No Conor, Australia is not falling to COVID dictatorship

An excerpt from my newest post on Medium •

Australian democracy is not on COVID-induced life support

In 2020, American governments decided that it was acceptable to overwhelm their health system, permanently maim a potentially innumerable number of people with post-COVID syndrome, while slaughtering six hundred thousand of their own people in defence of their citizens’ right to go to a Denny’s. In 2021, the Australian states, who decided not to accept this outcome, ordered restaurants to use Uber Eats and click-and-collect: How utterly Orwellian?

At least, reasonable controls on movement during a pandemic being “Orwellian” appears to be the position of writer Conor Friedersdorf who sensationally questioned in The Atlantic whether or not Australia remains a liberal democracy.

His analysis lacks an engagement with the broader history of national emergencies in consolidated democracies and seems oversimplistic.

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Post image © Sam Wilson (CC BY SA)

The Crisis in Samoa

Last month’s election in the small Pacific Island nation and the constitutional crisis that continues into this week has me asking: Was Samoa ever a democracy? By any intuitive account, yes. It has free elections for a parliament from which ministers are appointed and a head of state is elected, and the Samoan constitution grants several civil liberties, namely freedom of expression.

For some people, namely political scientists, these intuitive accounts are not enough. This post will take a more analytical approach, comparing a number of democracy indices, the background to the election campaign, analysis of the results, the myth of ‘dominant-party’ democracy, and remarking on the aftermath.

Continue reading “The Crisis in Samoa”