Illiberalism is a political ideology that rejects the core tenets of liberal democracy, such as individual rights, freedom of speech, and the rule of law. Illiberal regimes often hold elections, but they use these elections to legitimize their rule, not to transfer power to the people. They may also use other means to consolidate their power, such as controlling the media, suppressing dissent, and gerrymandering electoral districts.
The term “illiberal democracy” was first used by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2014. Orbán argued that liberal democracy had failed to deliver on its promises, and that Hungary needed to adopt a more illiberal model of government. Other countries that have been described as illiberal democracies include Turkey, Russia, and Poland.
There is no single definition of illiberal democracy, and there is debate among scholars about whether the term is even meaningful. However, there are some common features that illiberal regimes tend to share. These include:
- The suppression of individual rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.
- The erosion of the rule of law, as evidenced by the arbitrary use of power by the government, the lack of independent oversight of the judiciary, and the widespread use of corruption.
- The control of the media by the government or by its allies.
- The suppression of dissent, often through the use of violence or intimidation.
- The gerrymandering of electoral districts to ensure that the government remains in power.
Illiberal democracy is a threat to the fundamental principles of liberal democracy. It undermines the rule of law, erodes individual rights and freedoms, and stifles dissent. If illiberalism continues to spread, it could have a profound impact on the future of democracy around the world.
Here are some examples of illiberal practices:
- The Hungarian government has passed laws that restrict the freedom of the press and the right to assembly.
- The Turkish government has cracked down on journalists and political opponents.
- The Russian government has interfered in elections in other countries.
- The Polish government has undermined the independence of the judiciary.
These are just a few examples of the ways in which illiberal regimes restrict individual rights and freedoms. Illiberalism is a serious threat to democracy, and it is important to be aware of its dangers.