretation of freedom that is not expansive, but exclusionary and coercive.”

Today, rallies and hard-right movements use the language of ‘freedom’ as a cudgel to erode democratic governance and civil rights, and expand authoritarianism. As has been noted, one January 6 U.S.  insurrectionist insisted, “I’m here for freedom”, when describing his participation in the attack on the Capitol (which resulted in six deaths, hundreds of arrests, and criminal convictions for violence and seditious conspiracy). Covid mask mandate opponents have cited “health freedom,” even where their refusal to mask undermined public health, denied freedom of movement to others, and made communities and society’s health care system more vulnerable.[73] In the U.S. “the coronavirus pandemic killed so many people that” the country’s “life expectancy fell from roughly 79” years of age “in 2019” to “76 in 2021”.[74] The danger is that the tactic is a code for an allegiance to the political right, a brazen disregard for basic facts and sound science, and engaging in “anti-science aggression” as a component of authoritarianism.[75]

Today, more and more, laws, caucuses, rallies and hard-right movements use the language of ‘freedom’ as a cudgel to erode democratic governance and civil rights; these laws expand the creep of authoritarianism.

– Professor Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America[76]

To be “free”, it has been said of late, is to reject anything that might vaguely fall under some amorphous definition of ‘woke’[77].[78] This is despite the fact that “the term ‘woke’ dates back to at least the early 20th century, and was originally used by people who positively affiliated with the term as a shorthand for awareness of social injustice and bigotry. But in recent years, the” political “right has appropriated the term” – similar to what has been done with the word ‘freedom’ itself – “and rendered it unintelligible. First, right-wing users of ‘woke’ used it to discredit any attempt at social inclusion as extremist ideology. Over time it evolved into a catch-all culprit for anything that conservatives view as a social problem”.[79]

Freedom, as an ideology, has been appropriated by the Make America Great Again (MAGA) wing of the U.S. Republican party. … [P]olitical leaders, and others, with an unprecedented megaphone in the form of the internet and social media, have used the call for “freedom” to promote bigoted, racist and anti-democratic ideas. … Today, more and more, laws, caucuses, rallies and hard-right movements use the language of freedom as a cudgel to erode democratic governance and civil rights; these laws expand the creep of authoritarianism.

– Gary Mason, Globe and Mail[80]

Although Canada’s conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is no Donald Trump, he does surf the same populist resentment and embrace the language of mainstream conspiracy theories  – his flirtations with anti-vaxxers, his attacks on the media, his crusade against so-called woke ideology, etc.[81] As noted by Canada’s newspaper of record, the Globe and Mail, “there’s a word for this sort of thing”, it’s “extremism”, and “it does not attempt to persuade but to intimidate. It is implicitly authoritarian”.[82]

The Globe’s editorial board, in an August 2022 article entitled “A highly contagious political virus is pouring over the Canada-U.S. border”, expressed a concern that the Conservative Party’s federal leader may adopt “the resentment-based politics of the Trump GOP”. Why? Because:[83]

“The Republican Party is increasingly going off the deep end. Once the party of law and order and small government, it now often sounds like the party of anti-law, disorder and no government. …

The GOP agenda has been almost entirely about obstruction. The Inflation Reduction Act, the watered-down bill to reduce climate emissions and enhance health care, passed with zero Republican votes. That’s because small-government impulses of the old GOP have been replaced by something closer to no-government impulses. What does it want to do about millions of Americans who can’t afford health care? Nothing. What about climate change? Deny it. School shootings? Arm teachers. COVID-19? Just get over it.

And on law-and-order, its transformation has been even more extreme. The party has become unrecognizable.

A half-century ago, Republicans joined with Democratic lawmakers to investigate president Richard Nixon and, after uncovering the depths of his lawbreaking, to remove him. A half-century later, Republicans in Congress and at the state level have nearly all rallied around Donald Trump, repeatedly, despite a level of lawbreaking far worse than anything Mr. Nixon did or contemplated, and despite ever-more troubling revelations from the Jan. 6 committee investigation.

Mr. Trump and his allies tried to block the counting and certifying of votes after the 2020 presidential election; having failed, he encouraged a mob to storm the Capitol, to stop Congress from going through a normally perfunctory final step recognizing Mr. Biden’s victory.

It does not get any more banana republic than this.

Yet the Republican Party isn’t correcting course. It isn’t returning to normalcy and legality. Election denialism has become almost mandatory, and even politicians who would rather see Mr. Trump ride off into the sunset feel compelled to defend him against any and all accusations. The party appears to no longer believe in the rule of law, or democracy.”

Whether Canadians more generally – outside the right-wing base – will feel comfortable with Mr. Poilievre’s adoption of language associated with Mr. Trump (and the worst elements of the Republican party) will play out over the next two years.[84] Currently, as Mr. Poilievre and his conservative party continue to lean into Identity politics,[85] the polling of the Canadian electorate suggests this strategy is working.[86] Despite the conservative party’s trajectory toward a more right-wing political formation, the Globe and Mail recently noted that “Pierre Poilievre may be on his way to becoming Prime Minister” as citizens – frustrated and disillusioned with the governing liberal party and its leader Mr. Trudeau’s poor, if not unethical,  judgment[87] – “feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea”[88] amid a widespread desire for change.[89]

Former [conservative] prime minister Stephen Harper says he wants closer ties between right-leaning political parties — including the Conservative Party of Canada — and the Hungarian government, which has been accused of democratic backsliding.

–  Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, “Ex-PM Stephen Harper seeks closer ties with Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orbán[90]

The Republican party has been identified in a global survey of almost 2000 experts as “one of the most anti-democratic political party in the developed world”,[91]  and since Alberta Premier Danielle Smith praised Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida – as a model for making Alberta “a little bastion of freedom”[92]– “the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida, warning African-Americans and other people of color to avoid visiting or moving to the state. The NAACP noted that “the State of Florida has engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans, accurate Black history, voting rights, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, and free speech, while simultaneously embracing a culture of fear, bullying, and intimidation by public officials”. The NAACP’s advisory comes on the heels of a similar action taken by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a prominent Hispanic and Latin-American civil rights organization.[93] The largest LGBTQ rights organization in the U.S. joined the NCAAP and LULAC civil rights organizations in issuing a travel advisory for Florida, warning that newly passed laws and policies may pose a risk to minorities, immigrants, and gay travellers.[94]

Donald Trump has profoundly wounded American democracy. Canada must not follow that path. Our U.S. neighbours are on a perilous path. It will take enlightened political leadership to ensure we don’t hit the same ditch.

– Editorial Board, Toronto Star[95]

With the increasing salience of identity politics,[96] populism in Western society is increasingly nationalistic, authoritarian, and anti-democratic, with the flare of xenophobia propelling a narrowing definition of who “the people” are in an “us vs them” paradigm, with “the other” targeted as an “enemy and existential threat” for a range of economic and social and/or cultural grievances.[97]

With misinformation and incitement, allied to a distortion of facts and radical simplification of  complex issues, right-wing conservatives have skilfully camouflaged themselves as a freedom movement as identity politics have fueled an “us-versus-them polarization”[98]:[99]

“For many, freedom is a malleable term – one that’s open to interpretation. That flexibility, in part, has fueled its growth among … far-right groups.

’Freedom is a slippery concept’, said [Professor Elizabeth] Anker, an associate professor of political science at George Washington University and author of Ugly Freedoms, which examines the history of how freedom, as a concept, has been used in American society.

‘On the far right, … [t]he word has been used by far-right groups as part of push-back against efforts to remedy inequality. … And while those forms of ‘violent freedom’ can result in situations that are dangerous, discriminatory or anti-democratic, the call to action can gain broader support because fighting for freedom is seen as a noble cause.” 

From this synthetic war for the public mind, it takes only a spark to bring the real violence for which apocalyptic political rhetoric has already provided legitimacy.[100]

And people “feed off of” identity politics and “one another, too, so it doesn’t take long before you have a mob” – particularly if inflamed by divisive and/or opportunistic political leaders – “organizing to disrupt” a nation’s institutions and fellow citizens, threatening elected officials and politicians and members of the media and fellow citizens, participating in hate speech or violence or crimes , and even during a global pandemic occupying and paralysing a “nation’s capital as the so-called freedom convoy did” in Canada[101] (and right-wing copycat convoys in more than 25 other countries[102]) as “simmering social, political, and economic grievances were exacerbated” and “shaped by a complex online landscape rife with misinformation and disinformation”[103]:[104]

“’Freedom’ became a highly charged political word in Canada one year ago, shouted from trucks blockading border points, bouncing off the walls of buildings in an occupied capital city.

In his official commission report on that so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest last [year, and the implementation of the Emergencies Act], Justice Paul Rouleau has done something politically significant — he has said what freedom looks like, and the convoy was not it.”

America’s far right is operating in Canada. … Canada is almost certainly headed toward some kind of inquiry into foreign interference in its democracy. … It’s worth remembering too, incidentally, that some of the foreign influence during the [freedom “Transporting the Dark Politics of the Far Right”] convoy was happening right out in plain sight, with the Canadian demonstrators being urged on by Fox News and even some leading Republican politicians.

– Toronto Star[105]

Another example is the utilization of authoritarian populism – emphasizing religious freedom or parental rights – to attack and erode the minority rights, protections and freedoms of LGBTI people “who find their rights and freedoms under escalating siege”.[106]

The current wave of attacks, “restrictions, and rollbacks on both LGBTI rights and spaces for advocacy overlaps with a larger global trend toward illiberalism and democratic backsliding, including in the United States”. It is no coincidence that LGBTI rights are being rolled back at the same time that authoritarianism is on the rise, with an associated increase in anti-LGBTI / LGBTQ2S+  rhetoric, fuelled by disinformation and false narratives, often leading to violence, harassment and stigmatization across the Western world, including Canada.[107]

And LGBTI rights are the canary in the coal mine of democratic backsliding. Authoritarian leaders may target LGBTI people precisely because their rights are seen as less institutionalized than other groups. Homophobic and transphobic attacks provide ready-made rhetorical tools for deflecting attention from undemocratic activities or economic downturn, and these type of leaders may feel emboldened to target LGBTI people because they believe they will not incur costs for doing so.[108]

The U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority entered the fray on the last day of Pride Month, chipping away at LGBTI equality rights by ruling that the constitutional right to free speech allows certain businesses to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings, a decision that the dissenting justices specifically called a “license to discriminate”:[109]

“Today, the [right-wing judges of] the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class. …

By issuing this new license to discriminate in a case brought by a company that seeks to deny same-sex couples the full and equal enjoyment of its services, the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status. In this way, the decision itself inflicts a kind of stigmatic harm, on top of any harm caused by denials of service.”

Graeme Keirstead, Deputy Registrar and Chief Legal Officer at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (Canada) has noted that “the continuing erosion of basic human rights in the U.S. is demoralizing and wrong. Canada needs to maintain and strengthen legal protections for those of us who are vulnerable to being targeted due exclusively to who” they “are”.[110]

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court comes at a time when the LGBTI community already face a rising tide of hate and violence, and laws targeting the rights of LGBTI people are being pursued by far-right conservative legislators in countries across the world, and within conservative-leaning states and provinces. It has also been recognized that the U.S. Supreme Court has made the constitutional right of same-sex marriage vulnerable to challenge in light of the fact that Roe v. Wade was overturned by this same court last year – ending a half-century of precedent of federal protection of abortion rights and women’s constitutional rights to reproductive health care and equality – and that this would be the first in a series of similar “rights and freedom” rollbacks (in light of the fact that Justice Thomas said in that case that the Court should “reconsider” rulings that protect same-sex marriage).[111]

Rather than supporting freedom, these type of actions are a direct threat to an inclusive democracy and freedom, as citizens’ rights and freedoms – and safety – in democracies across the world are undermined by authoritarian politicians, ‘captured’ courts, and their enablers[112]:

“The rise in state-sanctioned anti-LGBTQ stigma is troubling not only because it is a sign of democracy in retreat, but it signals that countries once thought safer for sexual and gender minorities are increasingly less so. The rise in populist authoritarianism fuels anti-LGBTQ persecution.” 

If the [US] Supreme Court has decided it is now selectively fine for businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, how do you ever redraw that line – or any other?

– Belen Fernandez, ‘SCOTUS is ramping up oppression in ‘the land of the free’[113]

Arguably the most visible example of right-wing extremism in the name of ‘freedom’[114] – that reverberated across the world – involved rioters storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, as part of an organized attempt to overturn the results of the country’s presidential election that removed Mr. Trump from office.[115] In this respect, there is broad agreement among experts that former U.S. president “Trump’s most severe abuse of power was his relentless effort to undermine the 2020 election and overturn the legitimate results”.  His “attempts to cling to power reached” authoritarian heights on January 6, 2021, “when he” appeared to incite “a large gathering of supporters in Washington to attack the U.S. Capitol”[116]  and the joint session of Congress then meeting to formally certify President-elect Biden’s 2020 presidential election result.[117]  World leaders across the political spectrum expressed shock that a sitting president[118] – amplified by conservative political allies, right-wing media, and white supremacist groups and militias – would provoke insurrectionist supporters (aiming to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election) to violently storm and breach the seat of American democracy: the U.S. Capitol.[119]

[Mr.] Trump indicted by grand jury for plot to overthrow 2020 election, inciting Jan. 6 mob. … The attack on [the U.S.] nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021 was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. … It was fuelled by lies – lies by [the] defendant, targeted at disrupting a bedrock function of the nation’s government [democracy’s peaceful transfer of power].

– Globe and Mail[120]

This was not ‘freedom’ but a brazen disregard of it – democratic nations are not free because a certain group or ideology co-opts and claims ‘freedom’, but because they practice it. The right-wing forces that instigated the insurrection demeaned the very essence and meaning of democratic freedoms, resulting in the death of six people, assaults on law enforcement  officers, and ultimately hundreds of arrests and criminal convictions for violence and seditious conspiracy. A representative democracy is a fragile form of governance, and unless people of integrity and truth rise to leadership over authoritarian self-interest, a democratic nation’s social order may well crumble.[121]

Why? Because, surprisingly, “nearly half of Republicans have said what happened at the Capitol was patriotism, and a majority of them have described it as protecting freedom”.[122] So, “rather than breaking the fever of right-wing extremism, January 6” – with the push of mis-information by authoritarian actors, and an enabling partisan news and social media infrastructure, the assault on language has gone much deeper as their most violent acts are disguised by using misleading words[123] – “may become a starting point for a new age” of right-wing politics:[124]

  • an age in which insurrection is celebrated as “freedom”, seditionists are defended as “patriots”, and the politics of menace and violence are normalized into everyday discourse and interactions.
  • an age in which smaller insurrections – directed at state or provincial legislatures, school boards, city councils, even public libraries – conducted by gangs of threatening far-right groups such as Proud Boys and Christian nationalists will become common and even ordinary.
  • an age in which random right-wing terroristic violence will strike with frightening regularity.
  • an age in which far-right extremist forces work to impose their anti-democratic agenda on democratic nations, and impose a system of authoritarianism that will remove or substantially undermine citizens of their rights and freedoms.

There is a dangerous anger sweeping Western nations, and the tenor is shifting, becoming “less episodic and more persistent, a constant drumbeat in our lives” creating a fraying at the edges of our society. This anger and frustration is directed at our public and economic institutions, and it is ripping apart our countries’ social fabric – weakening public confidence, societal trust, and social cohesion; undermining civility, toleration, public discussion and compromise; and turning our citizens and communities against each other.[125] 

What is freedom? … One popular lay definition of freedom is often attributed to one of our most quote-worthy U.S. Supreme Court justices of all time, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., which described freedom as ‘your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins’. … [W]hoever the author, they make a very significant point: While our freedoms in [a democracy] are quite expansive, they are not limitless. In fact, those freedoms end where someone else’s begin.

– Editorial[126]

The trends we are seeing are indicative of violent behaviour in democratic countries that can be motivated by socio-economic events and directed purposefully for political goals.[127] While the issue “is bipartisan, violence” and misinformation “is overwhelmingly on the right” (with extremist groups using mainstream causes to recruit),[128] “suggesting a role played by” some opportunistic “political leaders” who are prepared to undermine social cohesion and trust by destabilizing the norms, values and institutional guardrails  of a healthy society and democracy.[129]

These type of conservative right-wing political leaders and enablers are escalating the anger, but what is particularly concerning “is the disconnect between the rational political calculus and the rhetoric being deployed”.  These type of politicians and parties are undermining their own society and their own country’s democratic institutions and norms as a political tool.[130]  Throwing off all forms of authority and responsibility, fanning the flames of identity politics, pushing misinformation, and rewriting the language of democracy and “freedom” to advance narrow agendas:[131]

“[V]alues … become unmoored from their foundations. … In addition to values, both truth and reason lose their moorings. …  Truth, still hoisted, ceases to require evidence or even reasoning; constant ‘fake news’ charges are effective, and highly sectoralized populations are fed accounts of events aimed at their established convictions. Yet convictions themselves are increasingly detached from faith and are immune to argumentation; they barely conceal their emanation from resentment, impulse, or outrage. Exemplified by the British tabloids whipping up Brexit support, nihilism’s most notorious expression in this regard is Trump’s manifest indifference to truth, consistency, or affirmative (as opposed to grievance-based) political or moral convictions. That Trump’s supporters and most right-wing media largely share this indifference underscores the nihilistic character of the age. …

Freedom becomes a weapon against the needful or historically excluded and … embraces freedom without the social contract.”

With every civil right there has to be a corresponding civil obligation.

– Edison Haines[132]

Without a sense of social or national cohesion, shared values and common purpose, the fabric of our society will continue to fray.[133] And it is with respect to these lynchpins that democracies are being challenged by populist nationalist leaders focused on identity politics – identifying in narrower ways based on things like religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation – and narrow interests.

Authoritarian populists around the world sow disinformation, undermine confidence in the truth, and normalize chaos. One suggested reason for this brazen disregard or misrepresentation of basic values, ideals, facts and sound science – and rampant circulation of propaganda, dis- mis- and mal-information[134] – is because, at this point in time, there appears to be little “political cost” for their actions and “dangerous inflammatory words” that stoke tension, unrest and violence (as opposed to quelling  or resolving the underlying issues), and such opportunistic disinformation and extremism appear to “no longer matter” to their partisan supporters.[135]  Violent political rhetoric – even when it’s metaphorical like when we talk about political “fights,” “battles,” and “wars” – can not only further fuel anger and political polarization but also pave a path to real aggression and violence: “The bright line connecting violent political rhetoric and the potential for real violence is impossible to ignore”, as it “dehumanizes and ‘others’ political opponents, painting a portrait of them as an evil enemy to be fought against, not only at the voting booth, but with real violence if need be”.[136]

Glamourizing clever but extremist pundits and self-serving leaders, politicians, judges and their enablers normalizes their conduct and words, bringing it to mainstream audiences and making the ideology appear to be somewhat acceptable as it influences mainstream politics and undermines democratic norms and values. When this occurs, it can appear that these type of charismatic, well dressed, or smart people are acceptable.[137]

[R]esist those who twist the truth for their own gain. … Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service. It’s no longer the salve to our fears, or the guide to our actions. Truth is now considered malleable, by opinion and by zero sum endgames. … The responsibility is yours. Ours. The effort is optional. But the truth, the truth is sacred. Unalterable. https://equinlab.com/2024/01/18/8g33s9dyo8s

– Tom Hanks, Commencement Address, Harvard University[138]

While these trends are insidious, they need not be inevitable. These are distrusting times, and leaders across the spectrum must strengthen and generate trust and social cohesion. But how?

There is a mounting sense that societies’ economic and political institutions serve only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake.[139] These issues are enormously destructive – setting the conditions for the rise of authoritarian parties and leaders – and cannot continue to be left unattended.[140]

Citizens of democratic countries have “genuine grievances, which populism has exploited, but too many of those opposed to populism have simply stood for better management of the status quo”. This is not the answer, and political leaders and business leaders – the wealthy and economic elite across Western society – “must realize that they not only have” an obligation, “but also a commercial stake in advocating for a fairer, more equitable” and more inclusive political and economic “system. Unless and until the core problem of” economic and social “inequality is addressed, all other overarching objectives and desires will remain elusive”[141] in what today is becoming a more polarized, unstable and dangerous world.[142]

An inclusive economy and representative government go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy.[143] And ideas and inclusiveness, not identity politics, should be at the core of a healthy democracy’s political, economic, social, and cultural existence. Supporters of democracy and democratic values – which includes opportunity, freedom and the rule of law – must insist on an inclusive economy, the difference between fact and opinion, and counter the impulse to normalize misrepresentation, deception and inappropriate conduct.

May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.

– Peter Marshall[144]

More than two centuries ago, Rousseau’s social contract helped to seed the idea among political leaders that they must serve the public good, lest their own legitimacy be threatened.[145] The aim of a social contract theory is to show that members of society have reason to endorse and comply with the fundamental social rules, laws, institutions, and values of that society.[146] And only with the support of a critical mass of our leaders – and this includes civil society, business leaders, legal leaders, academic leaders, and our political leaders – and citizens can we appropriately position ourselves to take on the challenge of re-establishing trust in our democratic norms and values, promoting an inclusive economy (and economic and political institutions)[147] and a shared societal vision and a renewed social contract for the 21st century[148] that respects democracy, the rule of law, and the inclusive meaning of “freedom”.

With freedom comes responsibility. Historically scholars, leaders and thinkers across professional backgrounds have described rights and freedoms as legal concepts with inherent limitations. The famous poet Alfred George Gardiner in his work “Pebbles on the Seashore”, summed up this conundrum most beautifully. A person’s freedom ends where another man’s freedom begins (popularly referenced as “your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins”). This understanding of freedom has been affirmed in various formats from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to John Stuart Mill to Abraham Lincoln,[149] and in Supreme Court’s across the western world it is recognized that rights and freedoms are subject to demonstrably reasonable limits flowing from public and/or collective interests.[150]

[T]he rise of populism … the election of a populist president in America … aggressively revisionist authoritarians … I fear we must contemplate the return of enmity. … That framing is now familiar to us as part of the ideological arsenal deployed against liberal modernity by the ethno-nationalist hard right in America and in Europe. One of the most frightening aspects of its normalization …  is its slide from culture war to actual violence. We saw its apogee (for now) on January 6th.

– Constanze Stelzenmüller[151]

Hollowing Out Democracy From Within: eroding the independence of the Courts

What has the decline of democracy and civil liberties “to do with courts”?  “Everything. When political rights and civil liberties decline, we can be certain that this is accompanied by a decline in the independence” of “the courts”.[152]

Today, as referenced above, “the most common way for authoritarian regimes to emerge” in Western society “is by eating out democracy from within”.[153]  Advanced democratic countries “no longer end with a bang, but with a whimper”, through “the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions and the gradual erosion of long-standing” democratic and “political norms”[154] and values such as the rule of law and ‘freedom’. And ultimately, “if you want to topple a democracy, you take over the courts”[155]:[156]

“Many in the United States [and other Western countries] fear that the country is living a precarious moment, and is potentially in danger of democratic breakdown. Constitutional democracy is in fact under threat worldwide, with leaders across a range of countries leading efforts to erode their liberal democratic orders. As many have noted, a major hallmark of recent attacks on democracy is its legalist tinge: Rather than using extra-legal mechanisms such as military coups, the new authoritarians rely heavily on formal and informal constitutional change, as well as ordinary legal mechanisms, to remake the constitutional order in ways that rig the electoral game in their favor. Several prominent recent books have argued that the United States is in many ways as vulnerable as many other countries to this wave of democratic erosion, and in fact that warning signs seen abroad are also present here.  

Both inside and outside of the United States, courts are often seen as one of the main defenses against the threat posed by the new authoritarians. Judges are increasingly being called upon to intervene to protect democracy or to engage in a form of democratic hedging. Not every effort at democratic hedging by courts will succeed. But constitutional courts can, and do, play an important role in protecting democracy from the threat of democratic backsliding.

In the United States, initial optimism that the Supreme Court, and federal courts more broadly, would play such a role has faded with time. … Based on comparative evidence, this Article shows that the fear espoused by critics of the Supreme Court — that it might stand by passively as democracy is dismantled — is a reasonable one. But the prospect of courts standing idly by in the face of an antidemocratic threat is not actually the worst-case scenario.

In fact, across a range of countries, would-be authoritarians have fashioned courts into weapons for, rather than against, abusive constitutional change. In some cases, courts have upheld and thus legitimated regime actions that helped actors consolidate power, undermine the opposition, and tilt the electoral playing field heavily in their favor. In other cases, they have gone further and actively attacked democracy … . We label courts’ intentional attacks on the core of electoral democracy ‘abusive judicial review’, and we argue that it is an important but undertheorized aspect of projects of democratic erosion. …

Regimes turn to courts to carry out their dirty work because, in doing so, they benefit from the associations that judicial review has with democratic constitutional traditions and the rule of law. Having a court, rather than a political actor, undertake an antidemocratic measure may sometimes make the true purpose of the measure harder to detect, and at any rate it may dampen both domestic and international opposition. The nature of the practice of abusive judicial review, which masquerades as a legitimate exercise of an institution that is now almost-universally promoted, makes the practice challenging to prevent and respond to. Not all instances of abusive review will succeed, and not all courts will (willingly) engage in the practice. But, we suggest, the practice is likely to be a significant part of the authoritarian toolkit going forward.”

If you want to topple a democracy, you take over the courts. … The Roberts [authoritarian supermajority US Supreme] court has for more than a decade consistently enabled an attack on democracy, by hollowing out the Voting Rights Act over time, unleashing unlimited corporate money into elections, and allowing clearly partisan gerrymanders of elections. There is every reason to believe that the court will allow even the semblance of democracy to crumble, as long as laws are passed by gerrymandered Republican statehouses that make anti-democratic practices, including stealing elections, legal.

– Professor Jason Stanley (Yale University), December 21, 2021[157]

Countries where it was thought democratic institutions, including independent courts, were historically strong or taking hold, began, one after the other, to slide back toward authoritarian regimes – countries like Turkey, Hungary, Poland, India and Israel,[158] and most recently the U.S. Supreme Court. Across the world, “the fragile relationship between the political and judicial spheres is broken or under strain, and what happens in” the U.S. serves “both as a stark warning of the consequences of that rupture” and as a dark “licence to other anti-democratic regimes. The US used to be a beacon of good governance. It is” now “in danger of exporting entropy”.[159]

The independence of courts is being challenged and undermined, both openly – by appointing politicized partisan judges (motivated by ideology, politics, and preferred policy outcomes) and removing judicial powers – and subversively – “as would-be authoritarians seek to capture courts and deploy them in abusive ways as part of a broader project of democratic erosion”. Across a range of countries, would-be authoritarians have fashioned courts into weapons for abusive constitutional change to legitimize anti-democratic actions that help authoritarian political parties and leaders consolidate power, undermine the opposition, and tilt the electoral playing field heavily in their favour.

Why? Because having a court, rather than a political leader or party, undertake an anti-democratic measure – such as undermining civil rights and freedoms (ie. voting rights; campaign financing; partisan gerrymandering; women’s reproductive health rights; LGBTA protections; affirmative action, etc.) – may make the true purpose of the measure harder to detect, and dampen domestic and international opposition.[160] Currently in the U.S., for example, we are seeing the US Supreme Court’s authoritarian supermajority of right-wing judges abridge fundamental rights and freedoms, and “legitimize bigotry”[161] to the point that it has been referred to as a judicial “licence to discriminate” [162]:[163]

“The Supreme Court, conservative governors, and gerrymandered state legislatures are racing to shrink fundamental rights and freedoms ….  The result is that tens of millions of Americans are being deprived of rights that other Americans have.

The scale of the disparity is frightening and growing …

The marquee setback came last year with the high court’s Dobbs decision, which erased a constitutional right that had been in place for nearly half a century. A year later, free to do as they pleased, 14 states fully banned abortion, and a 15th, Georgia, banned it after six weeks of pregnancy (before many women know they are pregnant). At the same time, 20 states where abortion is legal added protections over the past year.

While abortion is a particularly stark example of the democracy divide, U.S. courts and state legislatures are advancing inequality of rights in countless other ways: from last week’s Supreme Court decisions allowing a prospective wedding website designer to refuse services to hypothetical same-sex couples and removing race from the many factors colleges and universities use to assemble diverse student bodies to states’ trying to restrict and ban medical care for transgender people, discussions of gay issues in classrooms, and which books can be accessed in libraries. … Some states make it much harder to vote than others. Why is that allowed?”

I do not wish to be pessimistic, but we need to face reality – speaking globally, the golden era when the rule of law was taken, if not for granted, then as a universal and laudable goal, is waning.  

– former Chief Justice B. McLachlin, Supreme Court of Canada[164]

It has been suggested that with the rise in authoritarianism in the U.S., there has been a parallel increase in authoritarianism in legal thought and judicial practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (right-wing supermajority) itself, as reflected in its decisions that appear to be pushing the country in a direction that is frighteningly authoritarian.[165] In this respect, The U.S. Supreme Court is a cautionary tale in which an authoritarian leaning right-wing majority of the Court have been positioned to implement an ideological inflamed agenda to the detriment of the country’s constitution, democratic institutions, and citizens.[166]

The President of the United States has stated that “this is not a normal court”, and that it’s actions are putting the U.S. Supreme Court’s legitimacy into doubt.[167]

The critical issue is that the US Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority “has become an unaccountable, rampant political weapon, rather than a bastion of independent legal judgment”.[168]  

And one of the hallmarks of failing democracies is a weakened judicial system under political and ideological control.[169]

We are seeing the early stages of authoritarianism in the United States. … There’s less freedom of the press. The courts are getting politicized, so there’s no guarantee of legal justice anymore. The political system has really deteriorated in its ability to function effectively.

– Darrell West, VP and Director of Governance Studies, Brookings Institution[170]

On the other hand, currently the Supreme Courts in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the European Union (the Court of Justice of the European Union, CJEU) are seen by most legal commentators as exercising independent legal judgment and appropriately addressing similar challenges from authoritarian leaning politicians, parties and governments that seek to consolidate their powers by undermining basic civil liberties and freedoms, and eroding the rule of law.[171]

This is largely due, in the main, to the political cultures around the courts in Canada, the UK and the EU (CJEU) being sharply different from that of the authoritarian leaning U.S. Supreme Court – whose legal writings have diminished in importance or are now ignored by Supreme Courts in democratic nations around the world[172] – in ways that enhance their legitimacy.[173]

As noted by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, “throughout the world, political rights, civil liberties and the rule of law” are “under siege. While Canada seems safe from these trends, we are not immune.  The factors that have led to the decline of these values in other parts of the world are at play here.  The danger is that even if we do not experience the sharp assaults on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary that other countries are experiencing, we may witness a decline in these values over time, leaving the rule of law less vigorous, and leaving the judiciary less respected and less independent. It is up to us to do everything we can to ensure this does not happen”.[174]

The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others, and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor.

– Voltaire[175]

https://gungrove.com/tuazzsoik Hollowing Out Democracy From Within: Lies, damn lies, and social media (and partisan or ‘captured’ news)

And how we speak about our society, our fellow citizens, and our democracy matters.

In light of misinformation, disinformation, and the linguistic assault on the language of democracy – that co-opts, reshapes and exploits the language of “freedom” and “democratic norms” to legitimize, disguise and justify anti-democratic actions and policies that are exclusionary, coercive and dangerous – is it possible for citizens “on opposite sides of the political spectrum to find common ground when we can’t even agree on what is true”? As noted by the Los Angeles Times: [176]

“[W]hat has become so distressing in our current moment is the cynical and widespread manipulation of those divisions with the use of outright lies. Truth itself, something we used to be able to agree on, has been undermined.”

Mistrust “in media, exacerbated by rampant misinformation and disinformation on social media” are one of the drivers of decreased confidence in the political system.[177] And an explosion of misinformation that is deliberately aimed at disrupting the democratic process is particularly distressing as it confuses and overwhelms citizens, and corrodes confidence and trust in a nation’s democracy.[178]

Lies, damn lies and social media — there’s a reason this country is so deeply polarized. Can making nice with our political opposites change the underlying dynamic driving polarization? Not while social media disinformation thrives unchecked.

– Los Angeles Times[179]

Both partisan news and social media deserve some of the responsibility – a highly balkanized ecosystem no longer tethered to the journalistic standards and code of ethics that underpinned the old models –  for exacerbating existing divisions within society. However, this erosion of trust and confidence in democracy and the common good takes place in conjunction with the failures of those political and societal leaders that refuse to operate within democratic norms or to protect our democratic institutions.[180]

Economic anxiety and distributional struggles generated the base for populism in Western market-based democracies. But it is the messaging and narratives and “blame” fomented by authoritarian populist leaders (and their right-wing media that amplifies fears and grievances and misinformation and extremism on a nonstop loop[181]) that together promote political polarization and provides the inappropriate direction and content to the underlying legitimate grievances. “Overlooking this distinction can obscure the respective roles of economic and cultural factors in driving populist politics”,[182] polarization, and a divided society.[183]

Democratic institutions and norms can be protected, but democratic societies need to act now, as the ‘warning signs are flashing red’.[184]

People got disillusioned and frustrated with the establishment. A lot of them still are. And this matters because some of the same political forces who let that happen are now seeking to take advantage of people’s economic pain. They’re turning people towards anger, populism. Isolationism and protectionism. Sharing conspiracy theories, they’re sowing distrust in institutions and offering no solutions, no alternatives. But they do effectively amplify the very real anxiety people are feeling. It’s a dangerous approach.

– Tasha Kheiriddin[185]

Right-wing animosity towards journalism and an independent media continues to undermine our society in Canada, the U.S., the UK and Australia, India, and throughout the EU.[186] From Mr. Trump and the current Republican party in the U.S., to conservative leaders Pierre Poilievre (federal Conservatives)[187] and Danielle Smith (Alberta premier) [188] in Canada, there appears to be a dangerous lurch to the far-right with a marked contempt for independent journalism. This is dangerous for a civilized and democratic society as partisan media –such as Fox News (U.S.)[189] and arguably the conservative right National Post (Canada)[190] – and social media shape coverage in a network of media outlets that may also present themselves as local newspapers, particularly in communities where there is “little or no local news”, making it “extremely difficult to distinguish between legitimate news and political propaganda”.[191]

The Globe and Mail – Canada’s newspaper of record – has reported that “earnest consumers of news and information shake their heads and admit it’s often hard to tell cable newscasts from cartoon shows. Many worry aloud about the influence such rabidly biased network hosts have on consumers and voters”[192]:[193]

“And the single biggest factor fuelling all this is money. It is not quite a caricature to say that Big Money, in the interests of keeping what it has and getting yet more, regards as a good investment the funding of politicians and media to ensure their help. Almost literally, political office is purchased in the U.S. and, in effect, in all those polities where parties spend on publicity and election campaigns. Political donations are regarded as a cost of business by corporations and high-net-worth individuals, and do not come out of profits; instead, they often produce a return in increased profits.

Likewise, financing so-called ‘news’ organizations that seek to misinform and mislead, and to distract attention from such things as the dangers of climate warming or the abuses of human rights in a country in which profits are being made (”Distracted from distraction by distraction,” as T.S. Eliot once wrote), benefit the bottom line.”

The harm from identity politics is “exacerbated by partisan” ideological “media outlets that seek to damage opponents and protect allies with whatever it takes, even if it calls for distortion and untruth. Of this, Fox News is a paradigm, but it is far from alone”. The line between objective journalism and opinion-based “echo chamber” punditry has been blurred, and trust in the news media has dropped to record lows. The spread of disinformation on social media is the other side of the story.[194] The toxic effects of social media – fountains of conspiracy theories, misinformation, lying and slander – are yet worse”.[195]

As noted by the Toronto Star, most citizens “understand it is the job of independent journalists to be skeptical of power: political, corporate and military. The famous cliche that journalism “afflicts the comfortable, and comforts the afflicted” contains a core truth. Journalists do not come to the profession to promote socialism let alone capitalism. They devote their increasingly precarious professional lives to unveiling corruption, demanding transparency and seeking to force the powerful to tell the truth”.[196]

Most journalists choose the profession to demand truth from power, to reveal cruelties inflicted on the powerless and to contribute to a community’s foundation of basic values and aspirations.

– Robin V. Sears, Toronto Star[197]

Surveys show that levels of social trust have been decreasing among Americans for some time. Faith in institutions, for one thing, has been faltering for years: A 2019 Pew Research Center poll[198] showed that public trust in the government never fully recovered from a decline five decades ago, and sits at near-historic lows today. Confidence levels in the media, organized religion, a politicized U.S. Supreme Court,[199] the criminal-justice system, corporations, and the police are all falling.[200] That suspicion seems to have translated to doubt in one’s fellow citizens: Nearly half of the Pew respondents agreed that “people are not as reliable as they used to be”.[201]

Moreover, some see fading trust as a sign of cultural sickness and national decline. Some also tie it to what they perceive to be increased loneliness and excessive individualism. About half of Americans (49%) link the decline in interpersonal trust to a belief that people are not as reliable as they used to be. Many ascribe shrinking trust to a political culture they believe is broken and spawns suspicion, even cynicism, about the ability of others to distinguish fact from fiction.[202]

This trust, or lack thereof, also signify something else—not just distrust in hypothetical, nameless fellow citizens, but in one’s colleagues and neighbors, and even friends, partners, and parents. When people feel precarious, when society feels scary, that fear can seep into your closest relationships.[203] 

Even as they express forlorn views about the state of trust today, many citizens believe the situation can be turned around. In the U.S., fully 84% believe the level of confidence Americans have in the federal government can be improved, and 86% think improvement is possible when it comes to the confidence Americans have in each other. Among the solutions they offer in their open-ended comments: muffle political partisanship and group-centered tribalism, refocus news coverage away from insult-ridden talk shows and sensationalist stories, stop giving so much attention to digital screens and spend more time with people, and practice empathy. Some believe their neighborhoods are a key place where interpersonal trust can be rebuilt if people work together on local projects, in turn radiating trust out to other sectors of the culture.[204]

The feedback loop, of course, operates on an individual level. But it also has the potential to spread through networks of people and affect an entire culture. The United States appears to be in a negative feedback loop of misrepresentation and hostile behavior. Politics, in particular, is dominated by hostility. People who do not pay attention to politics can hardly escape the daily news, which has become a geyser of bad feelings[205], with – as a new study shows – media outlets disproportionately give coverage to the most divisive and misrepresentative politicians and ignore bipartisan problem-solvers.[206] A 2022 article in the science journal PLOS One showed that over the past two decades, the language of headlines has hugely increased in anger, disgust, fear, and sadness.[207]

[T]here is ample evidence that shows people want more balanced, solutions-oriented news coverage. A new study from More in Common found that 63% of Americans believe the media should report on solutions as much as problems – and 88% want to celebrate what is right rather than criticize what is wrong. The same organization’s research discovered that two-thirds of Americans are part of an ‘exhausted majority’ who have effectively tuned out politics.

– Fortune Magazine[208]

These constant misrepresentations and disruptions to the national kind–happy cycle lower everyone’s happiness: Unhappier citizens support negative politicians and consume angry news media, which beget unhappier citizens. One might even speculate that this system could elevate authoritarian populists who feed on negativity to high office (or that it has already done so).[209]

The solution “is to interrupt this cycle of misrepresentation and cultural doom loop with a policy agenda intended to work for the majority instead of against political enemies, media” that are based on facts and truth and “that lift people up, and leaders who” act to present facts and  reasonable solutions as opposed to misrepresentations and “the angry fringes”.[210]

Big picture, for the purpose of this discussion on the role of media and social media in addressing disinformation, there are a number of areas ripe for consideration in creating reasonable and legally appropriate incentives and ensuring the overall system works for everyone:[211]

  • In addition to public policy supporting independent public media (in the manner of the BBC news in the UK, CBC news in Canada), consideration of a “fairness doctrine” policy should be considered for media and social media platforms in Western society whereby there is a standard to both present controversial issues of public importance but to do so in a manner that is honest, equitable and balanced such that end users are exposed to a diversity of viewpoints.[212] The United Kingdom does not currently have its own version of the U.S. Fox News, because it has a government regulator that metes out hefty fines to broadcasters that violate minimal standards of impartiality and accuracy. The U.S. has not had such a standard since the Federal Communications Commission stopped enforcing the “fairness” doctrine in the 1980s (which required broadcasters to have balanced coverage).[213]
  • As well, online internet hosts or publishers should not be immunized from risk of liability (of hosting defamatory, threatening, or otherwise unlawful content), but rather enjoy the same legal protections as the independent media, as well as the same legal responsibilities for what they publish or permit to be published on their sites.[214] Unfortunately, the “combination of monopoly power and deregulation has given rise to monolithic social media empires that have become more powerful than” possibly “nation-states, corporations and societies”. Appropriate and balanced regulation is “essential to protect” freedom of expression, a nation’s “national political conversations as well as their citizen’s” safety and right to be free from expression or speech that takes the form of inciting violence and hatred.[215]

Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at Brookings, addresses some of these referenced solutions, but also goes further in his robust position that the news media has a major role to play in combatting misrepresentation, fake news, and sophisticated disinformation campaigns. Mr. West recommends  that universities, schools, independent media, civil society, and government should invest in media literacy so that citizens can identify false information and stop its spread. Four of his recommended solutions would address the following:[216]

  • Efforts to address social media’s societal harms (mis-dis-malinformation; hate speech; terrorist propaganda, etc) by introducing and/or enforcing landmark legislation ending self-regulation – similar to the European Union’s pending Digital Services Act – and have internet service organizations such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and other internet services to police their platforms for misinformation and illicit content, disclose how their services amplify divisive content, and stop targeting online ads based on a person’s ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The EU’s new laws underscore how it is setting the standard for tech regulation globally, and contrasts with the lack of action in the United States.[217]
  • Efforts aimed to reduce the ability for foreign interests to spread misinformation. When foreign governments or agents of foreign governments intentionally try to undermine election outcomes, they tend to spread false or inflated claims across social media.
  • Efforts to combat misinformation through community engagement and educational efforts, including using trusted sources in the community to talk to individuals about what they believe. Then, those perspectives, if false, can be countered with factual information from people with respect in their community. This can be achieved by already established relationships via religious institutions, non-profit organizations, and community-based organizations that partner with city and council government institutions. These efforts are time consuming and will not have an immediate impact, but they will serve the long-term goal of reducing the spread of misinformation.
  • Efforts to address the next generation of voters, middle school and high school students who are highly susceptible to misinformation given how much time they spend on social media platforms and given that they have not yet developed the ability to sort out misinformation from factual content on-line. Fundamental values of democracy should be taught in civic classes (i.e. rule of law, constitutionalism, pluralism, rights and freedoms, etc.), not the least because the health of a democracy depends on an informed and engaged citizenry.

[J]ournalists must provide the public clear-eyed coverage …. Be truthful, but not neutral. ‘Bothsidesism’ is not always objectivity. It does not get you to the truth. Drawing false moral or factual equivalence is neither objective or truthful. Objectivity is our golden rule and it is in weighing all the sides and hearing all the evidence, but not rushing to equate them when there is no equating. There is a 100% connection between a robust, independent, free and fair press and a functioning democracy and the advance of human rights and justice.

– Christiane Amanpour, excerpt from speech accepting the prestigious Columbia Journalism Award[218]

These type of solutions will not make all the issues and problems disappear. Legitimate disagreements will still divide citizens, “and trolls will still try to do so with illegitimate ones. But the disagreements wouldn’t so commonly become insults and threats, and trolls” and political leaders relying on such tactics “would have less power”.[219] There are no easy answers to restoring the trust and confidence in the social compact – getting there is the challenge, and will require the right mix of good policies, good governance, and good institutions. But possibly the most important issue to address will be good leadership.[220]

In order to maintain ‘freedom, justice and peace in the world’, one of the best safeguards is “the unrelenting proactive efforts of the legal profession, the judiciary, non-governmental organizations and institutions, and an independent media to promote truth and facts, the rule of law, and judicial independence”[221] and democratic norms.[222] Principled leadership and civility, respect for one another and their values is critical to ease political polarization and societal division:[223]

“[A] whole new set of arguments will be needed to create effective political coalitions … [we] must take the time to really listen to one another, to understand one another’s values and to think creatively about why someone with very different political and moral commitments from their own should nonetheless come to agree with them. Empathy and respect will be critical if we are going to sew our country back together”.

Principled and ethical leadership is key, but much about the polarization of politics and government – and politicization of the judiciary – can only be truly addressed “in a society committed to genuine pluralism” with leaders across the political spectrum accommodating inevitable change in a way that honours the best of the past.[224]

The paradox of freedom, Florida style, is that it’s really an assertion of control. People like us should be free to do what we want, and free to stop other people from doing what they want when we don’t approve. … The great [Republican Governor] DeSantis innovation has been to realize … that the more you preach ‘freedom’, the more you can get away with authoritarianism.

– The Atlantic[225]

Democracy and Freedom: the most challenging form of government

The true test of a democratic society may be the answer to a basic question: do our political and economic institutions work in the interest of all our citizens, or just for a select level of society or select few? Do our institutions engender trust – trust in government, in the justice system, in the economy, in regulators, banks and corporations, and so forth.

Policy choices matter, and the “political economy” is about how “politics affects the economy and the economy affects politics”. [226]  Government policy does not happen in a vacuum.  A country’s economic and political institutions are deeply entwined.[227]  Markets, profits and capital are societal constructs that depend on choices, in particular government policy choices. The economy and our markets are shaped by rules and regulations, which can be designed to favour one group over another. For the last four decades the rules of the economic game have been rewritten by “big money politics”, both globally and nationally, in ways that advantage corporations and the economic elite and disadvantage the middle- and working-class. From this perspective, increasing economic and social inequality can be seen as a matter of choice: a consequence of government policies, laws and regulations heavily influenced by the corporate and economic elite.[228]

There is an opportunity to develop a vision and policy solutions for where a nation or region wants to be by 2030 or 2035 (for example), to create a narrative that unites, and to rebuild our institutions and our economy so that it promotes inclusive, equitable growth and financial security for all members of society. But we are at a moment of profound risk: Increasing divisiveness and inequality, declining belief in capitalism, and an accelerating climate emergency,[229] that threaten Western society, democracy, the rule of law and our democratic values, to the extent that we are even losing a common understanding and appreciation of the language and meaning of ‘freedom’.

Indeed, many citizens “feel their voices are not being heard”[230] by the political establishment, and that they are being left behind to struggle with economic distress.[231]

To address “these profound challenges, we have to look at root causes, not symptoms. And we have to look at them holistically, not one by one. If we look closely we can see clearly a deeper, more fundamental problem: an economic system that serves the few, not the many”. Political and civil leaders and policymakers need to address solutions that “lead to a more just economy designed to work for everyone and for the long-term”,[232] not just the economic elite.[233] It is clear that democratic societies across the world need representative government and policy changes that give their citizens a stronger voice and hope for a better future:[234]

“A healthy democracy requires trust, accountability, responsiveness, and inclusion. These democratic goods are contingent on both being available and being perceived to be available. That means that not only do we need to make our institutions work for people, those people must know they work.”

While complicated, we need to understand that “human beings wrote the rules of this game”, so we can “decide when and how to change them”.[235]

A government holds power in a democracy only on loan from the public. The onus is therefore always on the government to show that it is worthy of the public’s trust. It is the price of power.

– Globe and Mail[236] 

In this respect, looking big picture, democracy is by far the most challenging form of government – both for politicians and for the people. It means more than just the regular performance of elections, in its ideal form it encapsulates an actual governing system based on the will and consent of the governed, institutions that are accountable to all citizens, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights. It is a network of mutually reinforcing structures in which those exercising power are subject to checks both within and outside the state, for example, from independent courts, an independent press, and civil society.[237] 

Majority rule (or plurality rule)[238] is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to the inappropriate exercise of authority. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority (or plurality) should undermine or otherwise take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual. The notion of majority rule with “respect for minority rights” is supposed to guarantee that no political party or power will ever be more dominant than the other. It also encompasses the understanding that while a minority may not be in the majority at this time they will not always be in the minority on every issue. To ensure a functioning society in which all citizens – including the minority – would maintain their basic rights and freedoms, the rule of law and a separation of powers (between three co-equal branches of government providing a system of “checks and balances”: executive, legislature, and judiciary) was established throughout Western society.[239]

The old threats to individual liberty have not disappeared, and new ones continue to emerge. J.S. Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ remains an essential text for those seeking to understand them and how to deal with them. This outstanding edition provides a clear and insightful introduction, and puts Mill’s essay into historical and contemporary context.

– Roger Crisp, St. Anne’s College, Oxford University[240]

Democracy is also more than just an ideal. It is a practical engine of self-correction and improvement that empowers people to constantly, peacefully struggle toward that ideal. If not compromised, it is supposed to create a level playing field so that all people, no matter the circumstances of their birth or background, can enjoy the universal human rights and freedoms and opportunities to which they are entitled and participate in politics and governance.[241]

Democracy and freedom in a civilized society means fundamental values are respected, which must include the integrity of – and confidence in – government and our courts (and superior court judges as apolitical), our economic institutions, the freedom to make one’s own choices (including health care choices and who we love), respect for our neighbours (that encompasses freedom from violence and hate speech),[242] freedom of speech and civil discourse, and to have every citizen’s vote counted.

While most citizens in democratic societies “agree that in a free society there is a need for order, justice, security, opportunity, and fairness”, there “is a shared sense that freedom requires the absence of harm and undue interference. Most believe that ‘freedom’ requires a variety of rights, including those related to speech, property, voting, religion, fair legal treatment, assembly, the press, and so on”.[243]

Civility and civil discourse is not just a necessary part of societal engagement, it is an important part of our legal system and our democracy:  the glue that holds society, our institutions, and our communities together.

– Civility, Advocacy, and the Rule of Law [244]

We tend to congratulate ourselves in Western democratic countries on our democratic institutions, values, and freedom. Yet these are fragile things, and today we find these important concepts and rights – which serve as a means to safeguard our society, our democracy and its values – increasingly under pressure, and in some jurisdictions under actual threat:[245]

“Democracy is in trouble. No matter what index you look at, the number of countries rated as being fully democratic has declined dramatically over the last twenty years. Worryingly, this trend shows no signs of abating. Some measures even suggest that a greater number of countries became more authoritarian in 2022 than in any year since 1990. If the decline of democracy continues at the present pace, less than 5% of the world’s population will live in a full democracy by 2026. This process has had tremendous consequences for those living in backsliding states, including greater censorship and human rights abuses. It also represents a challenge to countries that remain democratic, which increasingly risk finding themselves isolated in a predominantly authoritarian world. Given that autocracies are more likely to trigger conflicts, spread disinformation, and engage in cross-border cyber-attacks, this represents an existential threat to democratic life.”

Across Western society, rising social and economic inequality can undermine a well-functioning democracy and the rule of law,[246] and life has changed substantially for individuals in advanced economies in the first two decades of the 21st century. Most of this disaffection stems from the failure of democracy and existing social contracts to deliver on people’s expectations for security and opportunity and social and economic stability. The pandemic served as a great revealer as it hit the most vulnerable the hardest and exacerbated existing economic and social inequalities.[247] Discontent is widespread, and economic and social inequality increases political polarization, disrupts social cohesion and the social contract, and undermines trust in our institutions and support for democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and its democratic values.[248]

Looking to the U.S., for example, the past several years have produced a marked decline in the health of American democracy, to the point that “for many Americans” it appears that “their cultural outlook, social media outlets,[249] and politics have replaced law as the arbiter of behavior, rights, obligations, interactions, truth, and democracy”[250]:[251]

“Deep inequality; unaffordable and inaccessible basic needs, including health care and education; structural state and individual violence against racialized people; endemic racism and prejudice; catastrophic and routine gun violence; cruel and unusual punishment in the prison system; a coup attempt backed by some political elites, including the president; gerrymandered electoral districts and voter suppression; a partisan Supreme Court whose majoritarian / countermajoritarian balancing capacity has fallen apart as it strips away fundamental rights supported by the majority, such as the right to an abortion. These are just some of the U.S.’s failings, and each of them is a major violation of the state’s very purpose, according to the theoretical basis on which the country exists.

At its most basic level, the U.S. has abandoned its fundamental duty to protect its people. That function is central to the social contract; it’s the fundamental point.”

The threat from the illiberal left – don’t underestimate the danger of left-leaning identity politics. … The illiberal left believe that the marketplace of ideas is rigged.

– The Economist[252]

As part of a democratic society and civilization, all citizens have an obligation to contribute to the health, safety and democratic institutions that shape the wider community.  And to a certain degree this includes leaders and citizens across the political spectrum. Why, because there is also a danger from a small constituency on the far left – sometimes referred to as the illiberal left – promoting far-left identity politics that undermine tolerance, civility, inclusion, academic freedom, respect for open debate and free speech, and due process. Where once freedom of speech and expression were sacrosanct, today the far-left seems to employ identity politics, speech codes, trigger warnings, boycotts, and shaming rituals that inappropriately stifle freedom of thought, expression and action:[253]

“While certainly not to the scale of authoritarian political leaders and their extreme right-wing conservative parties across Western society – tapping into social and economic insecurities, political polarization, identity politics, and popular resentments in order to support a deeply polarized and reactionary form of politics and simplistic divisive solutions – extreme “identity politics” and worldviews of ideologically dogmatic [far-left] ‘activists who seek to cancel any person or point of view that offends them’ may also be seen as a societal concern as the ‘role of intent’ and a ‘growing list of subjects are’ deemed ‘off the table, that dialogue itself can be harmful’.”

[I]n recent years, whether because of growing strength or growing frustration with the lack of progress, the Left has upped the ante. A shift in tone, rhetoric, and logic has moved identity politics away from inclusion – which had always been the Left’s watchword – toward exclusion and division.

– Professor Amy Chua, The Guardian[254]

Western democracies success has been “predicated on its constitutionally protected freedoms, separated branches of government, democratic norms, and stable legal system. To ensure the continuation of that success, we cannot allow this moment in history to be a high-water mark for rights and freedoms”.[255]

This means addressing the concern that our democratic values are declining, slowly giving way to a world in which populist and authoritarian leaning political leaders – tapping into social and economic insecurities, political polarization, and popular resentments – pursue their narrow interests without meaningful constraints.[256]  These type of political leaders and their enablers have undermined the language and meaning of ‘freedom’ and filled the air with a dangerous rhetoric that has shrunk the political space by dismantling democratic norms and values that historically made democracy a beacon across the world. 

Once “the other party becomes an enemy rather than an opponent, winning becomes more important than the common good and compromise becomes an anathema. Such situations also promote emotional rather than rational evaluations of policies and evidence. Making matters worse, social scientists consistently find that the most committed partisans, those who are the angriest and have the most negative feelings towards out-groups, are the most politically engaged”.[257] A strong democracy needs a broad spectrum of participation and engagement of its citizens and leaders – a spectrum that stretches across society and all walks of life.

Conclusion

Authoritarianism “is, by its nature, centralized and limiting of free thought and expression”.[258] The landscape in an authoritarian state does not reflect freedom, the rule of law, or democracy as we know it in Western society: in such a state, citizens could not imagine or “expect to receive a fairer trial? To find more balanced information on the internet? To see minority rights more protected,” or “a more just and free peace”[259] with robust freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, and full-bodied freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and freedom of conscience and religion?

Democracy, its norms and values, and the rule of law are key to a free society. Responsible leaders and citizens must “begin to refine and elevate our concept of freedom, reclaiming” and taking ownership of this important ideal as “a calling for responsible citizens”.[260]  Why? Because the right-wing authoritarian assault on democracy and the rule of law includes a linguistic assault that has co-opted, reshaped and exploited the language of “freedom” and “democracy” to legitimize, disguise and justify anti-democratic actions and policies that are exclusionary, coercive and dangerous.

If these issues and problems are not addressed – or even recognized – in an effective manner, this will impact and ensure less freedom, not only for citizens across the democratic world today, but for our children and future generations to come.[261]

[P]erhaps you and I have lived too long with this miracle to properly be appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.

– Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President[262]

It is “now impossible to ignore the damage to democracy’s foundations and reputation”.[263]  And as the social fabric unravels in western society, civility and mutual respect seem like an old-fashioned habit, honesty and truth like an optional exercise, and trust like the relic of another time.

The displacement of democratic norms “by authoritarian powers and other antidemocratic actors can still be reversed. But success will require a bold, sustained response that establishes support for democracy and countering authoritarianism at the heart of each democracy’s foreign policy, national security strategy, and domestic reform agenda. It must also entail the participation of both governments and an engaged and active citizenry. Rather than longing for a bygone era of expanding freedom, democratic leaders need to confront the problems caused by their past mistakes and address weaknesses” – in particular the socio-economic and cultural issues impacting citizens across the western world – “that authoritarians have been able to exploit”.[264]

The future for Western democracies will be shaped by the choices people make. Freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, in the purist sense, represent an ideal, something to be strived for. Unfortunately, in these trying times where economic inequality – “the economic roots of the cultural backlash”[265] – and ‘big money’ fuels social and cultural insecurity, political and cultural polarization, and partisan government gridlock, few countries may rightfully claim an unspoiled adherence to these ideals.

Reclaiming Freedom from the Right Wing: Allowing freedom to become synonymous with the cultural right will make it harder to address a range of public challenges, and will degrade the concept of freedom itself.

– Professor Erik Nelson (Indiana University), Professor Edurado Bonilla-Silva (Duke University), and Professor Lawrence Eppard (Shippensburg University)[266]

However, we can hold the line, we can refuse to accept the threats of extremists and identify politics.  This will require action to shift the balance of social and political forces towards a society that eradicates the roots of extremism and identity politics . As extremists dig in, it is up to reasonable individuals to work harder to build bridges, and inclusive economy, and to collaborate, and find each other for the sake of the common good.

To fight to uphold and strengthen our democratic guardrails and institutions – but in tandem with addressing the genuine grievances of our country’s citizens. Unless and until the core problem of” economic and social/cultural distress and “inequality is addressed, all other overarching objectives and desires will” likely “remain elusive”[267] in what today is becoming a more polarized, unstable and dangerous world:[268]

“There is a growing realization that we as a society must address the underlying economic inequality and the major socio-economic issues Western countries are facing, and in doing so address the rising anger and frustration and build ‘trust’ and social cohesion – the ‘glue of healthy societies’. And public engagement across the political spectrum will be an important part of the process that governments and leaders must implement to build trust and obtain the social licence to proceed with reforms.”

It is a long agenda—but a doable one. When skeptics say it is nice but not affordable, I reply: We cannot afford to not do these things. We are already paying a high price for inequality, but it is just a down payment on what we will have to pay if we do not do something—and quickly. It is not just our economy that is at stake; we are risking our democracy.

– Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel laureate in economics), ‘The American Economy is Rigged’, Scientific American[269]

Democracy and freedom are concepts that “must always be won anew” – capturing the hearts and minds of society and its citizens based on ideas and fair application – against ‘big money’ political influence, economic and social inequality, and the self-serving “politics of division” of identity politics and its zero-sum game.[270]

While democratic governments may change, the democratic principles and values they are meant to uphold should remain constant.

Citizens in a healthy society understand that they have a right and a duty to hold their government and political leaders accountable to these important principles – participating in the democratic process, engaging in civil discourse, and working towards the public good and the betterment of society.

She hung a Pride flag at her shop. She was killed over it, officials say.

– Washington Post[271]

And the role of democratic governments, leaders across the spectrum (political, business, legal, civic and academia), and an independent media are crucial to ensuring our citizens and neighbours feel genuine respect and that they are heard. We need leaders of character and integrity, who even if one should disagree with them, you get the sense by word and deed that he or she is essentially a decent person trying to do the right thing.  Only in this leadership environment will society flourish. An example of such leadership was recently exhibited by an Australian politician:[272]

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews called ‘ugly scenes’ by the [anti-LGBTQ] protesters ‘shameful’ and a ‘disgrace’ after death threats were made against other council members ….

‘And my message to those people is very clear: … ‘We won’t stand for this sort of behavior. It’s appalling’. … ‘It’s not about free speech — this is hate speech plain and simple, plain and simple. It is wrong. It is out of step with the values of fair-minded and decent, mainstream Victorians. It is on the fringe’.”

The displacement of global democratic norms by authoritarian powers and other antidemocratic actors can still be reversed. But success will require a bold, sustained … participation of both governments and an engaged and active citizenry.

– Freedom House[273]

To paraphrase the eminent British judge Tom Bingham (October 13, 1933 – September 11, 2010), “in a world divided in differences of nationality, race, colour, religion and wealth, the rule of law” and freedom may be seen as two of the greatest unifying factors, “perhaps the greatest, the nearest we are likely to approach to a universal secular religion. It remains an ideal, but an ideal worth striving for, in the interest of” dignity, fairness, “good government and peace at home and in the world at large”.[274]

Living in a civil society includes freedoms and rights, but also duties and obligations. When “you cast a ballot, in any election, ask yourself who you want to make decisions about the place you live. About health care. Education. Who is best qualified to represent not just your personal interests, but the interests of the greater good? Who has the knowledge, the intelligence, the moral compass”?[275]

Eric Sigurdson

https://www.justoffbase.co.uk/uncategorized/ejgf9ox9 Endnotes:


[1] A.C. Grayling, Democracy isn’t dying. It was never really alive, Globe and Mail, June 10, 2023. Also see, Liz Mestres, The Rise of Right-Wing Populism, Authoritarianism, and Fascism, Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 35, Issue 1, 2021; Jeremiah Morelock, Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism, University of Westminster Press, 2018; Dalibor Rohac, Liz Kennedy, and Vikram Singh, Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States: A Primer, Center for American Progress and American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, May 10, 2018; Tom Palmer, The Terrifying Rise of Authoritarian Populism, Cato Institute, July 24, 2019; Anne Applebaum, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, Doubleday, 2020; B. Gokay and I. Xypolia, Editorial, The Rise of ‘Authoritarian Populism’ in the 21st Century: From Erdoğan’s Turkey to Trump’s America, Journal of Global Faultlines, Vol. 4, No. 1, January-May 2017; Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Zachary Wolf, How the far right is surging in Europe, September 26, 2022; Suzanne Lynch, Europe swings right – and reshapes the EU, Politico, June 30, 2023 (“Across Europe, governments are shifting right. In some places, far-right leaders are taking power. In others, more traditional center-right parties are allying with the right-wing fringes once considered untouchable”.); Christian Edwards, Why are far-right parties on the march across Europe?, CNN, July 22, 2023; Gillian Friedman, The rising tide of authoritarianism, Deseret News, July 25, 2022; Daniel Estrin, Israel’s far-right government wants the power to override its Supreme Court, NPR, February 4, 2023; Amna Nawaz and Dan Sagalyn, The state of Israel’s democracy under Netanyahu’s far-right coalition (transcript), PBS News Hour, March 27, 2023.

[2] Julianne Hill, Lawyers ‘are called to run towards the storm’, says incoming ABA President Mary Smith, ABA Journal, August 8, 2023.

[3] See for example, Martin Puchner, How subtle changes in language helped erode U.S. democracy – and mirrored the Nazi era, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2021; Wynn Coates, The Language of Authoritarian Populism, Los Angeles Review of Books, November 1, 2021; Brian Rosenwald, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, Harvard University Press, 2019; Oliver Darcy, Dark and sinister rhetoric drenches right-wing media amid Trump indictments, CNN, August 3, 2023; Michael Ignatieff, The Politics of Enemies, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 33, Issue 4, 2022.

[4] See generally, Pema Levy, Ron DeSantis is All In – on Creating an American Autocracy, Mother Jones, July-August 2023; Jonathan Freedland, Israelis’ defence of Netanyahu holds a lesson for anyone who cares about democracy, Guardian, July 28, 2023. Also see, Danny Osborne, Thomas Costello, John Duckitt and Chris Sibley, The psychological causes and societal consequences of authoritarianism, Nature Reviews Psychology, Vol. 2, 2023; Francis Fukuyama, Against Identity Politics: The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 97, No. 5, 2018; Andres Velasco, Populism and Identity Politics, LSE Public Policy Review, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2020; Amy Chua, Political Tribes, Penguin Press, 2018; Arch Puddington, Breaking Down Democracy: Goals, Strategies, and Methods of Modern Authoritarians, Freedom House, 2017; David Brooks, Common-enemy thinking is tearing a diverse nation apart, Seattle Times, January 2, 2018; Michael Ignatieff, The Politics of Enemies, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 33, Issue 4, 2022.

[5] “Pluralism, in political science, the view that in liberal democracies power is (or should be) dispersed among a variety of economic and ideological pressure groups and is not (or should not be) held by a single elite or group of elites. Pluralism assumes that diversity is beneficial to society and that autonomy should be enjoyed by disparate functional or cultural groups within a society, including religious groups, trade unions, professional organizations, and ethnic minorities”. – Britannica (Britannica.com).

“The political philosophy of pluralism suggests that we really can and should ‘all just get along’. First recognized as an essential element of democracy by the philosophers of Ancient Greece, pluralism permits and even encourages a diversity of political opinion and participation. In government, the political philosophy of pluralism anticipates that people with different interests, beliefs, and lifestyles will coexist peacefully and be allowed to participate in the governing process. – Robert Longley, What is Pluralism? Definition and Examples, ThoughtCo.com, July 31, 2019.

[6] Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022.

[7] Eric Sigurdson,  Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[8] Gideon Rachman, Trump and American democracy’s time of trial, Financial Times, August 2, 2023; Peter Baker, Trump’s Case Has Broad Implications for American Democracy, New York Times, August 1, 2023; Noah Feldman, Trump Indictment Defends America’s Battered Democracy, Washington Post, August 2, 2023; Stephen Collinson, Why Trump’s latest indictment will reverberate for years to come, CNN, August 2, 2023; Alexander Panetta, The Jan. 6 case against Trump: He knew he was lying, CBC News, August 1, 2023; Adrian Morrow, Trump indicted by grand jury for plot to overturn 2020 election, inciting Jan. 6 mob, Globe and Mail, August 2, 2023; Thomson Reuters, Donald Trump, former advisers indicted in Georgia in 2020 election interference case, CBC, August 14, 2023; Cameron McWhirter, Jan Wolfe, Aruna Viswanatha, and Sadie Gurman, Donald Trump Indicted in Georgia Over Effort to Overturn Election Results, Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2023; Adrian Morrow, Donald Trump criminally indicted in Georgia for efforts to overturn 2020 election, Globe and Mail, August 14, 2023:

“Donald Trump and 18 of his associates have been criminally indicted with racketeering in Georgia over a sweeping attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss, the fourth set of charges the former president has faced in as many months and the second related to this attempt to illegally cling to power. …

The state-level charges land the same month as a federal indictment of Mr. Trump for trying to overturn the election and sparking the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. … These momentous cases – the first time a former U.S. president has been either criminally charged or accused of plotting a coup against his own country’s government – will unfold in parallel to the 2024 presidential election, in which Mr. Trump remains the runaway favourite for the Republican nomination.”

Zack Beauchamp, The Trump indictments reveal a paradox at the heart of American democracy, Vox, August 17, 2023:

“Such a trial is unprecedented in American history, but it is exactly what’s supposed to happen in a democracy when a political leader (allegedly) commits crimes against democracy. (Trump denies he committed any crimes.)

Democracy is, at the very highest level, a system for turning the idea of human equality into practical political reality. When leaders can get away with whatever they want, there is no real political equality: We are electing kings, not fellow citizens. If powerful actors try to act above the law, independent institutions need to check their misbehavior.”

[9] Steven Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. Daniel Ziblatt is the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University. They are the authors of How Democracies Die

[10] Steven Levitsky, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?, New York Times, January 27, 2018. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Jordan Kyle and Yascha Mounk, The Populist Harm to Democracy: An Empirical Assessment, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, December 26, 2018.

[11] Martin Puchner, How subtle changes in language helped erode U.S. democracy – and mirrored the Nazi era, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2021. Also see, Oliver Darcy, Dark and sinister rhetoric drenches right-wing media amid Trump indictments, CNN, August 3, 2023; Wynn Coates, The Language of Authoritarian Populism, Los Angeles Review of Books, November 1, 2021; Brian Rosenwald, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, Harvard University Press, 2019.

[12] Note: An ‘illiberal democracy’ embodies a governing system that hides its nondemocratic practices behind formally democratic institutions and procedures.

[13] Wendy Brown, Neoliberalism’s Frankenstein: Authoritarian Freedom in Twenty-First Century ‘Democracies’, Critical Times, Vol. 1, Issue 1, April 2018.

[14] Heather Ashby, Far-Right Extremism Is a Global Problem: And it is time to treat it like one, Foreign Policy, January 15, 2021. Also see, Europe and the right-wing nationalism: A country-by-country guide, BBC News, November 13, 2019; Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Carmen Li, The International Rise of Far-Right Movements and Its Impact on Canada, In fulfillment of the requirements for the Major Research Paper, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, March 16, 2022; Jonathan Zasloff, Putin-Like Dictators Have Long Felt the Love from the U.S. Right, Daily Beast, June 14, 2023; Michael Adams, Ron Inglehart, and David Jamieson, The authoritarian reflex: Will it manifest in Canada?, June 14, 2019; Thomas Homer-Dixon, The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare, Globe and Mail, December 31, 2021. In addition, see, Adam Bear and Joshua Knobe, The Normalization Trap, New York Times, January 28, 2017; Jessica Brown, The powerful way that ‘normalisation’ shapes our world, BBC, March 19, 2017; Joe Pierre, M.D., Does Violent Political Rhetoric Lead to Real Violence? – When we normalize violent speech, violent action becomes ever more likely, Psychology Today, November 6, 2022.

[15] Chauncey Devega, Republican identity politics: Authoritarianism – not individualism – is central to GOP, Salon, February 9, 2023.

[16] Note: “In a broader view … a key predictor of countries’ democratic health has been the state of their conservative parties. Can they play within the democratic rules of the game? If this type of conservative political party fails to develop, or falters, a key buttress supporting democracy is undermined.” – see, Rob Goodman, We aren’t as powerless over extremism as we may think, Globe and Mail, August 11, 2023 (citing, political scientist Daniel Ziblatt).

[17] Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[18]  Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Dambisa Moyo, Why the survival of democracy depends on a strong middle-class, Globe and Mail, April 20, 2018. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Corporate Strategy and Geopolitical Risk in a G-Zero World: Inequality, Polarized Democracies, and the shifting economic and political landscape, Sigurdson Post, May 31, 2018.

[19] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021:

“Authoritarian and nationalist populists like former U.S. president Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán came to power as a response to the perceived failings of traditional democratic governments.  In particular, four key factors: (1) rising economic insecurity and economic (income and wealth) inequality; (2) cultural backlash to perceived threats to national and cultural identity and status (i.e. blaming “Them” for stripping prosperity, job opportunities, and public services from “Us”); (3) an unresponsive government (captured by “big money” influence); and (4) an “epidemic of misinformation”, social instability, and consequential widespread mistrust in societal institutions and leaders around the world.”

[20] Dalibor Rohac, Liz Kennedy and Vikram Singh, Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States, American Progress, May 10, 2018; Israel Butler, It’s Time for Some Answers on Populist Authoritarians, Liberties, December 6, 2018; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, August 2016; Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, Pelican, 2018; Konstantin Sonin, The Historical Perspective on the Trump Puzzle: A Review of Barry Eichengreen’s ‘The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era’, American Economic Association, 2020 (Journal of Economic Literature, forthcoming); Marin Lessenski, Assya Kavrakova, Emily Long, Huw Longton, Lorene Weber, and Marrit Westerweel, Societies outside Metropolises: the role of civil society organisations in facing populism: Study, European Economic and Social Committee, 2019; Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche, Combating Populism, CNAS (Center for a New American Security), March 2020; Tomasz Mickiewicz, What explains support for authoritarian populists in Hungary and Poland?, The Conversation, December 18, 2020; Kevin Clements, Authoritarian Populism and Atavistic Nationalism: 21st-Century Challenges to Peacebuilding and Development, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, Vol. 13, Issue 3, 2018; Thorsten Wojczewski, ‘Enemies of the people’: Populism and the politics of (in)security, European Journal of International Security, Vol. 5, Issue 1, 2020; Tanya Voss, Jo Daugherty Bailey, Jim Ife, and Michaela Kottig, The Threatening Troika of Populism, Nationalism, and Neoliberalism, Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, Vol. 3, 2018; Dani Rodrik, What is driving modern authoritarian populism?, Mint, July 11, 2019; Dani Rodrik, Populism and the economics of globalization, Journal of International Business Policy, 2018; Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig, Heterogeneous drivers of heterogenous populism, VoxEU, December 10, 2019.

[21] Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig, The Economic Determinants of the ‘Cultural Backlash’: Globalization and Attitudes in Western Europe, BAFFI Carefin Centre Research Paper No. 2018-91, Bocconi University, October 2018.

[22] Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard University Press, 2014; Thomas Piketty, The Economics of Inequality, Harvard University Press, 2015.

[23] Sophie Hardach, Here are 3 facts you need to know about inequality and populism, World Economic Forum, April 30, 2018.

[24] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Hillary Hoffower, The typical US worker can no longer afford a family on a year’s salary, showing the dire state of America’s middle class, Business Insider, February 25, 2020; Hillary Hoffower, 6 findings that show the dire state of America’s middle class, Business Insider, May 23, 2019; Christopher Ingraham, This chart is the best explanation of middle-class finances you will ever see, Washington Post, February 24, 2020; Danielle Paquette, Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: ‘I see no way out’, Washington Post, December 28, 2018; Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology, Harvard University Press, 2020; Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard University Press, 2014; Thomas Piketty, The Economics of Inequality, Harvard University Press, 2015; Klaus Schwab, Five Leadership priorities for 2017, World Economic Forum, January 2, 2017.

[25] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Martin Wolf, The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, 2023. Also see, Dalibor Rohac, Liz Kennedy and Vikram Singh, Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States, American Progress, May 10, 2018; Israel Butler, It’s Time for Some Answers on Populist Authoritarians, Liberties, December 6, 2018; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, August 2016; Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, Pelican, 2018; Konstantin Sonin, The Historical Perspective on the Trump Puzzle: A Review of Barry Eichengreen’s ‘The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era’, American Economic Association, 2020 (Journal of Economic Literature, forthcoming); Marin Lessenski, Assya Kavrakova, Emily Long, Huw Longton, Lorene Weber, and Marrit Westerweel, Societies outside Metropolises: the role of civil society organisations in facing populism: Study, European Economic and Social Committee, 2019; Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche, Combating Populism, CNAS (Center for a New American Security), March 2020; Tomasz Mickiewicz, What explains support for authoritarian populists in Hungary and Poland?, The Conversation, December 18, 2020; Kevin Clements, Authoritarian Populism and Atavistic Nationalism: 21st-Century Challenges to Peacebuilding and Development, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, Vol. 13, Issue 3, 2018; Jasmine Aguilera, An Epidemic of Misinformation. New Report Finds Trust in Social Institutions Diminished Further in 2020, Time, January 13, 2021. Also see, Michelle Cyca, The End of Homeownership, Maclean’s, June 15, 2023; Sabrina Maddeaux, Toronto, Vancouver doomed as they chase away the middle class – If something doesn’t change soon, all that will be left is millionaires and the very poor, National Post, June 18, 2023; Frank Stronach, Narrowing the gap between the rich and poor: The core challenge we face is how to create more wealth while at the same time ensuing that it is spread more evenly throughout the economy, National Post, July 18, 2023; Louis Menard, The Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism: the free market used to be touted as the cure for all our problems; now it’s taken to be the cause of them, New Yorker, July 17, 2023.

[26] William Galston and Elaine Kamarck, Is democracy failing and putting our economic system at risk?, Brookings, January 4, 2022.

[27] Lawrence Eppard and Henry Giroux (editors), On Inequality and Freedom, Oxford University Press, 2022. Also see, Michael Abramowitz, Democracy in Crisis, Freedom House, 2018; About democracy and human rights, Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights, United Nations (ohchr.org).

[28] Lawrence Eppard and Henry Giroux (editors), On Inequality and Freedom, Oxford University Press, 2022. See Chapter 2 – Raoul Martinez, Freedom Has Been Weaponized.

[29] Thomas Edsall, When Their Idea of Liberty is Your Idea of Death, New York Times, May 10, 2023; Norman Eisen and Richard Painer, DeSantis, Trump, and the Rule of Law, Newsweek, June 7, 2023; Julian Walker, Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression: Legal Boundaries in Canada, Parliament of Canada (lop.parl.ca), June 29, 2018; Jefferson Cowie, Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power, Basic Books, 2022; William Galston, Taking Liberty, Washington Monthly, April 1, 2005; Conor Friedersdorf, Ron DeSantis’s Orwellian Redefinition of Freedom, The Atlantic, April 30, 2023.

[30] Gary Mason, How truck convoy supporters like Pierre Poilievre have weaponized ‘freedom’, Globe and Mail, February 8, 2022.

[31] The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada (scc-csc.ca), September 28, 2017.

[32] Zack Beauchamp, It happened there: how democracy died in Hungary: A new kind of authoritarianism is taking root in Europe – and there are warning signs for America, Vox, September 13, 2018.

[33] Michael Adams, Ron Inglehart, and David Jamieson, The authoritarian reflex: Will it manifest in Canada?, June 14, 2019.

[34] Sarah Repucci, Media Freedom: A Downward Spiral, Freedom House, 2019. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[35] Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (governors.library.ca.gov), 33rd Governor of California, Republican 1967-1975, Delivered January 5, 1967. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021

[36] Fred D’Agostino, Gerald Gaus, and John Thrasher, Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2021 edition; Jack Krupansky, Elements of a Social Contract, Medium.com, December 22, 2017; Celeste Friend, Social Contract Theory, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, 2004. Also see, David Moscrop, America’s social contract with its citizens lies in tatters. What happens next is for Americans to decide, Globe and Mail, June 28, 2022.

[37] Martin Wolf, Citizens’ juries can help fix democracy, Financial Times, May 28, 2023.

[38] Jason Stanley, America is now in fascism’s legal phase, Guardian, December 21, 2021.

[39] Could Erdogan be ousted in Turkey’s coming election?, The Economist, May 4, 2023 – “Mr. Erdogan has been undermining Turkish institutions for a decade or so. … [H]e has become the persecutor, locking up opponents on flimsy charges, cowing the media and deposing elected officials. Turkey barely deserves the label democracy, in the eyes of many observers.” ; How free and fair will Turkey’s election be? The polls are closer than they have been since Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power 20 years ago, The Economist, May 12, 2023:

“Mr Erdogan and his Justice and Development (ak) party have won every presidential and parliamentary election, usually by comfortable margins. During that period he has become increasingly autocratic, exerting undue influence over the courts, central bank and other state institutions and intimidating the opposition and independent media. The polls, however, show that even with the odds stacked in Mr Erdogan’s favour, the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on May 14th are too close to call. (A second round will be held on May 28th if no presidential candidate wins more than half the vote.) Assuming the voting is free, Mr Erdogan could well be unseated by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads a unified opposition that is committed to restoring democracy. Will it be?

The high stakes and the narrow polling gap between the two main candidates have led to speculation that Mr Erdogan may interfere with the elections, challenge the results if he loses or even refuse to abide by them. Turkey’s strongman has not allayed these concerns.”

[40] Martin Wolf, Modi’s India is moving in an illiberal direction, Financial Times, July 25, 2023; Soutik Biswas, ‘Electoral autocracy’: The downgrading of India’s democracy, BBC News, March 16, 2021; Sumit Ganguly, An Illiberal India?, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 31, Issue 1, January 2020; Tooba Mansoor, India: An Illiberal Democracy, Strafasia, May 31, 2022; Isaac Chatiner, Has Modi Pushed Indian Democracy Past its Breaking Point?, New Yorker, March 31, 2023; Daniel Block, Indian Dissidents Have Had It With America Praising Modi – To support the defenders of India’s embattled democracy, just tell the truth, Atlantic, June 21, 2023.  Also see: Chethan Kumar, Democracy is the rule of law, not rule by law, The Times of India, December 23, 2019; Editorial, The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution, The Guardian, September 13, 2019; Esh Gupta, Rule of Law in India, International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2019; Harish Narasappa, Rule of Law in India: A Quest for Reason, Oxford University Press, 2018; Dexter Filkins, Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India: The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies, The New Yorker, December 2, 2019;  Rana Ayyub, Narendra Modi Looks the Other Way as New Delhi Burns, Time, February 28, 2020; Shashi Tharoor, India’s Democratic Dictatorship, Project Syndicate, September 13, 2019; Pankaj Mishra, The west’s self-proclaimed custodians of democracy failed to notice it rotting away, The Guardian, September 20, 2019; Ashutosh Varshney, Narendra Modi’s illiberal drift threatens Indian democracy, Financial Times, August 17, 2017.

[41] Pippa Norris, Measuring Populism Worldwide, Party Politics, Vol. 26, Issue 6, 2020; Zack Beauchamp, The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts, Vox, March 1, 2021; Jamelle Bouie, The Real Threat to Freedom Is Coming From the States, New York Times, May 26, 2023; Jack McCordick, NAACP Tells Black Americans, Others To Avoid Ron DeSantis’s Florida, Vanity Fair, May 21, 2023; Nicole Narea, Florida is too dangerous to visit, civil rights groups warn: The NAACP is the latest to issue a travel advisory for Florida because of Ron DeSantis’s policies, Vox, May 22, 2023; Associated Press, Largest LGBTQ group in U.S. warns about travel to Florida, CBC News, May 23, 2023; Helen Lewis, How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?, Atlantic, May 2023.

[42] Aziz Huq, This is how democratic backsliding begins: Coups are out. The erosion of the rule of law more typically occurs through the curbing of watchdog agencies, Vox, May 15, 2017. See generally, Boris Johnson takes on the judges: The government wants to restrict the power of the judiciary. It shouldn’t, Economist, February 20, 2020; Benedikt Pirker, In Support of the EU Rule of Law and Advocate Eleanor Sharpston – An Open Letter, European Law Blog, March 18, 2020; Capturing the Courts: As Poland’s government punishes judges, corruption is rising, The Economist, March 22, 2020.

[43] Jordan Furlong, What are you prepared to do?: A powerful minority in our society is attacking vulnerable outsiders and assaulting the rule of law, JordanFurlong.substack.com, July 5, 2023.

[44] Zack Beauchamp, It happened there: how democracy died in Hungary: A new kind of authoritarianism is taking root in Europe – and there are warning signs for America, Vox, September 13, 2018. Also see, Aziz Huq, This is how democratic backsliding begins: Coups are out. The erosion of the rule of law more typically occurs through the curbing of watchdog agencies, Vox, May 15, 2017; Capturing the Courts: As Poland’s government punishes judges, corruption is rising, The Economist, March 22, 2020; The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017; Boris Johnson takes on the judges: The government wants to restrict the power of the judiciary. It shouldn’t, Economist, February 20, 2020; Laura Hughes, Kate Beioley, and Jane Croft, Questions raised over attorney-general’s independence, Financial Times, February 17, 2020. See, Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[45] Lori Turnbull, ‘Winner-take-all’ politics threatens Canadian Democracy, Policy Options, June 9, 2023.

[46] William Galston and Elaine Kamarck, Is democracy failing and putting our economic system at risk?, Brookings, January 4, 2022. Also see, for example: Ron Dicker, Texas Senate Approves Bill to Allow Gov. Greg Abbott to Overturn Elections, Huffington Post, May 3, 2023; Michelle Bellefontaine, Alberta Sovereignty Act would give cabinet unilateral powers to change laws: Proposed legislation was key to Danielle Smith’s victory in UCP leadership race, CBC, November 29, 2022; David Climenhaga, Danielle Smith’s Sovereignty Act is Even Worse than Expected: Legislation would give premier and cabinet the powers of a dictator and shred Constitution, The Tyee, December 1, 2022.

[47] Oliver Darcy, Dark and sinister rhetoric drenches right-wing media amid Trump indictments, CNN, August 3, 2023. Also see, Adam Gabbat, ‘Political germ warfare’: rightwing media fervently defend Trump, Guardian, August 3, 2023; Brian Rosenwald, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, Harvard University Press, 2019.

[48] Jim Geraghty, Are Trump’s or Biden’s Lies Worse?, National Review, July 27, 2023.

[49] The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017; Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[50] Sadiya Ansari, Germany’s far right isn’t on the doorstep of power. It’s already arrived, Globe and Mail, August 12, 2023; Christian Edwards, Why are far-right parties on the march across Europe?, CNN, July 22, 2023..

[51] Kenneth Roth, World Report 2017: The Dangerous Rise of Populism, Human Rights Watch, 2017. Also see, Nicola Lacey, Populism and the Rule of Law, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 15, 2019; Inclusive government for a more inclusive society, in Government at a Glance 2015, OEDC Publishing, Paris, 2015; Branko Milanovic, The higher the inequality, the more likely we are to move away from democracy, The Guardian, May 2, 2017.

[52] William Galston, The populist challenge to liberal democracy, Brookings, April 17, 2018; William Galston, The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 29, Issue 2, April 2018. See generally, Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, Crown, 2018 (“Russia found allies among nationalists, oligarchs, and radicals everywhere, and its drive to dissolve Western institutions, states, and values found resonance within the West itself.  The rise of populism, the British vote against the EU, and the election of Donald Trump were all Russian goals, but their achievement reveals the vulnerability of Western societies.”).

[53] Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020. Citing, Anthony Fisher, Trump is not a fan of civil liberties, and Americans are more willing to give up their rights when they’re scared. Here’s why there’s reason to be concerned, regardless of what happens with Iran, Business Insider, January 4, 2020; Max Boot, This is how democracy dies – in full view of a public that couldn’t care less, Washington Post, February 15, 2020; Liora Lazarus, Brexit in the Supreme Court: when populists attack the rule of law, everyone loses, The Conversation, September 26, 2019; Hans Petter Graver, Judges Against Justice: On Judges When the Rule of Law is Under Attack, Springer, 2015. Also see, Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Tim Duggan Books, 2017.

[54] Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig, The Economic Determinants of the ‘Cultural Backlash’: Globalization and Attitudes in Western Europe, BAFFI Carefin Centre Research Paper No. 2018-91, Bocconi University, October 2018; Dalibor Rohac, Liz Kennedy and Vikram Singh, Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States, American Progress, May 10, 2018; Israel Butler, It’s Time for Some Answers on Populist Authoritarians, Liberties, December 6, 2018; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, August 2016; Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[55] Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[56] Frank Stronarch, Narrowing the gap between the rich and poor: The core challenge we face is how to create more wealth while at the same time ensuing that it is spread more evenly throughout the economy, National Post, July 18, 2023.

[57] Michael Adams, Ron Inglehart, and David Jamieson, The authoritarian reflex: Will it manifest in Canada?, June 14, 2019. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[58] Michael Adams, Ron Inglehart, and David Jamieson, The authoritarian reflex: Will it manifest in Canada?, June 14, 2019. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, Ex-PM Stephen Harper seeks closer ties with Hungary’s far-right leader Victor Orban, Toronto Star, July 6, 2023; Ian Bailey, Politics Briefing: Former prime minister Stephen Harper seeks closer ties between federal Conservative Party and Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Globe and Mail, July 6, 2023; Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, Ex-Pm Stephen Harper seeks closer ties with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, National Post, July 6, 2023.

[59] Dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news, Council of Europe (coe.int), 2018. Also see, Gabriel Sanchez, Keesha Middlemass, and Aila Rodriguez, Misinformation is eroding the public’s confidence in democracy, Brookings, July 26, 2022; How to identify misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Government of Canada (cyber.gc.ca), February 2022.

[60] Gary Mason, How truck convoy supporters like Pierre Poilievre have weaponized ‘freedom’, Globe and Mail, February 8, 2022; Alheli Picazo, How the alt-right weaponized free speech, Maclean’s, May 1, 2017; Annelien De Dijn, ‘Freedom’ Means Something Different to Liberals and Conservatives. Here’s How the Definitions Split – and Why That Still Matters, Time Magazine, August 25, 2020; Doug Cuthand, Freedom Convoy diminishing the word ‘freedom’, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, January 29, 2022; Wade Goodwyn, Alt-Right, White Nationalist, Free Speech: The Far Right’s Language Explained, NPR, June 4, 2017; Shree Paradkar, Convoy shows how the far right has co-opted concept of ‘freedom’, Toronto Star, February 12, 2022; Jason Vermes, Why the word ‘freedom’ is such a useful rallying cry for protestors, CBC, February 13, 2022; Ronald Brownstein, The Glaring Contradiction of Republican’s Rhetoric of Freedom, The Atlantic, July 8, 2022; Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[61] Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[62] Philip Petraglia, Comment: The rule of law is the answer to demagogues, Times Colonist, March 17, 2018. Also see, The Honourable Robert French, Judicial Review: Populism, the Rule of Law, Natural Justice and Judicial Independence, 2017 Sir Ronald Wilson Lecture, The Law Society of Western Australia, August 1, 2017; Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[63] Gabriel Sanchez, Keesha Middlemass, and Aila Rodriguez, Misinformation is eroding the public’s confidence in democracy, Brookings, July 26, 2022; Dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news, Council of Europe (coe.int), 2018; How to identify misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Government of Canada (cyber.gc.ca), February 2022; Cynthia Miller-Idriss, The dangerous Trump-blindness of Marjorie Taylor Greene: Greene’s denial of violent extremism means she must not be looking at any of the evidence, MSNBC, May 15, 2023 (“We’re facing a national crisis rooted in the rampant circulation of propaganda, dis- mis- and malinformation”).

[64] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, February 2022. Also see, . Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022.

[65] Kevin Douglas Grant, Understanding the Authoritarian’s Playbook: Tips for Journalists, Global Investigative Journalism Network, March 2, 2020;  Jennifer Dresden, Aaron Baird, and Ben Raderstorf, The Authoritarian Playbook, Protect Democracy, June 2022; Maria Stephan, The Global Far-Right Authoritarian Alliance Threatening US Democracy – and How to Weaken It, Just Security, June 29, 2023.

[66] Shree Paradkar, Convoy shows how the far right has co-opted concept of ‘freedom’, Toronto Star, February 12, 2022.

[67] Milan Svolik, Johanna Lutz, Filip Milacic, and Elena Avramovska, In Europe, Democracy Erodes from the Right, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 34, Issue 1, January 2023; Pippa Norris, Measuring Populism Worldwide, Party Politics, Vol. 26, Issue 6, 2020; Jasmine Turner, The Far Right and Democratic Erosion, Democratic Erosion, March 17, 2022; Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy, Yale University Press, 2006; Zack Beauchamp, The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts, Vox, March 1, 2021; Jan Olsen, Report: Authoritarianism on the Rise as Democracy Weakens, The Hill, November 30, 2022.

[68] Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022; Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022.

[69] Helen Lewis, How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?, Atlantic, May 2023:

“DeSantis is a politician who preaches freedom while suspending elected officials who offend him, banning classroom discussions he doesn’t like, carrying out hostile takeovers of state universities, and obstructing the release of public records whenever he can. …

The paradox of freedom, Florida style, is that it’s really an assertion of control. People like us should be free to do what we want, and free to stop other people from doing what they want when we don’t approve. …

The great DeSantis innovation has been to realize how much cover calculated outrage provides for rewarding cronies—and that the more you preach ‘freedom’, the more you can get away with authoritarianism.”

Jamelle Bouie, The Real Threat to Freedom Is Coming From the States, New York Times, May 26, 2023:

“Across the country, we are seeing sharp new limits on the rights and privileges of Americans. And despite a national mythology that ties the threat of tyranny to the machinations of a distant, central government, the actual threat to American freedom is coming from the states.

It is states that have stripped tens of millions of American women of their right to bodily autonomy, with disastrous consequences for their lives and health. It is states that have limited the right to travel freely if it means trying to obtain an abortion. It is states that have begun a crusade against the right to express one’s gender and sexuality, under the pretext of “protecting children.” It is states that are threatening to seize the children of parents who believe their kids need gender-affirming care. And it is states that have begun to renege on the promise of free and fair elections.

That it is states, and specifically state legislatures, that are the vanguard of a repressive turn in American life shouldn’t be a surprise. Americans have a long history with various forms of subnational authoritarianism: state and local tyrannies that sustained themselves through exclusion, violence and the political security provided by the federal structure of the American political system.

In many respects, the history of American political life is the story of the struggle to unravel those subnational units of oppression and establish a universal and inviolable grant of political and civil rights, backed by the force of the national government.”

In doing all this, we have, against the history and tradition of this country, begun to construct a robust set of universal rights — a baseline for political and civic equality that extends to every member of the political community and that binds the states as much as it does the federal government. When scholars and other observers of the American system say that we have been a fully functioning democracy only since the 1960s, this is what they mean. This work is far from over — there remains the question of positive economic rights, which have been under assault since they emerged during the Great Depression — but we have nonetheless built a conception of citizenship that was practically unimaginable for a large part of this nation’s history.

It is exactly this triumph that conservatives and reactionaries hope to reverse. The plan, as we have seen with abortion, is to unspool and untether those rights from the Constitution. It is to shrink and degrade the very notion of national citizenship and to leave us, once again, at the total mercy of the states. It is to place fundamental questions of political freedom and bodily autonomy into the hands of our local bullies and petty tyrants, whose whims they call ‘freedom’, whose urge to dominate they call ‘liberty’.”

[70] Shree Paradkar, Convoy shows how the far right has co-opted concept of ‘freedom’, Toronto Star, February 12, 2022; Annelien De Dijn, ‘Freedom’ Means Something Different to Liberals and Conservatives. Here’s How the Definitions Split – and Why That Still Matters, Time Magazine, August 25, 2020; Ronald Brownstein, The Glaring Contradiction of Republican’s Rhetoric of Freedom, The Atlantic, July 8, 2022; Wade Goodwyn, Alt-Right, White Nationalist, Free Speech: The Far Right’s Language Explained, NPR, June 4, 2017; Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[71] Alan Miller, How conspiratorial thinking is undermining democracy, and what we can do about it, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (thebulletin.org), December 12, 2022.

[72] Henry Giroux, Convoy Movement Isn’t a Struggle Over Freedom, It’s an Attempt to Kill Democracy: Anti-democratic forces like the trucker convoy are subverting the idea of freedom in service of right-wing extremism, TruthOut.org, February 12, 2022. See, Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022; Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022.

[73] Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022. Also see, Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022.

[74] Derek Thompson, America is a Rich Death Trap, Atlantic, September 7 2022; Roni Caryn Rabin, U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Again in ‘Historic’ Setback, New York Times, August 31, 2022; Elizabeth Arias, Ph.D., Betzaida Tejada-Vera, M.S., Kenneth D. Kochanek, M.A., and Farida B. Ahmad, M.P.H, Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021, Vital Statistics Rapid Release, August 2022.

[75] Henry Giroux, Convoy Movement Isn’t a Struggle Over Freedom, It’s an Attempt to Kill Democracy: Anti-democratic forces like the trucker convoy are subverting the idea of freedom in service of right-wing extremism, TruthOut.org, February 12, 2022. See, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, The dangerous Trump-blindness of Marjorie Taylor Greene: Greene’s denial of violent extremism means she must not be looking at any of the evidence, MSNBC, May 15, 2023; Alanna Durkin Richer, Explainer: Hundreds charged with crimes in Capitol attack, AP News, June 7, 2022; Associated Press, Proud Boys leader, members convicted of seditious conspiracy in U.S. Capitol attack, CBC News, May 4, 2023.

[76] Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022. Also see, Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022.

[77] Aaron Wherry, The political brawl over ‘woke’ is about everything and nothing, CBC News, May 12, 2023; Aja Romano, A history of ‘wokeness’ – Stay woke: How a Black activist watchword got co-opted in the culture war, Vox, October 9, 2020; Mabinty Quarshie, What is the meaning of ‘woke’? Once a term used by Black Americans, it’s now a rallying cry for GOP, USA Today, April 28, 2023:

“Among conservative lawmakers and activists ‘woke’ tends to be an across-the-board denunciation of progressive values and liberal initiatives.

Some have used it to attack trans and gay rights while others apply it to critical race theory – a legal theory that examines systemic racism as a part of American institutions – and the teachings of the New York Times’ 1619 project in public schools. …

But http://www.wowogallery.com/twd1r7k Black Americans have used the term ‘woke’ since at least the early-to-mid 20th century to mean being alert to racial and social injustice.

A version of the term was first used by Pan-African activist Marcus Garvey as early as 1923. It was later popularized by Blues artists such as Lead Belly, who used it when singing about the Scottsboro Boys, a group of nine Black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in northeast Alabama in 1931.

Buy Valium From China As the Black Lives Matter movement began after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, ‘woke’ expanded outside of Black communities into the larger public lexicon. …

Yet ‘woke’ has now been hijacked by the political right to mean something far from its original definition. … ‘What they’re trying to do is make the term a pejorative’, said Kendra Cotton, chief operating officer of New Georgia Project, a progressive-leaning voting rights group.  …

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible GOP presidential candidate, has built a persona crusading against ideas and policies conservatives deem as ‘woke’. In addition to championing the Stop WOKE Act, he has stated that the Sunshine state is ‘where woke goes to die’.  

Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, a political scientist at George Mason University and co-author of the book ‘Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter’, said the legislation is ‘perhaps the most explicit way we see the co-optation of the term ‘woke’ today’.  Right now, we’re seeing racially conservative pundits and politicians positioning themselves as adversaries of the multiracial Black Lives Matter movement’, said Lopez Bunyasi. ‘One of the rhetorical tools they are using is the maligning of a term that has been in use by Black people and in Black politics for well over a hundred years’. …

What’s telling is that despite the conservative backlash most Americans don’t view “woke” negatively heading into the 2024 presidential contest.”

Buy Xanax In Mexico A March 2023 USA Today/Ipsos Poll found that 56% of Americans said it means ‘to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices’.

But the efforts to re-define ‘woke’ have worked with a significant portion of the country. Roughly 39% of those surveyed agree with the Republican definition, ’to be overly politically correct and police others’ words’.”

[78] See, Steve Benen, In the fight with the GOP over ‘freedom’, Dems like their chances, MSNBC, April 25, 2023; Jason Vermes, Why the word ‘freedom’ is such a useful rallying cry for protestors, CBC February 13, 2022. Also see, Michael Franklin, Danielle Smith comments suggest she wants ‘freedoms’ like DeSantis and Noem, CTV News, April 28, 2023; Tyler Dawson, What is Take Back Alberta? What you need to know about ‘pro-freedom’ conservative group, Calgary Herald, April 16, 2023; Leah Gazan, Pierre Poilievre is a fake freedom fighter: Why would someone promising the ‘freest nation on earth’ be so eager to restrict our reproductive health, who we love and our ability to organize?, Toronto Star, September 18, 2022; Gary Mason, Can Alberta take four more years of Danielle Smith?, Globe and Mail, May 2, 2023:

“ Ms. Smith herself is publicly singing the praises of hard-right politicians, like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, for creating “little bastions of freedom” in their states – ones she’d like to replicate in Alberta. Ah yes – that little anti-gay, book-banning bastion of freedom: Florida.”

[79] Zeeshan Aleem, What Trump’s claim that he’s over the term ‘woke’ reveals, MSNBC, June 2, 2023. Also see, Aaron Wherry, The political brawl over ‘woke’ is about everything and nothing, CBC News, May 12, 2023; Mabinty Quarshie, What is the meaning of ‘woke’? Once a term used by Black Americans, it’s now a rallying cry for GOP, USA Today, April 28, 2023; Aja Romano, A history of ‘wokeness’ – Stay woke: How a Black activist watchword got co-opted in the culture war, Vox, October 9, 2020.

[80] Gary Mason, How truck convoy supporters like Pierre Poilievre have weaponized ‘freedom’, Globe and Mail, February 8, 2022.

[81] John Ibbitson, Pierre Poilievre may be on his way to becoming Prime Minister, Globe and Mail, May 12, 2023; Aaron Wherry, If there’s a tug-of-war over conservatism, only one side is really pulling, CBC News, May 20, 2023; Mickey Djuric, Poilievre’s Conservative party embracing language of mainstream conspiracy theories, Toronto Star, August 13, 2023; David Moscrop, Canada’s Conservatives need to take a harder line on the far right, Washington Post, January 28, 2021; Leyland Cecco, Canada: key Conservative says party risks takeover by far-right ‘lunatics’, Guardian, March 25, 2022; Trevor Harrison, Are Conservatives becoming Canada’s Trump Republicans?, Edmonton Journal, February 2, 2022; Shannon Proudfoot, Pierre Poilievre and colleagues sniff out a scandal that doesn’t exist – and they know it, Globe and Mail, August 18, 2023:

“It’s a good thing Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and his colleagues have courageously called out the media collusion racket. … But of course none of this should be taken at face value. … Spin or outright lies are just smart strategy because hey, we’re playing a competitive sport here. Objective truth is nothing more than a construct – or a scam for suckers.”

[82] Andrew Coyne, Where would Poilievre take the Conservatives? Not to the far right, but the far out, Globe and Mail, August 12, 2022.

[83] Editorial Board, A highly contagious political virus is pouring over the Canada-U.S. Border, Globe and Mail, August 17, 2022. Also see, Steve Benen, Trump’s condemnations of the FBI reach a startling new level: As Donald Trump accuses federal law enforcement of committing ‘atrocities’ and ‘destroying’ the U.S., there’s no modern precedent for rhetoric like this, MSNBC, August 22, 2022; Zack Beauchamp, Trump is pushing us toward the abyss: His conspiracy theories about the FBI search have spawned a GOP assault on the legitimacy of the American state – and set the stage for violence, Vox, August 12, 2022.

[84] Gary Mason, How truck convoy supporters like Pierre Poilievre have weaponized ‘freedom’, Globe and Mail, February 8, 2022. Also see, Les Whittington, Canadians should look closely at U.S. shambles before endorsing Poilievre’s Republican-style populism, Hill Times, April 26, 2023; Althia Raj, Pierre Poilievre offers right-wing populism to the Conservatives. Will they take him up on it?, Toronto Star, March 1, 2022.

[85] David Moscrop, Canadian Conservatives Are Leaning Into Their Own Brand of Identity Politics, Jacobin, October 21, 2022.

[86] Tristin Hopper, Surging support for Conservatives now has Poilievre in sight of a majority, National Post, August 8, 2023; Stephanie Levitz, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals see lowest approval rating since they formed government, poll shows, Toronto Star, August 9, 2023.

[87] Andrew Coyne, The Trudeau government is choosing to shift responsibility, rather than fix public trust, Globe and Mail, May 30, 2023; Editorial Board, Parliament has spoken: We need an independent public inquiry, Globe and Mail, May 24, 2023; Robin Sears, Justin Trudeau imperils his career with continued bad judgment, Toronto Star, May 24, 2023:

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently shown poor judgment. From his blackface performances in his youth — remember that was in the 1990s not the 1950s — to believing that no one could object to his using the Aga Khan’s helicopter to take his family to a private island, to his decision to duck a public inquiry on unacceptable interference with the lives of Canadians and their democracy by the egregious Chinese Communist Party. …

Friends and advisers often try to warn him off his more bizarre failures of judgment — but fail too often. Having gotten away with his staggering lack of responsibility so often, he thinks he will get away with it one more time. … I am doubtful. …

Trudeau … has fallen for a strategic blunder that .. will leech pubic support for this prime minister and his government inexorably, until it throws in the towel and accepts the inevitable inquiry, or until it faces defeat in the House.”

Also see: Jessica Mundie, Foreign interference is the ‘greatest strategic threat’ facing Canada’s national security, CSIS says, CBC News, March 17, 2023.

[88] John Ivison, Poilievre looks poised on the surface. Underneath, he’s paddling like hell, National Post, June 19, 2023 (“there is a broad desire for change, but that one-third of voters who want to dump Trudeau are not comfortable with the alternatives”); Letters to Editor, Conservative contrarians plus other letters, May 19: ‘Pierre Poilievre has decided to pander … leaving those of us disgusted by Justin Trudeau without a clear option’, Globe and Mail, May 19, 2023:

“This describes a process that has overtaken many of my acquaintances. However, polling has shown that conspiracy theorists are still a small minority in this country.

Unfortunately for centrist conservatives, Pierre Poilievre has decided to pander to this segment of the population, leaving those of us disgusted by Justin Trudeau without a clear option for the next election.

At the moment, I feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Without leadership change in either of our major parties, many Canadians may be faced with a difficult choice come next election. 

James Nightingale Delta, B.C.”

[89] Alex Ballingall, Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives widen their lead over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals with vast majority of Canadians wanting change, poll suggests, Toronto Star, June 13, 2023; John Ibbitson, Pierre Poilievre may be on his way to becoming Prime Minister, Globe and Mail, May 12, 2023.

[90] Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, Ex-PM Stephen Harper seeks closer ties with Hungary’s far-right leader Victor Orban, Toronto Star, July 6, 2023. Also see, Ian Bailey, Politics Briefing: Former prime minister Stephen Harper seeks closer ties between federal Conservative Party and Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Globe and Mail, July 6, 2023; Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, Ex-Pm Stephen Harper seeks closer ties with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, National Post, July 6, 2023.

[91] Pippa Norris, Measuring Populism Worldwide, Party Politics, Vol. 26, Issue 6, 2020; Zack Beauchamp, The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts, Vox, March 1, 2021. Also see, Antonio Fins, GOP says deep red Florida unwinnable for Biden. But can state help him win voters elsewhere?: Florida’s reputation as the nation’s Petri dish for MAGA laws and public policy, Democrats say, is exactly what will help them win over independent voters in critical swing states, USA Today, May 19, 2023;  Sara Boboltz, Tampa Pride Event Canceled Over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws: Florida just enacted a slew of new restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights, Huffington Post, May 18, 2023; Helen Lewis, How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?, Atlantic, May 2023:

“DeSantis is a politician who preaches freedom while suspending elected officials who offend him, banning classroom discussions he doesn’t like, carrying out hostile takeovers of state universities, and obstructing the release of public records whenever he can. …

The paradox of freedom, Florida style, is that it’s really an assertion of control. People like us should be free to do what we want, and free to stop other people from doing what they want when we don’t approve. …

The great DeSantis innovation has been to realize how much cover calculated outrage provides for rewarding cronies—and that the more you preach ‘freedom’, the more you can get away with authoritarianism.”

[92] Don Braid, The premier touts American politicians as models for making Alberta free, Calgary Herald, April 28, 2023; Michael Franklin, Danielle Smith comments suggest she wants ‘freedoms’ like DeSantis and Noem, CTV News, April 28, 2023; Gary Mason, Can Alberta take four more years of Danielle Smith?, Globe and Mail, May 2, 2023:

“ Ms. Smith herself is publicly singing the praises of hard-right politicians, like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, for creating “little bastions of freedom” in their states – ones she’d like to replicate in Alberta. Ah yes – that little anti-gay, book-banning bastion of freedom: Florida.”

[93] Jack McCordick, NAACP Tells Black Americans, Others To Avoid Ron DeSantis’s Florida, Vanity Fair, May 21, 2023; Nicole Narea, Florida is too dangerous to visit, civil rights groups warn: The NAACP is the latest to issue a travel advisory for Florida because of Ron DeSantis’s policies, Vox, May 22, 2023.

[94] Associated Press, Largest LGBTQ group in U.S. warns about travel to Florida, CBC News, May 23, 2023.

[95] Editorial Board, Donald Trump has profoundly wounded American democracy. Canada must not follow that path, Toronto Star, August 9, 2023.

[96] Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche, Combating Populism, CNAS (Center for a New American Security), March 2020. Also see, Also see, Dalibor Rohac, Liz Kennedy and Vikram Singh, Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States, American Progress, May 10, 2018; Israel Butler, It’s Time for Some Answers on Populist Authoritarians, Liberties, December 6, 2018; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge University Press, 2019; Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, August 2016.

[97] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[98] Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023.

[99] Jason Vermes, Why the word ‘freedom’ is such a useful rallying cry for protestors, CBC, February 13, 2022.

[100] Robert Misik, Today’s far right and the echoes from history, International Politics and Society Journal, January 9, 2023; Owen Jones, Far-right violence is on the rise. Where is the outrage?, Guardian, August 22, 2019.

[101] Gary Mason, A dangerous rage is sweeping the land, Globe and Mail, August 4, 2022; Timm Bruch, Alberta premier poses for photo with protestors charged in Ottawa convoy, CTV News, April 27, 2023; Michael Harris, Poilievre’s Big Bet on Convoy-Loving Politics: A deep dive into how Conservatives stole from Trump’s playbook. And the risks it poses for the party and Canada, The Tyee, April 5, 2023; Canadian Conservatives elect ‘right-wing populist’ Pierre Poilievre to lead fight against Justin Trudeau, CBS News, September 12, 2022:

“Canada’s opposition Conservative Party elected its go-to attack dog as its new party leader Saturday. Pierre Poilievre is a firebrand populist who opposes vaccine mandates and … embraced Canadians who were against vaccine mandates and supported the freedom truck convoy that paralyzed Canada’s capital and blockaded the border with the U.S.”

[102] Alexander Panetta, Ottawa protest inspires talk of copycat convoys in U.S. and beyond, CBC News, February 8, 2022 (“… There are now pandemic-related truck convoys planned in all 27 European capitals, New Zealand and elsewhere in the U.S. …. We’ve imported language and money for the event from Americans.”).

[103] Marsha McLeod and Marieke Walsh, Trudeau’s use of Emergencies Act was appropriate, inquiry finds, Globe and Mail, February 17, 2023; Stephanie Taylor and David Fraser, Liberal’s decision to invoke Emergencies Act justified, but ‘regrettable’ it happened, Toronto Star, February 17, 2023. Also see, Aaron Wherry, Conservatives hitch their wagons to the convoy protest without knowing where it’s going, CBC News, February 1, 2022; Rachel Gilmore, Poilievre leads march of convoy protestors beside man with far-right extremist ties, Global News, June 30, 2022; Michael Harris, Poilievre’s Big Bet on Convoy-Loving Politics, The Tyee, April 5, 2023.

[104] Susan Delacourt, ‘Freedom’ has been a weaponized word. The Emergencies Act report finally tells us what it means, Toronto Star, February 17, 2023.

[105] Susan Delacourt, America’s far right is operating in Canada. Why don’t we consider that foreign interference?, Toronto Star, July 2, 2023. Also see, Michael Kempa, The Freedom Convoy: Transporting the Dark Politics of the Far Right Across Canada, Cormorant Books, February 25, 2024; James Menzies, The so-called Freedom Convoy was never about truckers, or border mandates, TruckNews.com, January 30, 2022; Mark Scott, Ottawa truckers’ convoy galvanizes far-right worldwide, Politico, February 6, 2022.

[106] Mauricio Albarracin-Caballero, How Targeting LGBTO+ Rights Are Part of the Authoritarian Playbook, Human Rights Watch, September 6, 2022; Dallas Ducar, Don’t Believe the Propaganda. The Right Hates Personal Liberty, Newsweek, July 4, 2023.

[107] Mauricio Albarracin-Caballero, How Targeting LGBTO+ Rights Are Part of the Authoritarian Playbook, Human Rights Watch, September 6, 2022; Ari Shaw, What Anti-LGBT Politics in the U.S. Means for Democracy at Home and Abroad, UCLA Williams Institute School of Law (williaminstitute.law.ucla.edu), June 2022; International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia: Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, European Council (consilium.europa.eu), May 16, 2023; Jonathan Montpetit, How the American anti-LBBTQ hate machine is posing a threat to Canadians, CBC News, November 27, 2022; Hadeel Ibrahim, Civil liberties group concerned about ‘domino effect’ of LGBTQ-protection policy review, CBC News, June 8, 2023; Rachel Aiello, Facing calls to act, Canadian lawmakers note ‘rising tide’ of hate and violence against LGBTQ2S+ community, CTV News, May 17 2023; Matt Lavietes, Biden warns of ‘rising hate and violence’ against LGBTQ people, May 17, 2022; LBBT tolerance ‘going backwards’ as hate crimes up, BBC News, February 4, 2022; Shibu Thomas, Victoria Records Spike In Gay-Hate Crimes in 2020, Star Observer (starobsever.com.au), March 29, 2021; Combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe, Parliamentary Assembly (assembly.coe.int), Council of Europe, September 27, 2021.

[108] Mauricio Albarracin-Caballero, How Targeting LGBTO+ Rights Are Part of the Authoritarian Playbook, Human Rights Watch, September 6, 2022; Ari Shaw, What Anti-LGBT Politics in the U.S. Means for Democracy at Home and Abroad, UCLA Williams Institute School of Law (williaminstitute.law.ucla.edu), June 2022; International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia: Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, European Council (consilium.europa.eu), May 16, 2023; Jonathan Montpetit, How the American anti-LBBTQ hate machine is posing a threat to Canadians, CBC News, November 27, 2022; Hadeel Ibrahim, Civil liberties group concerned about ‘domino effect’ of LGBTQ-protection policy review, CBC News, June 8, 2023; Rachel Aiello, Facing calls to act, Canadian lawmakers not ‘rising tide’ of hate and violence against LGBTQ2S+ community, CTV News, May 17 2023; Brigitte Pellerin, Reintroduce hat crime legislation: The CBA urges the federal government to introduce legislation to combat the recent rise in hatred, especially against members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, CBA National, July 4, 2023; Matt Lavietes, Biden warns of ‘rising hate and violence’ against LGBTQ people, May 17, 2022; LBBT tolerance ‘going backwards’ as hate crimes up, BBC News, February 4, 2022; Shibu Thomas, Victoria Records Spike In Gay-Hate Crimes in 2020, Star Observer (starobsever.com.au), March 29, 2021; Combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe, Parliamentary Assembly (assembly.coe.int), Council of Europe, September 27, 2021.

[109] Andrew Chung, US Supreme Court deals blow to LGBT rights in web designer case, Reuters, June 30, 2023. Also see, Belen Fernandez, SCOTUS is ramping up oppression in ‘the land of the free’, Aljazeera.com, July 2, 2023; Jasmine Wright, Buttigieg says Supreme Court case was designed for ‘clear purpose of chipping away’ at LGBTQ equality, CNN, July 2, 2023; Philip Elliott, The Supreme Court Just Made Same-Sex Marriage More Vulnerable to a Challenge, Time, June 30, 2023. Paul Blumenthal, The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Continues Its Work Rolling Back the 20th Century, Huffington Post, June 30, 2023.

[110] Graeme Keirstead K.C.’s Post, LinkedIn, July 2023, Comment to Canadian Bar Association’s post “Reintroduce hate crime legislation”. See, Brigitte Pellerin, Reintroduce hat crime legislation: The CBA urges the federal government to introduce legislation to combat the recent rise in hatred, especially against members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, CBA National, July 4, 2023.

[111] Philip Elliott, The Supreme Court Just Made Same-Sex Marriage More Vulnerable to a Challenge, Time, June 30, 2023; Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022; Rebecca Cohen, Madison Hall, and Oma Seddiq, Justice Thomas says the Supreme Court should ‘reconsider’ rulings that protect access to contraception and same-sex marriage as the court overturns Roe v. Wade, Insider, June 24, 2022.

[112] Mauricio Albarracin-Caballero, How Targeting LGBTO+ Rights Are Part of the Authoritarian Playbook, Human Rights Watch, September 6, 2022; Dallas Ducar, Don’t Believe the Propaganda. The Right Hates Personal Liberty, Newsweek, July 4, 2023; Ari Shaw, The global assault on LGBTQ rights undermines democracy, Chathan House, June 2, 2023. Also see, Hadeel Ibrahim, Minister broke promise to not roll back LGBTQ rights, advocates say, CBC News, June 9, 2023; Natalie Stechyson, As New Brunswick changes its LGBTQ policy in schools, advocates worry it’s just the beginning, CBC News, June 28, 2023; Arthur White-Crummey, Poilievre tells Trudeau to ‘butt out’ of New Brunswick’s policy on LGBTQ students, CBC News, June 27, 2023.

[113] Belen Fernandez, SCOTUS is ramping up oppression in ‘the land of the free’, Aljazeera.com, July 2, 2023. Also see, Jasmine Wright, Buttigieg says Supreme Court case was designed for ‘clear purpose of chipping away’ at LGBTQ equality, CNN, July 2, 2023; Philip Elliott, The Supreme Court Just Made Same-Sex Marriage More Vulnerable to a Challenge, Time, June 30, 2023.

[114] See, Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022. Also see, Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022; Sam Tanenhaus, Jan. 6 wasn’t an insurrection. It was vigilantism. And more is coming: The attackers thought they were restoring liberty – for them – not subverting democracy, Washington Post, December 10, 2021; Jennifer De Pinto, A look at how Americans have viewed the Jan. 6 Capitol attack – CBS News poll analysis, June 9, 2022 (“Nearly half of Republicans have said what happened at the Capitol was patriotism, and a majority of them have described it as protecting freedom”); Tyler Stovall, White freedom invades the US Capitol, Princeton University Press, February 3, 2021. Also see, Jack Hatch and David Balducchi, Make Jan. 6 a time to celebrate upholding freedom, not undermining it, Des Moines Register, December 21, 2021.

[115] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, February 2022; Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022. Also see for example: Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; John Ibbitson, Democracy at stake as incidents and threats of violence are levelled against elected officials, Globe and Mail, October 18, 2021; David French, The Growing Danger of Political Violence Threatens to Destabilize America, Time, October 14, 2020; Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise of Political Violence in the United States, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 32, Issue 4, 2021; Joan Greve and Lauren Gambino, US faces new era of political violence as threats against lawmakers rise, Guardian, July 31, 2022; Ja’han Jones, GOP candidate says nation’s top cop should be executed (then says he’s kidding), MSNBC, August 19, 2022; Chris McGreal, US political violence is surging, but talk of a civil war is exaggerated – isn’t it?, Guardian, August 20, 2022; Jenn Jefferys, Canada needs to brace itself for the next chapter of far-right extremism, Macleans, April 15, 2021; Jim Bronskill, Intelligence report flagged possible ‘violent revenge’ after Ottawa shutdown, CBC News, August 17, 2022; David Fraser, QAnon-inspired protest leads to special investigation into arrest, CBC News, August 18, 2022; The Resilience of Online Right-Wing Extremism in Canada, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, July 20, 2021; Rachel Gilmore, How close is too close to the far-right? Why some experts are worried about Canada’s MPs, Global News, July 7, 2022; Bob Hepburn, Pierre Poilievre is Canada’s most dangerous appalling politician, Toronto Star, June 29, 2022; Bruce Arthur, Pierre Poilievre will say just about anything – opening the door to anger, conspiracies and extremism, Toronto Star, May 11, 2022; Elizabeth Thompson, Threat of violent extremism rising in Canada, MPs told, CBC News, May 12, 2022; Annelies Pauwels, Contemporary manifestations of violent right-wing extremism in the EU: An overview, European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021; Vikram Dodd, Terrorism in the UK: the rising threat of far-right extremists, Guardian, May 16, 2022; Diane Liang, The transnational element of right-wing extremism in Australia, Strategist (Australian Strategic Policy Institute), May 19, 2022; Heather Ashby, Far-Right Extremism Is a Global Problem: And it is time to treat it like one, Foreign Policy, January 15, 2021; Daniel Byman, Terrorism and the threat to democracy, Brookings, February 2019; John Schwarmantel, Democracy and Political Violence, Edinburgh University Press, 2011. Also see for example reference to far-right extremism and ties to police, military, legal and political institutions: Mark Townsend, Growing ‘culture of extremism’ among UK and European police forces, report warns, Guardian, July 10, 2022; Michael German, Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement, Brennan Center for Justice, August 27, 2020; Seth Jones, Catrina Doxsee, and Grace Hwang, The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States, Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 12, 2021; Hassan Kanu, Prevalence of white supremacists in law enforcement demands drastic change, Reuters, May 12, 2022; Hon. Hohn McKay, Chair, Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, June 2021; Alex Boutilier, Public safety minister acknowledges threat of white supremacist infiltration to Canada’s police forces, Toronto Star, June 25, 2021; Dark Money and the Courts: The Right-Wing Takeover of the Judiciary, American Constitution Society, acslaw.org – referencing: Caroline Fredrickson and Lisa Graves, On Dark Money and the Right’s Judicial ‘Revival’, Law.com, May 31, 2019; Robert O’Harrow Jr and Shawn Boburg, A conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts, Washington Post, May 21, 2019; Jamal Greene, Trump’s Judge Whisperer Promised to Take Our Laws Back to the 1930s, Slate, May 27, 2019.

[116] Marshall Cohen, Chronicling Trump’s 10 worst abuses of power, CNN, January 24, 2021.

[117] Peter Wehner, Republicans Own This Insurrection: Responsibility for the storming of the Capitol extends well beyond Trump, The Atlantic, January 7, 2021; Kimberly Dozier and Vera Bergengruen, Incited by the President, Trump Supporters Violently Storm the Capital, Time, January 6, 2021; Julian Borger, MAGA mob’s Capitol invasion makes Trump’s assault on democracy literal, Guardian, January 6, 2021; Allan Smith, Ginger Gibson, Daniel Arkin, Pete Williams, and Dartunorro Clark, 4 dead, Congress evacuated, National Guard activated after pro-Trump rioters storm capital: A noose was erected outside and at least one improvised explosive device has been found on the grounds, law enforcement officials said, NBC News, January 6, 2021 (updated January 7, 2021); Jacqueline Thomsen, ‘Inciting a Riot’: Legal Community Erupts in Calls for Trump’s Removal as Mob Storms Capitol: The takeover of the building forced the evacuation of lawmakers, staffers and members of the press, The National Law Journal, January 6, 2021; Colby Itkowitz and Paulina Firozi, Democrats, Republicans blame Trump for inciting ‘coup’ as mob storms Capitol, Washington Post, January 6, 2021; Amanda Macias, Mattis blames Trump for violence at Capitol, says his actions ‘poison our respect for fellow citizens’, CNBC, January 6, 2021;  Dan Spinelli and Abigail Weinberg, Liveblog: Trump Incites Violent Insurrection on Capitol Hill – ‘This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection’, Mother Jones, January 6, 2021; Editorial Board, Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed, Washington Post, January 6, 2021; Lisa Mascrao, Eric Tucker, and Mary Clare Jalonick, Pro-Trump mob storms U.S. Capitol in bid to overturn election, CTV News, January 6, 2021; Trump’s supporters storm the Capitol to block the transfer of power: The mayhem is unlike any in living memory, The Economist, January 6, 2021; Trump’s legacy – the shame and the opportunity, The Economist, January 7, 2021; Kevin Liptak, Trump’s presidency ends with American carnage, CNN, January 6, 2021; Matt Egan, Trump should be removed from office to preserve democracy, business leaders say, CNN Business, January 6, 2021; Eliza Relman, World leaders and top US allies condemn Trump and his supporters violent attempted coup, Business Insider, January 6, 2021; Mark Gollom, Lawmakers, world leaders condemn chaos at the U.S. Capitol while some call for Trump’s removal, CBC News, January 6, 2021; Daniel Kreps, ‘Deeply Disturbing and Alarming’: World Leaders Condemn MAGA Insurrection, Rolling Stone, January 6, 2021; Kathleen Harris, Trudeau says ‘shocking’ riot in Washington was incited by Trump, CBC News, January 8, 2021; Grace Panetta, Biden calls the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol an ‘insurrection’ and ‘domestic terrorism’, Business Insider, January 7, 2021; Stephen Losey, ‘We are in danger of losing our republic’ Air Force strategy chief says in wake of Capitol attack, Air Force Times, January 7, 2021; Oliver Darcy, Right-wing media gathered the tinder. Trump just lit it on fire, CNN, January 6, 2021; Kevin Baron, How Will Biden’s Pentagon Handle Extreme Right-Wing Media: The Capitol riot was just the latest tell for propaganda outlets masquerading as newsrooms, Defense One, January 1, 2021. Also see re military / law enforcement, Mitch Prothero, Some among America’s military allies believe Trump deliberately attempted a coup and may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials, Business Insider, January 7, 2021; Robert Burns, All 10 living former defence secretaries issue Trump extraordinary warning over election fraud claims, Globe and Mail, January 3, 2021; Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld, All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory, Washington Post, January 3, 2021; America’s former defence secretaries sound the alarm over Trump: The president’s desperate effort to overturn the election raises fears that he will try to suborn the armed forces, The Economist, January 4, 2021; Peter Feaver, The Military Stayed Out of the Insurrection, but It Isn’t Over Yet, Foreign Policy, January 7, 2021; Geoff Colvin, Retired brigadier general says Trump loyalists in military need rooting out: ‘We’re probably talking about thousands across the Department of Defense’, Fortune, January 8, 2021; Debra Thompson, The insurrection in Washington shows police decide who to protect and serve, Globe and Mail, January 8, 2021; Peter Nickeas, Annie Grayer, and Ryan Nobles, 2 Capitol Police officers suspended and at least 10 more under investigation for alleged roles in riot, CNN, January 11, 2021; Ryan Pickrell, A veteran in Congress asked the military to make sure troops deploying to Biden’s inauguration are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists after Capitol siege, Business Insider, January 11, 2021; Jessica Pishko, Sheriffs Helped Lead This Insurrection: Sheriffs play a key role in right-wing white supremacist movements, Slate, January 15, 2021.

[118] Congress has impeached Donald Trump for his incitement of a mob attack on the Capitol, The Economist, January 16, 2021; Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick, McConnell says Trump ‘provoked’ U.S. Capitol siege, mob was ‘fed lies’, Globe and Mail, January 19, 2021; Andrew Desiderio, McConnell says Trump ‘provoked’ the Capitol attackers: ‘The mob was fed lies’, the majority leader says, Politico, January 19, 2021. Also see, Tim Naftali, The Worst President in History, The Atlantic, January 19, 2021 (“President Trump … held to account by voters for his failures, he refused to concede defeat and instead instigated an insurrection, stirring a mob that stormed the Capitol”.).

[119] Peter Wehner, Republicans Own This Insurrection: Responsibility for the storming of the Capitol extends well beyond Trump, The Atlantic, January 7, 2021; Kimberly Dozier and Vera Bergengruen, Incited by the President, Trump Supporters Violently Storm the Capital, Time, January 6, 2021; Julian Borger, MAGA mob’s Capitol invasion makes Trump’s assault on democracy literal, Guardian, January 6, 2021; Allan Smith, Ginger Gibson, Daniel Arkin, Pete Williams, and Dartunorro Clark, 4 dead, Congress evacuated, National Guard activated after pro-Trump rioters storm capital: A noose was erected outside and at least one improvised explosive device has been found on the grounds, law enforcement officials said, NBC News, January 6, 2021 (updated January 7, 2021); Jacqueline Thomsen, ‘Inciting a Riot’: Legal Community Erupts in Calls for Trump’s Removal as Mob Storms Capitol: The takeover of the building forced the evacuation of lawmakers, staffers and members of the press, The National Law Journal, January 6, 2021; Colby Itkowitz and Paulina Firozi, Democrats, Republicans blame Trump for inciting ‘coup’ as mob storms Capitol, Washington Post, January 6, 2021; Amanda Macias, Mattis blames Trump for violence at Capitol, says his actions ‘poison our respect for fellow citizens’, CNBC, January 6, 2021;  Dan Spinelli and Abigail Weinberg, Liveblog: Trump Incites Violent Insurrection on Capitol Hill – ‘This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection’, Mother Jones, January 6, 2021; Editorial Board, Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed, Washington Post, January 6, 2021; Lisa Mascrao, Eric Tucker, and Mary Clare Jalonick, Pro-Trump mob storms U.S. Capitol in bid to overturn election, CTV News, January 6, 2021; Trump’s supporters storm the Capitol to block the transfer of power: The mayhem is unlike any in living memory, The Economist, January 6, 2021; Trump’s legacy – the shame and the opportunity, The Economist, January 7, 2021; Kevin Liptak, Trump’s presidency ends with American carnage, CNN, January 6, 2021; Matt Egan, Trump should be removed from office to preserve democracy, business leaders say, CNN Business, January 6, 2021; Eliza Relman, World leaders and top US allies condemn Trump and his supporters violent attempted coup, Business Insider, January 6, 2021; Mark Gollom, Lawmakers, world leaders condemn chaos at the U.S. Capitol while some call for Trump’s removal, CBC News, January 6, 2021; Daniel Kreps, ‘Deeply Disturbing and Alarming’: World Leaders Condemn MAGA Insurrection, Rolling Stone, January 6, 2021; Kathleen Harris, Trudeau says ‘shocking’ riot in Washington was incited by Trump, CBC News, January 8, 2021; Grace Panetta, Biden calls the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol an ‘insurrection’ and ‘domestic terrorism’, Business Insider, January 7, 2021; Stephen Losey, ‘We are in danger of losing our republic’ Air Force strategy chief says in wake of Capitol attack, Air Force Times, January 7, 2021; Oliver Darcy, Right-wing media gathered the tinder. Trump just lit it on fire, CNN, January 6, 2021; Kevin Baron, How Will Biden’s Pentagon Handle Extreme Right-Wing Media: The Capitol riot was just the latest tell for propaganda outlets masquerading as newsrooms, Defense One, January 1, 2021. Also see re military / law enforcement, Mitch Prothero, Some among America’s military allies believe Trump deliberately attempted a coup and may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials, Business Insider, January 7, 2021; Robert Burns, All 10 living former defence secretaries issue Trump extraordinary warning over election fraud claims, Globe and Mail, January 3, 2021; Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld, All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory, Washington Post, January 3, 2021; America’s former defence secretaries sound the alarm over Trump: The president’s desperate effort to overturn the election raises fears that he will try to suborn the armed forces, The Economist, January 4, 2021; Peter Feaver, The Military Stayed Out of the Insurrection, but It Isn’t Over Yet, Foreign Policy, January 7, 2021; Geoff Colvin, Retired brigadier general says Trump loyalists in military need rooting out: ‘We’re probably talking about thousands across the Department of Defense’, Fortune, January 8, 2021; Debra Thompson, The insurrection in Washington shows police decide who to protect and serve, Globe and Mail, January 8, 2021; Peter Nickeas, Annie Grayer, and Ryan Nobles, 2 Capitol Police officers suspended and at least 10 more under investigation for alleged roles in riot, CNN, January 11, 2021; Ryan Pickrell, A veteran in Congress asked the military to make sure troops deploying to Biden’s inauguration are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists after Capitol siege, Business Insider, January 11, 2021; Jessica Pishko, Sheriffs Helped Lead This Insurrection: Sheriffs play a key role in right-wing white supremacist movements, Slate, January 15, 2021.

[120] Adrian Morrow, Trump indicted by grand jury for plot to overturn 2020 election, inciting Jan. 6 mob, Globe and Mail, August 2, 2023. Also see, Gideon Rachman, Trump and American democracy’s time of trial, Financial Times, August 2, 2023; Peter Baker, Trump’s Case Has Broad Implications for American Democracy, New York Times, August 1, 2023; Noah Feldman, Trump Indictment Defends America’s Battered Democracy, Washington Post, August 2, 2023; Stephen Collinson, Why Trump’s latest indictment will reverberate for years to come, CNN, August 2, 2023; Alexander Panetta, The Jan. 6 case against Trump: He knew he was lying, CBC News, August 1, 2023.

[121] Jack Hatch and David Balducchi, Make Jan. 6 a time to celebrate upholding freedom, not undermining it, Des Moines Register, December 21, 2021.

[122] Jennifer De Pinto, A look at how Americans have viewed the Jan. 6 Capitol attack – CBS News poll analysis, June 9, 2022. Also see, Sam Tanenhaus, Jan. 6 wasn’t an insurrection. It was vigilantism. And more is coming: The attackers thought they were restoring liberty – for them – not subverting democracy, Washington Post, December 10, 2021; Elisabeth Anker, The Exploitation of ‘Freedom’ in America, New York Times, February 4, 2022; Elisabeth Anker, Ugly Freedoms, Duke University Press, 2022.

[123] See for example, Martin Puchner, How subtle changes in language helped erode U.S. democracy – and mirrored the Nazi era, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2021; Oliver Darcy, Dark and sinister rhetoric drenches right-wing media amid Trump indictments, CNN, August 3, 2023; Wynn Coates, The Language of Authoritarian Populism, Los Angeles Review of Books, November 1, 2021.

[124] David Neiwert, The Age of Insurrection: The Radical Right’s Assault on American Democracy, Melville House, 2023; David Neiwert, How Wingnuts Made Violent Extremism the New Normal, Daily Beast, July 4, 2023. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022.

[125] Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022.

[126] Editorial, It’s all about you and everyone around you, Riverdale Press, September 5, 2021. Also see, Shambhavi Ravishankar, My rights end where yours begin, Rediff.com, March 6, 2017;  Barbara Pfeffer Billauer, Where One Man’s Freedom Ends …: What are the boundaries of individual freedoms? Are there limits to our liberty? Does a pandemic change the calculus?, American Council on Science and health, August 30, 2021.

[127] Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise in Political Violence in the United States and Damage to Our Democracy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: March 31, 2022 Testimony – Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital, March 31, 2022.

[128] Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise in Political Violence in the United States and Damage to Our Democracy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: March 31, 2022 Testimony – Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital, March 31, 2022; Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise of Political Violence in the United States, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 32, Issue 4, October 2021. Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021. Also see for example: John Ibbitson, Democracy at stake as incidents and threats of violence are levelled against elected officials, Globe and Mail, October 18, 2021; David French, The Growing Danger of Political Violence Threatens to Destabilize America, Time, October 14, 2020; Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise of Political Violence in the United States, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 32, Issue 4, 2021; Joan Greve and Lauren Gambino, US faces new era of political violence as threats against lawmakers rise, Guardian, July 31, 2022; Ja’han Jones, GOP candidate says nation’s top cop should be executed (then says he’s kidding), MSNBC, August 19, 2022; Chris McGreal, US political violence is surging, but talk of a civil war is exaggerated – isn’t it?, Guardian, August 20, 2022; Jenn Jefferys, Canada needs to brace itself for the next chapter of far-right extremism, Macleans, April 15, 2021; Jim Bronskill, Intelligence report flagged possible ‘violent revenge’ after Ottawa shutdown, CBC News, August 17, 2022; David Fraser, QAnon-inspired protest leads to special investigation into arrest, CBC News, August 18, 2022; The Resilience of Online Right-Wing Extremism in Canada, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, July 20, 2021; Rachel Gilmore, How close is too close to the far-right? Why some experts are worried about Canada’s MPs, Global News, July 7, 2022; Bob Hepburn, Pierre Poilievre is Canada’s most dangerous appalling politician, Toronto Star, June 29, 2022; Bruce Arthur, Pierre Poilievre will say just about anything – opening the door to anger, conspiracies and extremism, Toronto Star, May 11, 2022; Elizabeth Thompson, Threat of violent extremism rising in Canada, MPs told, CBC News, May 12, 2022; Annelies Pauwels, Contemporary manifestations of violent right-wing extremism in the EU: An overview, European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021; Vikram Dodd, Terrorism in the UK: the rising threat of far-right extremists, Guardian, May 16, 2022; Diane Liang, The transnational element of right-wing extremism in Australia, Strategist (Australian Strategic Policy Institute), May 19, 2022; Heather Ashby, Far-Right Extremism Is a Global Problem: And it is time to treat it like one, Foreign Policy, January 15, 2021; Daniel Byman, Terrorism and the threat to democracy, Brookings, February 2019; John Schwarmantel, Democracy and Political Violence, Edinburgh University Press, 2011. Also see for example reference to far-right extremism and ties to police, military, legal and political institutions: Mark Townsend, Growing ‘culture of extremism’ among UK and European police forces, report warns, Guardian, July 10, 2022; Michael German, Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement, Brennan Center for Justice, August 27, 2020; Seth Jones, Catrina Doxsee, and Grace Hwang, The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States, Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 12, 2021; Hassan Kanu, Prevalence of white supremacists in law enforcement demands drastic change, Reuters, May 12, 2022; Hon. Hohn McKay, Chair, Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, June 2021; Alex Boutilier, Public safety minister acknowledges threat of white supremacist infiltration to Canada’s police forces, Toronto Star, June 25, 2021; Dark Money and the Courts: The Right-Wing Takeover of the Judiciary, American Constitution Society, acslaw.org – referencing: Caroline Fredrickson and Lisa Graves, On Dark Money and the Right’s Judicial ‘Revival’, Law.com, May 31, 2019; Robert O’Harrow Jr and Shawn Boburg, A conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts, Washington Post, May 21, 2019; Jamal Greene, Trump’s Judge Whisperer Promised to Take Our Laws Back to the 1930s, Slate, May 27, 2019.

[129] Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise in Political Violence in the United States and Damage to Our Democracy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: March 31, 2022 Testimony – Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital, March 31, 2022; Rachel Kleinfeld, The Rise of Political Violence in the United States, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 32, Issue 4, October 2021; Darrel West, We need to take political violence seriously, Brookings, August 15, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022.

[130] Marie-Danielle Smith, Appetite for populism on the decline in Canada – except among politicians: report, National Post, May 7, 2019; Eric Sigurdson, Leadership Reimagined: the ‘CEO Statesman’ and ‘Lawyer Statesman’ in a Time of Political, Economic and Social Fragmentation – statespersonship is good for business, good for institutions, and good for a divided and disaffected society, Sigurdson Post, May 31, 2019.

[131] Wendy Brown, Neoliberalism’s Frankenstein: Authoritarian Freedom in Twenty-First Century ‘Democracies’, Critical Times, Vol. 1, Issue 1, April 2018.

[132] Civil Rights Quotes, The Emily Fund for a Better World (doonething.org).

[133] Samuel Kronen, Bridging Our Political Divide: Uncivil Agreement by Lilliana Mason – Book Review, Areo Magazine, June 13, 2019. Also see, John Lorinc, The Prophet of Populism: Political scientist Yascha Mounk studies the signs of rising populism. What can his work tell us about Canada’s future?, The Walrus, October 17, 2019.

[134] Gabriel Sanchez, Keesha Middlemass, and Aila Rodriguez, Misinformation is eroding the public’s confidence in democracy, Brookings, July 26, 2022; Dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news, Council of Europe (coe.int), 2018; How to identify misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Government of Canada (cyber.gc.ca), February 2022; Cynthia Miller-Idriss, The dangerous Trump-blindness of Marjorie Taylor Greene: Greene’s denial of violent extremism means she must not be looking at any of the evidence, MSNBC, May 15, 2023 (“We’re facing a national crisis rooted in the rampant circulation of propaganda, dis- mis- and malinformation”).

[135] Dhalia Lithwick, We Don’t Need a Trump Inspired Civil War for Things to Get Real Bad, Real Fast, Slate, August 19, 2022; Gary Mason, A dangerous rage is sweeping the land, Globe and Mail, August 4, 2022. Also see for example reference to far-right extremism and ties to police, military, legal and political institutions: Mark Townsend, Growing ‘culture of extremism’ among UK and European police forces, report warns, Guardian, July 10, 2022; Michael German, Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement, Brennan Center for Justice, August 27, 2020; Seth Jones, Catrina Doxsee, and Grace Hwang, The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States, Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 12, 2021; Hassan Kanu, Prevalence of white supremacists in law enforcement demands drastic change, Reuters, May 12, 2022; Hon. Hohn McKay, Chair, Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, June 2021; Alex Boutilier, Public safety minister acknowledges threat of white supremacist infiltration to Canada’s police forces, Toronto Star, June 25, 2021; Dark Money and the Courts: The Right-Wing Takeover of the Judiciary, American Constitution Society, acslaw.org – referencing: Caroline Fredrickson and Lisa Graves, On Dark Money and the Right’s Judicial ‘Revival’, Law.com, May 31, 2019; Robert O’Harrow Jr and Shawn Boburg, A conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts, Washington Post, May 21, 2019; Jamal Greene, Trump’s Judge Whisperer Promised to Take Our Laws Back to the 1930s, Slate, May 27, 2019. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022; Michael Schmidt, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Adam Goldman, Trump Supporters’ Violent Rhetoric in His Defense Disturbs Experts – The former president’s allies have portrayed the indictment as an act of war and called for retribution, which political violence experts say increases the risk of action, New York Times, June 10, 2023; Elizabeth Thompson, Threat of violent extremism rising in Canada, MPs told, CBC News, May 12, 2022.

[136] Joe Pierre, M.D., Does Violent Political Rhetoric Lead to Real Violence? – When we normalize violent speech, violent action becomes ever more likely, Psychology Today, November 6, 2022. Also see, Michael Schmidt, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Adam Goldman, Trump Supporters’ Violent Rhetoric in His Defense Disturbs Experts – The former president’s allies have portrayed the indictment as an act of war and called for retribution, which political violence experts say increases the risk of action, New York Times, June 10, 2023; Elizabeth Thompson, Threat of violent extremism rising in Canada, MPs told, CBC News, May 12, 2022.

[137] See generally, Adam Bear and Joshua Knobe, The Normalization Trap, New York Times, January 28, 2017; Jessica Brown, The powerful way that ‘normalisation’ shapes our world, BBC, March 19, 2017; Joe Pierre, M.D., Does Violent Political Rhetoric Lead to Real Violence? – When we normalize violent speech, violent action becomes ever more likely, Psychology Today, November 6, 2022.

[138] Associated Press, Tom Hanks urges Harvard grads to resist indifference while slamming public servants who lie: ‘The truth is sacred’, Fortune, May 25, 2023.

[139] Robert Reich, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, Knopf, 2020; Robert Reich, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, Vintage, 2016.

[140] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies Under Threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[141] Andrew Ross Sorkin, Business makes the case for a post-Trump reset, New York Times, January 19, 2021.

[142] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies Under Threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[143] Defining Economic Justice and Social Justice, Center for Economic and Social Justice (cesj.org); Economics and Economic Justice, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (plato.stanford.edu), May 28, 2004 and November 17, 2016; Sandro Galea, On Economic Justice, Boston University, School of Public Health, January 29, 2017.

[144] Staff, 22 Inspiring Quotes About Freedom, Success, June 26, 2020.

[145] Ian Davis, The biggest contract, The Economist, May 26, 2005.

[146] Fred D’Agostino,  Gerald Gaus, and John Thrasher, Contemporary Approaches to the Social Contract, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2021 edition. Also see,  Jack Krupansky, Elements of a Social Contract, Medium.com, December 22, 2017; Celeste Friend, Social Contract Theory, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, 2004; David Moscrop, America’s social contract with its citizens lies in tatters. What happens next is for Americans to decide, Globe and Mail, June 28, 2022.

[147] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies Under Threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[148] See generally, Robert Boisture, Civic Virtues and the Healing of Partisan Divides, Stanford Social Innovation Review, July 12, 2018.

[149] Shambhavi Ravishankar, My rights end where yours begin, Rediff.com, March 6, 2017. Also see, Editorial, It’s all about you and everyone around you, Riverdale Press, September 5, 2021; Barbara Pfeffer Billauer, Where One Man’s Freedom Ends …: What are the boundaries of individual freedoms? Are there limits to our liberty? Does a pandemic change the calculus?, American Council on Science and health, August 30, 2021.

[150] Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, Protecting Constitutional Rights: A Comparative View of the United States and Canada, Supreme Court of Canada (scc-csc.ca), April 5, 2004; Australian Law Reform Commission, Traditional Rights and Freedom – Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws, Final Report, December 2015; Jan Wouters and Michal Ovadek, The European Union and Human Rights: An7alysis, Cases, and Materials, Oxford University Press, 2021; Gehan Gunatilleke, Justifying Limitations on the Freedom of Expression, Human Rights Review, Vol. 22, 2021; Henry Abraham and Barbara Perry, Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States (8th Edition), University Press of Kansa, 2003; Julian Walker, Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression: Legal Boundaries in Canada, Parliament of Canada (lop.parl.ca), June 29, 2018. But see, Alanah Odoms, The Roberts Court Is on Track Again To Limit Freedom and Deny Constitutional Rights, Newsweek, May 26, 2023.

[151] Constanze Stelzenmüller, The free world and its enemies: What Putin’s war and China’s global ambitions mean for us, Brookings, November 4, 2022. Also see, Adam Bear and Joshua Knobe, The Normalization Trap, New York Times, January 28, 2017; Jessica Brown, The powerful way that ‘normalisation’ shapes our world, BBC, March 19, 2017.

[152] The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[153] Martin Wolf, The rise of the populist authoritarians: Elites must consider their responsibility for the worldwide resurgence of strongmen, Financial Times, January 22, 2019.

[154] Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?, New York Times, January 27, 2018. See, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[155] Jason Stanley, America is now in fascism’s legal phase, Guardian, December 21, 2021; David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020. Also see: Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021.

[156] David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020. Also see: Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021;  Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018.

[157] Jason Stanley, America is now in fascism’s legal phase, Guardian, December 21, 2021.

[158] Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli democracy is fighting for its life, Financial Times, July 23, 2023; Daniel Estrin, Israel’s far-right government wants the power to override its Supreme Court, NPR, February 4, 2023; Julia Frankel, Hundreds of Thousands March in Israel. Former Security Chiefs Beg Netanyahu to Halt Legal Overhaul, Huffington Post, July 22, 2023; Isaac Chotiner, The Origins of Netanyahu’s ‘All-Systems Assault’ on Israel Democracy, New Yorker, March 7, 2023; Amna Nawaz and Dan Sagalyn, The state of Israel’s democracy under Netanyahu’s far-right coalition (transcript), PBS News Hour, March 27, 2023.

[159] Jill Abramson, Trump’s assault on American justice gives inspiration to authoritarians everywhere, Guardian, August 6, 2023.

[160] David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020; Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021;  Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Michael Klarman, The Degradation of American Democracy – and the Court, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 134, Issue 1, 2020; Fernanda Nicola, Against Authoritarianism: Can the Court of Justice of the EU rescue democracy in Europe?, International Association of Constitutional Law (blog-iacl-aidc.org), IACL-AIDC Blog, February 2, 2021; Lynne Henderson, Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law, Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 66, Issue 2, 1991; The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[161] Jordan Furlong, What are you prepared to do?: A powerful minority in our society is attacking vulnerable outsiders and assaulting the rule of law, JordanFurlong.substack.com, July 5, 2023. Also see, Debra Cassens Weiss, Judge who won’t marry same-sex couples cites Supreme Court ruling for Christian web designer, ABA Journal, July 17, 2023; Hila Keren, Homophobic Business Owners Are Having a Field Day Since Last Month’s Supreme Court Decision, Slate, July 25, 2023.

[162] Andrew Chung, US Supreme Court deals blow to LGBT rights in web designer case, Reuters, June 30, 2023. Also see, Belen Fernandez, SCOTUS is ramping up oppression in ‘the land of the free’, Aljazeera.com, July 2, 2023; Jasmine Wright, Buttigieg says Supreme Court case was designed for ‘clear purpose of chipping away’ at LGBTQ equality, CNN, July 2, 2023; Philip Elliott, The Supreme Court Just Made Same-Sex Marriage More Vulnerable to a Challenge, Time, June 30, 2023. Paul Blumenthal, The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Continues Its Work Rolling Back the 20th Century, Huffington Post, June 30, 2023.

[163] Jill Lawrence, Seeing the erosion of our freedoms makes it hard to celebrate this Fourth of July: The Supreme Court, conservative governors and gerrymandered state legislatures are racing to shrink our fundamental rights and freedoms, MSNBC, July 4, 2023.

[164] The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[165] Fernanda Nicola, Against Authoritarianism: Can the Court of Justice of the EU rescue democracy in Europe?, International Association of Constitutional Law (blog-iacl-aidc.org), IACL-AIDC Blog, February 2, 2021; David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020; Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021;  Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Michael Klarman, The Degradation of American Democracy – and the Court, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 134, Issue 1, 2020; Paul Blumenthal, The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Continues Its Work Rolling Back the 20th Century, Huffington Post, June 30, 2023; Andrew Chung, US Supreme Court deals blow to LGBT rights in web designer case, Reuters, June 30, 2023; Uma Mazyck Jayakumar and Ibram Kendi, ‘Race Neutral’ Is the New ‘Separate but Equal’, Atlantic, June 29, 2023; Debra Thompson, Affirmative action – a path for racialized people to join the elite – never stood a chance in America, Globe and Mail, June 30, 2023; Isaac Chotiner, The Supreme Court’s History of Protecting the Powerful, New Yorker, May 17, 2022:

Professor Laurence Tribe: “[W]ith a Court that is undermining voting rights, is doing nothing to correct partisan gerrymandering, is turning back the clock on minority rights and human rights and the rights of bodily autonomy. We now have a Court that is pushing the country in a direction that I think is frighteningly authoritarian.” 

[166] Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022.

[167] Chris Stein, ‘This is not a normal court’: Joe Biden condemns affirmative action ruling, Guardian, June 29, 2023; Jordan Fabian and Justin Sink, Biden Says Supreme Court Hurt Its Credibility, But Shouldn’t Expand, Bloomberg, June 29, 2023; Kelly Garrity, ‘This is not a normal court’: Biden blasts affirmative action ruling, Politico, June 29, 2023; Kathryn Watson, Biden says Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision can’t be ‘the last word’, CBS News, June 29, 2023. Also see, Sam Baker, The Supreme Court falls to Earth, Axios, July 1, 2023:

“This past week’s affirmative action rulings were highly charged and highly personal — a far cry from dispassionate legal interpretation.

By the numbers: The public is noticing all of this.

    • Just 18% of Americans said they had a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, in a NORC that followed last year’s abortion ruling.
    • At the same time, 36% said they have hardly any confidence in the court — an increase of more than 10 percentage points in just a few years.”

[168] Jaime Watt, U.S. Supreme Court is off on a frolic of its own and Biden should reform it, Toronto Star, July 9, 2023.

[169] William Galston and Elaine Kamarck, Is democracy failing and putting our economic system at risk, Brookings, January 4, 2022.

[170] Gillian Friedman, The rising tide of authoritarianism, Deseret News, July 25, 2022. 

[171] Fernanda Nicola, Against Authoritarianism: Can the Court of Justice of the EU rescue democracy in Europe?, International Association of Constitutional Law (blog-iacl-aidc.org), IACL-AIDC Blog, February 2, 2021; David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020; Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021;  David Said, Why Canada’s Supreme Court Isn’t Likely to Go Rogue Like Its U.S. Counterpart, The Conversation, July 5, 2022; Justice Jacqueline Gleeson (High Court of Australia), Advancing Judicial Legitimacy: The Stakes and the Means, Speech for the commencement of the National Judicial Orientation Program, April 3, 2022; Nicholas Aroney and Benjamin Saunders, On Judicial Rascals and Self-Appointed Monarchs: The Rise of Judicial Power in Australia, University of Queensland Law Journal, Vol. 36, Issue 2, 2018; Without Fear or Favour: Judicial Impartiality and the Law on Bias, Final Report, Australian Law Reform Commission, ALRC Report 138, December 2021; Nicholas Clapham, UK Supreme Court: ten years of treading the knife edge between politics and law, The Conversation, September 30, 2019; Dominique Ritleng (ed.), ‘The Independence and Legitimacy of the European Court of Justice’ (chapter 3), in Dominique Ritleng (ed.), Independence and Legitimacy in the Institutional System of the European Union, Oxford University Press, 2016; Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Michael Klarman, The Degradation of American Democracy – and the Court, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 134, Issue 1, 2020; Paul Blumenthal, The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Continues Its Work Rolling Back the 20th Century, Huffington Post, June 30, 2023; Andrew Chung, US Supreme Court deals blow to LGBT rights in web designer case, Reuters, June 30, 2023; Uma Mazyck Jayakumar and Ibram Kendi, ‘Race Neutral’ Is the New ‘Separate but Equal’, Atlantic, June 29, 2023; Debra Thompson, Affirmative action – a path for racialized people to join the elite – never stood a chance in America, Globe and Mail, June 30, 2023; Isaac Chotiner, The Supreme Court’s History of Protecting the Powerful, New Yorker, May 17, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, A Toxic Brew: The Politicization of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Sigurdson Post, September 30, 2018; Erin Crandall and Andrea Lawlor, Public Support for Canadian Courts: Understanding the Roles of Institutional Trust and Partisanship, Cambridge University Press, April 26, 2022.

[172] Adam Liptak, U.S. Court is Now Guiding Fewer Nations, New York Times, September 17, 2008; David Said, Why Canada’s Supreme Court Isn’t Likely to Go Rogue Like Its U.S. Counterpart, The Conversation, July 5, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022; George Khoury, International Influence and the U.S. Supreme Court, FindLaw.com, August 28, 2018; Colm Quinn, For a Less Politicized Supreme Court, Look Abroad, Foreign Policy, May 4, 2022.

[173] Fernanda Nicola, Against Authoritarianism: Can the Court of Justice of the EU rescue democracy in Europe?, International Association of Constitutional Law (blog-iacl-aidc.org), IACL-AIDC Blog, February 2, 2021; David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, Abusive Judicial Review: Courts Against Democracy, UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 53, 2020; Rosalind Dixon and David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing: Legal globalization and the subversion of liberal democracy (1st Edition), Oxford University Press, 2021;  David Said, Why Canada’s Supreme Court Isn’t Likely to Go Rogue Like Its U.S. Counterpart, The Conversation, July 5, 2022; Justice Jacqueline Gleeson (High Court of Australia), Advancing Judicial Legitimacy: The Stakes and the Means, Speech for the commencement of the National Judicial Orientation Program, April 3, 2022; Nicholas Aroney and Benjamin Saunders, On Judicial Rascals and Self-Appointed Monarchs: The Rise of Judicial Power in Australia, University of Queensland Law Journal, Vol. 36, Issue 2, 2018; Without Fear or Favour: Judicial Impartiality and the Law on Bias, Final Report, Australian Law Reform Commission, ALRC Report 138, December 2021; Nicholas Clapham, UK Supreme Court: ten years of treading the knife edge between politics and law, The Conversation, September 30, 2019; Dominique Ritleng (ed.), ‘The Independence and Legitimacy of the European Court of Justice’ (chapter 3), in Dominique Ritleng (ed.), Independence and Legitimacy in the Institutional System of the European Union, Oxford University Press, 2016; Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Penguin Random House, January 2018; Michael Klarman, The Degradation of American Democracy – and the Court, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 134, Issue 1, 2020; Paul Blumenthal, The Supreme Court’s Conservative Supermajority Continues Its Work Rolling Back the 20th Century, Huffington Post, June 30, 2023; Andrew Chung, US Supreme Court deals blow to LGBT rights in web designer case, Reuters, June 30, 2023; Uma Mazyck Jayakumar and Ibram Kendi, ‘Race Neutral’ Is the New ‘Separate but Equal’, Atlantic, June 29, 2023; Debra Thompson, Affirmative action – a path for racialized people to join the elite – never stood a chance in America, Globe and Mail, June 30, 2023; Isaac Chotiner, The Supreme Court’s History of Protecting the Powerful, New Yorker, May 17, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, A Toxic Brew: The Politicization of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Sigurdson Post, September 30, 2018; Erin Crandall and Andrea Lawlor, Public Support for Canadian Courts: Understanding the Roles of Institutional Trust and Partisanship, Cambridge University Press, April 26, 2022.

[174] The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[175] Civil Rights Quotes, The Emily Fund for a Better World (doonething.org).

[176] Robin Abcarian, Lies, damn lies and social media – there’s a reason this country is so deeply polarized, Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2023.

[177] Robin Abcarian, Lies, damn lies and social media – there’s a reason this country is so deeply polarized, Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2023.

[178] Gabriel Sanchez and Keesha Middlemass, Misinformation is eroding the public’s confidence in democracy, Brookings, July 26, 2022; W. Lance Bennett and Steven Livingston, The disinformation order: Disruptive communication and the decline of democratic institutions, European Journal of Communication, Vol. 33, Issue 2, 2018.

[179] Robin Abcarian, Lies, damn lies and social media – there’s a reason this country is so deeply polarized, Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2023.

[180] Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, Cynthia Cox, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Obligations to the Future, Journal of Working-Class Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 2, October 2020.

[181] Hannah Allam, Right-Wing Embrace of Conspiracy Is ‘Mass Radicalization’, Experts Warn, NPR, December 15, 2020; Assessing the threat from America’s far right: The real worry may not be large-scale violence but the ‘mainstreaming of extremism’, The Economist, December 12, 2020.

[182] Dani Rodrik, Populism and the economics of globalization, Journal of International Business Policy, 2018.

[183] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[184] Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, Cynthia Cox, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Obligations to the Future, Journal of Working-Class Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 2, October 2020; Amanda Taub, How stable are democracies? Warning signs are flashing red, New York Times, November 29, 2016.

[185] Tasha Kheiriddin, It’s Geopolitics, Stupid. Canada better step up, tashakheiriddin.substack.com, April 8, 2023. Author of ‘The Right Path: How Conservatives Can Unite, Inspire and Take Canada Forward’, Optimum Publishing International, 2022.

[186] Mai Truong, Media Restrictions Today Will Harm Democracy Tomorrow, Freedom House, May 2, 2020; Oliver Holmes, Media freedom in dire state in record number of countries, report finds, Guardian, May 3, 2023; Taisia Bekbulatova, Abhinandan Sekhri, Murat Bayram, Gabriel Arana, Dan Hayes, Analy Nuño and Sasha Pushkina, Blocked, censored, jailed or laid off: why it’s never been harder to be a journalist, The Guardian, May 3, 2023; UN expert warns of dangerous decline in media freedom, United Nations (ohchr.org), July 8, 2022; Meredity Conroy, Why Being ‘Anti-Media’ is Now Part of the GOP Identity, FiveThirtyEight, April 5, 2021; Max Fawcett, Pierre Poilievre’s war on the media has only just begun, National Observer, September 13, 2022:

“The endgame for politicians who stir up this sort of anti-media sentiment seems clear. ‘We have no doubt that this is deliberately done to rile their supporters against the media’, said Kiran Nazish, a longtime foreign correspondent who founded the Coalition For Women in Journalism.

Opinion: You don’t have to squint too hard to see the parallels between former U.S. president Donald Trump and newly crowned Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre, writes columnist @maxfawcett for @NatObserver.

Brent Jolly, the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, was even more unsparing in his analysis at the time. ‘The fact that this kind of behaviour is being pushed out by someone running to be the leader of a major Canadian political party should send a shiver down the spine of Canadians concerned about the future of democracy in this country’.”

[187] Editorial Board, Pierre Poilievre is flirting with the far right by pushing ‘Great Reset’ conspiracy, Toronto Star, November 3, 2020; Ben Disdale, Freedom, not Fear; Truckers, Not Trudeau: Why Right-Wing Populism is Going Mainstream in Canada, Oxford Political Review, March 7, 2023; Rachel Gilmore, How close is too close to the far-right? Why some experts are worried about Canada’s MPs, Global News, July 7, 2022; Frank Graves and Stephen Maher, Pierre Poilievre: The Secret to His Success – How the Conservative leader is harnessing the growing tide of authoritarianism in Canada, The Walrus, December 14, 2022; Les Whittington, Canadians should look closely at U.S. shambles before endorsing Poilievre’s Republican-style populism, The Hill Times, April 26, 2023; Canadian Conservatives elect ‘right-wing populist’ Pierre Poilievre to lead fight against Justin Trudeau, CBS News, September 12, 2022:

“Canada’s opposition Conservative Party … leader … Pierre Poilievre is a firebrand populist who opposes vaccine mandates and … embraced Canadians who were against vaccine mandates and supported the freedom truck convoy that paralyzed Canada’s capital and blockaded the border with the U.S. …

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said an apt U.S. comparison for Poilievre is Republican Sen. Ted Cruz but without the anti-abortion stance.

‘He is a right-wing populist’, Wiseman said. ‘Most Canadians recoil at his populism now, but he’ll moderate some of his positions and soften his language and image. I expect the next election to be about the incumbent, an incumbent with growing political baggage’.”

Max Fawcett, Pierre Poilievre’s war on the media has only just begun, National Observer, September 13, 2022; Shannon Proudfoot, Pierre Poilievre and colleagues sniff out a scandal that doesn’t exist – and they know it, Globe and Mail, August 18, 2023:

“It’s a good thing Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and his colleagues have courageously called out the media collusion racket that’s being mean to their party. …

But of course none of this should be taken at face value. Mr. Poilievre and his colleagues know they’re being dishonest, just as surely as they know that many of the people listening to them would have no way of knowing that, and will absorb the falsehoods they’re offering and fashion them into a durable new reality.

Donald Trump is of course the champion of this dark art, and he’s currently being indicted roughly every 20 minutes for his efforts. But it’s happened across Europe, in Brazil, and, in less dramatic but still corrosive ways, in countless other places and contexts, too. In this mindset, any source that says something unwelcome is in the tank for your enemies. Spin or outright lies are just smart strategy because hey, we’re playing a competitive sport here. Objective truth is nothing more than a construct – or a scam for suckers.”

[188] See generally, Michael Franklin, Danielle Smith comments suggest she wants ‘freedoms’ like DeSantis and Noem, CTV News, April 28, 2023; Tyler Dawson, What is Take Back Alberta? What you need to know about ‘pro-freedom’ conservative group, Calgary Herald, April 16, 2023; Leah Gazan, Pierre Poilievre is a fake freedom fighter: Why would someone promising the ‘freest nation on earth’ be so eager to restrict our reproductive health, who we love and our ability to organize?, Toronto Star, September 18, 2022; Gary Mason, Can Alberta take four more years of Danielle Smith?, Globe and Mail, May 2, 2023; Rick Salutin, Poilievre won’t succeed as a right-wing populist leader in Canada: I’m not saying there’s no route to power for Poilievre. But it isn’t the right-wing populist one to which he’s most naturally inclined, Rabble, February 24, 2023; David Climenhaga, $#!+ Danielle Smith says, and does: Alberta Premier touts far-right ‘bastions of freedom’ in U.S.; poses with convoy insurrectionists, AlbertaPolitics.ca, April 28, 2023; Kieran Leavitt, Danielle Smith says Coutts blockade was a ‘win’ because it got rid of COVID vaccine mandates, Toronto Star, May 3, 2023; Trevor Harrison, Alberta’s dangerous lurch to the far-right: How the politics of anger and fear came to dominate Alberta’s conservative movement, Canadian Dimension, March 23, 2023; Gil McGowan, Conservative Politicians Are Flirting with Authoritarianism. We Need to Stop Them: Federally and in Alberta, certain parties have shown a willingness to embrace dangerous, divisive tactics, The Tyee, July 17, 2020; Leyland Cecco, Canada: key Conservative says party risks takeover by far-right ‘lunatics’, The Guardian, March 25, 2022.

[189] Lauren Sforza, Former Fox executives express ‘deep disappointment’ for helping build ‘disinformation machine, The Hill, July 13, 2023; Zeeshan Aleem, Former Fox News executives excoriated Fox News. Does it matter?, MSNBC, July 14, 2023; Joshua Chong, Fox News could be banned from Canadian TV as CRTC considers allegations network promotes ‘hatred and violence’, Toronto Star, May 5, 2023; Adam Gabbat, ‘Political germ warfare’: rightwing media fervently defend Trump, Guardian, August 3, 2023; Brian Rosenwald, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, Harvard University Press, 2019; Tim Dickinson, How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory, Rolling Stone, May 25, 2011; Bryan Meler, CRTC will hear from public about banning Fox News from Canadian cable packages, Yahoo News, May 5, 2023:

“The CRTC doesn’t issue licences to non-Canadian broadcasters, like Fox News, but the federal agency has established that they must be held to the same standard as Canadian channels. Recently, the CRTC banned Russian state-controlled TV channels, and RT France from Canadian airways.

Under the Broadcasting Regulations, Canadian broadcasters aren’t allowed to broadcast ‘any abusive comment or abusive pictorial representation that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability’.

The CRTC is not legally required to hold a public hearing, but it may if ‘it would be in the public interest to do so’, according to Canada’s Broadcasting Act’.”

[190] See generally: Sean Craig, You Must Be This Conservative to Ride: The Inside Story of Postmedia’s Right Turn, Canadaland.com, August 12, 2019; David Brock, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, Crown, 2004; Brook Jeffrey, Dismantling Canada: Stephen Harper’s New Conservative Agenda, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015. Also see for example, Alex Gutentag, Madeleine Rowley, Leighton Woodhouse, and Michael Shellenberger, Fear and hatred of the masses behind Democrats’ war on Liberal democracy, National Post, August 17, 2023; Carson Jerema, The ‘far right’ only exists in the minds of paranoid progressives, National Post, August 22, 2023.

[191] See for example, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Josh Dawsy, Inside a private portal from GOP campaigns to local news sites, Washington Post, April 27, 2023.

[192] Gus Carlson, Calm down – the exits of Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon are not that big a deal, Globe and Mail, April 28, 2023.

[193] A.C. Grayling, Democracy isn’t dying. It was never really alive, Globe and Mail, June 10, 2023. Also see, for example: Sean Holman, Will Postmedia Face a Reckoning for Its Climate Coverage?: SFU prof hopes ethics complaints against Vancouver Sun and the National Post will stop media promotion of misinformation, The Tyee, July 15, 2021.

[194] See: Alex Barker, James Murdoch blasts US media for unleashing ‘insidious forces’, Financial Times, January 15, 2021; Lawrence Martin, To fix America, fix the media, Globe and Mail, February 18, 2021; Max Boot, Trump couldn’t have incited sedition without the help of Fox News, Washington Post, January 18, 2021; Graham Ruddick, Fox News shows broke UK TV impartiality rules, Ofcom finds, Guardian, November 6, 2017; Stewart Clarke, British Media Regulator Censures Fox News for Breaking Impartiality Rules, Variety, November 6, 2017; Elisabeth Braw, The United States Needs a BBC: The Beeb’s influence is rising stateside, revealing a hunger for nonpartisan news. America’s own networks should take note, Foreign Policy, January 28, 2021; Kori Schake, The U.S. Puts Its Greatest Vulnerability on Display: Runaway partisanship endangers the United States more than foreign enemies do, The Atlantic, February 18, 2021.

[195] A.C. Grayling, Democracy isn’t dying. It was never really alive, Globe and Mail, June 10, 2023. Also see for example: Michael Levitt, ‘X’ marks the spot of Jew hatred: Platform X, the former Twitter, is a particular toxic cesspool of unbridled racism and harassment, where antisemitism has pride of place, Toronto Star, August 1, 2023; Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy Merrill, Elon Musk’s Twitter pushes hate speech, extremist content into ‘For You’ pages, Washington Post, March 30, 2023; Sheera Frenkel and Kate Conger, Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find, New York Times, December 2, 2022; David Klepper, Musk threatens to sue researchers who documented rise in hateful tweets, Toronto Star, July 31, 2023; Cristina Criddle and Hannah Murphy, Elon Musk’s X Corp sues anti-hate speech group over Twitter claims, Financial Times, August 1, 2023.

[196] Robin Sears, Conservatives hatred of journalism is damaging their brand, Toronto Star, April 25, 2023.

[197] Robin Sears, Conservatives hatred of journalism is damaging their brand, Toronto Star, April 25, 2023.

[198] Lee Rainie, Scott Keeter, and Andrew Perrin, Trust and Distrust in America, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019.

[199] See, David Said, Why Canada’s Supreme Court Isn’t Likely to Go Rogue Like Its U.S. Counterpart, The Conversation, July 5, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of ‘Roe v. Wade’ shatters public trust in its legitimacy: A Politicized Court curtails Women’s Constitutional rights in America, Sigurdson Post, July 24, 2022; Azmi Haroun, Kelsey Vlamis, and Erin Snodgrass, The Supreme Court’s latest scandals boil down to a question as old as the Romans: ‘Who will guard the guardians?’, Business Insider, May 1, 2023; Christopher Wilson, Supreme Court under fire following what critics say is a wave of ethical lapses: Relationships with conservative donors and undisclosed real estate deals have increased scrutiny on the justices, Yahoo News, May 1, 2023; Khaleda Rahman, Five Ethics Scandals Facing Supreme Court Justices and Their Spouses, Newsweek, May 2, 2023; Philip Bump, Clarence Thomas’s ethics are not the Supreme Court’s only problem, Washington Post, May 2, 2023 – citing Retired conservative judge J. Michael Luttig:

“The only power the Supreme Court has is its mere judgment, and at that, it must depend for the efficacy of that mere judgment upon the respect and good faith of the Executive and the Executive’s power to execute the laws. The Supreme Court depends upon the respect and good faith of the Congress of the United States, as well …. [T]he Supreme Court’s power is greater or lesser as respect for its judgments by the American People waxes and wanes, ebbs and flows. …

It is the Supreme Court’s duty to acquit itself in the discharge of its judicial responsibilities so as to continually assure and reassure the American people that its judgments are deserving of respect. It is also the duty of each and every man and woman upon whom is conferred the privilege to serve on the Supreme Court to conduct themselves in their nonjudicial conduct and activities in such a manner that they are individually deserving of respect — indeed, beyond reproach, not only in fact, but also in appearance.”

Editorial, The Supreme Court needs ethics reform. That shouldn’t be a partisan issue, Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2023:

“The justices have lost public confidence not wholly, or even primarily, because of perceived ethical lapses. The court’s image also suffers because of the perception that the justices are predictable partisans in politically charged cases and the successful effort by Republicans to cement a conservative majority on the court by blocking a superbly qualified nominee, Merrick Garland, who was nominated by then-President Obama in 2016. The culmination of that strategy was last year’s disastrous decision overruling Roe vs. Wade and extinguishing a federal constitutional right to abortion.”

[200] Jeffrey Jones, Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low, Gallup, July 5, 2022.

[201] Faith Hill, America Is in Its Insecure-Attachment Era, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023; Jeffrey Jones, Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low, Gallup, July 5, 2022.

[202] Lee Rainie, Scott Keeter, and Andrew Perrin, Trust and Distrust in America, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019.

[203] Faith Hill, America Is in Its Insecure-Attachment Era, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023.

[204] Lee Rainie, Scott Keeter, and Andrew Perrin, Trust and Distrust in America, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019.

[205] Arthur C. Brooks, Make Yourself Happy: Be Kind, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023.

[206] Americans seek stories of solutions and inspiration from the media, More in Common US, March 10, 2023; Bruce Bond and Tom Fishman, Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon are the product of America’s media landscape. It’s time to meet the exhausted majority’s rising demand for positive journalism, Fortune, April 27, 2023.

[207] David Rozado, Ruth Hughes, and Jamin Halberstadt, Longitudinal analysis of sentiment and emotion in news media headlines using automated labelling with Transformer language models, PLoS One, October 18, 2022.

[208] Bruce Bond and Tom Fishman, Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon are the product of America’s media landscape. It’s time to meet the exhausted majority’s rising demand for positive journalism, Fortune, April 27, 2023.

[209] Arthur C. Brooks, Make Yourself Happy: Be Kind, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023.

[210] Arthur C. Brooks, Make Yourself Happy: Be Kind, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023.

[211] Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[212] See generally, Mark Ptak, Breaking the News: The Case for American Public Media, Medium, May 2, 2019; Lois Beckett, Facts won’t fix this: experts on how to fight America’s disinformation crisis, Guardian, January 1, 2021; John Villasenor, Why creating an internet ‘fairness doctrine’ would backfire, Brookings, June 24, 2020.

[213] Alex Barker, James Murdoch blasts US media for unleashing ‘insidious forces’, Financial Times, January 15, 2021; Lawrence Martin, To fix America, fix the media, Globe and Mail, February 18, 2021; Max Boot, Trump couldn’t have incited sedition without the help of Fox News, Washington Post, January 18, 2021; Graham Ruddick, Fox News shows broke UK TV impartiality rules, Ofcom finds, Guardian, November 6, 2017; Stewart Clarke, British Media Regulator Censures Fox News for Breaking Impartiality Rules, Variety, November 6, 2017; Elisabeth Braw, The United States Needs a BBC: The Beeb’s influence is rising stateside, revealing a hunger for nonpartisan news. America’s own networks should take note, Foreign Policy, January 28, 2021; Kori Schake, The U.S. Puts Its Greatest Vulnerability on Display: Runaway partisanship endangers the United States more than foreign enemies do, The Atlantic, February 18, 2021.

[214] Steve Randy Waldman, The 1996 Law That Ruined the Internet: Why I changed my mind about Section 230, The Atlantic, January 3, 2020; Ursula von der Leyen, Ursuala von der Leyen’s message to Davos Agenda: Full Transcript, World Economic Forum, January 26, 2021. Also see, Big tech and censorship: Silicon Valley should not be given control over free speech, The Economist, January 16, 2021; Alex Barker, James Murdoch blasts US media for unleashing ‘insidious forces’, Financial Times, January 15, 2021; Max Boot, Trump couldn’t have incited sedition without the help of Fox News, Washington Post, January 18, 2021.

[215] Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, Harms Reduction: A Six-Step Program to Protect Democratic Expression Online, Public Policy Forum, January 2021; Diane Francis, Tackling Big Tech – Diane Francis: Canada must move quickly to combat the social media onslaught, Financial Post, February 2, 2021; Elizabeth Thompson, Facebook calls on Canadian government to set social media rules, CBC, January 29, 2021; Julian Walker, Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression: Legal Boundaries in Canada, Parliament of Canada (lop.parl.ca), June 29, 2018.

[216] Gabriel Sanchez, Keesha Middlemass, and Aila Rodriguez, Misinformation is eroding the public’s confidence in democracy, Brookings, July 26, 2022.

[217] Adam Satariano, E.U. Takes Aim at Social Media’s Harms With Landmark New Law, New York Times, April 22, 2022; Luca Bertuzzi, Twitter set to exit EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, sources say, Euractiv.com, May 25, 2023; Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert, Elon Musk pulled Twitter from the EU’s anti-disinformation agreement and continues to troll with alt-right memes and dogwhistles. It could be he’ll close the site to Europe completely, Business Insider, May 28, 2023.

[218] Oliver Darcy, Christiane Amanpour voices dissent over Trump town hall, says she had ‘very robust exchange’ with CNN chief, CNN, May 18, 2023.

[219] Arthur C. Brooks, Make Yourself Happy: Be Kind, The Atlantic, April 27, 2023.

[220] Daniel C. Préfontaine and Joanne Lee, The Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary, World Conference on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Montreal, Canada, December 7-9, 1998; Tonda MacCharles, Canada’s top judge says Supreme Court should provide leadership at a time when fundamental values are being undermined in the world, Toronto Star, June 22, 2018.

[221] Daniel C. Préfontaine and Joanne Lee, The Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary, World Conference on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Montreal, Canada, December 7-9, 1998; Tonda MacCharles, Canada’s top judge says Supreme Court should provide leadership at a time when fundamental values are being undermined in the world, Toronto Star, June 22, 2018.

[222] See generally, Eric Sigurdson, A Toxic Brew: The Politicization of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Sigurdson Post, September 30, 2018.

[223] See generally, Eric Sigurdson, A Toxic Brew: The Politicization of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Sigurdson Post, September 30, 2018. Citing: Alex Shashkevich, Empathy, respect for one another critical to ease political polarization, Stanford sociologist says, Stanford.edu, January 20, 2017:

“We believe a technique called moral reframing can help. We’ve conducted a number of studies showing that if you want to move conservatives on liberal issues like same-sex marriage and national health insurance, it helps to tie those arguments to conservative values like patriotism and moral purity. Likewise, if you want to move liberals on conservative issues like military spending, you’ll be more persuasive if you find a way to tie those policies to liberal moral values like equality and fairness.”

Also see, Conor Friedersdorf, Working Toward the Same Ends for Different Reasons: A better understanding of moral reasoning could help Americans cooperate on improving the country even amid deep disagreements, The Atlantic, June 27, 2017.

[224] Eric Sigurdson, Corporate Strategy and Geopolitical Risk in a G-Zero World: Inequality, Polarized Democracies, and the shifting economic and political landscape, Sigurdson Post, May 31, 2018.

[225] Helen Lewis, How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?, Atlantic, May 2023.

[226] Jeffry Frieden, The Political Economy of Economic Policy: We should pay closer attention to the interactions between politics, economics, and other realms, International Monetary Fund, Finance and Development, June 2020. Also see, Allan Drazen, Political Economy in Macroeconomics, chapter one: What Is Political Economy?, Princeton University Press, 2018; Will Kenton, Political Economy, Investopedia, updated November 18, 2020.

[227] Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Crown Publishers, 2012.

[228] Joseph E. Stiglitz, The American Economy is Rigged: And what we can do about it, Scientific American, November 1, 2018.

[229] See for example, Karl Mathiesen, Populists vs. the planet: How climate became the new culture war front line, Politico, November 6, 2022 (“… stripping away individual freedoms…”); Aleks Phillips, How Republicans Are Echoing Climate Change Conspiracy Theories, Newsweek, February 11, 2023 (“… anti-freedom agenda … limiting freedom… eroding people’s freedom…”).

[230] Natalie Nougayrede, Across the world, the rule of law is losing out to rule by the mob, Guardian, May 21, 2016; William Davies, Why we stopped trusting elites, Guardian, November 29, 2018. Also see, 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, Edelman.com, January 19, 2020.

[231] Hillary Hoffower, The typical US worker can no longer afford a family on a year’s salary, showing the dire state of America’s middle class, Business Insider, February 25, 2020; Hillary Hoffower, 6 findings that show the dire state of America’s middle class, Business Insider, May 23, 2019; Christopher Ingraham, This chart is the best explanation of middle-class finances you will ever see, Washington Post, February 24, 2020; Danielle Paquette, Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: ‘I see no way out’, Washington Post, December 28, 2018; Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology, Harvard University Press, 2020; Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard University Press, 2014; Thomas Piketty, The Economics of Inequality, Harvard University Press, 2015.

[232] Halla Tomasdottir and Jay Coen Gilbert, The big reset – how to reboot capitalism after COVID-19, Thomson Reuters, September 14, 2020.

[233] Editorial Board, A better form of capitalism is possible:  Everyone loses from the growth of a precariat in rich economies, Financial Times, December 30, 2020.

[234] David Moscrop, Can democracy survive the coronavirus?, Maclean’s, April 1, 2020.

[235] Valerie Keller, Healing a fractured world by changing the rules of the game, LinkedIn, January 24, 2018.

[236] Andrew Coyne, The Trudeau government is choosing to shift responsibility, rather than fix public trust, Globe and Mail, May 30, 2023.

[237] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, February 2022.

[238] Plurality – the number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority. https://mmopage.com/news/y180fqgbrc4 Plurality system, electoral process in which the candidate who polls more votes than any other candidate is elected. It is distinguished from the majority system, in which, to win, a candidate must receive more votes than all other candidates combined.

[239] See, Eric Sigurdson, A Toxic Brew: The Politicization of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence, Sigurdson Post, September 30, 2018. Citing: David Held, Models of Democracy (3d ed.),  Stanford University Press, 2006; Diazepam 2 Mg Buy Online Tom Christiano, Democracy, In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Stanford University, 2008; Bernard Crick, Democracy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2002; Frank Cunningham, Theories of Democracy: A Critical Introduction, Routledge, 2002; https://serenityspaonline.com/qtq8s7ir Robert https://mmopage.com/news/r34odddrx9 Dahl, On Democracy, Yale University Press, 2000; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016 (originally published1859); Democracy does not mean ‘majority rule’, Law Teacher.net; James David Barber, The Book of Democracy, Prentice Hall, 1995; Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Penguin Classics, 2003 (first published in 1840); Ben Saunders, Democracy, Political Equality, and Majority Rule, Ethics, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2010; Kenneth May, A set of Independent Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Simple Majority Decision, Econometrica, Vol. 20, No. 4, 1952; Mark Fey, May’s Theorem with an Infinite Population, Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 23, Issue 2, 2004. Also see generally, Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, W.W. Norton publisher, 1996; Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, Crown Publishing Group, 2018. See, for example: Richard Moon, Doug Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause reduces democracy to majority rule: judicial review is an acknowledgement that minority rights are often overlooked in majoritarian politics, CBC News, September 13, 2018.

[240] John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, edited by Leonard Kahn, Broadview editions, 2015.

[241] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, February 2022.

[242] John Gramlich, What the data says about gun deaths in the U.S., Pew Research Center, April 26, 2023; Annette Choi, Children and teens are more likely to die by guns than anything else, CNN, March 29, 2023; Kira Alfonseca, There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023, database shows: There have been 202 mass shootings so far this year, ABC News, May 8, 2023; Leticia Gaba, Canada issues grim U.S. travel advisory amid mass shootings: ‘Risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time’: Government of Canada is warning its residents about mass shootings and the high rate of guns in the U.S., Yahoo News, May 27, 2023.  Also see: Lucas Casaletto and Shauna Hunt, 17-year-old female shot with replica firearm in Brampton, City News, May 26, 2023; Anna Dare, Christopher Holcroft, and Najma Ahmed, Canada Risks Following the Path of the U.S. on Gun Violence, Time, March 1, 2023.

[243] Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, Cynthia Cox, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Obligations to the Future, Journal of Working-Class Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 2, October 2020; George Lakoff, Whose freedom? The battle over America’s most important idea, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2006.

[244] Eric Sigurdson, Civility, Advocacy, and the Rule of Law: From Wall Street to Main Street, From the Boardroom to the Courtroom – lawyer civility is crucial in an uncivil world, Sigurdson Post, June 30, 2018.

[245] Nic Cheeseman, Petra Alderman, Licia Cianetti, Manoel Gehrke, and Tim Haughton, The Rise of authoritarianism is misunderstood – and it matters, University of Birmingham (Birmingham.ac.uk), The Centre for Elections, Democracy, Accountability and Representation, June 13, 2023.

[246] Rosalind Dixon and Julie Suk, Liberal Constitutionalism and Economic Inequality, The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 85, Issue 2, 2018. See, Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[247] Minouche Shafik, What We Owe Each Other, International Monetary Fund, April 2021; James Manyika, Anu Madgavkar, Tilman Tacke, Sven Smit, Jonathan Woetzel, and Abdulla Abdulaal, The social contract in the 21st century: Outcomes so far for workers, consumers, and savers in advanced economies, McKinsey Global Institute, February 2020.

[248] The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (idea.int), November 2017; A.C. Grayling, Democracy isn’t dying. It was never really alive, Globe and Mail, June 10, 2023; 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer: Executive Summary, Edelman.com, January 19, 2020; 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, Edelman.com, January 19, 2020. See, Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[249] See for example: Michael Levitt, ‘X’ marks the spot of Jew hatred: Platform X, the former Twitter, is a particular toxic cesspool of unbridled racism and harassment, where antisemitism has pride of place, Toronto Star, August 1, 2023; Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy Merrill, Elon Musk’s Twitter pushes hate speech, extremist content into ‘For You’ pages, Washington Post, March 30, 2023; Sheera Frenkel and Kate Conger, Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find, New York Times, December 2, 2022. Also see, David Klepper, Musk threatens to sue researchers who documented rise in hateful tweets, Toronto Star, July 31, 2023; Cristina Criddle and Hannah Murphy, Elon Musk’s X Corp sues anti-hate speech group over Twitter claims, Financial Times, August 1, 2023.

[250] Mark Cohen, Democratic Degradation Is Law’s Ultimate Disruptor, Forbes, August 17, 2022.

[251] David Moscrop, America’s social contract with its citizens lies in tatters. What happens next is for Americans to decide, Globe and Mail, June 28, 2022.

[252] The threat from the illiberal left: Don’t underestimate the danger of left-leaning identity politics, The Economist, September 4, 2021. Also see, David Frum, Liberals and the Illiberal Left, Atlantic, January 29, 2015;  Editorial Board, The state has a duty to protect trans students, Globe and Mail, June 16, 2023:

“There are legitimate debates over whether and when chemical or surgical treatments are appropriate for young people who believe their true gender does not align with the gender they were born with. The Swedish government, for example, recently restricted the use of chemical and surgical procedures for minors with gender dysphoria, citing insufficient evidence of long-term consequences.

Even staunch allies of the LGBTQ community may seek clearer rules concerning transgender athletes, or transgender use of facilities such as locker rooms and women’s shelters.

But legitimate concerns over how to best accommodate transgender people must not distract from the greater challenge of dealing with growing waves of intolerance toward gender and sexual minorities.”

[253] Eric Sigurdson, Civility, trust, and leadership: the guardrails and anchors of a healthy society and sustainable democracy, Sigurdson Post, January 24, 2022. Also see, Konrad Yakabuski, Democracy in America is stronger than it looks, Globe and Mail, December 4, 2021; Batya Ungar-Sargon, Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy, Encounter Books, 2021; Kylie Ora Lobell, New Book Argues that ‘Woke Media’ is Undermining Democracy, Jewish Journal, October 14, 2021; Jorge Gonzalez-Gallarza, How the News Got Woke – And Why It Matters, City Journal, November 19, 2021; Thomas Edsall, Is Wokeness ‘Kryptonite for Democrats’?, New York Times, May 26, 2021; Sheri Berman, Why identity politics benefits the right more than the left, The Guardian, July 14, 2018; How did American ‘wokeness’ jump from elite schools to everyday life?, The Economist, September 4, 2021; The threat from the illiberal left: Don’t underestimate the danger of left-leaning identity politics, The Economist, September 4, 2021; Jonathan Rauch and Peter Wehner, What’s Happening on the Left Is No Excuse for What’s Happening on the Right, New York Times, January 20, 2022; David Frum, Liberals and the Illiberal Left, Atlantic, January 29, 2015; Tara Henley, Why I quit the CBC, National Post, January 3, 2022. Also see generally, Gerard Baker, To Save America, the GOP First Has to Save Itself: Democrats need chutzpah to accuse Republicans of violating political norms – but they also have a point, Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2022; Kim R. Holmes, The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left, Encounter Books, 2016; Thomas Edsall, One Thing We Can Agree On Is That We’re Becoming a Different Country, New York Times, September 8, 2021:

“Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard and a former Obama administration official, asks in The Power of the Normal, a 2018 paper:

‘Why do we come to see political or other conduct as acceptable, when we had formerly seen it as unacceptable, immoral, or even horrific? Why do shifts occur in the opposite direction? What accounts for the power of ‘the new normal’?’

Sunstein is especially concerned with how new norms expand in scope:

‘Once conduct comes to be seen as part of an unacceptable category — abusiveness, racism, lack of patriotism, microaggression, sexual harassment — real or apparent exemplars that are not so egregious, or perhaps not objectionable at all, might be taken as egregious, because they take on the stigma now associated with the category.’

Sunstein is careful to note, ‘It is important to say that on strictly normative grounds, the less horrific cases might also be horrific’.

A key player in this process is what Sunstein calls ‘the opprobrium entrepreneur’. The motivations of opprobrium entrepreneurs:

‘may well be altruistic. They might think that certain forms of mistreatment are as bad as, or nearly as bad as, what are taken to the prototypical cases, and they argue that the underlying concept (abuse, bullying, prejudice), properly conceived, picks up their cases as well. Their goal is to create some kind of cascade, informational or reputational, by which the concept moves in their preferred direction. In the context of abuse, bullying, prejudice and sexual harassment, both informational and reputational cascades have indeed occurred.’

Sunstein cites ‘microaggressions’ as an area that ‘has exploded’. …

It’s not too much to say that the social and cultural changes of the past four decades have been cataclysmic. The signs of it are everywhere. Donald Trump rode the coattails of these issues into office. Could he — or someone else who has been watching closely — do it again?”

Further, see for example: Alastair Mordey, How ‘trauma’ was hijacked by activists, creating generation of victims: The redefinition of trauma is motivated by politics, dressed up as medical diagnosis, National Post, July 16, 2023; Nick Haslam, Concept creep: Psychology’s expanding concepts of harm and pathology, Psychological Inquiry, Vol. 27, Issue 1, 2016; Mark Smith, Sebastian Monteux, and Claire Cameron, Trauma: An Ideology in Search of Evidence and its Implications for the Social in Social Welfare, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 30, Issue 4, 2021.

[254] Amy Chua, How America’s identity politics went from inclusion to division, The Guardian, March 1, 2018. Also see, Amy Chua, Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, Penguin Press, 2018.

[255] See generally, for example: Ben Olinsky and Grace Oyenubi, The Supreme Court’s Extreme Majority Risks Turning Back the Clock on Decades of Progress and Undermining Our Democracy: The Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing majority is poised to roll back long-standing rights and laws. This activism threatens public trust in the court and our democracy, American Progress, June 13, 2022.

[256] Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020. Citing, Arch Puddington and Tyler Roylance, Freedom in the World 2017: Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy, Freedom House, 2018; The Decline of Democracy and the Rule of Law: How to Preserve the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence?, Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, September 28, 2017.

[257] Sheri Berman, Why identity politics benefits the right more than the left, Guardian, July 18, 2018.

[258] Jon Wallace, Hans Kundnani, and Elizabeth Donnelly, The Importance of Democracy: Why is democracy important to the world and how does it help maintain a just and free society?, Chatham House, April 14, 2021.

[259] Jon Wallace, Hans Kundnani, and Elizabeth Donnelly, The Importance of Democracy: Why is democracy important to the world and how does it help maintain a just and free society?, Chatham House, April 14, 2021.

[260] George Lakoff, Whose freedom? The battle over America’s most important idea, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2006; Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, Cynthia Cox, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Obligations to the Future, Journal of Working-Class Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 2, October 2020. Also see, Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, and Edurardo Bonilla-Silva, Reclaiming Freedom from the Right Wing: Allowing freedom to become synonymous with the cultural right will make it harder to address a range of public challenges, and will degrade the concept of freedom itself, The Bulwark, February 3, 2021; Jason Vermes, Why the word ‘freedom’ is such a useful rallying cry for protestors, CBC February 13, 2022.

[261] Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, and Edurardo Bonilla-Silva, Reclaiming Freedom from the Right Wing: Allowing freedom to become synonymous with the cultural right will make it harder to address a range of public challenges, and will degrade the concept of freedom itself, The Bulwark, February 3, 2021.

[262] Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (governors.library.ca.gov), 33rd Governor of California, Republican 1967-1975, Delivered January 5, 1967.

[263] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[264] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022; Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021; Eric Sigurdson, The Decline of the Rule of Law: Experiencing the Unimaginable in Western Society – the impact of economic and social inequality in the 21st century, Sigurdson Post, April 26, 2020.

[265] Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig, The Economic Determinants of the ‘Cultural Backlash’: Globalization and Attitudes in Western Europe, BAFFI Carefin Centre Research Paper No. 2018-91, Bocconi University, October 2018.

[266] Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, and Edurardo Bonilla-Silva, Reclaiming Freedom from the Right Wing: Allowing freedom to become synonymous with the cultural right will make it harder to address a range of public challenges, and will degrade the concept of freedom itself, The Bulwark, February 3, 2021. Also see, Lawrence Eppard, Erik Nelson, Cynthia Cox, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Obligations to the Future, Journal of Working-Class Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 2, October 2020.

[267] Andrew Ross Sorkin, Business makes the case for a post-Trump reset, New York Times, January 19, 2021.

[268] Eric Sigurdson, Political Violence, Extremism, and the Destabilization of Democracy: A Dangerous Rage is Sweeping the Globe – a conversation on the rise of political violence as polarization, disinformation and right-wing extremism goes mainstream, Sigurdson Post, August 25, 2022. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Democracies under threat: Inclusive economies and (economic and political) institutions go hand-in-hand with a stable democracy – a way forward, Sigurdson Post, February 26, 2021.

[269] Joseph E. Stiglitz, The American Economy is Rigged: And what we can do about it, Scientific American, November 1, 2018.

[270] David Leonhardt, The Sense of Justice That We’re Losing, New York Times, April 29, 2018; Economics, demography and social media only partly explain the protests roiling so many countries today, The Economist, November 14, 2019; How bad is the crisis in democracy?, The Economist, youtube.com, September 26, 2019; Democracy embattled: How bad is the crisis?, Democracy Digest, January 6, 2020 (“Around the world, democracies are getting weaker and elected politicians are becoming more unpopular. Are they serving the people – or themselves?”).

[271] Kyle Melnick, She hung a Pride flag at her shop. She was killed over it, officials say, Washington Post, August 21, 2023.

[272] Natalie Musumeci, An Australian politician told anti-LGBTQ+ protestors to move to Florida if they want to spread their ‘hateful views’, Business Insider, May 8, 2023. Also see: Helen Lewis, How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?, Atlantic, May 2023:

“DeSantis is a politician who preaches freedom while suspending elected officials who offend him, banning classroom discussions he doesn’t like, carrying out hostile takeovers of state universities, and obstructing the release of public records whenever he can. …

The paradox of freedom, Florida style, is that it’s really an assertion of control. People like us should be free to do what we want, and free to stop other people from doing what they want when we don’t approve. …

The great DeSantis innovation has been to realize how much cover calculated outrage provides for rewarding cronies—and that the more you preach ‘freedom’, the more you can get away with authoritarianism.”

Gary Mason, Can Alberta take four more years of Danielle Smith?, Globe and Mail, May 2, 2023:

“ [Alberta Premier] Ms. Smith herself is publicly singing the praises of hard-right politicians, like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, for creating “little bastions of freedom” in their states – ones she’d like to replicate in Alberta. Ah yes – that little anti-gay, book-banning bastion of freedom: Florida.”

[273] Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Freedom in the World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule, Freedom House, 2022.

[274] Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law, Allen Lane (UK), 2010; Dignity, Fairness and Good Government: The Role of a Human Rights Act, Lord Bingham, former Senior Law Lord of the United Kingdom, Speech to Human Rights Law Resource Centre, Melbourne, Australia, December 9, 2008; Lord Bingham, Dignity, Fairness and Good Government: The role of a Human Rights Act, AltLJ (austlii.edu.au), Vol. 34, Issue 2, 2009.

[275] Marsha Lederman, Ask yourself when voting: How do I elect a good politician?, Globe and Mail, May 29, 2023.