When trying to understand what conditions would let a democracy grow and what would make it decline, there seems to be a common theme across the board. There are forces that grow a democracy, and there are forces that kill a democracy. Ironically it is the classic good vs evil scenario that best describes this.
No matter what country you look at, and no matter how it is ranked on the democracy scale, there is another scale that appears not connected that parallels the democracy scale. However after a few dots between the two scales is connected, you can see they go together like bread and butter. That scale that runs along side of the democracy scale is the education scale.
The thinking is very simple, if you do not know you are being robbed, you will not react. The moment you figure out you are being robbed, you react with significant vigor to deal with the problem. If people in a country do not recognize that some action or inaction will take away democracy, democracy will slip. There is always some power hungry person looking to take over and be a dictator.
The method to remove democracy can be indirect as well, but the education scale is very much a part of this as well. If people can be tricked into following a person or movement that will lead to the end of democracy, that is exactly what will happen. At the moment Thailand is a prime example of this. The under educated people are following a person who clearly is set on being a dictator.
When it comes to the forces of good vs evil, the more aggressive the evil is, the higher the level of education is needed to counter that attack on democracy. If the education level is greater than the evil then the democracy will grow. If the evil is greater than the level of education, then the democracy will slip until the people figure out what is going on. In some cases that may be too late if the power of evil reaches critical mass. That means the supporters or the military that are under the evil’s influence are significantly stronger, and physical violence is used to complete the end of democracy.
The study cited below from Freedom House clearly outlines this, and if you go and dig into each country you will find this all to be true.
Except from The Bangkok Post;
The report’s survey of 194 countries and 14 territories around the world found that China, Egypt, Iran, Russia and Venezuela continued to increase repressive measures with little significant resistance from democracies.
The number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, the lowest level since 1995, after reaching a high of 123 in 2005.
Of the 47 countries ranked not free, nine countries and one territory received the survey’s lowest possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Tibet, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Eleven countries were credited with making gains last year, but 25 others were cited as showing significant declines.
The 25 countries listed as declining in their levels of freedom were Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burundi, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.
The Middle East and North Africa remained the regions with the lowest level of freedom while Ukraine and Mexico fell from the “free” to the “partly free” category, the report said.
“Authoritarian regimes will have a much freer hand to silence their domestic critics if there is no resistance from the outside world,” said Arch Puddington, director of research at Freedom House.