This morning I saw an interesting article about how Navalny has put Putin in a “humiliating” box. If Putin kills him, the article put it quite bluntly, Putin risks the spectre of mass revolt. If Putin lets Navalny live, on the other hand, he allows his cleverest opponent to challenge his so-called ‘authority.’
All this got me thinking about my own country, Canada, and how Mr. Trudeau recently bypassed an established panel to select the most recent Governor-General, who turned out to be a total disgrace. Trudeau essentially was acting like a little dictator. He knew best. Screw the panel, he must have thought. Trudeau wanted a celebrity and never thought to check if that same celeb could actually work with people and, moreover, be respectful to those holding different personal beliefs than her own.
A panel most likely would have carefully examined this. But oh no, Mr. Trudeau is his characteristic “Little Prince” style went with his personal whim.
This is just a small example but Mr. Trudeau arguably has shown authoritarian tendencies in the past. Nothing like Putin, of course. But we can draw a loose parallel in that both leaders made choices that delivered disastrous results.
Putin basically did away with any opposition to his rule by rewriting policies* while Trudeau’s Canada languishes with delays in vaccines – with a little foresight Trudeau could have arranged to have them produced at home – and a general economic sluggishness, not to overlook the various Trudeau scandals… too many to detail here.
So what is the difference between authoritarianism and democracy?
Well, on the one hand, we have harmful stagnation because only one person’s viewpoint dominates. In a democracy, we may still have a handful of elites ruling the show, but at least they are different elites. This difference could not be more clear with what’s happening in the Biden administration right now. Biden is basically tossing out almost everything Trump initiated.
Like it or not, it’s a change. And it’s a change based on the people’s votes. If the people don’t like it, they can vote Republican next time. (In Canada, we actually have three main parties.)
It’s pretty simple and although some tainted fools say that democracy isn’t so different from authoritarianism, democracy is different and obviously better.
* An old Soviet trick, actually, that I have witnessed in a Canadian university if you can believe it.